Cold Springs in the Kirch WMA

Luis bringing in a Rainbow trout from Cold Springs Reservoir.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) manages the State’s thirteen Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) for the purpose of “conservation and protection of wetlands and waterfowl, including the use of WMAs for recreational fishing and hunting.” They also publish brochures such as the one for the Wayne Kirch WMA (which currently includes a photo of FisherDad lifted from this blog).

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An Easter Season trip to Dacey Reservoir

I struggled with the wind gusts a little bit, but I still held my own at age 65. My oared Savage Gear float tube continues to be my favorite watercraft for trout reservoirs. The Grant Range in the far distance had the least amount of snow that I recall for the end of March.

I recently retired from from the bank where I worked as an SEC registered municipal bond advisor. It was a great job that came along at the perfect time, and it allowed me to retire from my stressful municipal Chief Financial Officer position at age 60, about one year after I suffered a heart attack on this very reservoir (see Maiden Voyage of Water Master Grizzly Interrupted by Heart Attack). While these past five years with the bank have been enjoyable and rewarding, when I reached 65 I was psychologically prepared for full retirement (two COVID years of working from home also helped). This adventure to Dacey Reservoir was my first angling trip under full retirement status. It was a satisfying way to acknowledge never having to work for a paycheck again.

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Early Fall at Wayne Kirch WMA

The Fish Taco getting unloaded at Dacey Reservoir. The Savage Gear float tube is nearing its launch. The Egans Mountain Range in the background hides the Cave Valley that nestles in the Far South Egans Wilderness Area. This summer I had a Slimline Hybrid steel bumper with shackle mounts installed on the Tacoma as well as Bilstein shocks (5100s on the rear and 6112s on the front with coilover springs to raise and beef up the front end). Rogue Offroad did an awesome job; I highly recommend them.

It has been a long, hot summer in southern Nevada. June 9th was my last out-of-town adventure. Although not a fishing trip, it was quite memorable as my grandson’s first camping trip. It sustained me for about four months, but the cooler fall temperatures were beckoning once again. I chose to visit Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area for a day-trip getaway.

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An Easter Trip to Wayne Kirch WMA

A view of the Grant Range driving into Kirch from the Sunnyside turn off. On the left, in front of the range, is Hot Creek Butte.

Anglers who live in the southwest desert, like me, understand that fishing adventures take some planning and a lot of driving. While it is true that warmwater fisheries (home to bass, crappie, perch, and other “spiny-ray” fish) can be found closer to our southwest urban cities than coldwater fisheries (home to salmon, trout, and char), it is also true that water in general is very scarce in the arid southwest. We southwest trout anglers will drive hundreds of miles to reach our trout streams and reservoirs. Many of the reservoirs that straddle the 5,000-to-6,000-foot elevation can support both warm and coldwater species, which can be convenient. The reservoirs of Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area (Kirch) are such reservoirs. Spring and fall are great times to pursue Rainbow trout, while the summer is best for the Black bass. If you would like to know more about Kirch you might select my “Wayne Kirch” blog category, or just take a look at my Dacey Reservoir, Sunnyside (Wayne Kirch WMA).

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Running from COVID-19

I post this scene often. The snow-capped Grant Range is a dramatic backdrop for Dacey Reservoir. Grant’s tallest peaks, Stairstep, Troy, and Timber, range from 10,000 to 11,000 feet. Hot Creek Butte, on far left of the photo, conceals hot springs that attract visitors on its other side.

I must confess to selfishly abandoning my family for a short day-trip to Dacey reservoir in the Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area (Kirch). It was actually a mission of mercy for them as I was getting stir crazy over the shutdown, and who knows what damage I could bring upon my familial relationships had I not taken a dose of this medicine.

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Early Spring on Dacey Reservoir

Here’s a typically handsome Dacey spring rainbow trout of about 16 inches.

Early spring always brings hope.  For those of us with a keen eye for the outdoors, it can be overwhelming when it floods our senses with new growth.  Maybe it’s the contrast to the gloomy drabness of winter that gives spring all the attention; it seems everyone welcomes its emergence from the fingers of winter.  The flowering and budding of trees give promise of things to come.  Even the floor of the Mojave Desert turns remarkably green in the early spring, followed by its own unique color bouquet.  Songbirds, found even in our most urban environs, start whistling and tweeting before the sunrise, and sometimes throughout the night, perhaps as part of their intense mating and nesting ritual.  All sorts of new life begins to pop.  I have even noticed a bumper crop of baby fence lizards sunning themselves on my backyard stone planter, while butterflies and bees flit about overhead.  And of course, there are those spring-spawning rainbow trout, hungry from the cold of winter and in need of beefing up for their own mating ceremonies.  There’s an energy in springtime, a natural force that can’t be denied and is the fuel that feeds our belief that all things old, or even seemingly dead, can be renewed again.

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White River Valley’s Dacey Reservoir

The flotsam of dead weeds appeared daunting upon launching the Water Master Grizzly, but it skimmed through fairly easily. The summer and early fall weeds can be quite bothersome on Wayne Kirch reservoirs.

The cooling temperatures of our early fall season were stirring my angling desires, which is a common malaise for me (somewhat more strident in the early spring, if I were pressed to confess). As is my tendency, I was attempting to balance home, work, and hobby while seeking to remedy my fly fishing affliction. Attempting to be patient, everything eventually seemed to align. The Nevada Day school holiday and a light work load aligned with a practically windless weather forecast for Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area (Kirch) on this Friday. Unfortunately, the accompanying high-pressure weather system also keeps out the clouds and usually brings with it higher temperatures. Nonetheless, the weather would be nice even if it wasn’t perfect for angling success.

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Wayne Kirch WMA Overnighter in the Fish Taco

The 5:16 AM sunrise over the Egan Range begins to warm Dacey Reservoir.

You know when a strong impulse causes you to do something you’ve wanted for a while, and so you wedge it into your schedule? Then the truth is discovered that allowing the urgency of desire to squeeze an event into your calendar before all conditions are at least reasonable often produces undesired outcomes. I frequently observe that our childish nature seeks immediate indulgence which in turn causes poor planning and unhappy results. If you maintain a healthy dose of reality you can cope with that; if you’re too optimistic you may come away disappointed. I won’t say that this trip to Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area (Kirch) was disappointing, because it wasn’t. But it did contain a couple preventable mishaps. 

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Dacey Reservoir in the Late Fall

Trout Truck at Dacey’s rustic boat launch site. The sign says:
These regulations help to keep the Dacey trout fishery in top condition.

This is the time of year elementary students are cutting, painting, and creating all sorts of Thanksgiving papers that their moms and dads will affix to various kitchen appliances and cabinetry in celebration of the things the child is thankful for.  You never really know what your youngster might write on these papers, particularly if their teacher doesn’t attempt to influence their selection so as not to embarrass the parents.  You can imagine parents across the country rhetorically asking, “What the hell are they teaching my kid?

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Dacey Reservoir, Nye County, NV

A pair of geese protecting their three goslings on Adams-McGill Reservoir. In the wild geese bond and stay together for life.

Ever notice sometimes how those experiences you anticipate often fail to fully come to fruition, particularly if it’s something you’re really looking forward to?  Fueled by your imagination you envision how wonderful the experience will be and the pleasure you’ll derive from it, especially when your brain builds upon prior awesome remembrances.

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