Friday, August 29, 2014

Look Out Browns, Here I Come

I was ready, I had my gear loaded, I had crickets, I had Kastmasters, I had Rapala's, I was out of the house a little before 8:00 am. I was going to the "secret" lake to fish for Browns. 

That was right up to the part where I hit the "Road Closed until 12/31/2014" sign. Well, that sucked. 

At that point I had to consider my options. I could go home or I could go somewhere else. I opted for door #2. I want to mention, at this point, that when I was on "Let's Make a Deal" (sometime back in the 60's) the big prize was behind door #2 and my Ex picked door #1 or maybe it was #3, but I do know she didn't pick door #2. It's been so long I can't remember. There's that memory thing again.  

Since Bear River Reservoir was close (from where I was it was even closer than home) I decided to give it one more shot. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment.   

I got there, got a good spot next to a gentleman named Mike from Oakley, California. For those of you not local (and some that are) Oakley is over toward San Francisco, in the Delta, out there by Antioch. Mike had been fishing since before dawn broke and was biteless. 

I set up and started my routine. One rod with rainbow Power Bait and my little Okuma with a cricket under a bobber. You know from past posts that Bear River has been less than stellar, in fact it's been down right crappy. So there I sat.

A while later (and it could have been ten minutes or an hour) I noticed the line on the rod with the Power Bait had gone straight. Obviously I wasn't paying much attention or had great expectations. As it turned out, there was a Rainbow on the line about 8 inches and pretty much pooped.

On top of that, the poor thing was only lip hooked so I figured that after all it had endured, I don't know how long, being hooked, I let it go. I did have to give it a little CPR to get it back, but it finally swam off. NO there was no lip locking that fish.

After that I tried Pro-Cure Sweet Corn, Garlic, Anise, and even a Kastmaster, but that little one was probably the only fish in the lake. I figured that was a good time to take some pictures. There wasn't anything else to do. Here you go.  

Along the shore

That rock pile was under water the last time

The water was above that black line the last time

The clouds are from Hurricane Marie
That's all folks. Unfortunately there won't be any Fall fishing for Browns at the "secret' lake this year unless I want to go the round about way to the lake, which is about 300 miles out of my way. I think not.

Next week I think I'll use a dart and my California map to see where I should go. That should be a good way to pick a lake, don't you think?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

All That Talk About Elk, California

Remember back on the 10th, I mentioned this little place in Elk, California called Griffin House Inn?

Griffin House Inn
From that post, I got an email from one Ashley Jacoby from a company called Explore the

You know that I rarely, RARELY, do any advertising for anyone and I'm not doing any now, BUT I wanted you to see this because I think it's one of the coolest things I've seen.

The page she referred me to is called Tree Camping In Elk California. If you're a camper and I know most of you are, this is (I don't normally repeat myself) one of the coolest things I've seen.

Recommended Tree Camping Tent

Metolius Bomb Shelter Double Portaledge Fly Orange One Size
Amazon Price: $374.95
(price as of Jul 23, 2014)

This is an outstanding portaledge tent designed to withstand the most intense conditions. Originally designed for rock climbers this is an amazing tent to start out with if you want to begin your adventures in tree camping. 

Go out and take a look at the website. Hang it high (if you're not a chicken like I am) or close to the ground. What a way to camp.

I am going fishing this week, too.

Monday, August 25, 2014

I'm Just Bummed Beyond Words

Instead of having coffee here this morning,

Image result for half moon bay state beach
Half Moon Bay State Beach

I had Starbucks at the Folsom GMC dealership.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to get  reservations at Half Moon Bay State Beach? I made the reservations on March 6th and could only get Sunday night (8/24), Monday night (8/25), and Tuesday night (8/26) dates.

Last Friday I went into town to do a little shopping for the trip. On the way down the hill, I had a bunch of lights on the dashboard go crazy. It came and went so I hoped that was the end of it.

WRONG. That same afternoon I drove up to the mail box (it's 2 1/2 miles from the house) and those same lights came back on. Now, let me give you a sample of what those light were.

On the left side of the dash is a little box called "message center". It had the word Security, then the Dead Battery sign, then Low Fuel sign (even though I just filled the tank) and they cycled over and over and over. The ABS and seat belt light were on, the gas gauge and the temp gauge were slammed to empty and zero respectively.

Now, would you take this vehicle on a 200+ mile trip to the ocean pulling a 17 foot travel trailer? I think not. Nor did I.

An of course, none of this showed up on the way this morning and once diagnosed was told it'd be OK to drive it until the part (which they had to order) got there. The part is something called a "Dash Cluster" and the repair costs in the area of $650.00.

So, there won't be a saltwater fishing report from Half Moon Bay State Beach, at least not this year.

I am just bummed beyond words. I'm not going to tell you how bummed my wife is. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Hex Returns

Sunday night Yuki sent me an email asking if I was going to Upper Blue Lake on Monday, could I wait until Tuesday so he could go. I said "sure" as I'm always glad to fish with Yuki.

We met at Cooks at 0830 and after grabbing coffee we headed up the hill. We got to the lake and had our pick of spots. Most of the shore is rock heavy with the exception of the little cove in the picture below. I usually fish on the point just beyond where Yuki is standing. Because we were in a sandy area we were able to use our rod holders that our friend Jim (from New Melones fame) crafted for us. It's been a while since I could use mine. Seems I'm always on a rock or something.

We set our rods out, Yuki's two and one of mine with Power Bait and my other one with a mini-crawler and a couple white floaty things to keep it off the bottom. 

Barely had I gotten both lines in the water and the first 10" rainbow came to hand.

Our spot for the day
While we were hanging out, this "duck", I think, cruised by. Anyone know what kind it is? Has a brown pointed head and beige body.

Unknown duck species
While I was soaking PB & crawlers, Yuki walked up the hill. I assumed he was looking for the little boys room (closest bush in this case), but he didn't return and didn't return, and didn't return. I was starting to get worried, but it was for naught.

Being the energetic person he is (unlike yours truly) he had hiked up the hill behind and taken a couple of shot from above. Click on the picture for the full effect.

High view of Upper Blue Lake
Then he started to get creative. That's what happens when you let a guy with a smart phone loose in the mountains.

Another panorama
All the while he was traipsing around up on the hill, I kept getting bites, but couldn't hook a one. When he got back and moved over to the other side of where I was, I got one good hit and while I was reeling it in, Yuki's line started bouncing. Turned out that my fish had bumped his line making it look like he had a bite. I brought a 13" rainbow to hand and shortly thereafter another rainbow about 10", but let that one go because it had some kind of something (maybe a sore) on it's side and didn't look eatable.

Which brings me back to the hex. I caught three, missed maybe four or five, and Yuki didn't get a bite. He told me I should go home so he could catch something although I reminded him that I had the truck and the keys so it would be a long walk  home for him. He thought I could leave him the keys and the truck and I could walk home. He has a good sense of humor.

At 2:15 we decided to head down to Silver Lake and try the spot that was good last week. We parked and set up at the dam. I put out one rod with PB and one with a crawler. Yuki put out one with PB and one with a crawler and then we sat.   

Fishing from a picnic table, how cool is that.

Photo around the dam area

Out toward the lake

To the right
We hung out for about an hour and called it a day. No bites at the dam.

Once again the hex seems to be in place and I thought we had gotten rid of it.

Friday, August 15, 2014

It's Official

The drought in California has finally beaten my pond into submission. Today, August 15, 2014, I officially declare the pond .....Dry.

By the drain pipe

Across the pond
Not in the 10 years we've lived here has it gone dry.

The drought is causing the trees to shed "leaves" if you will (remember the trees are all pine, fir, and cedar) at an alarming rate. They are also shedding dead limbs as if they know something hot is coming. I certainly hope not.

I remember the drought back in 1976. Once it started raining again the trees (where I used to cut firewood) having been so dry, couldn't handle the water and a good many just toppled over. 

Toppling trees wouldn't be a bad thing as long as they don't topple on the house or shop. I can always use the firewood.

California is still on fire and just in case, we have our evacuation plan in place, so long as they give us enough time to pack everything up.

I think I'll give Lower Blue Lake a try next week. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

That Was Almost A Bust

Back when Juan and I fished first Red Creek and then Upper Blue Lake, somehow my Shimano Convergence 6'6" (two piece) rod got broken. It wasn't just the tip, but the first 6" of the rod including the tip and the first guide. I'm sure there is a way to put this back together, but I rate it right up there with working on cars and I don't do cars.

So I ordered a new one from Cabela's and while doing so also ordered a new reel to replace the Shimano Sedona that has all the snags on the spool, with a Diawa Crossfire. The reel was slowly shredding the line each time I cast out.

I must not have been paying attention when I placed this order because what I got was a 7' Shimano Convergence one piece rod and a Diawa Crossfire 10003BI. The rod, I can live with, but the reel? It was so small that it would fit perfectly on a little 4 foot brush rod so I sent it back and got a CF2000 3BI. Still not quite as big as I would have it, but it will do the job.

So, this morning I headed out of the house at 07:10 to try the new rod and my goal was Caples Lake with Silver Lake as a backup.

Got to Caples after a coffee stop and night crawler purchase (wanted to make sure I had every kind of bait since fishing has be a bit thin lately) and the spaces by the spillway, the dead tree, and the sandy side were all taken so I drove over to the dam.        

I was so excited about the road work guys being gone I almost jumped for joy, almost. Whizzed right up the road and to the lake. Didn't see any of the construction equipment, no markers, no nothing. Life was good. 

There was a gentleman from Southern California fishing there, but I was able to find a small spot to put out my rods. David and his family were vacationing at South Lake Tahoe and he drove over before the crack of dawn. He said he had caught 4 or 5, but the were all small.

My spot by the dam
I put out one rod (the new one) with rainbow Power Bait and the other with a crawler and a couple white floaty things. The first catch of the day was a big Crawdad about the size of a small lobster. Keeping my fingers away from the pincers, I grabbed it with my pliers and once the hook was removed, threw it and my pliers back into the lake. So they slipped out of my hand. No big deal, got my net and scooped (with a little difficulty) the pliers up and had them back in no time.

About that time came the first (and only) bite of the day. It was a small Rainbow about 10" or so and it came on the new rod & reel. It was enough to beat the skunk though. After David left (I gave him the directions to the secret spot at Upper Blue Lake. He was taking his kids up there this afternoon.) I hung around for another hour or so and then decided I'd drive down the hill and give Silver Lake a shot by the dam where Yuki caught fish last week.

Packed up and headed back down the Highway and wouldn't you know, the road work guys were back and it was wait for the pilot car and follow it a couple miles. I was so excited. You'd have to hear that one verbally to understand the irony.

Got to Silver Lake check-in and damned if the lake didn't already have white caps on it. I drove down to the Day Use and talked to the host. She said that the lake had high wind warnings all day and that the wind was only going to get worse.

Since I had already scratched out Silver Lake and Bear River on previous trips, I decided just to come home. Wasn't a skunk, but not a stellar day by any means. So another carton of night crawlers goes into the 1/2 oak barrel on the porch. There must be 9000 night crawlers in that barrel.     

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Final Redwood And Elk, California

I forgot to put the pictures of our camping spot because I took them on Wednesday and started posting pictures of Thursday. OK, so here they are.

The "Emergency" space

Behind us

The other side of the street
Now we're off to Elk, California. When you cross Philo-Greenwood Road and hit the coast, this is the first thing you see. Hang a right and drive into the town itself. Elk is a lot like Volcano as you hit notations of Elk (water tanks for fire fighting) a good three miles out. The town is centered on the highway and the rest is urban sprawl just the way Volcano is.

Pacific Ocean at Greenwood Cove
The rest of this post is about a Bed & Breakfast called The Griffin House at Greenwood Cove (built in 1890). I can't tell you why I'm highlighting this particular place because the last time I jumped the gun  on something I got lambasted for months to follow. Let's just say I have insider information and leave it at that. 

Griffin House

The driveway to the back cottages
These three have decks right on the cove.

I thought this one was cute. The Li Foo Cottage
The next three are the dining room and bar at the Bridget Dolan Pub. It's inside the main building and serves dinner from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. 

To the left

To the right

The Pub
"Recently featured and one of the 20 Romantic Escapes along the West Coast by the San Francisco Chronicle".

If you're on the West Coast and are interested, here's the link to their website.  Griffin House Inn

Disclaimer: I'm not getting anything for showing you this, but I've been inside, it's very nice, and I think that if you're looking for a Romantic Vacation Spot, this might be the place.

One more thing, I mentioned that pub doesn't open until 5:00 pm for dinner so your hunger can be well fed at Queenie's Roadhouse Cafe  about a block South of the inn.
Queenie's Roadhouse Cafe
My wife had a Blue Cheese Burger here and she doesn't do burgers, yet she raved about this burger for three days. Must be something there. 

OK, I'm done pluggin' Elk, California. Someday I'll tell you why.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Redwoods Part 2

Wait a minute, the screen on the other computer just went black.

OK, we're good now. I needed that one for the pictures. 

Bill asked about the Lady Bird Johnson Grove of Redwoods. Way farther North from where we were. Maybe another time.

I can't tell you if these are the Upper Loop or the Back Loop. All you do is turn left or right at the intersection and follow that trail. Surprised we didn't get lost, but I had my Daniel Boone hat on and guided us right through.

Another one with a big hole in the center that you can walk through.

Walk Thru

Based on my wife's 5'10", pretty big hole.

Another hidey hole

Thought I saw a Hobbitt
Wonder if you could hear it when it fell? Watch the Geico Insurance commercial then you'll know for sure if it could be heard. An insurance company wouldn't lie to you, would they? Probably fell hundreds of years ago.

A really long tree.

More of those small Coastal Redwoods.

Not as wide as the last one.

She's still cute even after 17 years.

Tried to show you up. Flash didn't catch it very well.

Kind of church like.
Well, that's all the Redwood pictures. Once we were done there we drove to Anderson Valley and the wineries. You've got to do the wineries if you're up that way, but I have to say that the wineries in Shenandoah Valley (down the road from our place not back East) are better, but what the heck, if you're there, partake.

I've got one more post for tomorrow. I'm taking you to a little town called Elk, California. There is a specific reason, but you'll have to tune in tomorrow to find out.

See you then.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Fishing Was A Bust

First let me note that since Howard (Windknots) turned 65 last month and Mel (Pondstalker) is a year or two or more younger, the fact that I turned 68 today makes me the Senior Geezer here in Blogdom.  
So, as Senior Geezer, I'm going to tell you about our July trip in the Clipper that we took this week.

Our aim was to camp at a place called Hendy Woods State Park in the little town of Philo, California. The drive took us 4 1/2 hours and covered about 220 miles, but the park is well worth it. Hendy Woods is one of the parks that protect the "Old Growth" Redwoods. By "Old Growth", I'm talking about trees that might be as old as 2000 years.

The spot we reserved was one designated for tents (I'm not sure why Reserve America took our reservation based for that) and our trailer would have fit, but we would never have been able to level it. So we went back to the check-in and the girl assigned us to their "emergency" spot which was spectacular to say the least. Pictures in tomorrows post.

Once we got settled, I wanted to run over to the Navarro River and wet a line. I brought "3" and "6" and my whole fly box. You can't fish in the park, but you can fish down stream from the Philo-Greenwood Bridge. The DFW lists it as:
Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used.

4 hatchery trout or hatchery
steelhead** in possession. 

Only  problem is that there aren't any Steelhead this time of the year and I couldn't find the last time they stocked the river. Fact is, there just isn't any fish in the river. So much for fishing.  

Continuing our trip, the park is divided into two areas, the Big Hendy Grove and the Little Hendy Grove. Saturday morning we toured the Big Hendy Grove. There are several paths to take, so we took the upper loop and the back loop. You kind of went up the left side, across the bottom of upper loop, around the right side and back across the back loop, then back down to your car. About a two mile walk, but mostly level, all shaded and full of sights to see.   

So follow along, this is the beginning of the trail.
Took this shot because of how deep green the back trees were.

Veer to the right for the Upper Loop.

Tall Redwoods

Clover, lots and lots of Clover

Continuing on the Upper Loop.
They say that the stretch of your arms is the same as your height. I'm 6' 3" so you can see how big this tree is.
Maybe 8 or 9 feet wide.
The wife is a bit smaller than I am, but a lot cuter.
One BIG problem is poachers stealing the Burl's from Redwood trees for furniture and such. This was a unique one.
Looks kind of like a....never mind.
We came across several benches for to you to rest on and they were all dedicated to someone like this one in the memory of Miss Gray Hamilton. If you look closely, she was only 20 when she died in 1920.
Add caption
Some of the trees have these huge holes in them. I'll have some more pictures to show you tomorrow, but here's one of them.
BIG hole
 There were a couple places that looked like this.

It looked like a whole bunch of little redwood trees.

Another dedicated bench
Tomorrow I'll do another post with more pictures so Y'all come back, now.