“Dad, I really, really want to go fishing with you.” Mason said, on more than one occasion. It is my belief that there is no such thing as too young to introduce kids to the outdoors. Mason has been to a few mountain lakes, and has loved it every time. So after a long weekend away fishing for carp, it was time to give a day to the kids. 

Twin Lakes is a great kid hike. It’s short, not very steep, and the lake itself is not a dangerous one to play in. We left Boise on time, and made it up to McCall, meeting up with Uncle Bryan. 

My youngest brother, Bryan, lives out of a van he manufactured himself. The original thought is “yuck, no way”, but if you had the tour of the van you would think otherwise. We all met up with Mike and Kerri McLean who are always up for a hike.

Together we all headed up to the lake. 

Mason stuck with his Uncle Bryan, while Cruz stayed with me. I had on our Osprey pack to carry him, but Cruz insisted he walk the trail. 

“He is doing so good.” Kerri said, as Cruz held my hand, showing no sign of giving up. 

“Yeah, and he’s saving my back too.” I joked.

“That’s the best part.” Mike said, “When he gets bigger he can pack in his own gear”.

Off to our left we heard the moo of a cow. Cruz stopped in his tracks to get a glimpse. Despite having just returned from Yellowstone, spotting all kinds of actual wildlife, seeing a cow while on a hike to a mountain lake must have been the most majestic thing to him in that moment. It was the only time on the hike he let me pick him up.

“There it is! There’s the lake!” I heard Mason yell from a far. The lake glittered invitingly as it came into view for me and Cruz.

Gracy, my wife, set out some snacks for us all to munch on and, after hiking up the entire way on the shortest legs, there was no one who deserved it more than Cruz. 

Bryan wasted no time blowing up his new Wilderness Light float tube to get to fishing, while I left mine behind to spend some time with the kids. 

Before our hike I had looked up the reports for this lake. It is no secret that Idaho Fish and Game planted tiger musky in some of the mountain lakes several years ago. However their stocking reports would suggest those tigers are no longer alive, but the lake seemed eerily calm. Still, I tried my luck with a pico spider as I walked the shoreline.

I could hear the kids playing with Gracy, as I walked off to fish for a bit. 

Other than the occasional tadpole, nothing was presenting itself. It is now my believe that the tigers in the lake are more than ok, and the only thing Fish and Game have done is deliver thousands of happy meals to these starving ambush predators. With this in mind, I switched up my gear to a sinking tip line with a wire leader and a yummy Dali Llama streamer as temptation. 

I could easily spend the day launching this streamer everywhere, but I didn’t want to spend the day fishing, so I handed Bryan my Orvis 10 foot 4wt. Recon, ready for tiger musky. If anything Bryan, being in his Wilderness Light, was going to have the best shot at nailing a fish. 

“Look, Daddy, I picked a mushroom!” Mason said, as I approached. He held up the little poisonous mushroom with a smile. 

“That’s very nice, Mason, but remember…”

“I’m not going to eat it Daddy.” He said, having heard the mushroom lecture many times. 

“Ok.” I said.

“They have been having fun looking for tadpoles, and Mason got to hold a frog…” Gracy said.

“You did, Mason?!” I asked.


“And I saw frog!” Cruz chimed in, with this two-year-old broken english. 

“That’s very nice, Cruz.” I said, happily. “You guys want to go look for more tadpoles?”

“Yeaaaaaaa!” Both kids yelled in unison. 

“Okay, let’s go.” And off we went.

We found a small grassy bank full of tadpoles, and the kids each wanted to hold one. In the interest of not squishing any, I went ahead and picked up a little tadpole for each one of them to hold. 

“Okay boys better get those back into the water.” I said, and the boys were happy to watch their tadpoles swim away. 

“Dad, are we going home now?” Mason asked, after the excitement of the tadpole slithered away. 

“Yes, I think it is time.” 

“Good!” Mason said firmly, and we walked back to regroup before the hike out. 

Mason was propped up on Uncle Bryan’s shoulders for the hike back and, even though he is still a student of dexterity, he took the time to raise up both of his thumbs signifying this was the only way to travel. 

Cruz opted to be in his pack on the way back. All the excitement of the day had finally caught up with him, and the little guy just couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer. 

Back at the vehicles, Cruz’s eyes popped open, and he was ready to get out of the pack. Both Mason and Cruz knew they had a special drink waiting for them in the cooler, and Mom was happy to hand them over. “Dinosaur!” Cruz said to me, showing me his juice. 

“Yes, Cruz. You have a dinosaur and I have Spiderman.” Mason explained, before they each tipped back the juice bottles as far as they could go. 

With each kid secured in their car seats, we all said our goodbyes and headed out for the day. The Princess and the Frog was the movie choice for the kids and, even though I have heard this show many many times, it’s better than the long drawn out hums on a bumpy road. 

“I need to get back to that lake with my float tube and a faster sinking line. Probably earlier in the day.” I said. 

“Um Hum…” Gracy mumbled. I shot her a look of slight distaste, because it was obvious she didn’t want to hear more about the lake…I continued anyways. 

“It would be best if there were more of us on the water. This lake is an easy hike.  I bet I could round up a few people who may be interested in coming up. It would be cool to get an underwater shot of a tiger. I would need tie up some of those Bauer pike flies… that would be the ticket!” I said with enthusiasm.  

“Yeah!” Gracy said with excitement, but her sarcasm was not getting by me. 

“Oh look!” Gracy said, “You put Mason to sleep…” 

I glanced back to see Mason all sprawled out in his car seat… 

“Poor guy. He did so good today.” I said.

“He did. So did Cruz.”

“Yeah.” I said, taking a quick glance at Cruz who was intently watching his movie. 

“We should come back up when the huckleberries are ready.” Gracy suggested.

“Sounds good to me.” I said, and we drove home, proud parents with happy kids in the back seat.

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