Finding Your Playground
The American Heritage Dictionary
defines Playground as: A field or sphere of unrestricted pleasurable
activity. Have you found your Playground? A place where you can go for a
day trip, spend a little gas money to get there, catch nice fish and
not be harassed by the crowds.
My playground is
about 20 miles from my front door and a one mile hike. It has a
substantial wild trout population and very few anglers. I can camp, fish
and hunt if I chose. It is always quiet and the few people I see are
respectful. At night I am visited by fox, raccoon and deer. I can get
there in the morning and be home for dinner; or stay the night with a
few friends with some steaks over a campfire. This is my playground,
here is how you should find yours.
Before you load
up your gear for your next fishing trip you should consider three
things; time, money and crowds. Being a husband, father and serving in
the military I am mindful of these factors when deciding where to go
when I get the "kitchen pass" from the wife. I will usually take a day
trip in order to relax. I do not want to drive more than three hours to
and from my spot. If I have anyone casting over my line there is a
I started by drawing a circle 60
miles around my house. This distance allows for me to take day trips and
not use too much gas and have enough time to hit the water. A 120- mile
range is about half of a tank of gas and only about three hours
driving. The key to this 60 mile zone is that this is what most people
skip when they are taking their epic fishing trip into the mountains. It
is extremely likely that 60 miles will make every species available to
you. It will also be probable that you will have a chance to catch a
Master Angler fish as well.
Within this radius I
scour for lakes that are off the beaten path. I do not start with Google
Earth, I use Google maps as it switches between map mode and satellite
mode. Finding blue water in map mode is easy and switching to satellite
mode will confirm if the water exists. If the lake or stream looks like
there will be a hike to get to then I switch to Google Earth to get a 3d
look at the trail. If I am unsure if the lake is open to the public, I
will make one call to the local police department. Because they are
local and know the area, they can provide a more accurate picture of
what you are getting yourself into.
I hail from
Colorado Springs area. If you would have asked me two years ago how many
lakes were around me I might have been able to tell you six places.
After doing my research in the 60 mile zone I have found no less than 53
fishable public bodies of water. While some are in the city, many of
these are a little bit off the beaten path and promise a great day. If
you are willing to hike a mile or two your odds of finding your
playground are exceptionally good.
On one of my few
camping trips this year I went to my playground. I was told by more than
a few people that I would be fighting a mass of people enjoying the
outdoors. Twenty miles from my front door and a little over a one mile
hike, I set up camp. There were a few hikers and two kids with their
parent's poles. Caught and released 30 cutthroat and brook trout in one
and a half days. Promising to be home for dinner I left my playground
early and decided to see what was happening at the local urban pond.
a short hike and a very short car ride I was amazed to see over 50
fisherman casting over each other and fighting over turf to just get a
chance to fish. Canoes and kayaks were launching over fishing lines. It
was angler mayhem. I should have known, as it was 4th of July weekend. I
had the slight edge, I looked just passed my backyard urban pond and
found the overlooked waters.
Alan Peak can be contacted anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog was originally posted 11/26/2011 on Fishexplorer.com