Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Vacation Part 2....To the Lake We Go

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After getting back from my three day smallie trip I found myself with just enough time to unpack that gear and then round up a whole new set to throw in the back of the truck before heading South again on Wednesday morning. This time I was headed down to Norfork Lake in Arkansas with the wife to spend 4 days just hanging out relaxing and hopefully getting a little scuba diving in as well. We rented a little cabin close by with a full kitchen and a porch with a lakeside view and our intentions were to simply unwind from the day to day rat-race.
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Luckily for us the weather cooperated nicely and we had 4 great days just hanging out at the lake with nothing on the agenda except eating , drinking and just goofing off.
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We found several opportunities to get underwater and dive a few of our favorite sites , for both of us that was really what we had come for.
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The lake visibility was good for this time of year and we had probably 15 feet of visibility above the thermocline which is where we spent most of our time. I often get asked what there is to see in a freshwater lake that's so interesting and I always have a hard time finding a reply that truly does the experience justice. Of course we see lots of fish , on this trip it was mostly smallmouth and largemouth bass along with a plethora of sunfish.
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One one of the dives we also saw two flatheads resting on a rocky ledge and a painted water turtle as big around as a five gallon bucket. We dive underwater bluffs and rock formations with boulders the size of small cars that are teeming with local fish. Many of the lakes we dive also have artificial dive sites like sunken boats and planes but I think I prefer the more natural dives where you can appreciate the underwater topography more. Scuba diving is just one of those experiences you can't do justice to with mere words , I know none of the above sounds all that exciting , you just have to experience it to understand.
Besides the diving, swimming and general laziness sitting lakeside we took several nice hikes through surrounding parks with Joe and I even got to spend a couple of early mornings fishing below the dam while the better half caught up on her sleep.
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Nothing too exciting for me on the fishing front. I caught a break and had two mornings with no generation so I broke out the box of tailwater midges and went to work. The fishing was really good although everything I caught was small stocked rainbows. I didn't mind in the least , it had been awhile since I did any trout fishing and I thoroughly enjoyed standing knee deep in the cold water and catching fish one drift after another.
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Joe enjoyed the mornings fishing trips as well but he decided the temperature of the water was a little too cold for prolonged submersion. He spent most of the time closer to shore watching me until I caught a fish and then he'd head out to see what I had now.
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The four days went by way to fast , like vacations always do , and before we knew it it was time to head back North towards home. On the way back we made a small detour and spent a few hours around Bull Shoals dam to finish off the trip.
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We did a little research on dive spots for our next trip and had lunch at Gaston's Restaurant below the dam right on the White River. While sitting at our windowside table looking out over the river we witnessed a midge hatch that had fish rising for 100 yards down the river in a nice little seam. There were several bait guides on the water and they seemed oblivious to what was going on , even though we didn't see them catch a fish. Needless to say it was more than my willpower could take. After finishing lunch I asked the wife if she minded spending an extra hour or so relaxing in the shade of a big tree while I broke out the rod one last time , being the wonderful person she is I got my wish!
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While I couldn't fish the area we saw the hatch on I knew it didn't matter , we drove up to Bull Shoals State Park and I waded out across from Big Spring with the same midge setup I was using below Norfork. It didn't take long until I was hooking fish on every other cast and smiling from ear to ear...I couldn't have picked a better way to end another summer vacation.
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  1. i think, if you enjoy nature and find beauty in its diversity, looking into a mudpuddle can be enjoyable, so diving in a lake would be so much more. :) glad you two and joe had a great 4 days.

    1. Thanks Theresa...I totally agree with your sentiments. My wife and I have friends though that just think we're nuts when we tell them what we enjoy seeing in the lakes. "You just look at a bunch of rocks??"

  2. You guys know how to rough it. Another perfect vacations buddy!

    1. I'm usually a tent kind of guy Howard, but when we're diving and in and out of the water for multiple days my wife prefers to have somewhere to stay with a few more comforts of home. I have to say , the older I get the more I appreciate those comforts of home myself!

  3. I went from tent camping to a pop-up trailer to cabins. My back has thanked me many times since.

    1. I think that's what they call the "Evolution of Man"!

  4. Replies
    1. Gotta make hay while you can...won't be long now and we'll be saying good-bye to summer for another year.

  5. A little diving, a little fishing, some good eating and a few're going to hate going back to work. But that's probably the case in any event.

    1. You my friend are totally correct!! That first day or two was a real killer , I just keep telling myself that there has to be a better way to make a living than actually working for it.