Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cedar Bark Beetle Larvae Part Deux

Just an update on the Cedar Bark Beetle Larvae. I spent another couple of hours busting rounds this morning and collected about 3 dozen. Apparently we have an infestation of some sort going on. I plan on hitting White Pines Lake on Tuesday and give them a try. There's a lot of gills and I want to see what happens with them.

My other option for a lake is Rancho Seco Lake but the Sacramento Valley is expecting temperatures near 100 for the next couple of days and White Pines Lake is at the Elevation of 3907 and the temperature will be around 78 degrees and much more comfortable.

I'll take my little Okuma, fly rod, and Tenkara rod. I think I can fit all three in the Float Tube Cumberland.

Stay tuned.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cedar Bark Beetle Larvae

I spent a couple of hours splitting Cedar rounds this afternoon and came across these guys.
Cedar Bark Beetle Larvae
Not quite that many, but a bunch. They range from a 1/2 inch to about an inch. They are white, fat, and have a head like a Lamprey Eel. They literally grabbed my glove and held on.

Lamprey Eel Mouth
So, here is my question. Has anybody used anything like this for bait and for what type of fish? I suspect I could collect a couple dozen in an afternoon of wood splitting and I'd hate to see them go to waste. I'm thinking a trout would probably like them, maybe Crappie or some other panfish.

Anybody got any thoughts?


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wind In My Hair, What Hair?

I've been having a little arthritis going on in my right hand so rather than split wood, sand the recently plastered sewing room, or swing flies with my fly rod I decided to just park somewhere and let some Power Bait soak. I had the option of Bear River, Silver Lake or run  up the hill to Caples Lake.   

As I drove up the hill (after coffee, of course) I passed Bear and when I looked at Silver thought it a bit low, so I continued to Caples. Parked in the lot by the spillway and after grabbing my gear, walked up and over the dam.  

What was calm in the parking lot was 10 to 15 mph sustained on the lake, in your face. I figured I could set up with my line into the wind rather than across it causing big bows in the line.

Now I know the pictures below don't look very windy, but trust me, it was.

To the right of where I was sitting

Almost straight across

The dam in the back of the picture
I tried to get a shot of the waves breaking over this rock which was right in front of where I was sitting.

Splash on the beach
After a little more than an hour, I was starting to get irritated with the wind constantly in my face (it would have helped had I gotten a bite or six) so I packed up and headed over the hill (Carson Pass Elevation 8574 ft) and down to Red Lake.

OK, so I'm a glutton for punishment. Remember I've not caught any Brook Trout in two years and for the last seven trips here I only have nine little Cutthroats for my troubles. I thought maybe, just maybe, I could snag a Brookie or two out of the area the two kayakers caught a couple in, last week.

Did I catch any Brookies? Of course not, BUT I did catch a bunch of those little Cutts like the one below. At least I think it's Cutt. It didn't have any color on the gills, but looked like one.

They were all seven, eight, or nine inches, but fun to catch. I caught ten total and missed another six or eyght (Notice the spelling? Sorry, I've been watching the Tudors on Amazon Prime and got carried away. Still lost? They spell eight, eyght and King, Kyng. English in the 15th century, Henry the 8th, who the hell knows. After all he lopped the head off two of his wives. Nice guy.)

One last thing. I found a small red/white bobber for the window sill and another GOLF BALL. What's with the golf balls and lakes? I think that makes eyght (there I go again, sorry) I've found.

I guess that's a wrap. Tomorrow I'm sanding walls in the sewing room. FYI, we are remodeling the wife's sewing room. Took all the wall paper and unfinished molding off the walls and removed the carpet on the floor. When were done, it will be repainted, new molding, base board, laminate flooring, and all new furniture. It'll be the sewing room she's always wanted.



Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Killer Of A Story

This is the last one I have (unless I remember something else) in the story category. This is a true story.

Back in the 1980’s my wife, at the time, worked with a girl named Pat. Pat had met this guy who was getting out of prison and she was going to marry him. So we went off to Reno and got them married. At the time I understand she was a practicing witch (you know good witch, coven, and all that) and she attested that because she was, this was the reason that the pictures we took at the wedding didn’t come out. That is a little thin, but I’ll go with it. 

As an explanation of why he was in jail, he said that he was a member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and that he served a sentence for attempted murder. He said that he was out of the club and that was all in the past. 

Since my wife and Pat worked together, it was logical that we also socialized with her and her new husband Dave. We went gold mining with them, went to the horse races, and had barbecues like most young couples do. After a time the relationship went it’s separate way. Is there more to this? Yes, keep reading. In the late 1980’s my wife and I went our separate way also, but we kept in touch. 

Enter the phone call one Saturday night in the early 1990’s from my ex-wife. “Turn on America’s Most Wanted” was all she said. So I did just that. 

The show goes like this. Police move in on an apartment in Reno and take Pat into custody. Then police SWAT teams are approaching an apartment in Sacramento, California and arrested one Dave Cox for murdering a young girl in Oregon. What the hell? Seems Dave and Pat picked up this young hitchhiker at a truck stop (they were driving truck cross country at the time) and Dave took her into the sleeper, raped and then killed her. They dumped her in a ditch by a culvert off Interstate 5. The girl was 14 years old. Dave had threatened Pat with death should she say anything about what had occurred and she was convinced that he would do it. Apparently Pat never said anything to authorities, but she mentioned something to one of her friends that prompted that person to contact the police resulting in Dave’s arrest. 

As the story unfolded, the comment came out that Dave just needed to kill someone once in a while. I spent time with this guy and he just needed to kill someone once in a while. What the hell is that? 

The last thing I heard was that since they were long haul truckers, authorities were looking into other murders across the country with a similar MO. Because of my curiosity, I’ve searched the Internet for information about Dave, but have not been able to find anything. I have no doubt that he got, at least, life in prison. I have searched execution lists in the State of Oregon, but didn’t find anything there. 

Pat wasn't charged because of the threats against her life and the last I heard, she was still living in Reno. 

I’ve been a fan of James Lee Burke for many years. In his Dave Robicheaux novels, Dave has a daughter named Alafair. James Lee Burke’s daughter, Alafair Burke, is also a very gifted writer like her father. When I read her first novel “Judgment Calls” it was so eerily similar to the Dave Cox story that I went on her blog and asked if it was written about him. Since she had been a Deputy District Attorney in Portland, Oregon I wondered, what are the odds? 

She didn’t have any knowledge of Dave Cox and her story was based on Keith Hunter Jesperson known as the “Happy Face Killer”. Well, you can’t win them all.  

How was that for a last story?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mountain Drivers

Let me set the scene for you. I'm driving down Highway 88, a clear mountain road. Speeds range from 35mph curves to 55mph (or more) on straight aways. Two lanes, one each way and about as wide as your normal city street.

I'm coming back from Bear River Reservoir yesterday and there is a white Chevy pickup in the front of the line, a dark gray Chevy pickup next, and them me. Behind me is a 40 foot tractor trailer loaded with hay to the tune of about 45,000 lbs to 50,000 lbs doing the same speeds we are.

Coming the other way is one half of a modular home preceded by the California Highway Patrol with full lights and sirens. Following that is another CHP with lights and then a pace car with a "WIDE LOAD" sign on the roof. Half of the modular home follows taking up all it's lane and two feet of our lane. OK, no problem just veer over to the side a bit and keep going, right? Naw, the white Pickup stops dead in the center of the road.

This, of course makes the gray pickup stop and then I have to stop, with the hay truck barreling down the highway behind me. The question here is, can he stop? The modular home goes by and the white truck moves as does the gray truck and me before I become a hood ornament for the hay truck.

Now comes the good part. The second half of the modular home comes with the CHP (lights & sirens) and the CHP (lights only), and the pace car with a "WIDE LOAD" sign on the roof. Same thing this time, it covers all of it's lane and two feet on ours. Again the IDIOT in the white truck stops in the middle of the road to let it pass, then he pulls off, well I have to say half on and half off the road and then stops to let us pass him. Don't forget that there is a line of traffic coming behind the two modular home vehicles that a good mile long (OK maybe 25 cars long). Oh, and also don't forget the 50,000 lb hay truck still barreling down the road behind me. WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH THIS GUY?

The guy in the gray truck passes and I pass and then we both dropped the hammer (little trucker talk). By the time the hay truck got to the white pickup, we were long gone with our bodies still intact. I don't know what happened from there. I hope nothing.

My point here is PAY ATTENTION when you're driving on mountain roads. Pay attention to what's in front of you, what's coming in the other lane, and what's behind you. Those guys pulling hay trailers CAN NOT stop on a dime and let me tell you, there are a lot of hay trucks running the mountain roads and they are hauling butt as well as hay.

So as they say on NYPD Blue "Let's be careful out there".  

All right, I'm done whining.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Just A Couple Of Pictures

Now as you all know, I can't tell you about this:

10 Inches
Or this:
10 Inches Too
Or this:

Same one as above
Or this:
17 Inches
So I'll tell you about Bear River Reservoir. I got there at 11:00am and set up one rod with rainbow Power Bait and the other I put a cricket (sssssh) under a bobber. While I was soaking both, I took a few pictures of the lake for your enjoyment.

Dam #1

Far Left

A Little Left
OK, nothing on bobber rig so I put out a second rainbow Power Bait, but this time with a little sweet corn scent. Forty five minutes and nothing so I reeled in the one with the sweet corn and this Crawdad was attached. 

Crawdad Acrobatics
The hook was lightly attached to the abdomen.

More Crawdad Acrobatics
Guy could get a job with Ringling Brothers.

OK, so the line was wrapper around a claw or four. I grabbed him behind the head and untangled the line while he kept pinching the pliers. You don't think I was going to put my fingers in there, do you?

I finally got him unstrung and put him back into the lake. He was such a good sport I couldn't put the Crawdad crunch on him. Now that I think about it, he was about the size of the lobster tails that Safeway was selling this past weekend for $5.00 apiece. Maybe I should have kept him. Does he count as a non-skunk catch? He was the only thing coming out of Bear today.

All right, short and sweet. Not sure where I'm off to next, but I'll let you know.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Story For This Sunday

You make the call...

During the years of 1968 and 1969 I belonged to a club called “California Varmint Callers Association”.  The club was established to work in conjunction with the Wool Growers Association and help control the varmint population in the high desert area of the Eastern part of Southern California.

Let me set the scene. Once a month we would have what the club called a “Fun Hunt”. The hunt lasted from Friday night until Sunday morning with the teams meeting at a restaurant in a little town called Adelanto in San Bernardino County, East of Los Angeles to check in the animals they scored that hunt. Each animal had a certain number of points and trophies were awarded at the next monthly meeting.

Back in 68 & 69 there were no concerns about protecting any particular species like today. We hunted Coyotes, Bobcats, Kit Fox, Badgers, and even Mountain Lions. The truck we hunted from had a tape deck with a loud speaker running a call that sounds like (and this is the only way I can describe it) a rabbit being hung upside down by its feet. It’s a sound you never quite forget. 

While one person is driving along, two of you are standing in the bed of the truck running two spotlights (one on each side of the truck) over the ground to spot the reflection of the animal’s eyes as they turn to look toward the sound and light passes above them. 

The one who spots the animal taps the cab of the truck so the driver will stop, the other person in the back gets his rifle, and when he’s ready the light is dropped and the animal becomes visible as if it is in daylight. Then the shot is made. 

On one trip, we were out in the Mojave Desert near Edwards Air Force Base. It was about 2:00am, clear, cold, and so black you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. We had stopped for a cup of coffee to try and keep our eyes open. We had been up since early in the morning because we all had worked that Friday, then met and drove out for the hunt. 

In the distance, and you have no way of knowing how far because distance at night distance is indiscernible, there was a set of three red lights in a triangle shape. The lights would twirl, then stop, then twirl again, then stop again. This went on for quite some time and then with a flash, disappeared.
Could it have been a UFO? Could have, after all we were close to Area 51. We were in the middle of nowhere. If you go out to the Internet there are many stories of UFO encounters in the Mojave Desert. You make the call.

Do you believe in UFO’s? No, let me ask you one question. There are over 400 billion planets out there; do you think we are the only one with intelligent life? 

One  more story to go. It's a killer of a story. 



Friday, September 14, 2012

Last Secret Lake Post

I've been getting so much grief about naming the secret lake back on 8/29 that this will be the last post about the lake. I want to note that it's so secret that everybody I talk to knows about it.  

Headed out at 0700 and snapped this photo of the sunrise just around the corner by Roy's house. I left a little early just in case I needed to put the trash back into the cans like last Thursday, but Mr. Bear was a good boy last night and stayed away. 

After a stop for coffee, I got to the lake with the intention of trying my new cricket flies I got earlier this week at American Fly Fishing Company, at the inlet, and on my fly rod. One was black and the other was beige. Both are foam flies so I started with the black on the surface. It's a little hard to watch a black fly in the early light, just in case you've never tried it. Then I added a small split shot and tried it just below the surface. With no interest I switched to the beige one and fished it the same two ways. I think I might have gotten a hit or it just could have been the fish hit something near the beige fly when I had it on the surface. It was one of those "not paying attention" moments.

After donating one beige cricket fly to the trees, I put on a Copper John under an indicator and with no interest I then went to a size 10 Stimulator because there seemed to be some increased surface activity, but here again, no interest. Always seems like the surface activity is just beyond casting range.   

About half way through, my ride to the truck arrived, but since I wanted to fish some more, I sent him on his way.
My ride, Yeh right...
I made one last try and put on a Zebra Midge, but ended up donating it to the trees too.
OK, so I've fished the secret lake and found the key and I may fish it again, but this will be the last post about this lake. So there you are. The secret lake is a wrap.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Oddity Of Bait Dunking

In Chapter 12 of Fishing, Ghosts, and My Mother's Gray Hair I talked about camping with my fishing buddy, his wife, and his parents in Hope Valley Campground. Now that I live upcountry, Hope Valley is just over the hill. The hill being Carson Pass (Elevation 8574 feet).

One of the places they took me to fish was a little lake that they called Lily Pad Lake. I gather the name came from all the lily pads floating around the lake. Last time I was up that way I stopped at the information center and got a map of the Mokelumne Wilderness which encompasses a vast amount of area around  Hope Valley. As I was perusing the map, I stumbled across none other than Lily Pad Lake. It was in the right place where I remembered it (keep in mind that I've not been to that lake since the summer of 1976) being. When I went there, it was hidden away from the road and was reputed to be a good Brookie Lake. We fished it and yes it was a good Brookie Lake.    

Aiming for Lily Pad Lake, I drove down a dirt road for what seemed like a hundred miles although I think only 5 or 10 and passed what I thought was Lily Pad Lake, but it was dry as a bone. Had to be the wrong place so I continued. Oh, did I mention I didn't bring the map with me? Of course I didn't. Why would I make myself look stupid like that.

I got to a T in the road and veered left and dropped down to the lake in the picture below. 

Across the lake

To the right
Yes I stopped and yes I fished and no I didn't catch anything. On the way back (plan B was to fish Upper Blue Lake which was right around the corner) if nothing panned out at Lily Pad Lake. Now if you don't know me very well, around the corner can be anywhere withing a 25 mile circle. You get the picture. Driving back out I stopped at what I thought was Lily Pad Lake again and it sure looked the same. You know, rock formations etc, but it has been a long time.

On to Upper Blue Lake, yeh the same place as last Friday and they were still biting. Now comes the oddity part. Last Friday I used two rods with rainbow Power Bait. I got all the hits and caught all the fish on the same rod. OK, not all that unusual. Today I got all the hits and caught all the fish on the same rod. The same rod as last Friday. Now it's starting to get to the odd part.

When it began again, I reeled in both rods and made both exactly the same. OK, I did a little experimenting. Both rods have the same line (Trilene XT 4# blue), same egg sinker (3/8 oz), same swivel (#7 gold barrel), same leader (4# Fluorocarbon 18 inches long) and same hook (#18 gold treble), same rainbow Power Bait. I placed them within 2 feet of each other and one rod got all the fish. How odd is that?

I brought 4 to hand (stocker Rainbows) and missed another 4 or 5. They weren't biting very hard and I think they were gumming the Power Bait and taking off with it. I dropped them off at Bob's for his stash.  

On the way out I stopped and took a couple of shots across and down the valley.
Nothing special just across the valley

Down the hill toward Hope Valley
OK, you'll love this. This hill is called the Nipple. It's the truth, would this face lie to you? The elevation is about 9300 feet which is probably why there are no trees on it. I was about 8300 feet when I took the picture. 

The Nipple
Once I got home, I looked at the map and the dry place was Lily Pad Lake. What had once been a beautiful lake was no more. Such a shame. The lake in the pictures is Lower Sunset Lake. Couldn't find anything on whether or not there are fish in the lake. Seems like there should be something more, but I can't think of anything.

Till next time.   


Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Story For Your Sunday

This is a story of what NOT to do when 4 wheeling. Enjoy. 

In the early 1980’s I did a lot of four wheeling and a lot of camping. One of the places I liked to go is called Upper Clementine Recreation Area on the North Fork of the American River above Auburn, California. Today this area is accessible only by hiking or mountain bike, but back then you could four-wheel your way as far as you could and nobody cared. 

In 1980 I purchased a Black Toyota 4x4 pickup. It was tricked out with a roll bar, KC lights (those 1 million candle power lights), and big tires. I took that truck everywhere. 

To access the camping place I liked in the Upper Clementine Recreation Area, you had to drive down a winding road to Lake Clementine, drive around the lake, and then from a parking area, cross the American River two, three, and sometimes four times until you reached the desired camping spot.
I had one particular spot I liked the best because it was on a bend in the river and had a nice pool that you could wash off when it got too hot and hot it got. Summer in Northern California at just below 1000 feet in elevation can easily be in the lower 100’s. 

Now that I’ve set the stage, here are several stories about that area. 

One weekend I thought it would be cool to take my gold dredge with me when I went camping. If you’ve ever mined gold in a river you know that a pool behind a big rocky area is a prime area for trapping gold. The spot I mentioned above was exactly like that and this area is part of the Mother Lode. While everybody else was doing whatever it was they were doing, I put the dredge into the pool. I got it running and with mask on, weight belt on, and regulator in my mouth (just like the one on a SCUBA tank) I went under water. 

Lying on the bottom of the pool, on top of the sand was a wallet. I brought it up and looked inside. There was a driver’s license for a guy who lived in Malibu (Southern California by Los Angeles), a pay stub from a local company, and about $200.00 in cash. I laid everything out on the hood of my truck to dry and celebrated my new found wealth. Then my wife (at the time) came into the picture. “Got to contact the guy, give him his money back”, all that goody, goody stuff. Personally I believed in finders keepers, but was over ruled.   

Now comes the Twilight Zone stuff. On the drive out we passed a bunch of guys doing what guys do on the river and the truck parked by them had the name of the company that was on the pay stub in the wallet. We stopped and asked if they knew the guy whose name was on the driver’s license. One guy said that was him and verified the address on the license. Turns out he was up there in May of that year (it was August) and lost his wallet. The $200 was from his paycheck he had just cashed. We gave him his wallet back with all the money in it and he gave us $20 for dinner. Good Samaritans all around.   

Another time camping in the same place, we were relaxing after a hot day, sipping an adult beverage when we heard a bunch of trucks coming up the trail. One of the trucks decided he was going to dash across the river, but in the middle of the river (keep in mind the river was about a foot deep at the crossing) his truck stalled. Do you think his friends would stop and help him? Oh hell no. They thought it was the perfect opportunity to drown the guy and his truck. So they split up, one going upstream about 100 yards and the other going downstream about 100 yards, turned around and began their run. Now, if you’re not familiar with vehicles before electronic ignitions, turning the key would allow you to inch the vehicle along, that is until the battery ran out of course. It was the only option this guy had other than being drowned and that is exactly what he did. He managed to get the truck up on the side of the river and from there I don’t know what happened because I went back to the adult beverages. We just considered it “on the river entertainment”. 

On that same weekend we again heard the loud whining of a vehicle racing up the trail. This time it was a VW dune buggy attempting to make a dash across the river. You have to understand that a lot of people out there in dune buggies and four wheelers aren’t very smart. Well this guy (and I’m assuming it was a guy) hit the river at about 50 miles per hour. Are you still with me? OK, when the water settled the VW was sitting in the middle of the river. I don’t know the condition of the driver or the VW. We just chalked it up to “on the river entertainment” and went back to the adult beverages. There were a lot of adult beverages consumed on those weekends. 

This time we’re at the initial crossing at the parking area somewhat early in the year. The previous week I had been up there and the water was running high and dirty, but this day it was lower and clear. In low range 4 wheel, I started across with the current. Half way across I realized that the other people we were with were not experienced enough to attempt this. If you read the book, you’ll remember the guy at Upper Sardine Lake and the girl with no clothes. Yup, same guy. I got across and turned around, got out of the truck and yelled at him to stay on his side. I guess he didn’t hear me because he started across. I jumped back into the truck and started back across, but this time bucking the current. I didn’t stop to think what I was doing, just wanted him to stop. Half way across the river, water (running over the hood) got into the carburetor and the engine died. He, on the other hand had stopped, but was stuck. 

Now we’re both stuck in the river and to our rescue came a guy in a Dodge Ramcharger. Guess what, he got stuck too. Are we having a good time or what? Meanwhile back at my truck, it’s going down for the third time. The river was washing away the sand and gravel under the tires and by then all that was above the water was the roof of the cab and the KC lights. 

Suddenly, out of nowhere this big Ford 4x4 appeared with a winch on the front. So big, in fact, that the chassis of the truck never touched the water when he crossed the river. “Eureka” (a little gold miner talk there) we were about to be saved. He winched out the Ramcharger, my friend’s truck, and finally my truck. I removed the spark plugs, turned over the engine a couple of times to push the water out of the cylinders, got it started, and drove home. Shortly thereafter I got a new truck.  

So take it from an experienced 4 wheeler and that the old adage that if you own a 4 wheeler you will get stuck at least 10 times. Doesn't hurt to have a winch on the front of your vehicle either, except when the only tree to tie onto is behind you. OH, and if you're 4 wheeling in mud, roll up the windows.

Words of wisdom from the Shoreman.