Paradise Lake
Richard and I are avid anglers....but even with years of fishing experience, we are still totally amateurs. We don't boat, or travel to fish...we stay close to home, and on the shore. We mostly fish for what we like to eat, but since I'm the only one who can [or will] CLEAN a fish....we throw most catches back. We mostly fish for blue gill, cats, and crappie...but I enjoy an occasional tussle with a big carp.  We purchase a yearly membership at a near-by fishing lake called...[and rightly so]...Sportsman's Paradise.

Here are a "few" photos taken during some of our relaxing afternoons at our favorite fishin' hole.
If your computer loads slow, go get a snack or a cup of coffee.
And be sure to check the links at the bottom for more pictures and adventures.Paradise is a treasure trove for the shutter bug.
Here's Richard landing a small Channel cat in the Carp Pond. We call this area "Cattail Corner", and it's a favorite spot on hot days, as the shade stays here until late afternooon.
Yum! Perfect eating size...but we usually throw them back.
Sometimes we catch some pretty unusual things. This large goldfish was probably someone's Shovelhead bait that got a 'reprieve'. They often get off the hook, and grow to pretty large fish. This one was my catch, and put up quite a fight.
[and NO...we didn't eat him!]
I wish I had owned a camera with a better zoom in 2005, as I had plenty of autumn opportunities to snap shots of this pair of Turkey Vultures atop a shelter across the lake from us. They were hoping we would leave our spot in the shade so they could dine on a dead fish that floated nearby. "Gertrude" and "Heathcliff" can be seen nearly every time we visit the lake, but since we bought a digital with a good zoom feature, we have yet to see them this close again.
But this was our favorite visitor in the fall of '05.... a solitary Cormorant. He entertained us for hours with his antics, but I couldn't grab the camera fast enough when he swooped low over my head. He [or she] is a diving bird, and would dive below the surface, swim long distances, then come up where least expected. Look closely at the lower left corner, and you can see a fishing line. He surfaced right in front of me when I snapped this picture. This is one totally cool bird, and we've never had an opportunity to get so close to one before. To get even closer pictures of some of his tricks, we took the video camera with us on a subsequent trip, and got some amazing shots. Once I get the best of them transferred to stills, I will add a page for them and a link.
Check back later to see them.
This blue gill made the mistake of swallowing a hook too deep, and caused his own demise. Because blue gills are a favorite food of the HUGE cats in the Carp Pond, we tossed him back to give one of them a meal they didn't have to chase.

The small Northern Water Snake had delusions of grandeur.  No matter how far the snake un-hinged his jaws, he couldn't quite swallow the fish, and eventually gave up.
These first shots are some of our favorite views from different areas on the three lakes that make up Sportsman's Paradise.
[These were taken in the fall of 2005]

A pretty view of the back lake.
Another view of the back lake,
complete with fisherman.
The Carp Pond, or "small" center lake, is only small by comparison to the other two. I would be quite happy to have a home with a lake this size in my back yard!
The main lake is quite large, and we have many pretty shots of it, but this back corner is our favorite. The view is gorgeous, especially in the early evening, which was when this one was taken.
They are more often seen from this angle.
Look closely....there really IS a fish in this shot. We tend to catch a lot of these little bait stealers. Most of them are baby Blue Gill, like this one.
But often, they are greedy, baby Largemouth Bass....with eyes that are bigger than their stomachs. There are gazillions of these little guys, hugging the banks in plain view. If they all evaded being dinner for bigger fish and grew to maturity, I'm not sure the lake could hold them all!
But when the pole bends like this, and the drag goes Zzz-Zzz-Zzz, you know you don't have a little one!
I guess you could say I am the die-hard fisher-person in the family. Richard took this shot of me two days after knee surgery, using my little folding foot stool.
I catch a few nice ones myself.
The fishing and the lake-side views aren't the only attractions at Paradise. Sometimes we have the pleasure of other 'visitors', and find ourselves presented with some pretty cool photo ops.
The lake closes in late September, and the Goldenrod on the fence that lines the lane to the lake signifies the end of the season.
Beautiful, but sad.
Well, everything great has to have SOME down side....but we can't wait to see the lake open next year!
CHECK HERE for 2006 "Adventures in Paradise"
We bought a new Canon S3 with a 12X zoom, in June of '06, and found some amazing subject matter at the lake to share.