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Captain’s Log: Local Lakes, Streams Offer More to Those Who Watch Quietly

You'll be amazed at what you can see when you stop and blend in with the habitat

While resting quietly at streamside, leaning against a deadfall, I watched a bobcat traverse the edge of a small meadow and pick a spot among branches and rocks to eat the ground squirrel it had been carrying in its mouth. A couple of birds were highly interested in his meal, but they did little more than flit about and squawk.

It always amazes me what I see when I stop and blend in with local habitat. I can walk all day and see far less than I do when I sit quietly for just a couple of hours. Whether I’m hunting with a camera or a rifle, I see more when I hold still and watch all around me.

Even when fishing small streams, my technique is similar. I try not to spook fish by walking boldly to streamside. Instead, I approach slowly, refrain from casting a shadow across the water and try to have trees and branches or rocks behind me to camouflage my silhouette.

It makes a difference. I’ve enjoyed drifting worms and local bugs into a small pool, to be rewarded by a sudden bend in the rod when a wary trout takes the bait.

At lakes, a quiet and still approach and presence pay off, too. One of our precious local resources is Lake Cachuma, home to a stunning variety of wildlife. A quiet, watchful person can fill his or her eyes and soul with the activities and antics of wildlife. A loud and active person just isn’t going to see nearly as much.

When fishing the lake, be similarly quiet and still. Move quietly and slowly and the fishing may improve dramatically.

Fishing is good at Cachuma now. Plenty of trout are available. They are staying a bit low in the water column because of the warm, sun-drenched water at the surface. They still come up in the early morning and at dusk to feed on flying insects that land on the water. The crappie bite remains good, catfish are actively feeding and bass are available for those willing to work for them.

Get out in the mountains now, during the warm part of the year. Take your time and try to blend with the habitat. You may be rewarded with wildlife sightings that give you stories to tell around the campfires of life.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

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