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Get Out of Town!
Bites are Few, Memories are Many on Family Trip
October, 2009 - Issue #60
The Eastern Sierras weather can be dicey in October, but it
The Eastern Sierras weather can be dicey in October, but it's also a gorgeous time to visit places like Lake Sabrina.
Drew's first fishing pole lasted about 10 minutes.

We were drifting in a rented boat at the far end of Lake Sabrina. My dad had his line in the water, and I was taking turns casting for Laurel and Drew. Nobody was getting any bites, but it didn't matter. The kids were excited to be on the water and using their new poles.

Laurel carefully brought in the line on her purple and pink Disney Princesses pole while Drew manhandled his "Cars" rod, reeling fast and banging it on the starboard gunwale. A telltale plop punctuated his exuberant boy noises. I sprang to my feet and caught a glimpse of the red and yellow pole descending through the crystal clear alpine water faster than Lightning McQueen.

"Oh man!" Drew exclaimed, slapping his hands on his legs before bursting into tears.

"Sorry, buddy," I said, trying to comfort him, and wondering how I would keep a 3-year-old occupied for two days of fishing without a pole. Thinking fast, I said, "Sissy will let you borrow hers."
"Yeah, I guess it would be OK if Drew borrowed my pole," Laurel hesitantly agreed. From her tone, it was clear that a tug of war over who had the pole, and for how long, could erupt at any minute.

It was an inauspicious beginning to our fishing trip, but nobody seemed too disappointed. We were all happy to get in one last trip to the mountains before winter closed in. October can be a dicey month to visit the Eastern Sierras, but with an extra heater in the tent trailer, and layers of jackets and sweatshirts on the kids, we decided to take our chances.

"I sprang to my feet
and caught a glimpse of Drew's red and yellow FISHING POLE
descending through the crystal clear alpine water
faster than Lightning McQueen."

And our timing couldn't have been better. We missed an early storm that dumped a few inches of snow the night before. The autumn sun melted most of it by the time of our late afternoon arrival at Creekside RV Park, 16 miles west of Bishop, near South Lake.

After setting up camp, we cooked dinner. It was dark by the time we sat down at our picnic table to eat. Temperatures were in the low 40s. Not surprisingly, the kids weren't hungry. They just wanted to be somewhere warm. I kicked myself for not bringing hats or gloves - for them or me.

What saved me was the campground store. Like an old man's garage, a good campground store has one of everything. And in this case they had two sets of kid-size gloves, and one pair that fit my XL hands. With the gloves, and the bulky knit hats I found at the Lake Sabrina Boat Landing store, the kids were actually warm, even if they resembled miniature rosy-cheeked stevedores.

Given our luckless morning outing, Dad and I felt pressured to get some fish on the line for Laurel and Drew. Again, I thought the campground would save us. But even a private pond stocked with legendary Alpers Trout didn't help.

We spent a good hour dropping all manner of lures and bait in front of fish we could see lazing around the bottom of the pond. Still, no bites. It didn't matter what we threw in the water, the fish were not interested.

And, neither were Laurel and Drew. They passed the time scooping up fallen yellow leaves with the net.

The only fish we landed did come from the campground store - a hand-painted trout magnet that hangs on my fridge, silently mocking me until our next expedition.

Catch Some Fall Fun in Bishop
Creekside RV Park

760-873-4483
www.bishopcreeksidervpark.com
Full hookups, tent sites, fish magnets.

Lake Sabrina Boat Landing
760-873-7425
www.lakesabrinaboatlanding.com
Boat rentals, bait and tackle, cafe, and friendly cat.

Getting There:
Head north on State Route 14
and continue north on US 395.
In Bishop, go west on State Route
168. Continue straight to reach
Lake Sabrina, or turn left at South
Lake cut-off for Creekside RV Park.

Eric Harnish lives in Newhall.
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