Area lakes make us Proud to Call It Home

KANSAS CITY - Larry Rader is one of many local folks who enjoys spending time at local lakes doing what he loves.

"It's something my dad taught me when I was younger," explains Larry as he reels in his fishing line.  "I love being in the outdoors just relaxing."

While Missouri is rich in big lakes from north to south that draw millions of tourists each year, the metro provides nearby bodies of water that provide regular and frequent fun.

We caught up with several people, like Larry, doing their think on the lakes at  Longview, Jacomo and Blue Springs.

"It's the excitement of never knowing what you're going to get," continues Larry. "You never know what's on the other end of that line. It could be a 10 pound fish or a two pound blue gill."

While some like to catch the fish, others enjoy the frenzy of feeding them.

"It's fantastic!" smiles Duane Williams from Independence.

We all pause for a while just to take in the sight and sounds of fish flapping over each other in competition for William's food.

As the sun begins to set, we make our way to

Shawnee Mission Park Lake

where the fish keep biting into the night and Allen Rankin is baiting his hook.

"Midnight. That's the best time to fish for catfish," says  Allen. "I caught a pretty big catfish about 3 or 4 pounder."  He shows us just how big with the spread of his two hands.

More fish stories are told as Drew Dusek and David Scott join in the conversation. 

"We both caught two cats.  Mine was bigger though."

We break for the night and return with the sun along with more vistors who a new challenge.

Brent  Todd of Overland Park, Kansas, just bought a new water toy and has just loaded it into the water.

"We're kayaking," he explains enthusiastically.  "I just got these a few weeks ago and we decided to take these out for their first voyage."

Brent pushes away from shore and he's gone.

Those left behind on shore still find plenty to do. Dr.  Casey Johnson, Shawnee, Kansas  was oiling his bicycle chain as we approached.

"A lot of triathlon people train here because this is where the triathlon, the Shawness Mission Triathlon is," explains Dr. Johnson.

Everyone we talk with points out these great lakes are made better because of their locations and proximity to the metro.

Gordon Julich is Superintendent of Jackson County Parks and Recreatation. Simply put, he explains they are literally in our backyards.

The idea for nearby lakes first came about in Jackson County when President Harry Truman was Presiding Judge in 1932.  He called for a report detailing plans for park development along what eventually became Lake Jacomo. The name taken from the first two letters of Jackson and County along with the two letter abbreviation for Missouri.

"Harry Truman conceived the original idea for lake Jacomo," says Julich.  His vision would take two more than two decades to come to life. It was on Memorial Day in 1959, that Lake Jacomo opened to the public.  Last year the Lake celebrated 50 years of what has become a weekly routine visit for many families.

"You can take the kids to soccer practice or t-ball practice on Saturday morning and be on this lake in the afternoon," explains Julich.

Bigger lakes hours away in the Show-Me-State have their draw, but metro residents we talked to agree with Julich.

"Having this close by makes it easy," says Brent Todd.  "We just decided to come an hour ago and we just threw these (fishing poles) in the back>"

Our local lakes, just another reason we're Proud  To Call It Home.

We know there are numerous nearby lakes that are equally fun. Leave us a comment telling us your favorite local lake and why you enjoy it so much.  Include a picture, if you have one and describe the lake action or family event.

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