Cold Creek in December

The northwest edge of the 10,000-foot Spring Mountains provides a contrast to the high desert flora that is unique to the western states.

I seem to have this unfulfilled fantasy of fishing in the snow. There’s something magical about how snow blankets the trees, shrubs, and rocks, hiding their intimate details from our vision. I especially enjoy how it can muffle sound, especially during a calm snowfall. In late November 2013 I tried to fish the pond during an early season snowfall, but instead I became a participating witness to a coyote who was hunting a jackrabbit, a rabbit that seemed to use my truck as a defensive barrier. Of course, my fantasy conveniently ignores the effects cold snow has on my comfort, particularly toes and fingers… but that’s part of the effort-reward transaction that usually comes with any great outdoor adventure.

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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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Comins Reservoir in White Pine County

Not much of a blog for this trip.  Mostly a pictorial essay.

Hope you enjoy the pictures and accompanying notes.

The moon over Ely, NV.  This photo looks west down E. Aultman Street, aka U.S. Highway 50 and Lincoln Highway. The Silver State Restaurant has been an Ely landmark for me since the 1970s, but is under new ownership who will be changing the sign to read Nardi’s Family Restaurant. The Magnuson Hotel (yes, they named it a hotel) is down and across the street where you see the red sign sporting a white star. This is where I rest my body when it desires a bed over a sleeping bag, mostly because it was across the street from the Silver State Restaurant. 
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Cave Lake State Park, outside the City of Ely, White Pine County, Nevada

A hawk (I believe a red-tailed hawk) perches on rabbitbrush to survey his domain. This picture was taken near Cave Creek, the southeastern inlet of Cave Lake that gives Cave Lake State Park its name.

My daughter was promised a camping trip before she returned for her school’s fall semester. As the Dog Days of summer began to sap everyone’s energy, I was reminded that “back to school” was but two weeks away. I quickly began planning a short, overnight camping trip.

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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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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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Fish Taco on the loose in Cold Creek

My new Toyota Tacoma SR5 4×4 (a.k.a., the Fish Taco) visiting the Cold Creek Pond for the first time.

Those of you familiar with my blog might recall I affectionately referred to my 2007 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab 4×4 as the “Trout Truck.” Although it was my daily driver, its underlying purpose was to get me in and out of the destinations where the trout angling was better than average and where inclement weather, which is often good for fishing, can make passage difficult. I had gotten stuck a few times in my previous 4×2 Dakota, but the 4.7L V8 4×4 never got stuck which was a great comfort to me and certainly increased my angling time. 

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Fall Stocking Completed at Cold Creek Pond

On a day with temperatures in the low 50s and just a gentle breeze, I was very happy that I had but one other angler to share Cold Creek on the first Friday of December 2017.

A few weeks ago I read in the local paper the Nevada Department of Wildlife was scheduled to plant trout in the Cold Creek pond.  Today I confirmed they did.  One other angler was fishing bait, but he was doing it well: small hooks enabling him to catch and release five trout that I noticed.  As for me, in about an hour I landed four, but had hooks pulled out of three others.  Awesome weather there today.  I was surprised but thankful only one other angler was on the pond.  Enjoy the photos. 

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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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Comins Reservoir, Steptoe Valley Wildlife Management Area

Admiring the Egan Range from the Water Master fishing craft, with Ward Mountain as it crown jewel. As early as mid-September they received a dusting of snow, still visible in this photo. Trout Truck on the far right bank.

I would like to have written a title that exclaimed “Comins is Back,” but the truth is that while this fishing trip included a significant number of large trout, they were likely excess broodstock from the Gallagher Fish Hatchery in the Ruby Valley.  Additionally, there’s the reality that 5 to 8 inch northern pike were discovered in the reservoir through Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) electrofishing.  If NDOW cannot eradicate the illegally introduced pike through electrofishing, they will undoubtedly grow, spawn, and feed such that the decimation of one of the State’s best trout fisheries will seem likely for the third time since I started fly fishing in 1977.  While that may seem somber news, this Comins fishing trip can still be described as awesome; the “regular” trout stocking program has already begun to produce results that demonstrate this remarkable fishery that has the ability to grow trout by 1 to 2 inches per month. 

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