By Don Quilici
It's early in the month of March and according to my calendar, we are only a few weeks away from the official start of the spring season.
That first day of spring (March 19 is the Vernal Equinox) normally means the end of the winter season, but not necessarily so in this part of the world.
In Western Nevada, winter can begin as soon as early September and last well into the month of May. In fact, last year, some of our best snowstorms occurred in the month of April!
Heck, one year, I got snowed on, while on a Fourth of July backpack trip in the Sierra Nevada Mountains by Sonora Pass.
So, there is still more than enough time for additional snow, frost, ice and cold weather. And, if you're one of those poor souls who doesn't like winter and all that it represents (I love it!), you have probably had your fill of being cooped up by bad weather.
I'd also be willing to bet about now, you are totally bored stiff with inactivity.
Well, I can't do anything about the weather and you can bet the ranch that we are going to get even more snow, frost, ice and cold in the months ahead.
However, I can offer some suggestions on how to make the waiting for summer weather a little bit more palatable.
Here's several ideas on what you can do during the rest of March.
This coming Saturday evening:
You might want to attend the 18th Carson Valley Chukar Club fund raiser at the Douglas County Fairgrounds (if there are any tickets still left at this late date).
The price to attend is $25 per person or $15 for anyone age 18 or under.
Be advised that tickets WILL NOT be sold at the door, if the room capacity has been met. So, if possible, you would be very wise to purchase your tickets BEFORE Saturday night.
At that highly popular fund raiser, you will be able to mingle with some 500-600 other outdoor enthusiasts, plus enjoy an all-you-can-eat, Tri-Tip sandwich dinner, with homemade beans and salad.
Then, you will have the chance to win from about 90 very nice raffle prizes or to bid on approximately 40 very impressive auction items.
The doors will open about 5 p.m. and the event will last until about 11.
If you plan to attend, go early or you could end up, standing in the back of that large, jack-packed room.
For tickets or information, call Ron Pierini in Douglas County at 782-9903.
Trout fishing at Pyramid Lake:
The month of March is one of two months (the other being October) when fishing is rated as excellent for the Lahontan cutthroat trout found at that huge desert lake, north of Reno/Sparks.
October is when the season has opened after a three-month closure and March is when the larger-sized "Cutts" move in from deeper water to cruise closer to the shoreline.
You will need a Pyramid Lake tribal permit to fish and to use a boat.
A one-day fishing permit is $7, a one-day boating permit is also $7 or you can buy the annual version for each at $50.
The cutthroat season runs through the end of June and is then closed until the first of October, each year.
Be advised that there is a "Slot Limit" and strict size limits at Pyramid Lake, so read the rules and regulations very carefully, before fishing.
You can fish from shore, in chest waders or from a boat.
You can spincast, fly fish, jig or troll.
Just remember that you cannot use bait of any kind. Bait is a big "No-No" at this lake, so don't be tempted.
And, if you're lucky, you could catch one of those trophies that go well over 15 pounds ! That would make a great mount on your den wall, as a unforgettable souvenir of this winter.
Trout fishing at Walker Lake:
Interesting enough, the month of March is also one of two months (the other being November) when fishing is rated as very good for the Lahontan cutthroat trout found there.
Unlike Pyramid Lake, the Walker Lake fishing season is open year-round with a limit of five trout and no size restrictions.
However, once the weather turns hot, fishing success at this lake drops way off and stays that way until the cooler weather arrives, again, in the fall months. So, if you haven't been out there, yet, plan to go in March.
You will need a valid Nevada fishing license and a Nevada Trout Stamp.
Similar to Pyramid Lake, you can fish from shore, in chest waders or from a boat. You can spincast, fly fish, jig or troll.
The biggest difference is that you can use bait at Walker Lake, with Power Bait being the most popular.
Some of the best fishing in March can be found at or in front of Sand Point, along the south end or way over on the east side in the shallow water.
Give Walker Lake a try and who knows, you could return home with five gorgeous trout for a memorable gourmet dinner. It sure beats layinng on the couch and watching television all weekend.
Crosscountry skiing or snowshoeing:
This is a great way to take off those extra pounds, gained during the winter months. Plus, it's fun to do.
And, if you don't own a set of "skinny" skis or a pair of snowshoes, don't sweat it.
They are easy and fairly inexpensive to rent at a number of different stores in this general area.
Once you've got your skies or snowshoes, then just head for any one of a number of nearby, popular locations for a day of fun on the snow.
My all-time favorite locations are in the Hope Valley - Kit Carson Pass area, located about a 45-minute drive south of Carson City, via Calif. S.R. 88.
Best of all, when you crosscountry ski or snowshoe, you don't need to buy or rent expensive equipment like downhill skis, you don't need to pay to park your vehicle (Except in California Sno-Park parking areas), you don't need to pay to ski on groomed trails and you don't need to pay for very expensive life tickets.
How can you go wrong!
When you see a spot that you like, just pull off the highway, park your vehicle and go out on the snow to enjoy a fun-filled day in the Great Outdoors.
If you're a novice, try the meadow next to the highway at Pickett's Junction (the junction of Calif. S.R. 88 and S.R. 89 on the north edge of Hope Valley).
Then, as a special bonus, if you've been playing in that Hope Valley - Kit Carson Pass area, head for Grover's Hot Springs (just out of Markleeville, Calif.) at the end of the day to soak away the day's aches and pains in the delightful hot water pool. I guarantee that after a day of fun on the snow and a period of time soaking in that soothing hot water, you will sleep like a baby that night. I do!
There you have it: Several suggestions to how to do way with the winter doldrums during this month.
Give one or more a try during the rest of March and winter won't seem to be so bad, after all.
Heck, think positive and be thankful that you live in the Carson City area.
It could be a whole lot worse. You could live in some far-away place like Barrow, Alaska, The Yukon or Resolute Bay, Canada, where winter seems to last forever.
- Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you what I am going to be doing in the next several days.
If he grins and say, "Well, today and tomorrow, Don will be ice fishing at Wildhorse Reservoir in Northeastern Nevada and then he will be coming home on Saturday to attend the Carson Valley Chukar Club Fund Raiser that night," he could be one of my other ice fishing partners.