Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Finding your secret fishing hole. Part Two of Two

by: Bill Prater 2/5/2019

Note:  this article also appears on Fish Explorer.

In Part One we used Google Earth Pro to introduce historical imagery to look back in time as water levels of lakes, ponds and streams fluctuate. Let’s take that further and explore the prehistory of a new lake: BLUE HERON LAKE in St. Vrain State Park near Longmont, Colorado. It was opened to the public a few years ago. Before that Colorado Parks and Wildlife transformed it from the spoils of an old gravel quarry into a nice little lake with reefs, humps and other intriguing underwater structure. If you didn't have a chance to look it over as it was being built, you can still look back on the building process using historical imagery. 
After reading through this, I'm hoping you log onto the free Google Earth Pro application and get familiar with how it works, particularly the slider that moves you between the current satellite images and ones taken over the past three decades. Here's the link to get started: http://support.google.com/earth/answer/21955?hl=en 

When you're ready, log onto Google Earth Pro and search for St. Vrain State Park. Zoom in on Blue Heron, the biggest pond in the cluster. See something interesting? The lake bottom at the end of the boat ramp? Intriguing weed beds or underwater humps? 

Probably not; again, Blue Heron was created from an old gravel quarry, and bulldozed into shape to attract and hold fish. The most recent image shows a kind of boring pond full of dark water. But there’s more there than meets the eye.

Check out the two images below. The one from May 31, 2018 just shows water and a small island on the southwest corner. Now enlarge the other one taken when the lake was filling, Oct. 7, 2012.
If you were in the application right now you could zoom in and study detail. But even here you can spot emerging weed beds and at least 10 humps or gravel reefs created by the construction crew. Check out the edge where rip rap ends and other lake features begin. I put a yellow placemarker on a hidden east-west hump just west of the island that is now the lone visible structure. Here’s something else important to remember: any coordinates or waypoint you place on the dry lake bed will be a coordinate or waypoint AT THE SAME SPOT AND IN THE SAME SCALE on the latest Google Earth image. That's pretty cool stuff: If you use a fish finder, you have an even better head start at finding where the fish are hiding.

If you slide back even further, the image from Oct. 27, 2011 shows the lake under construction. You can learn something there, too. 

That’s it! The software has all sorts of other powerful tools you can use to use and share fishing maps, but I admittedly don't know how to use at least some of them. Just wanted to share something I find useful. Honest, Google won't even give me a T-shirt for telling you this. Hope you find it useful, and let me know what you think.
Blue Heron at full pool. Quite a bit of hidden structure can be identified. Not the waypoint in open water just west of the little island. Coordinates are the same as the waypoint from 2012, when the lake was filling...
Same view as above, made while the lake was filling. Another view, while bulldozing was still underway, is also available...

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