Cold Creek Getaway in Fish Taco

The Tacoma with its new Lear 100R shell, including head liner, drop out cab-side window, and a three outlet, 12V power block near the rear lift window.

Okay, I admit that I’m having a man-crush on my Tacoma.  I feel like a little boy who got the Christmas present he had been harassing his parents for since Halloween. I could easily succumb to the temptation to run away to distant places every weekend.  Maybe that’s what happens to a truck owner after driving Dodge Dakotas for 18 years.

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Can a Passion for Fishing be a Ministry?

Nice 12-inch Cold Creek rainbow on 6-foot fly rod

I fished Cold Creek Pond this morning. Set alarm for 5:30 am so I could get ninety minutes or so of fishing with my little six foot fly rod and still make it home before Emily woke up (she knows my days off and always calls for me to get her out of bed on those mornings). The weather was amazing and the short visit scratched my itch, as they say. The fishing was slow despite having the pond all to myself. I practiced double-haul casts, which were amazingly efficient with that little fly rod. There was a Great Heron that flew away upon my arrival but left telltale tracks all around in the shallows, and for the first time ever I saw a little Kingfisher working the pond, even witnessed it diving and catching one of those little goldfish that ignorant people keep dumping into the pond.

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Chief Financial Officers fishing Cold Creek

Mummy Mountain, 11,527 feet above sea level, from Cold Creek Road

This late winter, early spring has been frustrating as the fishing goes.  There have been periods with temperatures around 70 degrees in Las Vegas, and that translates into early morning to mid-day temperatures at the 6,000-foot elevation of 40 to 60 degrees… very tolerable.  But life gets busy.

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Cold Springs Reservoir, Wayne Kirch WMA

This is the Cold Springs boat dock. The Grant Range on the left side of the horizon.

I made a quick getaway to Cold Springs Reservoir in the Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area. The KWMA is nestled in the high desert of the White River watershed, such as it is.  As barren as it appears from Highway 318 (thirty miles south of Lund, NV), the KWMA does have quite a variety of wildlife (see this KWMA brochure).  On a previous KWMA excursion I wrote about almost running into a golden eagle that was pursuing a desert cottontail rabbit; that was an awesome experience.  On this trip I again flushed another large golden eagle from the left side of the dirt service road.  This time I got a very close look at the large raptor, and it amazed me that such a large bird can actually fly, let alone attack game from the air.  By the time I stopped the truck, lowered the passenger window, and got the camera into zoom mode the eagle had gotten about 100 yards away and was circling back to the south.  Having a close encounter with such a majestic bird is the highlight of any trip.

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Cave Lake & Illipah Reservoir, White Pine County

Moon rising over Cave Lake about 8:30 pm

I don’t usually look forward to trout fishing in mid-summer. Trout can be lethargic as temperatures rise, and when algae grows in lower elevation reservoirs it can diminish the oxygen levels which can lead to increased mortality even when practicing catch and release. The warm weather also drops water levels causing them to be skittish. Moving up to the alpine levels can solve those issues as summer comes late at 9,000 feet and higher. But other than very few exceptions like Kolob Reservoir, large fish aren’t often found in the creeks and reservoirs of the high mountains in central Nevada and southern Utah. And then there’s the general unpleasantness of traveling across the desert in 110 degrees or more in order to reach cooler climates; even in a relatively new car the excessive heat can cause one to pause about faulty thermostats and split hoses. Still, the Las Vegas mid-summer heat was getting the best of me. Escaping to higher, cooler ground was appealing even if the fishing might be slower and the trout smaller.

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Smith Creek Ranch – Lander County, Nevada

Entering Smith Creek Ranch with the Desatoya Mountains as a backdrop.

After my 2003 visit to Henderson Springs, I gained an appreciation for the fruits of fishing private water (see Henderson Springs blog). Curiosity spurred me to search the Internet for other private fishing water in Nevada and southern Utah, and that’s how I discovered Smith Creek Ranch.

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Hermosa Beach & Anaheim, California

Ashton, Tom, Evan, Brian, Denise, me, and foster children awaiting table at Blue Bayou

Those of you who know Denise and me also know that we were fostering two small children. For the sake of anonymity I will refrain from using names, but our friends and relatives know of whom I speak.

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Pine Valley, UT

Typical long, deep Santa Clara pool

The weather report was showing a few more warm fall days. It seemed like this was my last chance to fish before the real hustle and bustle of the holidays hit and the fishing fell into the doldrums of winter. I had been talking about a fishing trip, out loud to myself, and Denise must have overheard me. Monday she stuck a note on my side of the mirror saying how much she appreciated my help and what it meant to her, and finished by saying that she wanted me to stay around through Thanksgiving and not go fishing… took the wind right out of my sails. After checking my calendar and giving it some thought at work, I asked her if I could go Wednesday preceding Thanksgiving, a workday, if I promised to be home by 6:00 pm. I argued it would be just like a regular workday to her, and she said “yes”.

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Beaver Dam Creek, the Early Years

Beaver Dam Creek 100 yards downstream from Schroeder Reservoir spillway, from a May 1982 trip.

Beaver Dam Creek is where I learned the subtleties of fishing a small stream. Stalking is the name of the game on that modest creek. It was a fine place to become educated in the way of the trout and the tactics necessary to catch them with a fly.  

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Cutting Christmas Trees – Beaver Dam State Park

Our cat, Buffy, inspecting the Piñon Christmas tree at 5100 Margo Drive.

While rummaging through a picture box recently I ran across photos of two trips to Beaver Dam State Park to cut Christmas trees. Denise and I were married on Groundhog Day in 1980, and for three years in a row I traveled to Beaver Dam to cut our Christmas tree. We were renting a small cinder-block house from Uncle Art on the east side of town, and the wide-bodied, pear shaped piñon pine trees really filled up the living room window during Christmas. 

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