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Veteran’s Day good day to go fishing for rainbow trout

During my youth, Veterans Day was a big deal in the Nielsen household. Though it also is my mother’s birthday, she made sure my siblings and I were aware of the significance of this day.

She reminded us of the sacrifice of the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces so people like you and me can be free to enjoy the outdoors and other aspects of free living.

Today, I tip my hat to all of you who serve and to your families who sacrifice so much for all of us, but especially for me and my family. Words fall way short but thank you.

With the National Weather Service forecasting clear skies and a high near 78 degrees, trout enthusiasts who have the holiday off may want to take a friend out to one of the valley’s community fishing ponds.

Seasonal trout plants began this week at Floyd Lamb, Sunset and Veterans Memorial parks. Cold Creek, a small pond in the Spring Mountain range near Indian Springs, also received a load of rainbow trout.

If you are a trout angler who prefers something a little less “parkish” but wants to stay close to home, Willow Beach is another option. Personnel from the National Fish Hatchery at Willow Beach plant rainbow trout in the Colorado River on a weekly basis.

Prior to the advent of Covid-19, the plants took place on Fridays, but starting September 2020, the hatchery adopted a random stocking schedule.

The plants still occur weekly but on random days. According to the hatchery website, those measures were taken “in order to protect the health and safety of the angling public and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff.”

Rainbow trout hold a respected place on the list of America’s top-five game fish species. Native to the western United States, rainbow trout are now found in waters across the country. Here in the Silver State, rainbows are our most abundant game fish and can be found in streams, lakes and reservoirs across the state.

Regardless of your chosen setting, there are some things to keep in mind when pursuing rainbow trout.

Though they adapt to various habitats, they prefer cool streams with gravel bottoms and cover where they can hide from predators. Downed trees, low-hanging limbs, boulders and other structure fill the need for cover. So too will areas with a background darkened by vegetation or a shadow.

Rainbow trout will eat a variety of things ranging from aquatic or terrestrial insects to small fish, and from crustaceans to worms. You may have to test different baits until you find the one that works, but a good rule of thumb is to look for what they are eating and try to match it.

While fishing in a park setting is not for everyone, it is a great opportunity for youngsters who are just beginning their angling avocation. In that setting, they can fish until their interest begins to wane and then move on to something else.

One of the biggest mistakes adult mentors make is expecting youngsters to have the same level of focus we have, but that is simply not the case. While we can fish for hours on end, young anglers do not have that ability. It is something that comes with age and experience. They will let you know when they have had enough.

Good indicators are wandering away from the water’s edge or throwing rocks into the water.

When working with new anglers, regardless of their age, keep things simple. Do not give them too much to think about at one time. A spincasting rod with a push-button reel baited up with a worm or PowerBait is a good starting point.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. Find him on Facebook at @dougwritesoutdoors. He can be reached at intheoutdoorslv@gmail.com

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