Heck, it’s just that time of the year in this general area
March 20, 2002
If you’re an outdoor person, this is an interesting but often frustrating time of the year for this general area.
Mother Nature just can’t seem to make up her mind whether she wants it to be wintertime or springtime.
As an example of what I mean, our weather will be absolutely gorgeous one day, complete with warm temperatures, no wind, no clouds and lots of bright sunshine.
Then that same night or the very next day, there will be a howling blizzard complete with dropping temperatures, high winds and heavy snowfall.
Or vice versus:
You’ll be battling high winds, heavy snowfal and zero visibility while struggling to drive between Carson City and Reno. Then the very next day, the weather will be nice enough to putter around in your flower beds or to even barbecue in your backyard.
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Weird but true.
Unfortunately, because of that crazy switching back and forth between good weather and bad weather, our trees, bushes, shrubs and flowers often pay a very heavy price.
The good weather fools them into beginning to bud and blossom and about the time that things are really looking like spring: BAM!
Here comes good old Mother Nature with another blast of winter weather.
That winter weather will normally include below freezing temperatures and as a result, all of the emerging buds and blossoms get nailed.
To illustrate that point, I lived for a period of some 20 years on Jeanell Drive in northwestern Carson City. I had a very nice peach tree in my backyard that was one of my pride and joys. During all of those years, we managed to have peaches from that tree on only two occasions. Two, just two!
On all of the other years, every time my tree would develop blossoms, along would come some miserable below-freezing weather and it would wipe out that season’s peach crop.
Year after year, without fail!
One year, when that tree was still small, I tried to outfox Mother Nature.
My peach tree had some great looking blossoms and there was a forecast for freezing weather that particular night.
I went outside and very carefully tied a large bed sheet over the top of the tree to protect it from the frost. I was going to fool Mother Nature or so I thought.
That night, the wind came up, howled all night out of the west and the temperature plummeted.
The next morning, I peeked outside to look at my little peach tree.
My sheet had disappeared (it was probably blown to the State of Utah during the night) and the wind had stripped all of the blossoms off that poor peach tree. So much for peaches that year.
To better illustrate how the weather can change in this area is my annual “Sucker Bet.” I always try to make that sucker bet with a poor, unsuspecting, short-time resident.
It is a very simple but an extremely diabolical con job!
The bet simply stated is: “It will snow in Carson City, sometime during the week of my birthday.”
My birthday is May 8!
Over the years, I have won this sucker bet about 80 percent of the time!
So, don’t get fooled by very nice weather at this time of the year.
Mother Nature could still have lots of winter punch left. And quite honestly, for quite a long time.
One year, I got chased out of the high country by bad weather, while backpacking in the the Sonora Pass area of the Sierra Nevada. It was the Fourth of July weekend.
The reason I bailed out and came home is that I got snowed on! True!
The Fourth of July weekend and it snowed on me!
In addition to the weird fluctuations of the weather, fishing is usually less-than-desirable at this time of the year for a number of reasons.
— First and most importantly, most of the creeks, streams and rivers in the State of California are closed until the last Saturday in April.
Some of those nearby waters are: the West Carson River, the East Carson River, the West Walker River, the East Walker River, the Little Walker River, the Truckee River, Buckeye Creek, Convict Creek, Green Creek, Mammoth Creek, Robinson Creek and Rush Creek.
— Second, all of the applicable fishing waters in Mono and Inyo Counties have been closed since way back on Oct. 31.
They include such waters as: Bridgeport Reservoir, Convict Lake, Crowley Lake, Dynamo Pond, Intake No. 2, the June Lake Loop (Grant, Gull, June and Silver) Lundy Lake, the Mammoth Lakes area (George, Mamie, Mary and Twin), North Lake, Sabrina Lake, South Lake, Upper and Lower Twin Lakes and the Virginia Lakes area, all of which are easily reached by automobile.
If you are a hiker, walk-in lakes include Burro, Kirman (Carmen), East, Fremont, Gilman, Upper and Lower Hoover, Lane, Nutter, Upper Lower and Middle Par Value, Poore, Roosevelt, Secret, Upper Middle and Lower Striped Mountain, Summit, West, etc., just to name a few.
And then there are the California remote Wilderness Areas, such as Carson-Iceberg, Desolation, Emigrant, Hoover, John Muir, Mokelumne, etc.
Plus, don’t forget the fishing waters in King’s Canyon, Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks.
— Third, that quickly narrows down your fishing options, nowadays, to nearby Nevada waters such as:
The East Carson River, the West Carson River (where access is limited), the East Walker River (about a 2-hour drive from Carson City), the West Carson River (where access is very limited), the Truckee River (with special restrictions on certain sections), Lake Tahoe (where you definitely need a boat), Topaz Lake, Walker Lake (where the quality of fishing has been going downhill for the last several years), Pyramid Lake (with special licenses and regulations), Virginia Lake (in downtown Reno), the Sparks Marina in Sparks and Paradise Ponds (on the north edge of Reno/Sparks).
So, if you are a serious fisherman, your choices narrow down quickly to:
Boaters: Pyramid Lake, Topaz Lake and Lake Tahoe.
Shore fishing: Pyramid Lake and Topaz Lake.
However, to be perfectly honest, there can also be good shore fishing at times at other waters in this area such as the Fort Churchill Cooling Ponds (for bass) and Hinkson Slough (for trout) on the Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area near Yerington.
And I had better not forget Lahontan Reservoir (for early season Walleye), if you have a boat.
However, because of the whims of Mother Nature and her seemingly ever-changing weather, fishing can be a real challenge at this time of the year.
About all you can do is tough it out.
So, wait patiently for a good day and when it arrives, grab your gear and then hurry off for a quick day of fishing.
And, don’t get discouraged if it is snowing and the wind is blowing when you read this column. Heck, by tomorrow morning, it will be warm, there will be no wind, no clouds and the sun will be shining. Just another Spring day in Western Nevada.
— Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon he can’t tell you where I fish at this time of the year.
If he grins and says, “Heck, Don doesn’t fish very much. He is too busy having fun cross country skiing in the Kit Carson Pass area,” you lose this bet.
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