Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Beautiful Lake.

When I was 11 or 12 years old, back in the early 70s, my family camped at a new lake in Tennessee, That lake was Tims Ford Lake which is located near Winchester TN. At that time, the lake was only a few years old and there wasn't much development around the lake. It almost seemed a little desolate. A few years ago, I painted this vintage style map of Tims Ford Lake. In fact, that's what I do, I paint lake, river, and bay maps, but more about that later.

Last week, my wife and I went on a road trip to Tims Ford Lake. I wanted to learn a little more about the lake, see how it has changed and take some photos.
There are are two large marinas on the the lake. We visited both of the marinas, Holiday Landing Marina and Tims Ford Marina. I don't remember these marinas when I was a kid, but I do remember a campground that we camped when I was a child. I couldn't find that campground and am not sure if it remains in business. The lake is beautiful and mostly treelined. I don't think that you can own property right up to the shore and that explains the feeling of remoteness.   
 
Our first stop was Holiday Landing Marina located on Fall Lick Creek. As you can see, the marina is snuggled right in the middle of Fall Lick Creek making for a beautiful setting. I have noticed that marinas are becoming more and more crowded during the spring and summer. I think that families are looking for a mini vacation and marinas fit that bill. 

There's a great grill at the marina appropriately named the Bluegill Grill. I heard that during the summer they have a fantastic band that plays on the weekends. I bet this place is lively on a summer Saturday Night. 

The next marina visited was Tims Ford Marina located on a small cove that branches off Anderson Branch Cove. TFM is a large marina with many amenities such as cabins, RV spaces, and boat rental. 


We stopped by the Hard Dock Cafe at Tims Ford Marina to see what's new. Even though it was early spring, many folks were at the cafe. While munching down on some great food, you can enjoy the wonderful view overlooking the marina.

Tims Ford is a beautiful clean lake and yes, you can even catch a trout! I haven't spoke much about fishing but, the tail waters of Tim Ford Lake, the Elk River, supports trout year round. Interestingly, the lake has kept it's feeling of remoteness while adding great amenities and attractions. Remember, get away from the big screen and get on a big stream!    

A bit about myself. About seven years ago, I began to paint lakes, rivers and bays maps in order to bring back those golden lake memories like the one above.

I call them "Leo Lakes Treasured Maps" and have painted over 200 from 36 states using USGS maps as guides. I feel like FORREST GUMP who started to run and run and run. I paint, and paint and paint rivers, lakes and bays. I have a goal to paint 1001. LeoLakes.com

They make a truly unique and special gift for the lake house owner, lake lover and fisherman. 
Here's what makes them so Special!

I hide a few fish and even a tiny mermaid in the waters of my lakes. Yep, but they're very shy and don't want to be found.Folks just love'm especially the kids. You might even think they move around overtime.

You will find no road names, county, or state lines on my maps. I have found that folks enjoy traveling the roads with their eyes, while trying to get their bearing. I call this the "Leo Lakes gaze."

I call my maps Treasured Maps because every treasure has a Ruby and so do my maps, each have a Red Ruby Meridian.

I add a vintage plane flying over my maps to signify an adventure to your treasured lake, river, or bay.

You will find wildlife in all my maps. These signify the natural beauty of your treasured lake, river or bay. I use wildlife that is common to the subject lake, such as Canadian Geese, Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagles and others.

You can add a star or symbol with a few words to mark that special place, it may be the location of the lake house, the spot where you caught that trophy fish or some grand view. This will make a very special gift for the lake lover. 

Did you know that you can always tell if its morning or evening on a Leo Lakes map? Just look at the shadows cast by the wildlife, is the shadow on the east or west? If it's on the west, then it’s morning time. Oh yeah, I have had folks tell me that they change through the day, but don't believe them.
My WEBSITE: LeoLakes.com















Friday, April 14, 2017

Bobber Logic


BaitRageous, trying to make bobbers fun, again! Wow, spring is here and I need to get my fishing licenses. I've just added a few more cartoons for your enjoyment. I named them "Get Comfortable", "Bobber Logic", and "Suspect", and an added bonus.





Leo Lakes Studio 
Check-out my maps, they make the best fishermen's gift! I have over two hundred on my website that can be purchased right from the site, or I can do custom and personalizes lake, river or bay maps, too. I have maps of Lake Winnipesaukee, Table Rock Lake, Greers Ferry, Lake Lanier, Gaston Lake, Choctawhatchee Bay, Toledo Bend, Raystown, and many others. Oh yeah, I hide a tiny fish in the waters of all my maps that folks love to search for. Find out more interesting facts about my treasured maps by going to LeoLakes.com


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Happy Fly Fisherman

I've been in Florida for the last week. While there, I took a great photo of this happy fly fisherman with his catch. Well, that's not really correct, it's actually an osprey. They do fly and catch fish, so fly fisherman is not too far off. 
I spotted this osprey near where we were staying and used my 300mm lens to get a good photo. As you can see, the osprey has caught something and is having lunch.
Looks like he/she has caught a sheepshead fish. Interestingly the sheepshead is often called the convict fish because of the black and white strips on its sides. This convict didn't escape the sharp talons of this osprey. Everyday this bird would catch a fish and have lunch on the same tree. It was always a sheepshead, I wondered why? Did this bird prefer sheepshead or was it because they are easy to catch. I don't know, but they are good tasting fish.
Check out these talons. They look just like hooks and there's four on each leg. These are better than a Alabama fishing rig.
What does this osprey do at night? It roosts in the same tree that it has lunch in. Well, this one did anyway. I hope you have enjoyed these beautiful birds.

Check-out my maps. My maps make great gifts for the lake house owner, lake lover, or fisherman. I have over two hundred on my website that can be purchased right from the site, or I can do custom and personalizes lake, river or bay maps, too. I have maps of Lake Champlain, Lewis Smith Lake, Lake Tahoe, Lake Sinclair, Norfork Lake, Pickwick Lake, Lake Bob Sandlin, Lake Conroe, Lake Winnebago and many others. Oh yeah, I hide a tiny mermaid in the waters of all my maps that folks love to search for. Find out more interesting facts about my treasured maps by going to LeoMaps.com

Oh yeah, this is part of my studio, "here a map, there a map, everywhere a map, map!" 



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Water Dog

In the studio, I have a stuffed dog that I call Lucy that is in honor of my beloved childhood dog. Lucy was a mix breed and loved the water. Whenever we traveled to a river, lake or bay, you could bet that Lucy was in the water. 

Paddle over to my website, LEOLAKES.com. I paint beautiful lake, river and bay decor maps. Folks are discovering that these decor maps are wonderfully unique gifts that become family heirlooms. Oh yeah, I hide things in the lake waters, such as a tiny mermaid/fish. Folks love to search for them. I call my maps, treasured maps because most folks have that special body of water that they treasure. My treasured maps make a great Christmas gifts for the fisherman, lake lover, or Lake house. 

As you can see, my maps make a great gift.  Orders are picking up during the holiday's, so order soon. Click here www.LeoLakes.com for more information.
Remember, "Life is short, get away from the big screen and

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Cystal Blue Rhodhiss Lake

Snuggled against the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a crystal blue clear lake with beautiful panoramic views. That lake is Rhodhiss Lake. Located about 1 hour away from Winston-Salem and Charlotte, North Carolina, making it just far enough to keep it peaceful, yet close enough for the urban amenities.



The lake is fairly small with a surface area of 3,060 acres and 90 miles of shoreline. Boating and fishing are the main recreational activities. Rhodhiss Lake is becoming known as a tournament lake by the increasing number of fishing tournaments being held. What makes this a special lake? Probably, the sandy bottom, which makes for some crystal clear water and the beautiful mountain views. The decor map above, is a custom map that I did for a customer who lives on Rhodhiss lake. I paint lake, river, and bay maps, both custom and personalized. See more at my website www.LeoLakes.com.

Life is short, get away from the big screen and get on a big screen!



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What is a rain crow?

It was a hot, mid-summer day near Sims Bridge on the Duck River, I was fishing with my dad.  Kook! Kook! Kook! "Hear that" I said to my dad. "What bird makes that sound?".  "That's a rain crow." said my dad.  "Why is it called a rain crow" I said. "Because they say that when it calls, rain will follow shortly". Well, that was the last question that my ten year old brain had about the rain crow and it was almost fifty years ago. My dad had a great deal of knowledge about this river and our family has a long connection to this water.  In 1937, my father's family moved near the river and has been coming to this same spot for over 80 years!


Just last year, on the banks of the Duck, in the same spot, I heard "Kook! Kook! Kook! ".  I had a flashback. I instantly remembered that moment almost fifty years ago setting on the banks of the Duck River. When I arrived home that night, I did some research on the Rain Crow. I found that it is called a Cuckoo and locally it may be called a Rain Crow because it's call is normally on a hot, mid-summer day or before a thunderstorm. It is believed that the clap of thunder will set it to calling. They breed in the Eastern U.S. and winter in South America. Interestingly, they are only one of a few birds that eat hairy caterpillars. The best that I can tell, they live about five years. So, that bird could have been the 10th to 20th grandfather of the original bird fifty years ago. Kook! Kook! Kook.... 

I wanted a map of this beloved river, but found that you couldn't find really nice river maps. So, I created my own map. Here's one of the first test map that I painted back in 2010.
I enjoyed creating the map so much, I turned it into a business. After many tries, I finally perfected my style and created Leo Lakes Treasured Maps. You can find out more about my maps at LeoLakes.com.



Monday, February 20, 2017

Centerfold....?

Oh baby, I made the centerfold. My first! Here's the story. This publication called me and asked if they could use one of my maps in their magazine. Of course, I said yes and believe it or not, they used it as the centerfold. Now I can say, I was in a centerfold, sort of...oh yeah, my wife is jealous!     


Anyway, do you need a great gift for the lake house, lake lover, or fisherman? If you do, check-out my treasured decor maps ay LeoLakes.comHere is a recent comment from one of my customers: 

"Hi Larry, I received the maps yesterday and they are beautiful.  Thank you for shipping them so quickly. I’m sure the folks that I give them to will treasure them. Thanks again, Evelyn"


I call my maps treasured maps because most folks have that special body of water that they treasure. These maps make great gifts for the lake house owner, lake lover, or fisherman. I have over two hundred on my website that can be purchased right from the site, or I can do custom and personalizes lake, river or bay maps, too. If you would like to see more and read about my treasured maps go to LeoMaps.com.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Tramp Stamp, Drop the weapon, Awkward bobber photos

Yes, I'm still on the bobber cartoon kick because, "I'm trying to "Make Bobbers Fun, Again". Here's a new batch! Enjoy.....






Check-up my vintage style Lake, River and Bay Maps at LeoLakes.com. We have many popular lake maps such as the Lake Winnipesaukee map, Great Sacandaga Lake map, Lewis Smith Lake map, Pickwick Lake map, Greer's Ferry Lake map, Lake Sidney Lanier map, Lake Sinclair map, Table Rock Lake map, and Lake Wallenpaupack map. These vintage style lake maps are great for the lake house. Also, we paint custom maps and have personalized maps for that special someone. Go to www.Leolakes.com to see if we have your map.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

My Reel History


I was looking through my dad's tackle box the other day and found some interesting stuff. I believe this is from the late 60s or early 70s. Can you believe fishing line for $.23 or 60 hooks for $.98. My father was old school, using only braided line and only baitcasting reels. The line weight was in the 25 lb. range. I remember casting his reel many times. Each time, I would reach back and cast a long cast, watching the bait zoom across the water and splash down. Unfortunately, I would look down at the reel and find "the mother of all backlashes". Have you ever tried to un-backlash a backlash? Well, it's like putting toothpaste back in the tube, after you've brushed your teeth.    

This is the reason, that I prefer to fish with an open faced reel. In fact, I was the typical 1960s fishing kid that grew up using a Zebco 202. This was a great reel for a kid, you almost couldn't destroy it. It was like the Energizer Bunny and kept going. I out grew the 202 as a teenager and moved to a wonder reel, a Mitchell 300. Ohoo, this was a smooth reel that would cast forever. It was like driving a red sports car with the top down and a hot blonde in the passenger seat, sort of. I still have that reel, but it has been taken out of service for posterity's sake. Anyway, this is my reel history...


Check-out my lake, river and bay maps at LeoLakes Treasured Decor Map! Great maps for the lake house. Also, makes a great gift for the fishermen.  www.LeoLakes.com





Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Find My Map, in the new TV series?

A few months ago, I got a call from a TV Studio. They wanted to use one of my maps as a prop in an new TV series. The series was planned to premier in February. They were interested in my Lake Conroe map and by the way, beautiful Lake Conroe is located in the great state of Texas. I shipped the map a few months ago and have been waiting for February to arrive. All this time I have been wondering how will they use the map, will it be displayed in an office, behind a desk of the main character? Will it be prominently displayed in every show or only be a quick flash during one show? 

Guess what, I will find out tomorrow, February 2nd starting at 9:00 PM Central Time. The show will be on CBS. Oh, I forgot to tell you the name of the show. The show is called "Training Day" and it's a cop show that sounds like it will have an interesting plot. Be watching and see if you can find my map. I'm planning on playing the drinking game while watching the show. You know this game, you take a drink every time you see a specific object or hear a specific word. Soooo, when I see my Lake Conroe Map, I will take a drink. If I wake in the morning and have a headache, then I will know that my map was a success....  

Checkout my maps, makes the best valentines gift for the fisherman, lake house, or lake lover......LeoLakes.com

Monday, January 23, 2017

A "Bass Pro Shop Bomb" went off in my man cave.

I've taken a few days to work on the entrance of my studio. Yes, it does look like a "Bass Pro Shop bomb went off in a man cave", but believe it or not, I don't think that I purchased any of these items at Bass Pro, however I do love BPS. I painted the painting/maps and added the Great Blue Heron to the door panels. I made the fishing pole lamp and added the old tackle boxes, which were my dad's.  I was born and raised to honor all things lake, rivers and bays. I have been lucky to turn what I love into a nice little business. This area gives me inspiration as I walk though the doors on my way to the studio. 


Now, check-out the photo. See anything interesting? In the lower, middle of the photo, I had a canadian goose photo bomb this picture. Yes, he stuck his head up just as I snapped the picture.

Also, check-out my maps, they make the best fishermen's gift! I have over two hundred on my website that can be purchased right from the site, or I can do custom and personalizes lake, river or bay maps, too. I have maps of Lake Winnipesaukee, Table Rock Lake, Greers Ferry, Lake Lanier, Gaston Lake, Choctawhatchee Bay, Toledo Bend, Raystown, and many others. Oh yeah, I hide a tiny fish in the waters of all my maps that folks love to search for. Find out more interesting facts about my treasured maps by going to LeoMaps.com