A Doug's Life: Hook, Line and Sinker

In the month I've been here, it's become clear to me that Menifee and the surrounding areas have a thing about lakes.

There are the bigger lakes even I had heard about before moving here: Lake Elsinore, Lake Perris, Lake Matthews. There's that big lake out east I've heard tell about -- Diamond Valley Lake.

There's Canyon Lake, the center of a gated community west of here. Then there's those smaller bodies of water adding beauty and atmosphere to the housing developments surrounding me: Menifee Lakes, Tres Lagos, Heritage Lake...

Why couldn't it be July instead of the middle of November?

No one will ever call me an outdoorsman, but I'd like to learn. My experience with watersports and fishing is limited, but it seems there are some great possibilities around here.

Whether it's paddle boats on Heritage Lake, boating on Lake Elsinore or fishing on Diamond Valley Lake, they certainly are more challenging and manly pursuits than the water attractions I'm used to. You know, like the Log Ride at Knott's Berry Farm.

My parents were not campers, fishermen or anything of that sort, so my exposure to things like this was primarily through my uncle and cousin, who were really into it. I tagged along with them on some fascinating deep-sea fishing trips. They even caught a six-foot blue shark off Catalina once.

Of course, I was standing back at the time, trying not to get tangled in my fishing line.

My fresh water boating adventures also have been limited. I've thrown more than a few fish hooks into Big Bear Lake, but most of the time, we ended up at the Trout Farm up the hill. I actually have a couple fishing poles and a tackle box full of stuff. I just don't use it very well.

But never mind all that. Never mind that my first wife lost her wedding ring overboard in Lake Isabella. Never mind that my current wife took a turn too sharp on a jet ski with me sitting behind her, giving me an "up close and personal" view of the fish in the bay at Cabo San Lucas.

Despite all this, I'm ready to search for greater adventures in the lakes around here. To that end, I am open to suggestions.

Let's focus on fishing. I saw a sign for a trout farm off the 215 on the way to Murrieta, but I don't want to take the easy way out. Maybe later, to show off for the grandkids, but not yet.

Where's the best place to go for an unskilled angler to catch something -- anything -- in less than eight hours? Moreover, what do you suggest for bait, lures, sinkers and all that good stuff?

I notice there's a Kids Trout Derby scheduled for Sunday at Diamond Valley Lake. The age limit is 3-12, and kids must be accompanied by a parent. Sounds like fun.

Now all I need is a 12-year-old who can teach me how to reel in the big ones.

Maybe Diamond Valley Lake isn't the place to start. If not there, where? And do you recommend fishing from the shore, off a dock, from a boat or what?

As a fisherman, I may be all thumbs, but right now I'm all ears. Tell me your fish stories and give me some tips. I can taste that trout already.

I'm not big on cleaning fish, but as a necessary evil, I can handle it. I'd rather deal with that than this whole "catch and release" concept. I've never really understood that.

If somebody spent several minutes reeling me in by a hook through my cheek, I think I would prefer they just put me out of my misery. Why throw me back, traumatized and in serious need of oral surgery? But that's just me.

So maybe I'm rather naive about the whole subject, but I can learn. I'll give it a shot. Look out, whoppers, I'm coming to get you.

As always, your input is appreciated. Reply with your fish stories and I'll tell you mine as they happen. Just one rule: No tall tales.


  1. hey you forgot about the deep sea fishing with me jeff jessica and darren

  2. Lake Hemet is my preferred spot for trout. Trolling in the center of the lake, or bait fishing near the dam are the two best places in the lake. Since it is a no-body-contact lake, it is only fishermen on the lake. About average price to enter and launch your own boat (about $20 for my dad, my under-6 son [free], and me, with a boat).

    The thought behind catch-and-release is simple: the sport is called fishing, not catching. Remember, the worst day fishing still beats the best day working!

    Have fun!