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Our backyard fishing holes
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A week or so ago, I put $125 worth of gas in my truck and that only brought the fuel gauge up to ¾ of a tank! 

I have a farmer friend who has had gas wells producing on his ranch for over 40 years. As years have gone by the pressure was dropping steadily at the wellhead and a year or so ago the oil company that was buying the natural gas finally gave up and abandoned their lease. The gas was just barely coming out of the ground at about 15 PSI. My friend installed a compressor of his own and converted his pickup to burn natural gas. Even if his gas well no longer produces enough to attract a big oil company, my buddy still gets all the gas he needs for free! Unfortunately, most of us don’t own a gas well and you might want to find places to fish that are closer to home.

The good news is that there actually are some pretty good places to fish that are close by. If you don't have one already, you might want to consider getting a float tube, which will run you from under $100 on up to several hundred bucks for the deluxe models. I can pull in my driveway at 5 p.m., grab my float tube and be on the water fishing by 5:30 p.m.  Of course I cheat, by living 500 yards from the water.  Even if you aren’t crazy enough to buy your house just because it's located next to the water, you can still find decent fishing close to home. What’s close to home? How about 30 minutes or less? 

I’ve got nice fishing for bass & panfish right near home, and I’ll bet that you've got respectable fishing close to home, too. The Stanislaus River runs right through Ripon and there are numerous entry points available to the public. If you're in Lathrop, fish the San Joaquin and if you're in Manteca fish the lower end of the Stanislaus at the end of Manteca Road, off of Garden Road.  Due north of Tracy, is Trappers Slough on Highway 4 at Tracy Island Road. While you may have to fight your way through some tough tules to get to open water, the bass and crappie fishing once you get there can be fantastic. The fact is, unless you live in Death Valley, Alice Springs, or Djbouti, you have probably got some pretty decent fishing right close to home.

A great source of close to home fishing is local farm ponds. Because they are almost always located on private property, you're going to have to do some homework to locate one, find the owner, and get permission to fish there. Once you do, you may just have struck paydirt. I remember catching huge largemouth intermixed with crappie on a farm pond within sight of a major interstate freeway.

A great tool for finding your own close to home fishing is the computer program, Google Earth. Type in your home address & zoom in on your home. Then back out the view until you cover more and more territory. Look for ponds, lakes, and streams within a reasonable distance of your home. Once you find likely looking water, go to the local county tax assessor’s web page and locate the pond on the assessment maps. Once you’ve found the owner, contact them and ask for permission to fish there. It may surprise you how often the answer is yes.

Keep trying until you find your own, secret, close to home fishing hole. Trust me it’s definitely worth the trouble.

Until next week,

Tight Lines