Sunday, April 22 , 2018, 1:19 pm | Fair 68º


Captain’s Log: Enjoy Lake Cachuma and Support Nature Center

Cachuma Lake Nature Center Trout Derby fundraiser coming up April 22-23. Click to view larger
Cachuma Lake Nature Center Trout Derby fundraiser coming up April 22-23. (Capt. David Bacon)

This year’s annual fundraiser for the Neal Taylor Nature Center at Cachuma Lake is going to be epic because, after years of drought, the lake is back.

Plan to come party at Cachuma Lake, support the Nature Center, and maybe even fish for a chance to win a prize at the 22nd annual Fish Derby, April 22-23.

Even in the death grip of the severe drought, last year’s event was a fun with loads of people visiting the lake, and 400-plus anglers trying their luck to win more than $5,200 in cash prizes and $15,000 in merchandise prizes.

This year with green grasses growing everywhere, the lake better than half full, and a boat ramp in use, plus a fleet of rental boats, we are expecting a great turnout far exceeding any in recent years and I’m hoping you will come, too.

The Neal Taylor Nature Center has fun, educational and entertaining things going on. Wildlife cruises and guided nature walks are phenomenal thanks to the abundant wildlife surrounding the lake and campsites.

The Santa Barbara County Parks Department takes pride in Cachuma Lake and keeps programs going for residents and visitors. There is a Cachuma Park naturalist and a world of nature — flora and fauna to explore.

For fisherfolk, the lake already has received trout plants, and additional planting is planned before the derby. Between those new fish and the great number of holdover fish, there will be lots of fish to try for including trout, bass, catfish, bluegill and redear sunfish.

Stop by Hook, Line & Sinker fishing center on Calle Real near the base of Hwy. 154 to stock up on supplies and bait, plus get some good fishing advice from the fish-loving staff. Then, drive over San Marcos Pass, enjoying the views during the short ride, to the beautiful lake.

My well-worn hat is doffed to any nonprofit organization that helps connect us with nature in a balanced way, and Julie McDonald the executive director makes sure the Nature Center leads the way in responsible education and adventure.

I have a deep admiration and respect for McDonald and when you meet her, I’m sure you will, too.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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