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:
“ARTIFICIAL LURES ONLY ONE TROUT LIMIT, ALL YEAR
UPPER END CLOSED
NO MOTORS FEB 15 – AUG 15.”
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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Dacey Reservoir, Nye County, Nevada

A herd of pronghorn antelope that crossed the southern access road to the Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area.

There’s a good reason, actually several good reasons why I like traveling to fishing destinations on weekdays. First, the fishing is always less crowded on a weekday, which enhances the feeling of solitude as well as the susceptibility of the fish to take the lure (trout don’t like boats constantly traveling overhead and the persistent “plunking” of lures into the water). But there’s another aesthetic benefit, at least if you consider wildlife viewing integral to the overall aesthetic experience. Traveling when there are few “other travelers” always increases the chance of seeing wildlife in their natural habitat. Then of course, there’s the guilty pleasure of either being retired or stealing a day off when traveling in the middle of a workweek.

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When Two or Three are Gathered at Wayne Kirch

David casting with Hot Creek Butte and snow capped Grant Range
in the background. 

For about two decades I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of a Christian Men’s Group. My experience has been that men need the fellowship and counsel of other men, men who can hold us accountable to keep our promises to our God, wives, children, neighbors and work associates. Men tend to use the Lone Ranger approach when dealing with hurts, wounds, and sins.  We don’t exhibit emotions like our female counterparts, and we believe it’s less manly to seek the help of other like-minded men. Instead we prefer to work it out by ourselves.  As if we could abstain from looking at our situation objectively without the bias of our own selfishness and pride. That’s why the Bible tells us to seek the council of other followers in 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15.

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Dacey Reservoir: A Return to the Scene of the “Incident”

On Dacey Reservoir, looking back toward primitive boat launch with the Trout Truck, Hot Creek Butte, and snow-capped Grant Range in the background.  The Water Master Grizzly scooted nicely over the 40-yard long mass of dead bulrush that blocked access to the open water.

On October 22, 2015, I suffered a heart attack while fishing Dacey Reservoir. Although I’ve made a few trips to Cold Creek since my heart attack (about 40 miles northwest of my home), this trip to Wayne Kirch Wildlife Management Area (Kirch WMA) was my first substantial fishing trip, a 360 mile round trip consisting of six hours of driving.  Truthfully, I was glad to make the trip and I felt no anxiety about returning to the scene of the incident. Putting aside the three stents that opened my blocked heart arteries, I really believe my conversion to a full vegan diet has made a significant improvement in my health, and I’m confident I’m getting a handle on preventing any future incidents.

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Maiden Voyage of Water Master Grizzly Interrupted by Heart Attack

Here’s a Dacey Reservoir rainbow trout that I was trying to bring to net on a previous trip in April 2014.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you know that I’ve been ignored by NFO Scadden regarding a warranty repair to my Outlaw Escape.  After conducting a little research I contacted Richard Stuber at Big Sky Inflatables to discuss their Water Master Grizzly, and how it compared to what I saw as deficiencies in the NFO Escape.  I first became aware of the Water Master in 2005 or 2006 while watching the Trout Bum Diaries vol.1 that featured these fishing rafts.  Richard said the Water Master would not only provide me with a more reliable boat that will last the next 20-plus years, but that it would hold and row much better in the wind than the Outlaw Escape.  The larger tubes and their 360 degree contact with the water cause the boat to sit much higher on the water while maintaining a large footprint.  Big Sky offered a “real” lifetime warranty on the raft.  I couldn’t resist; I always wanted to be a Trout Bum anyway.

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