Trout Dale is a fishing playground of sorts nestled into the Agoura Hills area of Los Angeles County. The overall concept behind Trout Dale is to offer a easy-access fishing experience for the little ones where you don’t need a lick of gear to get started. You simply drive up, park by the ponds, pay $7 per person (plus an add-on of $5 for a “reel” fishing pole; the $7 includes a simple bamboo pole-and-line), find a log, sit down, and toss your line in. Whether or not you bring up fish is – as is with all fishing adventures – dumb luck really.
So we took T fishing at Trout Dale over Labor Day weekend. The best part about this fishing expedition was the fact that it was just about a 45 minute drive away from home and it was going to last until either T caught a fish or 90 minutes expired (our self-imposed time limit due to patience levels and attention spans), whichever came first. C told me all about his catching fish here when he was a kid, but let’s remember that was 30 years ago, give-or-take, and let’s also remember not all fishing trips end up the same way either.
Within minutes of us getting there, we witnessed several kids pulling fish after fish from the two ponds of Trout Dale. I was amazed because, well, the bait is corn, folks. That and within 30 minutes not a single nibble on our line. Yet as I continued to watch others catch and keep (oh yeah, you also pay per inch of whatever fish you hook up; no catch-and-release here), I was getting excited at the actual prospect of us taking some trout home for lunch. However, when we started to reposition ourselves time after time around the ponds, I realized these kids were using something called “superbait” – it looked like a canister full of foamy earplugs. We didn’t pony up for the superbait, but we later learned that it’s another add-on fee of about a buck or two. Next time, T, I promise you are worth a few extra bucks.
Needless to say our 90 minutes came to a fishless end… this time. But no matter, I can see us taking T back when and if he wants to go again. And why wouldn’t he want to go back? There were plenty of sticks and rocks to pick up, along with playing in small, abandoned cabins of some sort. Fish or not, it was a fun morning for T in nature.
What did I learn? Well, as I didn’t grow up doing a lot of fishing myself (my handful of fishing experiences being limited to city- or county-run fishing ponds on day-camp outings), it seems fishing is about the journey (pretty nature and peace and quiet), not the destination (the wishful cooler-full of fish, ha). Oh, and fishing requires a lot of patience. I am still trying to learn patience… parenting is definitely helping me along there, but perhaps I need more fishing trips as well. Or better yet, maybe Dad and Son can handle the fishing, and while they enjoy the peace and quiet of nature, I can enjoy the peace and quiet at home.