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>> Lopez Lake outing 6/15/12.....Long, w/lots of pic. [topic: previous/next]
PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:00 am

Posts: 6425

This detailed report is for those who may want to visit where I have gone. The travel log is in detail to freshen up my own memories in the future as well. Hope you like it.



After reading a plea by my friend Santa for help with his monthly kid’s seminar at the Lopez Lake, I decided to give it a go. Lopez Lake is north east of Arroyo Grande, in San Louis Obispo.
It is about 3.5 hrs. of drive from Los Angeles one way, if the traffic is good.

Since the seminar was at 9:00 AM, on Saturday. I figured I needed to be there a little earlier, so I decided to camp Friday night at the lake rather than leave LA middle of the night.
Besides I don’t like to drive in the mountains at night if I have not been there before, and in a new unfamiliar place.

Friday 6/15/2012

Around 11:00 AM, I left the house having packed the fishmobile the night before, yet had to do some last minute cooler packing. The traffic was mostly flowing well soon as I got out of LA.
GPS was taking me pass the Cachuma Lake and then by-passing the town of Solvang.

1—Most southern portion of the Cachuma Lake visible from the highway.

2—Looking toward the center of the lake from a vista point.

3—Almost the most northern part of the lake from the above vista point.

I decide to go through the Danish town of Solvang and stop by in Buellton at the Anderson’s Pea Soup restaurant.

4—The Danish town of Solvang.

5-This main street of the town is called Copenhagen. There are many small shops and eating places here.

6—You can tour the town in this horse and carriage.

7—There is an open air theater on the opposite side of the street of this windmill.

8-Lots of places to have a “Danish” pastry in town.

9—Love the building architecture of this whole town.

Anderson’s restaurant is famous for their all you can eat split pea soup special called Traveler’s especial. $9.95 for bottomless bowl of soup--soft drink and bread included.
$2.50 for one time five toppings. Delicious.

10—The Pea-wee is holding the chisel for the Hap-pea on top a pea to be split.

Around 3:30 PM, I was at the campsite and getting familiar with the place. My internet research had indicated that this lake was very windy during the day.
During early morning hours and sunset, the wind dies down and it became very pleasant.

11—I had the #1 Campsite at the Campaneros site. Closest camp to the Marina. I was lucky to have a very nice family camping across from me.

12—This nice fish cleaning station gets a daily cleaning by the park staff.

13—This vulture has learned that there may be fish scraps in the fish cleaning station.

14—A well-stocked general store has lots of fishing related products, as well as firewood, ice, drinks, etc.

The boat, kayak and other rentals are handled there too.

15—The boat ramp is in front and in the distance the first of the two “F” docks. Second “F” dock is for fishing. Named for their shapes.

No fishing is allowed on the first one, except for the kid’s fishing seminar. Even then, boats get the right-away.

16--There is a very slippery and dangerous pathway to the fishing dock. A good pair of hiking boots is best to use there.

Notice the metal pivot sticking out of a plate. Very dangerous at night especially if no flashlight is utilized. A lawsuit waiting to be filed by an injured angler.

17—Of course the pivot stake is for this ramp which is for some reason going into the water instead.

Current budget issues must have something to do with this negligence.

After getting some firewood and a bass lure and some other stuff, I went to the dock for some fishing.

18--I set up my chair at the end of the dock, so I can cast in several directions.

19—The general store, cafeteria and an arcade room are all housed in the building in the distance.

20—This newly built patio cover allows for a nice shady area for tables and Games. There is B.B.Q pit for special occasions.
Solar panels on top of the roof are supposed to provide partial electric power for the building.

21—Rental dock. I was going to rent a canoe, but they advised me to get a kayak instead.

22—A huge flock of cormorants flew in to rest and take a bath.

23—After some socializing, they flew away.

I setup one rod with a drop shot rig and a whole night crawler worm. Later I added a second hook for some meal worms.

The second rod had a diving lure that I bought at the store which supposed to have a laser inside of it. The laser comes on when the lure gets wet. It did not catch anything.

For that matter the worm did not get any hits on it either.

I eventually decided to use a Castmaster lure and to add casting distance, I put a torpedo sinker with swivels about 24” above the lure.
I did some fan casting and when the lure got caught on some brushes at the shore, I lost it.

Next was a Blue Fox spinner lure with the same set up and torpedo. After few casts, suddenly a drag pulling sound.

At first I thought it was a snag, but then when the snag changed direction, and I felt the rod tip shake, I knew it was a fish. Hurrayyyyyyyyyy.

24—My only fish of the trip. A short small mouth bass caught with a “Blue Fox” lure.

25-The bell shape lure produces sound and the brass color must have helped getting noticed.

Lots of different wild animals were around, so I took pictures of some of them.

26—Mr. and Mrs. Mallarduck on a leisurely swim looking for a good place to eat and drink.

27—“Bottoms Up” says Mrs. Duck.

When it got dark, I set up a fire and had some food. I wanted to do some night catfishing, but I was tired, and called it a night. I slept in the back of the 4Runner rather than in a tent.
It was not a good sleep due to the cramped space. The following night, I moved stuff into the privacy tent and had more room. A better night’s sleep.

28—To Burger and RedKorn…..What a difference an ax and lighter fluid makes. A nice roaring fire in two seconds.

Saturday 6/16/2012

I was woken up by the family of ravens that made some non-stop squawking. I too woke up the neighbors by an embarrassing mistake. I had the car locked up when I went to sleep inside of the SUV.
In the morning, when I tried to get out of the car, the alarm went off. Factory installed alarm sets every time when all the doors are locked.

Now when I opened the door the alarm went off. Half sleep, half nervous, mostly embarrassed, I had to find my pants in hurry and my keys to turn the ignition on and shut the damn alarm off.
Later in the evening, I explained to my neighbors during the fireside chat, what had happened and they understood and forgave me.

After making breakfast, I went to the dock and made some more casts until it was time to meet Santa.

29—Santa in his red shirt and wide brim hat is starting to give his very informative lecture.

While the lecture was being given, suddenly we heard an awful metal hitting metal sound and a kid’s crying voice.

A young, small girl wearing no helmet and coming downhill fast, lost control of her bike and slid on loose sand. It hit the trailer of a Jet ski being towed by a pickup truck.
The driver stopped immediately and went to check the girl.

30—Santa was at the scene of this accident in “two shakes” to help out. Soon the Park Ranger and police arrived.

Apparently there was a Dr. at the seminar with his kids. He examined the girl and assessed there were only minor bruises.

Santa resumed his lecture and after the 45 min. or so lecture, every kid had a loaner fishing rod and we all went to the dock.

31—The “No fishing” first “F” dock is used by the kids at the seminar with special permission of the park staff. Boaters still have the right-away during the seminar.

Red worms were the bait on a small hook.

32—This smile is what is all about.

33—One of the may be 20 fish caught.

34—A very happy young angler with the person most responsible to put that smile on his face.

35—A shy and perhaps sleepy angler with his brother’s fish.

36—The winner of the derby was this young angler with an 8.5” fish.

37—Why is that most of the volunteers at these kind of events are old and have big bellies?

Around 2:00 PM, We said farewell and I went to rent a kayak. It was very windy. I paddled all the way to one end of the lake and back to the Marina.

38--This Bridge connects one leg of the highway to the lake entrance.

39—Some boats were fishing along the shore line.

40—Boats and kayaks are the only way to access most part of the lake. Kayaks can go where even some boats cannot reach.

41-Do you see what I see.

42—A nice crane.

Of course without some trash left by inconsiderate visitors, how are we to be reminded that people have been there before.

43—There were many small birds making mud nests under any structure. Like this bridge and the boat ramp at the “F” dock.

I wanted to fish for four hours on the kayak, but after two hours of paddling against the wind and with no bites, I decided to call it quits and went back to the camp to rest.

44—My privacy tent had blown twice by the winds and ended up in the upper camp.

Some Good Samaritan camper had brought it back twice and the second time had put a large bolder on it to keep it grounded.

45—Some sandy beach is accessible to the public.

46—Looking north toward the end of the lake.

47—This bottle was within eight feet of one recycling and two trash cans. Some people feel that they are too important to dispose trash properly.

…..”Not my job” is the attitude.

After dinner I visited my neighbors for some fireside chat. I wanted to do some night fishing for catfish, but I needed to get a good night’s sleep for the next day drive home.
Besides, there was a fun and an informative nature show that was given by a park ranger. After the show, the laziness set in even more, but I decided to check the dock to see if anybody else was fishing.

There were some people, but not doing any good. I gave my baits to them, and visited with them for a while. No bites while I was there either.

Sunday 6/17/2012 (Father’s day)

After a better night’s sleep and no false alarm, I again was woken up by the raven family.
A breakfast and a hot shower put some life back into the body and I was on my way to Stern’s wharf, via Buellton, Solvang, Chumash Casino, and Cachuma Lake.

The facilities at lake are clean; well-supplied with running hot and cold water. The $2.00 that cost me for the hot shower was well worth it.

Helpful park rangers who patrolled the camp sites as well as police presence, made everybody feel safe and adhere to the rules of quite hours, no skateboarding and/or bicycle racing.

I left the park around 10:00 AM.

48—Lake Cachuma on the way to Santa Barbra.

49—Lake is between Solvang and Santa Barbra.

I made a pit stop at the Stearns wharf to just look around. Not too many people fishing there.

50—This large spider crab is going to be a nice dinner for someone, I am sure.

51—Sunset over Santa Barbra at the Stearns Wharf.

52—Of course where it says “no fishing”, some angler has to fish it.

Traffic leaving Santa Barbra until Ventura was awful. I switched to PCH and made some time.
At 10:30 PM, I was home and glad to be back in my own bed.

It was combination of fun and hard work.

Fishing was not great, but I enjoyed the scenery of acres upon acres of vineyards, and other agriculture farms. Cows and horses roaming around grazing without a care in the world.

Seeing so many stars in the sky at the camp, when it seemed the world is in slumber.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:02 am

Posts: 6425


Please remove the duplicate.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:40 pm
cast straight

Posts: 339
Location: sf bay area

I just happened to be down in the Santa Barbara area this past weekend because
a family member graduated from UCSB and we were there this past Saturday. Time
and schedule was tight so no time to fish for me at Goleta. I was the "chauffer" and did all the driving duties and did drive on Stearns Wharf as part of our short tour of the city before going to the graduation party with the family. We also stopped at Solvang because the ladies wanted to stop and shop the stores. Stopped at Olsens Danish Bakery since a local said it was the best
one in town. I saw the horse driven carriage a few times making it's rounds through town. I noticed an ostrich farm upon entering town and pulled over to check them out and observed a male doing a dance for a female before mating
with her but they stopped upon noticing me looking down the hill at them and moved away. The ostriches probably thought "can't a bird get any privacy around
here?" We also stopped on the way home the next day at San Luis Obispo at The Apple Farm
shop and had lunch there, another must stop for the ladies. Too bad time was limited otherwise I could have put in some fishing in SoCal waters. Thanks for posting your pics.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:54 pm

Posts: 727
Location: Reseda, CA

Great report! Wish I could have joined you, but the pictures you took brought back a lot of childhood memories. Thanks! (funny stuff on the axe and lighter fluid by the way)
Fish Porn Here: http://www.myfishingobsession.blogspot.com/ (well some Wink)
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:05 pm

Posts: 6425

Thanks for the nice words.

I know the Olsen’s Bakery well. We have been staying at a motel across the bakery several times. They give a voucher for a continental breakfast at the Olsen’s as part of their deal.

The best part is if Mrs. Olsen, who is an earthy, blunt, Italian lady, full of energy. She is fun to watch dealing with the public.
I was thinking of taking a picture of the place for the post, but I took a different route.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:13 pm

Posts: 2758

Good on your for helping the young anglers. Looks like they had fun.

The bass is actually a largemouth.

I fish, the salt and the sweet.
I hunt the grasslands to the mountains.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:53 am

Posts: 208
Location: Vallejo

Thanks as always for the detailed and well documented report.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:06 pm

Posts: 522
Location: Morro bay

very cool, mahigeer. i used to camp there for a week every summer all the way through high school. i remember fishing under the bridges on the hot days. awesome job with the kids too, guys Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:24 am

Posts: 101

"52—Of course where it says “no fishing”, some angler has to fish it. "

Thats where the best fishing is, if you can get away with it then you can get away with it. Dont ..... about. and i dont think you take that many pics, id prefer to be fishing then taking pics.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:31 am

Posts: 6425

Thanks for your kind words everyone.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:43 am

Posts: 876
Location: Southern California

great report thanks.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:10 am

Posts: 6425

Thanks Jed.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:08 am

Posts: 807

Nice report, i enjoy all the fishing and non- fishing pics myself. Gives a better feel for the overall experience. That said, im kind of lousyy at documenting my own excursions so i appreciate those who do it well. Props to you for stepping up to volunteer.
Let em go and let em grow
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:54 am

Posts: 202
Location: Ventura-San Simion

Man those first piqs look allot like cachuma lake not far from there, looks like a fun trip. My father used ta take me to Lopez lake every summer, we would load up our old aluminum 12ft skiff with gear and food and head around the other side of the lake where there is a real nice campsite and dock that aren't used very much cause the only way there is by boat. Thats the way to fish lopez if you can, way out away from the heavily fished spots, on a side note the dam is really good for just about everything stoked in that lake..
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 9:25 am

Posts: 6425

Thanks for the kind words guys.

The first few pictures are Cachuma lake. See caption above the picture.

I saw a boat pulled to the fish cleaning station, which must mean they had fish to clean. I also overheard that they caught them around the dam area.

Too far for me with kayak.
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