Quiet Days

Quiet Days

in out of the way places.


Ponds and small lakes

Small lakes and ponds can be hidden gems.

I have always been convinced that some of the best fishing to be found isn't exactly easy for most people to find. Hidden little lakes away from the general flow of traffic are like gems in the forest. You may drive within a few miles of them without ever knowing they are there but, when you do happen across one of them, you may have found a treasure you will want to keep all to yourself.
   I've said it before and I will say it again, small lakes are big attractions to those of us who like people but who wish everyone would stay at home the day we choose to go fishing.
   There are thousands of small lakes scattered across the country. Most range in size from five to 10 acres to 200 acres. Personally, I prefer the smaller lakes, the ones where it takes a float tube or one-man or two-person boat to tackle and where boats with large outboards are prohibited.
   Small city-owned lakes are more numerous than you might imagine. All it takes to find them is some time on your hands for adventure and a willingness to stop and ask questions of the local folks about fishing opportunities near their hometowns.
   A lot of lakes carry names given them by a nearby community or town, so some you should be able to find with little more than a state road map. Other lakes get their names from creeks and streams. Many times, you don't have to grab a state road map or make a long drive into the country and look for them. Their names as well as information about them often are as close as a relative or someone you work with.
   Fortunately for those of us who like to discover these old lakes, people come from all walks of life. A fellow worker or an acquaintance often can think back to his or her childhood days and recall a place they once fished as a kid. And that place may still be there, just waiting to be discovered.
   During the winter months, many of these small lakes are exceptionally clear, even though their average depths are shallow compared to larger reservoirs. As a result, small lures and long casts on light line often produce the best results.
   Approaching a small lake, such as one of 40 acres or less, requires the same patience and quietness for the angler as it does a hunter trying to stalk within close range of deer in a field of winter wheat.
   A hunter wouldn't drive right to the edge of a field, slam his pickup door or tailgate and then trudge noisily into the woods with the expectations of finding deer in the field. Neither should an angler expect to have a great day of fishing after banging his gear around noisily as he slides a small boat into the water of a small lake and turns his trolling motor on as high as it will go through the moss and stumps.
   Catching fish, however, isn't the sole reason you should seek out these little-known honey holes. The enjoyment of spending a day on the water away from the crowds found on more popular lakes is, in itself, enough reason to go to the trouble of finding a lake few people know about.
   And, if you have a young child or other inexperienced angler who you want to teach the basics of fishing, you won't find a better place to hold that person's full attention than on a lake where there are no other boats or other distractions.
   A small city or county-owned lake is something to cherish and to appreciate, just as it is with a public camping area or park, and it should be treated as such. At day's end, all litter created by you and your fishing friends should be carried away or put in a dumpster or trash barrel if one is available. Personally, I have found that it is best to carry home everything you brought with you, including trash. Dumpsters and trash barrels have a tendency to become full, especially in remote areas, and there is nothing more unsightly than a lot of trash on the ground.
   You don't have to have a float tube or small boat to fish these little lakes. A pair of waders or waterproof boots is all you need for bank or wade fishing. Just remember to use caution at all times, whether you are wading, bank fishing or fishing from a boat or float tube. Help, if needed, may be several miles away.

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