Life in Colorado

Viele Lake Fishing Report

Today’s fishing at Viele Lake was a picture-perfect day, but absolutely no fish anywhere to be seen or caught. I usually at least see some sunfish or the occasional bass swimming by, but today was completely dead. There was one other fisherman out, and we were both bank fishing with lightweight spinning rods. Small non-motorized boats are allowed on the lake, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in use by a fisherman. The lake only recently (in the last couple of days) de-iced, so the fish are still probably dormant at the bottom of their hollows. The lake is not deep (probably 10 feet at the deepest), and even though Viele Lake is a constant-level lake, the water level is still a bit low before Spring runoff.

Viele Lake in Boulder Colorado
Viele Lake in Boulder, Colorado ©Familyvance

I expect the fishing at Viele Lake to improve as we get into Spring and Summer, and even if I don’t catch anything, the lunchtime respite from my office is too tempting to pass up.

When: Noon, Mar 16, 2015
Weather: Sunny, Calm, 74 degrees
Lure/Bait: Mini crank bait
Action: None

Feature image (top of post) of Viele Lake and Harlow Platts Park in Boulder, Colorado by Shoshie8 from Wikimedia

Life in Colorado

KOA Lake Fishing Report

Fishing report for KOA Lake on Saturday March 14, 2015. A beautiful day forced me out of the house and I’m happy it did. I started off the fishing with a small, crawfish crank bait that I often have a lot of luck with. Today, however, nothing was biting or even pursuing. There was still snow on the ground, and even ice on the water, as the big winter snowfalls only recently ceased. I switched to a small, green and silver crank bait and immediately caught an 8″ largemouth bass. Two casts later I had another fish on but lost it after a couple of seconds. Those two hits were my only action of the day.

Small Bass Caught at KOA Lake on March 14, 2015
Small Bass Caught at KOA Lake on March 14, 2015

I was at KOA Lake for about two hours, and there were a flock of geese, several duck couples (Mallards and Goldeneye’s), and three other fisherman there during the same time. Two guys were “beer fishing” when I arrived, i.e. they had lines in the water with some sort of bait, but they were mostly just guzzling beer and enjoying the sunshine. As I was leaving, another man showed up complete with 4 rods, a fishing vest, and two Bud Light tallboys. We chatted for a bit and he said he ice fished on the lake a couple months ago, but he didn’t catch anything. He claimed KOA lake is about 50-60 feet deep in the middle, but he wasn’t sure what fish were available.

I left happier than when I arrived, and that’s the best day of fishing there can be.

When: 2pm, Saturday, Mar 14, 2015
Weather: Sunny, Calm, 64 degrees
Lures/Bait: Teeny Crawfish Crank Bait, Mini crank bait
Action: One 8″ Largemouth Bass, One lost unknown fish

Life in Colorado

Brainard Lake Snowshoeing

Jessica and I snowshoed at Brainard Lake Recreation Area on Saturday Feb 28, 2015. It was a beautiful day with little wind, some early sun, and stunning scenery. The area received a lot of snow recently, so conditions for snowshoeing were excellent, but all the snow made for somewhat difficult snowshoeing in stretches.

Brainard Lake Indian Peaks

We arrived at the Brainard Lake winter parking area around 9:30 a.m., with the parking lot about half full. Many snowshoers and nordic skiers were milling about, preparing to embark on the day’s trek. There is a warming hut and bathrooms at the winter parking area which is convenient. With the temperature around 15 degrees when we arrived, and at an elevation of about 10,000 feet, we both wore several layers and mittens, but weren’t overly dressed. When you’re snowshoeing, fifteen degrees isn’t really that cold.

After looking at the Brainard Lake Ski and Snowshoe Map, we decided to take what we thought would be the “easy” route, and trek the Snowshoe Trail to Brainard Lake. The trails are maintained by the Boulder Colorado Mountain Club and were in excellent condition.

A short walk from the winter parking lot took us to the Red Rock Trailhead where we met up with the Snowshoe Trail. There are several other trails in the area, but many of them are for skiers only. Check the map for directions and instructions.


Brainard Lake Sunglass Reflection

The Snowshoe Trail runs south of the Brainard Lake road for about a mile and a half, through forest, over undulating slopes, and past meadows. Words really don’t do the beauty justice. The day was still and the snow was pure. Unfortunately we kept leapfrogging a pack of vociferous women which intermittently broke the silence, but even a sailor-mouthed twenty-something couldn’t ruin the simple majesty.

About half-way to Brainard Lake the Showshoe Trail crosses Brainard Lake Road, with a short hundred yard walk along the road. At this point you can continue along the Snowshoe Trail on the North side of the road, or take the road a shorter distance to the lake. We chose the trail and immediately had second thoughts. The trail is another one and a half miles to the lake, and much of it seemed to be uphill. Jessica was struggling, I was feeling it too, and we contemplated turning back. Our previous longest snowshoe trek was only a couple miles in Rocky Mountain National Park, so we were moving into uncharted territory. To make matters worse, we had forgotten to bring any food and were both already hungry.

We pressed on however, and soon reached the Pawnee campground. The Snowshoe Trail gets lost in the campground somewhat, so we just followed the two men who had just passed and who looked like they knew where they were going. In the event, we ended up just doing a big half-loop around the campground, and the party behind us followed us and were just as disappointed as us to have taken the unnecessary detour. Soon though, we were back on the trail, which was relatively flat at this point, and not too much later we reached Brainard Lake.


Brainard Lake Snowshoe Collage

There were quite a few people, snowshoers and skiers, at the lake, soaking in the awesome. As Jessica and I sat on lakeside bench, the Indian Peaks rose in the distance, the lake was frozen over, and we daydreamed about cheeseburgers. I walked out on the frozen lake, as many others were doing, we rested a bit more, then turned to make our way back.

Our trek back we took along the road, which made the return trip shorter and somewhat easier. It was unimaginably beautiful in places, the snow was more packed making the snowshoeing easier, and we stopped to identify birds (of course), talk to the occasional passerby, and fill our selves with the soulful spirit of the mountains, the snow and the world around us.

By this point, Jessica was being a real trooper, and I sauntered ahead, both of us ready to finish. The round-trip was five and a quarter miles, and we tore into the mandarin oranges when we reached the car. The parking lot was full at this point, we took one last look, and we were off to find our cheeseburgers.

Jessica Juice and Joy Life in Colorado

This Wind Though

It’s the last day of National Poetry Month, and the wind has been howling here in Boulder for three days. It’s been an obnoxious wind making me wonder if it’s worth it to live here. In honor of the wind and National Poetry Month, I’ll share a draft of a poem I wrote on a windy day a couple of months ago.

This Wind Though

I live in a place where the wind has a name
and grows wild
whistling tunes through the door
tossing mats swings or bins to the side
shaking bird feeders and tangling chimes

This wind means to snatch your hat
and laugh as it carries it,
watching you chase with your arms reaching

It will slap
right in the eye
with hair turned to a sharp whip

This wind can shatter your car glass
leave you stunned
while you lean into it to stay on your feet,
dipping like an embrace you don’t want to give

This wind though

This wind

Is the one you love
bringing warmth overnight
shoving aside the freeze,
dragging in air 35 degrees warmer
(From where?
where does your wind find this air?
how does your wind convince the warmth to follow and obey?)

This wind though

Is the wind that sways the aspen leaves
those beloved shimmering ovals of gray green
that mesmerize and cast love spells on visitors
this is the wind that makes love to those trees, the quaking trees

This wind though

Too is the one that bends the grasses in a way that breaks your heart,
the grasses set against that blue blue sky
in a way that makes you want to run through the field,
lie down and cry tears that belong to the world

This wind with its name
that swirls around your mouth
that forms on your tongue and lips like a kiss
the name said just for the pleasure of saying it
hearing it

Shin ook

Chin ook


–Copyright 2014, Jessica Vance, all rights reserved