How does a family who loves fishing announce they are adding another family member? First, you have some t-shirts made with a fish-hook heart on the front that says "Guess What!!" on the front and "I'm Getting A New Fishing Buddy!!" on the back. Then, you invite a bunch of friends and family over and have the girls walk-in with their t-shirts.
Then, comes the gender reveal! How do you top the t-shirt idea? Well, first you call in a few favors from a family friend to cut out pieces of wood into the shapes of fish. Next you paint 3 of the fish green, 1 fish pink and 1 fish blue and call into a pair of other friends who own a print shop to make some lettering. You also ask the baby's shutterbug aunt to come and take photos (FYI: I am that aunt!!).
Our new fishing buddy is going to be a niece!!!
Our 2 nieces are excited about having a baby sister to teach how to fish and camp and play Princesses with.
We are excited to add another niece for us to spoil and make memories with! In December, watch for photos of a fishing themed baby shower!
Today we were finally able to go on my first ice fishing trip and our first fishing trip of 2014! One of the best parts of living where we do is, it isn't very far to all sorts of different types of outdoor fun. We have several different options for ice fishing and they are all take only about an hour or two to get to. So, the first thing we did was drive to an area with some snow and colder temperatures and it only took us about 40 minutes to find snow.
The next step was to find a frozen lake which only took about 30 more minutes.
Then we had to find a good spot that wasn't too close to people that were already there fishing. We found a good spot not too far from the shore which was perfect for my first spot. I know and understand the ice was safe to walk on and it was supposed to have the cracks and make the noises, but being close to the shore for my first time put me at ease because if I got too nervous or uneasy, I could get to shore pretty quick.
Since we have just recently started ice fishing and we weren't sure if I was going to like it or not, we decided a hand powered auger was fine. My husband made it look easy to make a couple of holes for us.
It took a little while but my husband caught the first fish. He had several bumps and a couple bites at his bait, but only had the one take his bait. I was amazed that our holes weren't very far apart, but my hole had no activity at all and his hole had quit a bit of activity. He traded me holes and almost right away I started getting some activity. I wasn't prepared for how light the fish were biting at the bait, so I missed several opportunities to catch some fish. But I wasn't upset because I was learning what it felt like when I needed to set the hook.
I was not cold at first. I had enough layers on that there was no cold air getting to my skin. Putting that many layers on took a lot of energy and doing most of the layers in my warm house made me want to turn the A/C on.
Three large groups of people all of a sudden were nearby us so we decided to move. I still didn't like the noises the ice was making, but I was ready to go to the middle of the lake. My husband drilled the first new hole and I started the second new hole. Apparently my arms are a little too short to make the auger run smoothly so my husband with his longer arms finished the second hole.
See this nice hole? I didn't drill any part of this one. The one I drilled was at an angle and not straight up and down...not pretty at all.
We weren't there for very long and I got some bumps and then A FISH!!! Because of all of my layers and my adrenalin running high, I couldn't get out of my chair so my awesome husband caught my flopping fish on my fish grabber and brought it to me. My Candy Apple ice fishing rod and reel have been broke in!! I knew that cute rod and reel would catch something because it's RED!
My husband caught another fish through the "unique" hole. I tried to explain my diagonal hole helped him reel in his fish easier because it was more like a "fish shoot." He didn't agree that it was a helpful design so I was officially fired from hole duty.
We released his 2 fish back into the lake and my fish released itself and took my jig head along with it.
I really liked my first ice fishing trip and can't wait for the next one. I was surprised I didn't get really cold until the last hour. The noises of the ice don't bother me as much as they did at the beginning of the day, but I'm still a little jumpy during some of the loud noises. Eventually a sled and a shelter will be nice to have and maybe some day we'll get an electric auger, but the set up we had today worked pretty well. I do need to change my monofilament line for some braided line for ice fishing because I kept getting it knotted up. I also need to get some Schadeycreek ice fishing lures for the next trip, too.
During this trip I also started getting excited about getting out on the boat this spring. I don't know if it was because we were "on the lake" or if it was because we didn't do much fishing last year, but whatever the reason was, I'm excited for the 2014 season!
I can finally tell our secret!!! After 3 years of searching, we finally found THE boat!! We needed something the entire family can fit on so we originally started looking for a pontoon boat, but then this was listed on Craig's List.
The 200 horse power engine should be enough to pull a tube or two.
We really wanted a rear entry for tubing and we got it!
Kaos did her inspection and said she'd prefer if there was some carpeting on the floor. I told her there is some carpeting that snaps on when we want to put it on and she was happy with that.
Sasha says there needs to be some cleaning done. I told her once the weather gets warmer I'll get on that.
Look at all of that seating in the back!!!
The captain will be very comfy while he's taking us to our fishing spots and pulling the tubes.
Another photo of the back of the boat:
The front of the boat has lots of seating, too. We also love that all of the seats have their own covers which will be nice when we get off the lake right before a rain storm and don't have time to get home or to camp to put the main cover on before it rains.
Under every seat is storage plus there's storage in the floor for skis and probably a few other things we put in there! I LOVE storage!
The table will be nice for family lunches on the boat.
The "dressing room" unfolded.
The dressing room folded up and stored away will make a nice fishing platform or a place for small kids to lay in the sun and warm up.
A toy ring will come in very handy.
The captain trying out his seat.
We are very excited for next spring. We can't wait to get back to fishing from a boat, tubing and enjoying some time on the water.
Last weekend we went on our one and only camping trip for this year. It was a little cold but we still had a lot of fun. It was also close to my birthday so my husband let me have my gifts early so I could try them out. He got me a rod holder for my float tube and a life vest so I didn't have to wear my tubing lifejacket anymore on the tube. I had gotten my waders, wading boots and fins at the end of the summer so I was ready to try out my full set up.
The rod holder was great for "trolling" and having the life vest that is flat until you need it made sitting in the tube a lot more comfortable. I love fishing from my float tube!
The water was really cold so I only lasted abut 20 or 25 minutes before I had to get out of the water. Getting in and out of the water is a little different with full gear than it was with my snorkel fins and swimsuit this summer. I didn't fall over into the lake when I was trying to get in and out of the water. See my new fins in the photo below? I was letting my legs float a little to warm my legs in the sun.
On this trip we found all but 1 of the geocaches located around John Martin Reservoir. The one we couldn't find is missing so hopefully we can go find it once it has been replaced. We have been to this lake many times and have never stopped to look at the signs or walk the trails. Geocaching took us to all of the signs and trails and to a few spots we've explored before.
My husband took this photo. You have too look really close but you can see we saw a heard of does and instantly his hunter instincts kicked in and he took off to "shoot" the does with my camera. I didn't have time to switch lenses for him so it's a little hard to see them.
We also enjoyed some great views of the lake from one of the geocache areas.
I love taking photos of dams. I think they are interesting and am amazed at their construction, but also they usually make for some really pretty pictures.
We didn't get to drive across the road because the dam road was closed. (That sign makes me laugh every time I see it!)
Since it was so cold outside we had to get creative with drying my waders and float tube. The shower in the new camper is the perfect size to dry one float tube and gear.
Here is a view of our campsite. We really didn't do much outside at camp because of the temperatures. The new camper worked great! We were able to go exploring and not have to reset once we got back to camp like we did with the motorhome, but we did miss having a bathroom with us while we were exploring.
The girls love the new camper, too. They especially like having a couch to crash on after a long day of exploring.
We didn't catch any fish during the trip and we didn't see any fish jumping or fish shadows in the water. The pelicans that are usually fish catching machines weren't even trying to catch anything either.
I took some time to do some fly casting practice and since my husband also got me a case to carry my fly rod and reel in, It was pretty easy to pack it down to the water with us. When I am in my backyard I can cast to the exact spot I want to and make the line do what I want to. Put some water in front of me and nothing goes right. I tied some flies (that post is coming soon) so I had plenty of flies to practice with and surprisingly, I kept the same fly on the entire time! I did lose 1 strike indicator and the 2nd one flew off but I was able to find it on the hill behind me a little later.
I was pretty proud of my fly casting on that day. I even had to deal with some pretty strong winds, but I only got tangled up in a bush once and I only cracked the whip once. The fly landed close to where I wanted it to almost every time so I was really pleased with that, too.
I got a little creative with my camera and fly rod during a break. I think once I figure out how to add some red to my fly gear, I'll get more comfortable with it.
Next summer we are hoping to do a lot more camping, fishing and riding. This was our transition year and now that the transitioning is over, we are ready to play. It has been hard to write posts about the outdoors when I wasn't doing many fun outdoor activities. Next summer hopefully I am having so much fun with outdoor activates and have so much information to share that I will have a hard time narrowing down what to post about and when to post it.
For our wedding anniversary, my husband got me a float tube. I love being on the water and had been thinking about getting one for about a little over a year, but wasn't sure I would like it and didn't want to spend the money on one and then hate it. I was a little nervous at first so I went out without a fishing rod for the a little while.
Since I wasn't sure if I would like the float tube, I didn't have waders or the right kind of flippers or life jacket. I was using my flippers from my snorkel set, the life jacket I use on the towable tube and was in a swimsuit. The water was a little cold at first so for mountain lakes I will definitely be getting waders. The flippers worked great and the life jacket was a little too bulky but it works for now.
I caught on quick so I went back to shore to get my fishing rod. I decided my Browning spinning rod and reel would be the best choice for the first trip since I still get frustrated with my fly rod.
I had a lot of fun and was all over the pond. I tried lures for awhile, but then saw my husband catching a bunch of bluegill from the shore on a worm and bobber and decided it was time to try that instead.
It took awhile to get used to not being able to put my rod down when I needed to take a fish of the hook, but having the net/tray thing helped a lot. Next time we go out, I'm going to try fishing the bottom of the pond and hopefully catch some of the catfish. Now that I'm more comfortable in the tube, I kind of hope I catch a carp that likes to fight.....and then slips off the hook at the tube so I won't have to touch it (I HATE touching carp).
I didn't realize how long I was out there until I saw my husband had started packing up the gear on shore. My legs are going to be a little sore tomorrow. I also forgot sunscreen, back isn't going to be happy tomorrow either. I had a lot of fun and wish I had got one years ago! I'm glad I decided on the horseshoe shaped tube instead of the donut shaped one. Having the front of the tube open made it easier to get in and out of and also made it easier to pull the vegetation off that got stuck on my flippers. I think we need to find one for my husband, too so we could both go float around our favorite pond together!
I can't stand bugs. I'm not afraid of them, I'm just easily annoyed by them. If there are a bunch of of annoying gnats flying around my head, I will be miserable and have a crappy day. Because of this, I have tried many ways of bug defense. At home we have a giant bug zapper and I feed my hummingbirds very well so they will have energy to hunt and eat a lot of bugs at night. Taking a large bug zapper and a bunch of hummingbird feeders on a fishing, camping or boating trip isn't very practical though so we have found some other options.
Our most favorite for of bug defense is a ThermaCELL. (No they did not pay me to say this or give me a free one to try out.) I was a little sceptical at first when my husband suggested we try a ThermaCell, but Bass Pro had them on sale so we went ahead and bought one. I wish we had bought one years ago! If this one dies......well, I don't want to think about that.
We bought the carrying case which is very handy. (I thought I took a picture of it out of it's case, but I guess not.) The carrying case will hold the spare fuel and scent pads keeping them organized and close by.
The back of the case has an opening for the fan's intake and a clip you can clip to your belt, chair, tackle bag, boat seat, day bag and lots more.
I love that you can use it almost anywhere! It's designed to work when you're sitting in one place but we use it on the boat all of the time and it works great there, too. Two of our favorite fishing spots have the most annoying bug problems certain times of the year so we ALWAYS take the ThermaCELL when we go to those spots.
My next favorite are those weird looking bug bracelets. We originally bought them for our nieces and nephew to try out but now they are always in my day bag. They work really well and if you only use them for a little while, you can put them in a plastic baggie and reuse them later (a day or 2 later, not weeks later). I found out that if the bugs are messing with the back of your neck, put the bracelet around your ponytail! My nephew kept the bugs away from his face by putting a bracelet around the brim of his hat. The kids love wearing them so much that sometimes we find them still wearing the bracelets when they get out of bed in the morning. The bracelets are not oily so they don't leave a residue on your skin, in your hair or on your clothes (or bedding).
Of course OFF! is always a favorite but I really like the towelettes because they fit in my day bag easier and they're good for faces (I HATE getting OFF! on my lips!). I really like the orange spray cans of OFF!, too. They don't stink like most OFF! and they are "Sweat Resistant" which means when you start sweating while you're fishing, it won't come off and run into your eyes! (It does come off in the shower though.)
If you forget your bug defense or one mosquitto gets through your defense somehow, I suggest Avon's new Anti-Itch Spray. It works really good and fits in a day bag, first aid kit, medicine cabinet and most purses.
That's how I keep the bugs away from me and take care of the bites that got through my defense system (which doesn't happen very often.) Hope you have a bug free weekend!
Have you ever planned something our perfectly and then when it was time for it to happen, nothing happened the way it was supposed to? For Father's Day yesterday, we planned to load up the entire family (minus my brother-in-law who had to work) in the motor home and bus everybody up to the lake for a fun Father's Day fishing trip. One the way up the hill, we heard a BANG. I was sure we lost another tire this year, but then we smelled exhaust. BOTH mufflers blew out!
So we headed back home, unloaded everybody & everything out of the "bus" and into 2 different vehicles and went for take 2 of the fun Father's Day fishing trip. We finally get to the lake and of course since it's noon, all of the good spots are taken. The wind was crazy so we were trying to find a spot out of the wind, too. We finally found a spot and decided to eat lunch before we set up fishing. I made a very yummy pasta salad and realized I was depending on being in the motor home for lunch so we didn't have plates, utensils or cups. My sister brought our sandwiches in individual baggies so picking up the pasta salad "like picking up dog poop" worked out. I'm a little bummed that my yummy pasta salad will now forever be known as "Dog Poop Salad."
When we first pulled up to the lake, we noticed smoke on the mountain and we were trying to figure out which fire it was. It's so dry in Colorado which is why we have so many big fires burning right now. We need the rain really bad, but the lightning that comes before the rain keeps starting new fires. Anyway, here is a picture of the smoke early in our fishing.
Then we noticed the smoke was getting bigger faster and darker. We were trying to figure out between the 2 fires in the area, which fire this could be. Both fires in the area have been burnign for awhile and are partially contained so they shouldn't have been spreading like this.
Once in awhile we could see the reflection of the flames in the smoke! We were watching drop planes & helicopters come and go pretty quickly. When we got home my brother sent me a text that said we actually watching a NEW fire starting! The fire started at noon when we finally arrived at the lake and it was located about 3 miles from the lake we were fishing! It was a weird & creepy feeling knowing we were watching the beginning of a new fire. It was also amazing knowing all of those planes and helicopters were on it so fast even though there are so many other fires in the state and in the country!
We didn't catch any fish so we were finding ways of keeping ourselves entertained. When my niece and I get bored, we start playing with my camera. She does something cute and/or silly, I take the picture, she says "Let me see!" and we laugh at the picture on my viewer. It's fun for both of us.
Even though the motor home blew up, we watched a new fire start, the wind was horrible, all of the good fishing spots were taken and I'm convinced there are no fish in that lake, we had a fun Father's Day fishing trip because we were all together hanging out. I hope the next trip goes a little closer to plan and I hope the new mufflers get here soon.
A couple weekends ago, we went to one of our favorite fishing spots. We weren't catching anything which is rare for that spot. My husband got bored so he started to walk around the pond which resulted in him catching 2 carp & some bluegills. I usually stay in the same spot to "watch our stuff" and experiment with my camera when he decides to go for a walk along the bank. (Really, I'm afraid of finding a snake in some of the tall grass areas...or mice...or large bugs...or more snakes.) Anyway, I wasn't catching anything on a worm (not even a turtle!) and nothing was interested in any of the lures I was throwing. I decided to sit down and take a break. I watched this turtle for awhile hoping he wouldn't go after my worm because his nose looked a little sharper than the soft shelled turtle's I usually catch there. I really didn't want to catch him since my husband was on the other side of the pond at this point and I didn't feel like turtle wrestling by myself that day.
I also watched the baby bass that were surfacing. I was trying to figure out why they weren't biting anything. Usually, the baby bass in that pond go after anything, especially if it's twice the size of the bass. I watched what they were doing when they were surfacing and it looked like they were eating something. Then, I realized there were a BUNCH of white flecks in the water that I'm guessing were bugs. I started thinking "MATCH THE HATCH!" You hear fly fisherman talk about matching the hatch all the time and a few years ago my husband bought me this little container of flies.
I couldn't figure out why he wanted me to have this when he knew I didn't fly fish. I love watching fly fisherman cast, but I get frustrated too easy and then end up in a tangled mess too fast. I've watched my husband put a fly on his spinning rod and catch trout and I have also tried with no success. I thought, "If matching the hatch works on trout, why wouldn't it work on bass?" I went to my day bag to see if I packed my flies and amazingly I did! I NEVER bring those along unless I bring my main tackle bag! I picked out a couple flies that have white "wings" and pulled out a clear bobber and put those on my casting rod.
The first cast I reeled the fly in slow and about 10 feet from shore I could see my fly and underneath about 6 or 8 baby bass rose to the surface all at the same time so I slowed my reeling almost to a complete stop. The baby bass looked at my fly for a few seconds and then 3 went after it and I caught a baby bass! I was so excited! I kept saying "I matched the hatch! I matched the hatch!" There was nobody there to celebrate with though and also nobody to help me take a picture of my matched hatch catch. A few more casts and I had to change out the fly because the original fly was waterlogged and wouldn't stay on the surface anymore. At this point my husband walks up and asks how I'm doing and I replied "I matched the hatch!" He laughed at me and told me good job. I was so excited to show him with the new fly but my excitement energy made me mess up my first cast which made the fly get too wet and I couldn't keep it on top of the water and since it was time to go home, I didn't have time to change flies again.This story is proof that you don't have to have a fly rod to use flies. What I learned from this experience is, sometimes you have to just sit and observe what's going on in the water and then cross your fingers you brought the right equipment to "match the hatch."
Hope everybody has a fun and safe Father's Day this weekend!
We used to camp up at Cottonwood Lake near Bueña Vista, CO on some of our rock crawling trips at least once a year. We could ride the trails during the day and then come back to the lake to fish the lake and the creek in the afternoon and evenings. Our favorite camping spot was across the creek where not many people could get to. There were a few trails we could ride in that area, too. We haven't been there in about 5 or 6 years so when we started thinking about making another camping trip up there we decided to go on a scouting trip to see if anything had changed and where we could get to with the motorhome. It was amazing how much it had changed! Our favorite camping spot was blocked off along with many other spots. There were a lot new Aspen trees blocking other good camping spots that we had originally thought we could have gotten into with the motor home. We were VERY happy we went on the scouting trip before we went up with the motor home and trailer full of ATV's.Here are a couple pictures of the lake. It was hard to get a picture without a bunch of people in it because this is the free fishing weekend in Colorado.
We were going to stay and fish a little but the lightning started and we decided holding a graphite fishing rod up in the air with the lighting so close was not something we wanted to do today. Instead, we decided to go back to Buña Vista for lunch and then go check out the areas we are thinking about riding.
First, I have to tell you about lunch. I usually don't give a place such HIGH rating until I've been there a couple times, but I give Punky's Diner in Bueña Vista, Colorado ALL of the TOP raitings! 10 out of 10, A+, 5 stars!!! I can't wait until our camping trip to the area so I can go back to Punky's! I had the chopped brisket sandwich and my husband had the pulled pork sandwich. I'm thinking about emailing them and pleading with them to open a chain in my town!
Okay, back to the adventures. We headed towards St. Elmo to check out the parking areas for the ATV trailer and where the trail heads were. My husband realized I had never seen the leaning building on the way to Hancock so we decided to drive up that way.
Going on this trail was a pretty big deal because most of the vehicles on the trail were Jeeps and other SUV's and ATV's and we were in my car. My car is a Kia Rio - frontwheel drive, not much power and not much clearance but great on gas mileage! Here is a picture of part of the trail:
Next time we'll take the ATV's so we can go further and a lot faster. It was kind of fun getting looks from the SUV owners. I'm sure they were thinking "Why did they bring that little car up here?!?!"
We were very glad we made the scouting trip so we know how to plan that camping trip and because it was a lot of fun. We may have to plan some more scouting trips this summer............and more trips to Punky's.
I decided to start sharing some photos from our trips. I take a lot of photos during a trip so I will only choose some of my favorites from the trips. These were taken last weekend on our trip to John Martin Reservoir in Hasty, Colorado (near Lamar).
Hope you enjoyed the photos!
Girls In The Outdoors
A real girl's perspective of enjoying the outdoors.