Family Fishing Fun & Where to Find Shore Access

Jimmie Trejo and his Grandchildren

Jimmie Trejo and his Grandchildren

I’ve been working campground reservations in the office for the last two weeks which is a lot of trying to help someone else have a great vacation.  As our hookup campsites get booked for the summer weekends I always field the question:

“could you possibly come up on a quieter weekday?” 

Now I know that it’s “impossible” for most working people but I have noticed a wonderful trend of grandparents coming up for the weekdays and bringing their grandchildren out to the lake.  Obviously a lot of these folks are retired so they have time, but they also know something about priorities.  All these folks taking time with their kids & grandkids reminds me to MAKE time for my own kids– to take a day or even an evening and walk the shoreline, collect crawdads, catch panfish and spend sunset anchored out in a cove on the lake.

John Valerga (1949-2018)

John Valerga’s last big trout up on our Fish Photo board on the back porch

John & Janis Valerga had been coming up to the lake for more than 25 years.  They would plan a week and get lots of friends and family to come up to camp at Collins Lake or at least visit for the day.  John was a fisherman, and loved to take his family, neighbors and his grandkids out on the lake.  In his later years he shared with his kids that he was “going to be make it on the wall at Collins Lake for catching a big one”.  And he did exactly that, reeling in a 7 pound trophy trout to show off up at the store.  His daughter sent us a photo of him from when he took his son out on May 19th, of which he said “I had the best time, can’t wait to do it again!”.  The very next day our good Lord took him home.  It’s a solid reminder that time doesn’t stop for anyone and you only get so many trips around the sun.  But at least John fished till his last day, he took along the people he loved and they’ll never forget him for it.

He’s not the only one spending time with family, it was nice to see Don Feryance back here at the lake, catching as usual, and this time with kids on his team.  He’s showing off trout caught trolling with spinners almost every day.  Jimmie Trejo sent in a picture of four fish caught trolling with with his grandkids Nathan, Alayna, Kylie and Kaitlin.  Another day he took Jayden out and helped him catch three fish including a 3 pound trout.  Alison Moore limited out including a 5 1/2 pounder trolling Kastmasters down around 25 feet.

Trolling is still the best bet overall as the trout are moving deeper, with quite a few caught down around 30 feet.  If you’re fishing the shoreline cast into areas where the water gets deep quick- that’s how Dale from Forbestown limited on trout using PowerBait on the far side of the dam.  Dave from Brownsville used a float to get in the deeper water and reeled in a 6 1/2 pound 25 inch monster.

Greg caught this 5 1/2 pound rainbow in Elmer’s Cove

If you haven’t walked Hidden Spruce Trail, which goes around the point near Elmer’s cove you should give it a try.  The trail gives near shoreline access in Elmers Cove all the way around to where the power lines cross over the North Fork, an area previously only easily accessible by boat.  The lake is still pretty full, only down 4 feet from spill so there’s lots of habitat submerged near the shoreline.  Belle helped her papa catch a 3 1/4 pound trout among others up by the PowerLines.  Crilly & Ryan caught eight trout casting lures in Elmer’s Cove.

Joe Jones caught three bass around the brush on the east side

Although it can be a  snag hazard, with the bass mostly post-spawn and the trout headed for cooler waters steeper rocky shorelines will give you a good starting point.

Although bass has been slow during the spring spawn it will pick up again, but they won’t concentrate themselves in the shallows.  My recommendation is live bait, but every bass fisherman seems to have their own tricks.

I’ve heard about a few big catfish this week as well, Cameron Smith showed us his 5 1/2 pounder which Curtis Eller matched five days later.  One caught on chicken livers and the other on a minnow.

I’d write more, there certainly is more fish to write about, but it’s Sunday afternoon and the crowds are clearing out, I think instead I’m gonna get out of the office and onto lake!  

Until next time, if your trolling troll deeper, if you’re on the shore check out Hidden Spruce Trail, if you’re out for bass good luck but the most important thing to catch is some time on the lake with your family and friends


Do you have a Collins Lake fish tale or photo to share?  Write me

UPDATE:  Right after posting this I realized thanks to Roy and his drone, I have a picture of part of Hidden Spruce Trail:

Elmer’s Cove on the left and part of Hidden Spruce Trail along the peninsula 

Previous Reports