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Picture yourself beside the cool waters of a countryside lake on a warm summer afternoon. Branches of nearby oaks protect you from the hot sun overhead as you languidly relax with your fishing pole and bobber; patiently waiting for a nibble while mentally drifting off with the dragonflies and June bugs that hover in the air just above the surface of the water. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are in Kansas, however, because this very same type of freshwater fishing experience is also available right here in northern Baja!

South of Ensenada, just past the steadily expanding poblado of Maneadero, Las Cañadas offers a recreational retreat that is a bastion of bucolic delight, featuring lush groves of trees, picnicking and camping facilities, a swimming pool and, perhaps most importantly to anglers, a well stocked lake!

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Mark Twain once wrote, “I reckon that catfish is fit food for just about anyone.” This comment should be of particular interest to anglers of all ages who visit Las Cañadas. As an adjunct to the numerous other amenities and activities at the park, their lake also features an opportunity to catch a couple of fish species that happen to be excellent table fare.

In addition to the aforementioned catfish, which is tasty when the fillets are dredged in cornmeal and quickly fried in hot oil, a species of African perch known as tilapia are also available. The tilapia has become an important fish in the development of Mexico’s aquaculture industry for a few very good reasons; they are hearty, easily raised ...and are absolutely delicious! Their delicate fillets are a gourmet delicacy when dipped in egg, rolled in Japanese panko breadcrumbs and then lightly sautéed in garlic butter.

Tilapia can be caught using a #6 to #8 baitholder hook on a 15 to 30 inch leader with 2 to 4-pound test line that is positioned under a ‘float’ or ‘bobber’. Catfish, on the other hand, generally feed deeper in the water column. They require a #4 to #6 baitholder hook on a 12 to 18 inch leader (6 to 8-pound test line) with a small weight or ‘split shot’ above the leader so that the rig will sink to the bottom. Nightcrawlers and common, red garden worms are probably the best baits for both species.

It's never too late to teach kids how to fish …and it's never too early either. Keep it simple by using basic hook and line technique like a ‘bobber’ rig. Telling a child that they will be going out and catching a 10-pound catfish, or taking a hundred fish on the first trip is a fairy tale. Teach patience, kids need to learn early that fishing isn't always about catching, or they might get the wrong idea about the sport.

Remember, children may not always be ideal candidates to become top-notch anglers. They've got short legs, low endurance and can drink their weight in water; but if you want to get out of the house and enjoy a relaxing day on a private lake, there’s no better place in Baja Norte than at Las Cañadas.

In addition to fishing and picnicking, visitors can also enjoy a wide variety of other activities. The beautiful scenery surrounding this lush compound offers an invigorating taste of the native flora and fauna that can be savored either on foot or from the seat of a mountain bike. Guided bus excursions for those with an interest in ecotourism are also available for groups up to 15 visitors, which last about an hour. During this time, passengers will be treated to the impressive beauty of a region that also includes an interesting trek exploring the primitive splendor of the Canyon of Las Animas. This area is known for the Agua Blanca fault, considered to be one of the longest crevices of its kind in Baja California Norte. The park also has three volleyball sand courts, one basketball court and three small grass football fields. And, of course, there is a complete playground area for families with young children.

The next few months hold some of the best opportunities of the year to take a momentary break from Baja’s magnificent seashore. Enjoy a day of rural relaxation while soaking up the sunshine in this family oriented venue, and treat yourself to a step back in time to an experience that is far more in tune with the rustic American Midwest than it is with the world of surfboards and lobster tacos.

But one thing is certain: if you want to get out and enjoy a relaxing day on a private lake, there’s probably no better place in Baja Norte than at Las Cañadas.

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The campground offers an amazing array of recreational amenities for both single and multi-day use, and is located at KM 31.5 on the Transpeninsular Highway south of Ensenada and Maneadero. Additional information is available at: http://www.lascanadas.com/

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