Friday, May 30, 2014

Tragedy Strikes

Yesterday at 3:00 pm I went out and checked on Momma and the babies. All was OK with Momma keeping them warm.

At 5:30 pm my wife went out to look at them and what she found was very disturbing. We thought, being on top of the electric box they would be safe from everything. Wrong.

The nest was on the ground and three of the four babies as well as Momma were gone. The fourth baby was dead lying on the deck.

I don't know what happened, but I can only guess that maybe a Hawk or some other predatory bird in the area found it easy pickings.

It's very sad. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Is It A Fish Or Is It Live Bait?

First, a few baby bird updates.

Momma from two feet
 She really isn't scared of us at all.

They are coming along

My wife wanted to make sure we had enough pictures. 
On to fishing. 

My next door neighbors son was up at Bear River Reservoir over the weekend and caught a couple pretty good sized Rainbows. Since my last foray up there was so bad (with the road construction and all) and the fact that the guy said they would be out of there by Memorial Day (last Monday) I thought I'd take a little drive up and wet a line.

Got to the turn off and in less than 100 yards there was a stop sign. On the sign it said "Wait for the pilot car". I pulled up behind the one person in line and waited for the pilot car. After ten minutes (while many cars were driving up the road) there was no pilot car in sight, I made a frustrated U-turn and screamed out of there. I'm guessing it will be my last trip to Bear River this year. OK, so they pissed me off.

I was low on gas so I just went the 13 miles up to Silver Lake. Went to pay the $5.00 parking fee and there were no envelopes. Cool, free fishing again.

Walked out to the same spot I fished last Friday and put one rod out with rainbow Power Bait and one with a mini-crawler and those white floaty things.

Less than five minutes later I brought the first of eleven fish to hand. I picked and chose until I had five good ones, the other ones released for another day. This whole extravaganza lasted 2 hours and 15 minutes.   

Couple of things to note. First, ten of the fish came on rainbow Power Bait. Second, the one that came on the mini-crawler wasn't anything to write home about. No record broken by this fish. In fact, I would have had to lay it on a rock, grab head and tail, and stretch it to make 5 inches.  

Looks a lot bigger in the picture, huh?

No record Rainbow here
Just to put this into perspective, under the white floaty things is the eye of a #6 bait hook. The point is sticking out of it's mouth. It got gently put back and hopefully it learned it's lesson. What was that lesson? Don't bite a worm under white floaty things.

At 10:10 (that would be 2 1/4 hours after I got there) I packed up the five I meant to keep and headed back down the hill to run a couple errands in town.  

I'm actually surprised that some big (Rainbow, Brown, Mackinaw) something didn't drive by and grab that little Rainbow.

Now for a little tantalizing information. I stumbled on a new lake and a small creek that is on the way to that lake. While we are on our June camping trip, I plan on checking out both places. No, I'm not telling you where it is. You'll just have to wait. That's the tantalizing part. DFW stocks the lake so there should be fish in it. The creek? Who knows. There is a story that goes along with the road to the lake. I'll tell you that story then too. 

Stay tuned. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

About A Bird

Not about fishing.

I was BBQing back on 5/22 and I noticed a bird fly away from right next to where I was standing. Kind of startled me because it took off about 3 feet from me. You usually can't get anywhere close to that with wild birds.

When I looked over I noticed a nest on the top of our electric box.

The nest
 I'm nosy enough to take a look. See what I found......

 I'm not much of a bird person so my guess is that it's a Wren.

Mom sitting on the eggs
Anyway Mom has been sitting on the eggs for a while and a couple days ago I got a chance to look in the nest (I won't disturb her while she's there) and now there are 4 little fuzzy baby birds there. They are a little hard to distinguish, but if you make the picture big you can see them pretty well.

Soon they will be little peepers just like Mom. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

A Rare Occurrence Indeed

Thought I'd get a head start on the Memorial Weekend crowd. I headed up the hill and after the usual coffee stop at Cooks Station, stopped at my usual place at Silver Lake.

Now, if you're getting tired of seeing pictures of Silver Lake, let me know and I'll stop taking them.

Got started a little late so I got to the lake just before 0900. I walked out to my usual spot and it was occupied by a couple gentlemen who had a few fish on the stringer already.

I walked to a couple other places and finally landed to the left of where they were fishing. In chatting with them, came to find that one was a fan of my column in the newspaper. He says he's seen me before, but didn't know who I was. A new friend was made. 

I put one rod out with rainbow Power Bait and before I could put the second one out with a blown up crawler, I already had the first hit of day. It turned out to be a little 10 inch stocker so I cut him loose for another day.  I left the rod with the crawler out for about an hour and then replaced it with a couple of those white floaty things and a new crawler, but nobody wanted worms today.

After a while I pulled that rod in and put my little Okuma out with an 1/8th oz sinker and a dab of Power Bait. They were biting pretty good, so why not go with 2# for a little light action fun.

From then until about 10:30 it was hit after hit and I finally got one about 12 inches for the stringer. From 10:30 to about 11:15 it got quiet so I snapped some pictures.

Still some snow across the way

Glass calm
You have to make the next picture large to see the bugs flying around. I couldn't tell what they were, but there were a bunch of them. Nothing on the water and no surface action so I don't know if they were relevant or not.  
Bugs, you have to look close
 The the action picked up again, which brings me to the title of this post. Silver lake is famous for it's Mackinaw Trout. You might also know it as Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush), a member of the Char family. I've heard stories of 20 and 30 pound Mackinaw coming out of Silver Lake, caught by those boat guys trawling crawlers with flashers or Rapalas or something, but I've never heard of anyone catching one from the shore.

That changed today. I got a bite on one of the rods with rainbow Power Bait and when I got it in, it was the fish below which is a Mackinaw. Once again it was one of those fish that don't fit in the net. I weighed it at 2 lbs. 1 oz. on the handy dandy Berkeley digital scale. A rare occurrence for sure.      

Mackinaw Trout

I would have let it go, but is was bleeding pretty bad so I put it on the stringer instead. When I got a good look at it, I think the reason it bit on the Power Bait had to do with it's lower jaw. Seemed pretty deformed from ??????? My guess would be that it was looking for anything it could find to eat.

Look at the bottom jaw
Around 10:00 the guys next to me left and a family came to take their place. Now this family had a couple little guys maybe 5 years old. I found myself with two rods bouncing so I set the hook on one and with the help of one of those little guys (he reeled in the fish) brought a nice 11 inch Rainbow to the net and on his stringer. He landed it after all so he should have kept it.

I kept five including the Mackinaw and one Rainbow in the pound to pound and a half range. All in all, not a bad day.   

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hashima Island

I've always been a great James Bond fan. Even before they started making the movies back in 1962
 (Dr. No) I'd read all the James Bond books that Ian Fleming wrote.

Most recently they have progressed from the suave James Bond (Sean Connery and Roger Moore) to more of the action hero (Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig) movie. There were a couple other James Bonds, but to me and this is just my personal opinion, weren't James Bond material.

In the last movie, Skyfall, I was intrigued by the island where James Bond was taken and met with Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem). I never found out where it was until I ran across something on MSN about "weird" places and there it was.

Hashima Island is an old coal mining facility off Japan. At one time it was the most densely populated places in the world. I thought it was some nuclear devastated place, but I guess they wouldn't make a movie in a place like that.       

Hashima Island
If you saw Skyfall, you'll remember this plaza as the big shootout place.

A view of the "plaza"
And if you saw the movie, how could you forget this guy?

Javier Bardem
The island was abandoned in 1974 when coal lost it's demand. If you want to read more, here is the link to Wikipedia: Hashima Island

So, if you haven't seen Skyfall, don't until you see Casino Royale because there is a link between Bond losing Vesper Lynd (Eva Green, she alone is worth watching Casino Royale) and finding those who killed her in Quantum of Solice. Then watch Skyfall. It's like all James Bond movies, you need to watch them in order.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Weekend At Pine Flat Lake

Loaded up the Clipper and headed out about 11:00 am for the 4 1/2 hour drive to Pine Flat Lake about 40 miles East of Fresno, California.

Estimated temperature for Friday at the lake was 95 degrees. Might have been 95, but it felt like 115. You have to keep in mind that this was the first really hot day we've run into this year so of course it felt hotter than it really was. I haven't sweated that much since last summer.

Once again, the campground was not what we expected. On the other hand, we had originally planned to stay at Island Park Campground run by the Corp of Engineers and the one we stayed at was a private campground called Lakeridge. 

This is the picture off their website. 

This is what we got.

Our spot for two nights.
At least we were the only ones in the seven campsites. Makes for a nice quiet time.

We tried out our new Weber Smokey Joe "Jumbo Joe" grill with a couple of turkey burgers on Friday night and chicken breasts on Saturday night.

Weber Jumbo Joe
Once we got set up Friday we set off on a reconnoiter trip. First was down to the Kings River which flows out of Pine Flat Dam. I forgot to tell you that the plan was to meet Dan from The Impractical Fishermen on Saturday and fish the Kings, so I wanted to see what and where our options were before Dan got there.

Found some nice tailwater just below the dam and a good place to park. OK, good to go. We wandered further down the river and stumbled across a place I camped, back in the 80's, with my Brother and Sister-in-Law. It is where I initially wanted to camp, but couldn't for the life of me remember the name of the place and because it's more of a park than a campground I probably would have never found it anyway. If you look on Google Maps it is only listed as a park, but if you go to the actual website they do list camping.

Dan show up Saturday morning, but he gets the pleasure of writing the post, so go here to see how it went.

On the way back to the campground, we wanted to see what Island Park was like since we had made reservations and cancelled because of some pictures of the campsites. Once we got near the campground, the last mile was what I would call a switchback road. I couldn't see how anyone could get our little 17 foot trailer down that road let alone something larger. With it being as hot as it was, I'm sure the spot we had picked would have been awful at best. Glad we switched although, as I mentioned above, the one we got wasn't all that good.  

We hung out Saturday night and headed home early this morning. Next weekend trip is mid-June and we're headed up to Hope Valley for three days.

Now back to normal fishing.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ice Fishing

If I offend anyone, I apologize in advance.

Blonde  goes ice  fishing

A blonde wanted to go ice fishing.
She'd seen many books on the subject,
and finally getting all the necessary tools together,
she  made for the ice.
After positioning her comfy footstool,
she started to  make a circular cut in the ice.
Suddenly, from the sky, a voice boomed,
Startled, the blonde moved further down the ice,
poured a thermos of cappuccino, and began to cut yet another hole.
Again from the heavens the voice bellowed,

The blonde, now worried, moved away,
clear down to the opposite end of the ice.
She set up her stool once more and tried again to cut her hole.
The voice came once more,

She stopped, looked skyward, and said,
The voice replied,


It is about fishing. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

National Take Your Cat Fishing Day

This is not widely known by many, but yesterday May 10 was National Take your Cat Fishing day. Yeh, I didn't know it either, but stumbled across it on the Internet (you know, everything is on the Internet).

So, being one that promotes taking your kids fishing, I thought it a good idea to take the "kids" fishing.

I rousted them out early. I think it was around 9:30 am or there about. Told them we were going fishing and all I got was whining. Not so much from my "son" Jasper because he doesn't whine about much, but the girls, princesses both.

I got things like "I don't want to go fishing". "Ugh, worms". "Do we have to?" I just decided to take Jasper and leave the girls home. You just can't force princesses to do anything. 

Jasper waking up in Dad's chair

The girls immediately occupied the chair when Jasper got down.
I hooked up Jasper in his harness and leash and we headed out the door. It took a little dragging to get him through the doorway because none of the cats are allowed outside and for some reason it terrifies them. Might be all the other animals they see out the windows, who knows.

I got him into the truck and just to get him in the mood, I gave him a sniff of Pro-Cure Trophy Trout bait scent. It's his favorite so I figured it would settle him down. It did a pretty good job, he was only hanging off the truck roof by two feet instead of all four.

The drive up to Silver Lake wasn't too bad, I think I only have scratches over 60% of my body. When we got parked, I got my gear and we walked, actually Jasper got dragged, down to the lake. When he first saw the water, I could see pure panic in his eyes. Cats don't like water very well, but we were going to have a father/son fishing day if it killed him or me. Either was a possibility.

Once he found out the rocks were warm, he settled in nicely waiting for that first fish to come ashore. He would have preferred that I let him lay in the red Coleman camping chair, but I had to sit somewhere. It just didn't dawn on me that he would want his own chair.

Every so often I would give him another sniff of the Pro-Cure Trophy Trout bait scent to keep him interested.

Unfortunately we had another one of those non-fish days, but we had a good father/son bonding session or more like a father/son, him clinging to me like there was no tomorrow session. I would suspect that he'll probably not want to go again. Cats loose interest quickly if there isn't a lot of action and fishing is more serene than they prefer. 

When we got home and Jasper was released into the house again, I'm sure the girls had plenty to say about how nice it was lounging around while "you" and dad were fishing..... 

Jasmine lounging

Sophie lounging
Next year (I should be healed up by then) I think I'll just remind Jasper of National Take Your Cat fishing day and stay home. Probably be less stressful for him and less painful for me.

Now, if you believed any of this, I have a bridge to sell you.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Not Quite What I Hoped For

Let me start with yesterday. The weather guessers said there was a small chance of thunder showers yesterday afternoon. That small chance turned out to be 2 hours of thunder and torrential downpour. That bears some significance to this post, but I'll get to that later. 

I pulled out of the house at 0745 and after coffee at Cooks Station, headed up the hill. I didn't have any particular destination in mind except one where I could sit and fish. The old back is giving me some trouble and walking someplace like Cat Creek was just not in the cards.

As I came to the turn off for Bear River Reservoir I noticed that the resort was open (it's on the sign) so I made a quick right and headed down the three mile stretch to the gate in hopes it was open. I didn't get very far before I was stopped by road construction. Remember now, California has two seasons, winter and road repair and I guess winter is officially gone.

It was OK though because I got right through only to find the gate still closed so I made a U-turn and headed back. This time when I hit the construction, there was no get right through in fact I sat for almost an hour before I could get through. Boy was going down there a mistake.

Since I had a lot of time (sitting for an hour) to think, my mind wandered to April 17th and that 19" holdover from Silver Lake. Once freed from construction hold, I pulled into check-in at Silver Lake  and once again no envelopes so free fishing occurred. Parked in my usual spot and I walked out to the rocks where I fished last time, they were gone!!!   

The lake was, as far as I could tell, full. Surprise for a severe drought year. I found another good, flat rock and set up.

I took this picture, the place where I used to fish is this side of that big rock. Just a little too damp to be sitting there.

Former fishing spot.
Got one rod in with rainbow Power Bait and the other with a crawler and a couple of those white floaty things. While I was sitting and waiting for another of those 19" holdovers, I took a couple pictures.
Across the lake and to the left.
I took the shot below of the creek flowing into the lake. Where there was a surge of water on April 17th, there was barely a trickle today. 

The inlet is over there.
When we had the small chance of thunder showers yesterday, they got snow above 5000 ft.  Not a lot, but a little more on the hill.

Straight across the lake

To the left of where I was sitting.
During the time I was there, I managed to get my crawler rig hooked on the bottom and had to break it off. On my Power Bait rig I managed to land this, I'm not sure what you'd call it.

What is it?????
Attached to what ever this is, was a copper Kastmaster without a hook. I don't think the hook rusted off because the Kastmaster and the O rings were all in good shape. Just a little strange is all.

Figure out what that thing is? It's a stick. Got you.

OK, remember my comment about the small thunder storms yesterday that where huge, well they started to build again this afternoon. The wind picked up, the temperature dropped about 10 degrees, and the clouds were plentiful and very dark. Thought it was time to get out of Dodge.

As I reeled in my last rod, the crawler rig I'd lost earlier was attached to the treble hook. What are the odds?

Yes, I got skunked.

Not this coming weekend, but next weekend we're heading down to fish the Kings River, hopefully with Daniel from the Impractical Fisherman. I don't think I'll be out again before then, but if I do you'll be the second to know.  

Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Colorful Character And A Good Group

Some more California history.

Last week when I was crossing Carson Pass and made a pit stop at the summit, I came across this marker that I hadn't noticed before although it's been there since 1977. I guess I'm just focused on getting to where I want to fish or going to the bathroom. I'm not sure which.

This is a monument to a character from the California/Nevada past named Snowshoe Thompson (real name John Albert Thompson). His claim to fame was that he delivered mail between Placerville, California and Genoa, Nevada during the period 1856 to 1876.

Despite his nickname, he never used snowshoes, but traveled across the Sierra Nevada's on 10 foot skis and a sturdy pole generally held in both hands at once. This type of skiing he learned in his native Norway. He is considered the father of California skiing.

So you say, big deal. The guy skied across the mountains, but you have to take into consideration that some of those places had 10's of feet of snow and he went no matter what. The odd thing is that in those twenty years of carrying the mail across the mountains, he never got paid a dime.

Snowshoe Thompson
Snowshoe Thompson died of appendicitis which developed into pneumonia on May 15, 1876 (probably why he quit delivering the mail in 1876) and is buried in the cemetery in Genoa, south of Carson City, Nevada along side his son, Arthur.

If you click on the picture, you can read the dedication inscription. This is what is on the top picture.
As you can see at the bottom of the plaque, it was dedicated by a group called E Clampus Vitus.

With a little help from Wikipedia, here is how they describe themselves:

The Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus (ECV) is a fraternal organization dedicated to the study and preservation of the heritage of the American West, especially the history of the Mother Lode and gold mining regions of the area. The fraternity is not sure if it is a "historical drinking society" or a "drinking historical society." There are chapters in California, Nevada, and other western states. Members call themselves "Clampers." The organization's name is in Dog Latin, and has no known meaning; even the spelling is disputed, sometimes appearing as "Clampus," "Clampsus," or "Clampsis." The motto of the Order, Credo Quia Absurdum, is generally understood as meaning "I believe it because it is absurd;" the proper Latin quotation Credo quia absurdum est, is from the Christian apologist Tertullian (c.160 – c.220 AD), who rejected rationalism and accepted a Gospel which addressed itself to the "non-rational levels of perception."

In my travels, I've seen similar plaques in many places.

As much as they are an "historical drinking society" or a "drinking historical society.", they do a lot of good work and I'm proud to be able to profile them here.