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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Raibow Trout at Sheldon Lake

I have found a new favorite fishing place!

I really did not have a problem with the recent favorite spot (Arapaho Bend). However, a teenager swam with friends there on Friday and didn't make it across the lake, which forbids swimming... The sad news showed up on Friday's local news. That caused a change to our plan of returning there to catch bass. I had to come up with a new place...

Colorado stocking report showed a local lake Sheldon Lake was stocked with trouts recently, which was a surprise because I had never heard of that lake before. I then found out that it is also known as City Park lake as it is in the Fort Collin's city park. There was no other fishing reports describing fishing experience there. I did find this one article specifically discussing that lake's toxic cyanobacterial and suggested people not to eat any fish caught there. That did not deter us from making a trip -- after all, the odds were in our favor.

Coincidentally, we had also received the newly ordered Red Flyer all-terrain wagon so we put the kids in them when we got to the city park on Saturday morning. RyanC likes to pull the wagon and he can keep himself busy until we get stressed out from worrying about the damage he might do. AidanC loves to sit in it whenever he has something to drink or something to munch on. In other words, it does not really free one of us from having to watch the kids but it does give us a more convenient location to place AidanC.

As we arrived shortly before 9am, we had feared the place would be packed. It turns out we were the only ones fishing at that time. There is also this water park area near the lake and it didn't open until later. RyanC and AidanC were initially content as they drank...

As I was starting to think there was no trout in the lake, we saw a duck catching a trout and swallowing it whole. It was disappointing to see the duck got to the fish before we did.

Now check out this pretty rainbow trout!

RyanC got to touch the rainbow trout and he was all happy.

Well, as my only reader may suspect, I did not catch that rainbow trout. It was caught by this 10-12 year old boy that arrived at the same place after we had been there for an hour or so. He reeled in 4 trouts in less than an hour while we watched in amazement. Obviously he knew what he was doing as he explained that he catches a lot of trouts there all the time. His secret was to use a heavy sinker to cast long distance and fish with worms off the bottom of the lake. It was good enough for us as RyanC was very happy to see so many fish finally. I guess a dead carp just was not that exciting compared with live rainbow trouts.

Later I tried adding more split sinkers to help with casting distance but I still could not cast as far as that kid. I also lost yet another kastmasters to the bottom of this lake while experimenting with lures. This fishing trip was rather unsuccessful for my fishing records but it was exciting to see live rainbow trouts.

We returned later in the evening for yet another short fishing stint -- yeah, got the fishing bugs. I still did not catch any fish but the view was really nice. There were quite a few people fishing in the evening though. We saw people catching small bluegills.

We enjoyed our fishing trips at Sheldon Lake (City Lake) at city park in Fort Collins. It was convenient as parking is right next to the lake with these big trees that can act as shades. The views were pleasant. It feels safe with the kids there. There are always people walking/running around the sidewalk next to the lake -- so it is not too peaceful for those that want to get away from people completely. Most importantly, it has fish and others are catching them!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bugs & Fishing

They are not always related...

Found these green bees nesting on the side of our house:

Here are some unidentified bugs on our plum tree. The curled leaves probably indicate we have aphids too.

Took the family to go fishing this morning at Arapaho bend. Wife was the primary fisherman today since it was my turn to watch the baby and the toddler so she can enjoy fishing. Something ate her worms off the hook though.

I casted jighead with bubber for Ryan or Aidan to reel in. Ryan got bored with that pretty quickly. I then found him a stick of branch on the ground so he can poke the sand/rocks. That kept him busy in the shade for a while until he declared "I am tired of playing daddy!". Baby Aidan was fussy on baby bjourn so I took the kids away from wife's fishing spot.

Wife reported seeing muskrat or beaver on the pond. It was relatively small so it is more likely to be a muskrat. I missed it since I was playing with the kids.

I saw this dead fish yesterday. It looks like the fish that I almost caught. There are some fish remains like this along the edge of the lake. I had thought some fisherman left these non-legal size catches on the shore.

As we were packing to leave after a short and unsuccessful fishing trip, a ranger biked by and we chatted a little... That's when I found out that this winter's abundant snow cover killed quite a few fish (that might explain the really old fish skeletons). He also said that most have been miss than hit with fishing experience there. Arapaho experience is not too great with the kids/wife due to the walking distance from parking lot -- we need to get a wagon or something to transport the kids and the equipment.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Fishing Tale

Today my awesome wife let me go fishing by myself while she kept busy with the kids and garage-sell day at our neighborhood. I had planned to go scout this area for an hour or so but ended up staying for 4+ hours...

The place I had chosen is not Watson lake as I had planned earlier in the week. I ended up going to Arapaho Bend instead, which is a lot closer! The reason for the change of location is because a co-worker said someone caught a record bass there and I wanted to see if I could catch bass with lures. I managed to find information about this small place on-line and the type of fish available. It does not have trout though...

Equipment list:
rod - Ugly Stik Lite (Ultra lite 6'6")
reel - Daiwa Exceler 2000
line - 8lb tested Trilene XL clear/white
lures used - jighead, heddon baby torpedo, zebco minnow

I did not bring any live-bait because I used to fish with them and I want to try something different. Needless to say, my first attempt a week ago with gold kastmasters lure ended up with it getting stuck to a tree branch in the water. Hence, this time I bought a topwater lure (Heddon baby torpedo) to stay away from underwater branches.

After two+ hours of topwater lure and fake minnow lure, I gave up and switched to neon-green jighead instead...

That's when I caught a fish on the first cast!

Well, not exactly.. I pulled the fish (~10 inches) to within 3 feet of the shore and that's when I lost it. I think it looked like a bass but I can't be sure. I am pretty sure it is not a carp since I have the image of carp firmly imprinted in my head with CherkyB's catch.

Later I finally caught one for real at a different spot...

It was a sunfish (~5 inches)... and I let it go after spending 2-3 minutes getting the jighead hook out of his mouth. It's amazing how this little guy managed to devour the entire lure/hook with so little room for me to get the hook out.

I don't have proof of the catch as this is a fishing tale. I don't have any picture since I didn't have my camera with me -- yes, it does sound convenient doesn't it?

Overall, I would say I like Arapaho more since it's not as sloped as the edge of the lakes at Riverbend. There seems to be fewer fish jumping out of the water at Arapaho compared with Riverbend though. It will be interesting to see if I will ever catch a bass...