Spring Day at the Lake
Today wasn’t quite what the weather people predicted, but it was close. It was 70 degrees, barely any wind, but a lot of cloud cover, not the sunny day that I was hoping for. Still, I was determined to get out and fish for a few hours, and I decided to go to one of the lakes close to my home late in the afternoon.
While it felt like spring today, it didn’t look like it in the wildlife area of South Platte Park that is two miles from my house. Some of the grass is turning green, but all of the vegetation has yet to start blooming, and the ground was covered with dead leaves from last fall. It was still beautiful to see, and it reminded me of why I like that place so much. It is really a pretty amazing ecosystem tucked in between an interstate highway and residential areas. The area is home to a small herd of deer, coyotes, foxes, beaver, rattle snakes, snapping turtles, and a wide variety of birds, including several types of ducks and Canada geese. The South Platte River runs through the area on the east side, so in addition to the five small lakes, there is river fishing as well. I have to commend South Suburban Parks and Recreation District for maintaining such a jewel of a wildlife area so close to civilization.
In fact I encountered the largest rattle snake in my life in that area a few years ago at about the same time of the year, maybe a little later in April. I was walking along a man-made spillway made of cement and large boulders on my way to fish a spot on Eagle Watch Lake, taking long steps from boulder to boulder, sometimes having to jump between them. I had just made a jump to a large boulder and was about to take another long step when I almost stepped right on top of a huge, coiled up rattler sunning himself on the warm cement. He was massive! Lucky for me he was a bit lethargic in the early spring, and his attempt to bite me was more of a lunge than the quick strike you would normally see from a rattle snake.
Today I arrived at the parking area at 4:20, parked the truck, grabbed my gear and hiked in about a third of a mile to one of my favorite spots on Eagle Watch Lake. The water level was about four feet lower than the last time I was there last fall, exposing some submerged sand bars and tree stumps that I will keep in mind later in the year when the lake fills up, those will be good places to fish for bass when they
are underwater. Having the extra shoreline was kind of nice today since the water was still a little cold, I would have been standing in water the entire time today if the lake was at the level it normally is, and that would have made for a cold fishing trip since I was only wearing shorts and Teva sandals on my lower half.
My expectations of fishing success weren’t too high today, which was a good thing since I didn’t catch any fish. What I really wanted today was just some time outdoors, casting a rod, relaxing, and observing the surroundings, and I accomplished those things easily. Just two weeks ago that area was covered in a foot of snow, and not too long ago I was ice fishing just a mile upstream of the South Platte on Chatfield Reservoir. So the experience today was just what I wanted it to be. Although
catching a fish would have been nice, I still had a great few hours on the lake casting some small swim baits and minnow lures, watching the birds and the clouds floating over the sky, and listening to the many sounds of the wildlife coming out of its winter dormancy.