Calaveras business owners stock creek for love of fishing

Dennis Lee, left, helps Tim Goodson of Calaveras Trout Farms unload rainbow trout with the help of Lee’s grandson, Hayden Lee in Angels Camp.

A local man is hoping to hook others into the pastime of fishing.

Over the past 10 years – and consecutively for the past four – business owner Dennis Lee has been stocking a portion of Angels Creek with rainbow trout.

“The reason (Dennis) does this is because he grew up here,” said Michele Lee, Dennis Lee’s daughter. “Fish and Game used to plant the creek so kids could fish. Now they don’t do that.”

Dennis Lee and his wife, Vernagae, own and operate New Melones Storage, Lee-Way Construction, Murphys Inn Motel and Murphys Suites. They use the four businesses as sponsors of the project, purchasing the trout from Calaveras Trout Farm in Snelling.

On April 23, the Lees and a “whole bunch of people,” according to Michele Lee, showed up to help stock Angels Creek with 500 pounds of fish. The fish ranged in size from 2 to 5 pounds, although one stood out.

“There was a whopper in there,” Michele Lee said. “It was in the net with some others, and it was probably a 10-pounder.” The fish were planted in the portion of the creek that is referred to as “Fireman’s Hole,” and it’s near the Angels Camp Fire Department.

Dennis Lee wanted to continue the fish-planting tradition not only because he loves to fish, but because he wants children and adults alike to experience the joy of fishing, “and get out of the house and not be on their cell phones,” Michele Lee said.

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