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The Oop Catches a Rainbow
Alex caught her first fish (a rainbow trout), at Nora Lake, while visiting her grandparents in California, during our mid-June holiday. She had great fun fishing and catching her first slippery trout!
Alex Catches Her First Fish at Nora Lake, in Northern California
There's something very special about a kid catching their first fish! Funny though, because the Oop probably won't remember the event, as she's only four and a half. Nope, it's more a memory for the parents and - if your lucky - a great photo opportunity! (Wonder how many family albums contain grinning kids and their prize catch?)
The Oop didn't disappoint, in the photo department. Sporting rather cool-looking purple shades and gripping a decent-sized rainbow trout, Alex proudly showed off her first fish. Grinning gamely, she's gripping it tightly with a washcloth, in order to gain some traction against her slippery catch!
Alex's first fish came during a recent trip to California, with her Dad, to visit her paternal grandparents. The fishing expedition was suggested by Bill and Kitty, friends of the family and it was a huge relief to drive out of the (hot) northern valley and into the hills that surround Mount Lassen.
The weather was cool and the smell of pine trees permeated the air, as we drove past Grace Lake, driving over to nearby Nora Lake. Alex was excited to go fishing and eager to get her mitts on some ' Power Bait What is Power Bait? Powerbait (Berkley Trout Bait) is a moldable fish bait that comes in a small jar. It's effective for catching fish, but boy does it stink! Powerbait comes in a variety of bright colors and also comes as pre-formed nuggets. ', which she wanted to buy when we got home, as she was pretty certain that Tuxedo, our cat, would find it a delicious snack!
To read more about Alex's first fish ... continue on ...
Hats off to Bill and Kitty for suggesting the fishing trip! We had gone over to their house for supper, the day before and they had treated everyone to a 5-hole round of " off-road golf What is Off-Road Golf? Off-road golf combines golf with croquet and pool; the game is played with a 'mace' (wooden-handled club topped with a hard rubber head). The game was created in Northern California to utilize areas of property that are seemingly 'unusable' (and poke a bit of fun at the game of golf). Off-Road Golf is also called "Redneck Golf". ", which was a hoot to play (even Alex - with Dad's help - played along with everyone) - though truth be told, she was more interested in the tree swing, than golfing.
The next morning, early, they called to say that they checked the DFG website and it looked like Nora Lake was recently stocked with trout. They asked if we'd like to join them for a picnic lunch and bit of fishing.
"Yes!" responded the Oop, excitedly.
Grandma quickly packed up a lunch and we headed to town to get fishing licenses, then made the 40-minute drive through Red Bluff, out along Hwy 36 to Manton Road, climbing toward Shingletown. It was nice to gain a bit of altitude and leave the hot valley behind. The air was crisp and clean, smelling of pine trees, which brought back memories of many High Sierra adventures (the Douglas Fir and Cedar trees on Vancouver Island have a different smell).
We drove past the larger Grace Lake (which was fairly crowded with fishermen), toward smaller Nora Lake. There were only two people fishing Nora and we watched them catch a fish, as we were eating our picnic lunch.
Bill and Kitty had brought extra rods and they fitted on a small weight and leader line with a treble hook (onto which, we would mould the PowerBait.
Alex ran on ahead with Kitty and grandma, around the lake and into the shadows of the big trees (where the water was cooler and the trout were more likely to congregate). The guys were taking their time, but soon hurried over when they heard a commotion.
The Oop had already caught a fish!
Dad missed it! By the time he finally made it over, the fish - a decent-sized rainbow trout - had already been "landed" with a net. Kitty handed the fish to the Oop, who proudly displayed it for her photo session! She wasn't squeamish about holding the fish, though Kitty handed it to her already wrapped in a washcloth (which makes a slippery trout easier to hold).
After that initial success, the fish came more slowly, but we did catch five more, taking home a total of six rainbow trout. (The lake hadn't yet been stocked, so we didn't limit-out, but we did have a good afternoon of angling).
At one point, the Oop tripped and fell on a hook, which got stuck in her knee. She didn't cry, but did whimper a bit, as "first-responder" Dad, extricated the barbed hook from her knee. "Ouch," she said.
She soon forgot about her injury and was back fishing again, with Dad's help (twas hard for the Oop to cast the line far into the lake).
Back at home, Alex watched grandpa chop the heads off the fish, then slice their bellies and remove the innards. She wasn't squeamish about the cleaning, but wasn't too interested in helping, either.
"Do you want to grab one and clean out the guts?" asked Grandpa.
"No thanks," said the Oop, "You can do it. The guts look kinda slimy." She was content to watch.
We marinated the fish in a plastic bag containing a spicy herb Italian salad dressing. When the BBQ was hot, we pulled the fish from the bag, adding a bit of butter and garlic inside the fish and then putting them into a flippable, wire basket. We added a bit of sliced onion to the top of the fish and closed the basket, which mashed the fish a bit, holding the onion into place. Onto the BBQ they went and we flipped them a few times, drizzling them with Italian salad dressing, each time. We also added some moistened Mesquite wood chips to the coals, which imparted a nice smoky flavor.
Everyone enjoyed the fish dinner, including the Oop. Her first fishing trip was a huge success and the fact that she actually enjoyed eating her catch, was a bonus. (When Dad was a kid, he loved to catch the trout, but didn't enjoy the eating of the trout so much. Dad doesn't much enjoy eating fish that taste "fishy".)