Off to the fishing hole, April 1997

One great thing about where we live is the proximity to Lake Natoma and its attached ponds. The Big Guy grew up in the area and has been hiking and fishing around Lake Natoma nearly all his life. His most enthusiastic fishing companion for more than ten years was our Doberman-Rottweiler, Buster. All the Big Guy had to do was pick up his fishing rod and Buster was at the front door, whining, impatient to go.


The ponds have been formed partially by the remnants left by large gold dredges that operated on the American River at Mississippi Bar from about 1900 until 1962. Most connect to what is now Lake Natoma, allowing bass and other sunfish shelter in which to build their spawning beds and guard their young.


Patience pays off:


Sometimes instead of fishing from the shore, we’d use a small aluminum boat. Instead of an outboard motor on the back, the Big Guy would attach an electric trolling motor to the bow of the boat. Since there is a 5-mph speed limit on the entire lake, the trolling motor is a great way to get around.


Buster was right at home in the boat, mostly because he’d been spending time there since he was a tiny pup. In his younger days he would play for awhile on the shore and then climb into the rear of the boat, curl up on a blanket and go to sleep. But once he grew up, he had no time to sleep on the boat — he was much too busy supervising the Big Guy’s fishing efforts!



He knew perfectly well that the purpose of the boat was to catch fish, and it never took long for him to get (loudly) impatient, waiting for the fish to bite. Buster decided his job was to inspect each fish, and he seemed to feel that HE did just as much as the Big Guy did to catch them.


A healthy smallmouth bass from Lake Natoma

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