Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hey, It's Raining In California

King Fire update. To date it's burned 97,099 acres and is 87% contained. Good news thanks to the recent rains and the awesome job the firefighters have done. 

Yes, rain in California. We had a storm go through a couple days ago and we're now on the back side still get a thunder shower now and then.

Not a lot of rain, but the ground is wet and the dust has been stomped down for now.

Nothing collecting in the pond, but the dry dirt cracks are getting smaller. I might also add that my burn piles (I've been collecting for months now), are soaked and probably won't burn until next September.

We'll probably get a few more showers today then then by the end of the week, 90's. The weather yoyo of fall.

Oh yeh, and even though it doesn't do a lot for the fire danger here at La Casa Kautz, anything helps.  

Maybe I'll go fishing next week.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Some Good, Some Bad

Bad: The King Fire has passed 95,000 acres.

Good: It's 43% contained.

Good: It rained all over the fire.

Good: It rained all over here too.

Bad: Not enough to make any difference.

Bad: National Weather Service says at least 3 more months of drought.

Good: Went fishing. The local weather guesser said it wasn't supposed to rain over in Alpine County where Upper Blue Lake is located.

Good: It didn't rain in Alpine County.

Bad: Nobody said anything about wind over there.

Bad: Windy and cold. Welcome to Fall.

Bad: Got skunked unless you count the duck I caught.

Good: Duck released from being tangled in my fishing line unharmed.

Bad: He pecked the crap out of my hand.

As Porky Pig would say, That's, that's, that's all folks. 

Windy and cold

Cloudy, windy, and cold

Waves, windy, and cold

Still windy and cold.
Think I'll have a cup of tea.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The September Camping Trip Part Two

OK, Saturday morning. Where did I leave off. Oh yes, fishing in front of the trailer and catching nothing.

Just before we pulled out for out recon trip, I met this gentleman getting ready for a day on the lake.

One serious Bass fisherman
I had a chance to take a look at some of the plugs he was going to use. I had to ask him if there were fish in this lake big enough for a plug that was, my guess, 9 or 10 inches long. They were bigger than some trout I've caught. He said that there were Bass big enough to hit them. He had a different lure on each rod, he was ready. Just a note before I go on to other stuff, he was out ALL day and didn't get back in until dark. I missed a chance to ask him how he did, but since he has the link to this blog, maybe he can let us know. Leaving Sunday morning I think I saw his truck down at Lower Lake.  

When we got back to the trailer after out little recon, I waited for some of the crowd on the fishing dock to disperse and then grabbed a spot. I met a young man named Mark, hey just like me. He was a local and I hoped to gain some inside info from him.

As I watched him make one cast off the corner of the dock and then withing minutes, reel in a nice 14" Rainbow, I had to ask the secret. He was using a "Caltrans" rig. OK, I'll bite. What's a "Caltrans" rig. That's what locals call orange, white, and chartreuse Power Eggs on a hook. For those unfamiliar with Caltrans, it's the California Department of Transportation. You know, California has two seasons: Winter and Road Repair. For the most part, now you know who's to blame for the season other than Winter.    

So I rigged up a "Caltrans" rig. Then at 6:00 pm, called it a day, once again fishless.

While I was sitting on the dock, I took some photo's of a couple of the cabins around the lake.

This one right on Highway 20

Across the lake from the highway, but probably 900 steps down from the road

At the far end, but don't have a lot of info on this one.
While I was soaking PB on Saturday morning, I took some shots of my company for the morning. 

Gray duck, must be old

Another gray one. Probably old too.

Blond duck? A Valley Duck, for sure.
I also performed a duck rescue. One of the ducks swallowed something that had line attached and while in it's throat, was also wrapped around one wing. I managed to get it broken and off the duck went to join the 17 duck herd (are a bunch of ducks a herd?). Survived for another day.

Sunday morning my wife threw me out of the trailer so she could begin packing up for the trip home. I did the only logical thing and that was to get my little Okuma with 2#, a box of lures, and walk the shore. I was desperate.

I fished my pink Kastmaster, then my silver, then finally the gold. I started to the left of the launch area, worked the right of the fishing dock, and then as a last gasp went over to the swimming area. Maybe I could catch someone swimming. Probably not at 8:00 am.

Time to go. Trailer was ready to hook up. One last cast and a small five inch Bass took the lure. If it hadn't been hooked enough to bring in, I would have never know. Unhooked and back into the lake. I have a picture coming, but it's not here yet. 

Well, that's the September trip to Upper Lake, above Lower Lake, above Clearlake which is greener and slimier that Red Lake.

I was so disgusted with my fishing ability at this lake that we booked the same weekend next year, but four days instead of three. Maybe I'll rent a boat next year. 

More fishing this week.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The September Camping Trip

HI, I'm back. The King Fire is 83,000 acres and 10% contained. Still burning it's little heart out.

Headed out Friday morning in the Clipper for a new place. 

Loaded and ready to go
Five hours later, we arrived at the resort we had reservations at. Our campsite was supposed to be right on the shore of the lake. I've been showing you those dismal shots of New Melones and I hoped that this lake wasn't in the same shape.

We arrived at 3:00 pm and to our surprise, the site we had was indeed on the shore of the lake. 

The campsite
I figured that the most impressionable shot would just be one out the door of the trailer. The railing on the left of the picture above, is the same railing in the picture below.

The lake from the front door
A lake full of water, what a concept. A camping space at the lake's edge. How much better could it be? One that the DFW just planted 900 pounds of Rainbow Trout in, that's how good. That little dock on the left side is the fishing dock, a stones throw from the Clipper.  

Here's a couple of shots from the fishing dock.

The lake

To the right

To the left
The young lady in the picture above was fishing next to me. There were so  many people fishing that one had to get what ever space one could grab. She was doing well as far as casting with the exception that even though she could cast by herself, her distance was good, but her aim was wayyyyy off. Of course, once her line was in the water, she had to reel it in to see if she caught anything. Along with her line came mine and a couple others. Finally her Dad put her on the end of the dock away from the other people fishing. 

Two rods out with rainbow Power Bait and so the afternoon went, fishless.

After sunset and dinner
Saturday morning found me in the red Coleman camping chair, just below the Clipper, and set up just like the lakes up here.

The chair at the edge of the lake
A couple of hours of catching nothing and we decided to take a little ride and check out the area.

This is the swimming area, but  not many swimming at this hour of the morning.

Swimming area
I've got a whole bunch more pictures, so you'll just have to come back tomorrow to find out what happens and see said pictures.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

King Fire Update

In case you haven't been watching TV, the fire is raging on.

As of this evening, 73,000 acres, 10% contained, and now they are evacuating as far up Highway 50 as Kyburz. They have evacuated all the campgrounds up in the Crystal Basin area, you'll know it by Ice House Reservoir where I've posted about several times and places like Union Valley Reservoir and Loon Lake.

Kyburz is a short 5 miles from where I was fishing (or make that hacking away with a fly rod) on Tuesday.

Last, but not least, they have arrested a guy for setting the fire.

We're off tomorrow morning for our September trip in the Clipper, to a new lake I haven't been to before. It's a spring fed lake and I noticed that the DFW is supposed to stock it this week.

Come back Monday and see how it went.

Till then. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Bear

Last evening I was watching the Giants/Diamondbacks game on TV. Around 6:45 (right after the game started) I looked outside.

I jumped out of my chair, my wife said "what", and all I could say was "bear". Again she said "what". I said "bear".

The bear was walking down the driveway toward the house. I was shocked. It was still light outside. I've heard him/her during the day and of course at night, but never expected to see him/her in all it's furriness. Got my wife to the window and got her zeroed in on where the bear was.

I ran downstairs to get my camera while my wife kept track. When I got back upstairs with my camera and my .357 (wasn't taking any chances) the bear had gone behind the trailer. The trailer is a little over 50 feet from the front door. 

Next time I saw it, it had jumped over the fence and was roaming around George's property. It walked in and out of the trees and I couldn't get a decent photo. Then it jumped over the fence into Bob's property and again I couldn't get a good photo because of the trees.

I want to note here that I wasn't going to run down the driveway just to get a picture. This bear weighted, my guess, 350+ lbs. Don't know if any of you watch the AMC series "Hell on Wheels", but the last two episodes were about Elam recovering from being attacked by a bear. Don't think I want to go there.

Now the bear is down at the corner of Bob's property and about 100 yards from the house. He/she jumped over the fence, strolled across the driveway and headed up the hill. Never got a chance to get a picture. It's not everyday you have a bear in your front yard. On the other hand, if you read the last post, I'm not surprised it went down that way. Seems like the whole day was like that.

On a final note, my trash can was fine this morning. Guess it wasn't on the bears tour last night.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sometimes You Should Just Stay Home

Before I get into today, this is post #800. One more milestone passed. 

Just in case you haven't seen it on TV, once again California is on fire. Or maybe it's still on fire.

The one closest is the King Fire just north of Pollock Pines about 41 miles from me by the way Google flies. On the way to where I was going this morning, I took this picture. Still about 30 miles from where I was. On Sunday the fire was 3,000 acres. On Monday it had grown to 8,600 acres. This morning it was 11,500 acres. 

On the news they were showing people standing in the parking lot of the Shell Station in Pollock Pines looking at the fire. I mention this because during the Cleveland Fire (22,485 acres) back in 1992, I was standing in that same spot looking at that fire. Kind of like Deja Vu all over again (thank you Yogi Berra).

The King fire
Last time I was up at Silver Lake I talked to the "host" about fishing and so forth. She mentioned that the DFW requires Silver Lake to release 2.5 cfs, always, to keep water in Silver Fork of the American River for the native Rainbow and Brook Trout populations.

That means there was probably water in the creek. That's where I went this morning.  

I stopped at eight mile bridge (where they do the stocking, when they do the stocking)  and there were already a couple cars parked there, so probably people fishing. Drove to another spot and there again people parked and probably fishing. I stopped at the bridge (where I found all that good stuff last year) and that was the place. 

Upstream from the bridge

Downstream from the bridge.

Looked good, plenty of water, no one around. My kind of place.

Rigged up "3" with a yellow paralyzer and climbed down to the water. Second cast and fish on and then fish off. That went well.

This is the where that fish was.

First hook up

A look downstream
About that time is when everything went to hell. For some reason, I started fumbling around like I never held a fly rod in my life. Every cast was in the bushes. Every other cast had the fly wrapped around the rod. I'd do a double haul to dry the fly a little and on the second haul, in the bushes.

I moved to another spot and in the bushes, around my leg, in the rocks. I was like a Bozo with a fly rod. I would move to where there was a nice hole between the bushes. First back cast, in the bushes. Get the fly out of the bushes and the line was wrapped around the rod.

I have never felt like such an imbecile in my life. If I hadn't just paid almost $200.00 for that fly rod, I would have smashed it on the ground, I was that frustrated. Yes, I know it wasn't the fly rods fault, BUT.

I reeled in the line, cut off the fly, and went home. End of story. Sometimes you should just stay home. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014


You all know this is the town I live in. Down in the picture below (the one that says 4 miles although it's in the center of town) it says that the town was named by miners because of the apparent volcanic appearance.

Add caption
It's a cool place to live. Has an elevation of 2070 feet and is about 10 degrees colder, in the winter, than the surrounding hills where I live.

It's got the St. George Hotel, which serves an awesome Sunday brunch and has rooms available along with being haunted.  

Image result for volcano, ca
St. George Hotel
We also the Volcano Union Inn that serves the greatest Lamb hamburger in the world among other tasty entrees. It has rooms available and is also haunted.

Volcano union inn
Volcano Union Inn
 Don't get excited, haunting in the Motherlode is pretty normal.

About gold mining
If you make this plack full size it talks about the gold mining in the area and some of the history.

Not why I'm writing this. Just a little background before I begin.

As you know, and if you don't, WAKE UP, we're in a drought out here. I was concerned about the level of our well. I only have experience with one other well that I had drilled on some acreage I had in a place called Shingle Springs in the late 1980's. I had to have it drilled to 500 feet just to get 2.5 gallons a minute. Our well produces 19.5 GPM based on the inspection when we bought the house.

So, where does one go to get the information about your well that was drilled almost 40 years ago? The Internet, of course. Go to the county records, find out when the permit was taken out to drill, find how deep it is. Simple huh. WRONG. Prior to sometime, no permits were issued for a well drilled in 1976 (house was built that year). BUT there was a certificate of completion required once the well was finished. Cool, where do I find that?

Turns out that all those certificates of completion are filed with the Water Resources Board in West Sacramento and all you have to do is fill out the form and mail it to them.

There is a moral to this story, so hang on.

The following Wednesday (that was pretty damn quick for Government work) I got the report. Remember the well in Shingle Springs, 500 feet deep and 2.5 GPM? Well my well is only 172 feet deep and the report states 15+ GPM.

Now the part that relates to this post. They list the levels encountered as they drill in 10 foot increments. Like 0 to 10 feet is topsoil, etc. From 50 feet to 172 feet (the bottom) they encountered lava rock, like lava from a volcano. Sometimes, maybe you shouldn't find things out.

Volcanic lava rock 50 feet under where I live?


Friday, September 12, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Shimano Guarantee

Back in February 2011, I purchased a Shimano Convergence 6'6" 2 piece rod from Cabela's.

When Juan and I went up to Upper Blue Lake back on July 16th I found this rod broken, down below the second guide. I used it that day, I planned on throwing it away and ordered a new one.

When I got the new rod there was a piece of paper wrapped around the handle saying something about the Shimano Lifetime Warranty.

I went online and found out that any rods purchased after August 2014 had only a limited warranty, but before then, the warranty was lifetime.

I got a proof of purchase from Cabela's, filled out a warranty form from Shimano and sent the rod to their facility in Irvine, California.

After their inspection, I guess they agreed that the problem was rod failure because today I got a brand new Shimano Convergence CVS66M2B 6'6" 2 piece rod.

A pretty good deal, if you ask me.....    

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Day For Experimenting

Disclaimer: I don't know from Bass, so this whole day was a guess at best.

Picking up my plans from last Friday, I loaded the Float Tube Cumberland into the truck and headed down the road. Once again I had the choice of the Camanche Trout Pond or Rancho Seco Lake.

I mentioned last Friday that I had bought two types of crawdad flies. Here's a picture of the two.
I got two of each. Would have hated it if I got a big Bass on and broke the only fly I had, off. 

Crawdad flies

A little different angle

Since seeing those big Bass earlier this year at the Trout Pond, they've been on my mind ever since. I chose the Trout Pond. With three rods (I'll explain as we go) loaded in the Cumberland, I flippered out of the launch area.

With my 6 wt. and intermediate sinking line I started with one of the crawdad flies. I worked the cattails all along the shore casting toward them and across them.

This group was the only others at the pond. They were surprisingly quiet too. Probably had their beaks duck taped shut. Sorry, that was bad.

Canadian Geese
 Here's a quick spin around the pond.

Back toward launch


The other end

The campground

The far end of the campground
I worked my way all the way around the pond with the crawdad fly.

HI, it's me 3. I didn't want The Dad, that's what everybody at the house calls the old guy, "The Dad", even the cats, to forget I was there too. I got to throw poppers (what ever those are) all along the shore of the pond the second time he flippered around it. I didn't get anything, but it was a lot of fun.

OK, I've taken back control of the computer. Once I got the fly fishing part done with the crawdad flies as well as the poppers, I resorted to the spinning rod with rainbow Power Bait. At first I flippered out to the middle of the pond. If there were any trout in the pond that's where they'd be. The surface temperature was 70.2 degrees and way too warm for any trout in it's right mind to be up that far. I dropped the PB all the way to the bottom and then pulled it up about two feet.

After sitting for a little while, actually I was bobbing around on the water, I started to flipper first to the other side and then back across the middle of the pond back toward launch pulling the PB along as I went. Sometimes the movement of the PB will cause a strike.

Trawling Power Bait
I also went back to my 6wt. and put on a Thin Mint. I would cast out the fly and let it sink to what I figured was near the bottom and them strip it back.

As you can figure, the day was a bust. The only thing I think I could have done different would be to flipper without my chest waders. That is right until I flippered into that green junk underwater. Scratch that idea.

I did manage to add 4 red/white bobbers and one long orange bobber to my tackle box. Had to pick them out of the cat tails, but it was something to do.

I heard another rumor. Think I'll check it out later this week or maybe early next week.

Stay tuned. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Waffle Here, A Waffle There

I had planned to launch the Float Tube Cumberland in the Camanche Trout Pond today. As a backup Plan B I was going to launch the Float Tube Cumberland in Rancho Seco Lake. I wasn't sure where and even took pictures of the crawdad flies I purchased months ago just for this occasion.

Then I heard a rumor that EID (El Dorado Irrigation District) planted 1500 pounds in Caples Lake and 1500 pounds. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

When I rolled out of bed this morning, my back told me "You're not doing any flippering today". I headed for Caples Lake. I never got any farther than Silver Lake. When I stopped at check-in guess what I saw?

At Silver Lake Check-in
Now I've caught enough trout that over 2 lbs. is not Trophy Trout in my book, but what the hell. Checked in, parked in my usual spot, and walked to the lake.

An all too familiar "Cubby".
Passed on the Cubby and parked on the rocks on the bottom of the picture.There is just enough distance to get my lines out in deeper water. With the lake calm as glass, I figured deep was where I had to go.

Both lines out at 8:30, first fish to hand at 8:50. A stocker Rainbow Trout about 10 inches. While I was sitting, awaiting the next fish, this one swam by. Yuki's daughter Marisa, being the Biologist she is, said this is a Common Merganser. From the brown head, apparently a female. Description courtesy of the Internet. 

Common Merganser
She cruised around here and there and I didn't pay much attention to her or the other 100 that were on the lake. OK, maybe 10 or so. That was until she cruised by my stringer, dove down, and came up with my fish (still on the stringer) in her mouth. We will now reclassify the Common Merganser and start calling it TROUT THIEF. No she didn't get away with the fish, but I did hurry her along to another place on the lake with a couple of well placed, golf ball sized rocks just behind her tail feathers.

Shortly there after I brought a nice 14 inch Rainbow to hand and it also went on the stringer. While I was waiting for the next bite, another TROUT THIEF tried to take my fish. It also got hurried along with a couple rocks.

Disclaimer: I never hit the birds, I just moved them along to another part of the lake.

Since the day was fairly windless (at least until about Noon), I took a couple shots around the lake. I know you've already seen the lake dozens of times, so if you want, you can skip down to the next paragraph.     

To the right


Across and a little to the left
OK, stop here. The next picture is of a cabin they are building (I think) across the lake. The interesting thing is that it's sitting on solid rock. Double click on picture for a better look. 

The cabin right in the middle
I've been watching this come about for a couple years now and to me it's a construction marvel that they can build it  like that. Only a guess, but the must have to anchor it to the rock somehow and no, I don't have any intention of going over there to take a closer look.

Once again, while I was waiting for the next fish, this little guy showed up. 


Or Dale?
He was really cute right up to where he started chewing on my ice chest. Apparently his knowledge of ice chests is ice chest = food. We parted company rather rapidly.  

The catching went something like this. Eight brought to hand, four released for another day. Missed four or five hits and the four I brought home for Bob were, two at ten inches and two at 14 inches.

Not bad for a 4 1/2 hour day. Oh, and the reason I left without the fifth fish, I ran out of water and chocolate chip cookies.

Next week, the Float Tube Cumberland.