Wednesday, May 30, 2012

First kids fishing day

While this was just a prelude to the "big" fishing day in two weeks, it was fun. We had 50 5th and 6th graders from Klamath Falls at a private pond near the hatchery that was stocked one week prior for the group.

We broke into three groups... beginning fly fishing, casting and fish biology/fishing etiquette.

Kyle, our resident biologist, was demonstrating the fly fishing technique and I was really interested in this because it has been twenty years since I tried fly fishing.

Jen, a Bend area biologist, was helping the kids understand fishing etiquette and fish "innards"!

This is my area of "expertise", setting up the poles for bobbers and some for bottom fishing.

Our kids first fish of the day was a whopper...well, actually they were all nearly the same size but it was still exciting. The kids had so much fun and learned a lot while I enjoyed seeing them have fun.

Here I am at my particular job of the fishing the fishing poles that found logs, trees or just a birds nest of line at the end of the pole. It was important to keep the kids fishing so I always had poles ready for them to use.

After the kids returned to their bus and classroom, the adults had a great lunch and talked about how well it all went with suggestions for next year.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day ride to the Lava Beds

            Our first stop on the way down to the Lava Beds National Monument, which is in a very isolated part of Northern California, will be Merrill, Oregon.
In Merrill they were holding a fair with steam, diesel and gas farming machinery.
Sure, anyone can go to car about a good wax job on your antique tractor?

This mammoth steam tractor is from a company I'd never heard of...Russell & Company. They made steam traction engines in the 1800's until about 1940. This tractor was running while we were there.

Here I am sitting on a weighted trailer that increases the weight as it is pulled forward. The steam tractor that pulls it the furthest... wins.

The entrance to the Lava Beds.

The scenery was outstanding.

We have been to many lava beds in the west and it seems the biggest pull here is that they have over 700 caves to explore, if you have good feet and knees...neither of which I have.

On the way home we drove through Tulelake, California and spotted this great old caboose from a train company new to me...Modoc Northern Railroad. You won't see cabooses anymore, most railroad companies have eliminated them. Unfortunately, this company was only in business for three short years with a total of 160 miles of leased track.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Crater Lake ll

           We went back up to the park for a try at seeing the blue waters that the lake is famous for and again we were stymied. Two nights before, 13 inches of snow dropped on the rim on the 23rd of May...welcome to Oregon.
      How could you not love a view such as this. We should get down on our knees and thank William Steel for his hard work. It took 17 years of badgering congress before Theodore Roosevelt forced the legislators to put Crater Lake into the park system.

Still some evidence of the snowfall from two nights ago.

The view from the Crater Lake Lodge is magnificent though I'm not sure it would have been comfortable sitting on bamboo chairs full of snow.

It was very cozy in the great room of the lodge with a fire roaring.

Donna loved how the natural bark walls of the lodge looked, but in reading the history, the hotel is  not one you would of wanted to stay here in the first 60 had a soiled past. The lodge went through a complete 5 year renovation starting in 1989.

My lovely wife fits right in with the beauty of the area.

Wizard Island in the background...and this is almost June 1st!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Klamath duties...

While I may say "duties", it is totally optional as to what we do. I like helping in any way I can.

This is one of our favorite jobs, estimating the growth of a raceway with 200,000 plus fish. We do this by netting up to 200 fish and measuring each and every one of them as a way to gage if the general population is on track for their age.

It's very interesting to go out to a local creek with Kyle, the traveling biologist, to trap and stomach pump any fish he catches to better -understand what they are eating.

The nice thing about being a "volunteer' is I can let Kyle do all the wet work.

Feeding the show pond is very calming project.

Until the food hits the water...then all hell breaks loose!

Donna is very fastidious about how the grounds look.

Donna and I are painting some "slippery when wet" signs on the hatchery floors. That is about the limit of my mechanical or construction abilities.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Klamath Lake fishing and solar eclipse

         The manager of the Klamath Fish Hatchery always takes the volunteer hosts out for a fishing trip if they wish...I wished. We set out for Klamath Lake early in the morning for some of the famous Klamath Lake rainbows. What I didn't know was all the wildlife on the way out to the lake on the Williamson River.
                                       The scenery on the way down to the lake was beautiful.

Mt McLoughlin is a great focal point as you come out of the river and into the lake.

As we come around one last bend of the river there were five bald eagles on this one tree. On mature eagle flew off but three immatures and one mature were still sitting there as we floated by. Immatures have not got their coloring yet, which is some cases takes five years.  Klamath Basin has the largest wintering population of bald eagles in the lower 48 states.

Horse power baby, horse power!

Greg is the consummate fly fisherman, good boat, great rods and ties his own flies...hell, he even wears a "Tilly" hat!

Greg caught three of the four fish this morning...all 4 lbs or more and practices "catch and release".

I mean really! I'm fishing with the manager of a fish hatchery who has a professional boat, top of the line equipment, ties his own flies and knows all the hot spots...if I don't catch one fish then I suck!

That's right...after 23 years of not fishing (except for a couple days in the Sierra's with my niece in 2009) I've still got it!

Spooked a flock of white pelicans on the way home.

That night, before dinner we had a chance to see the solar eclipse through a thin layer of clouds. The welders face mask was very effective and safe.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Chiloquin Car Show

           The little town of Chiloquin with a population of less than 1000 has a great old time hardware store, post office, small food store and a book store. I was surprised to find out on this Saturday they had a car show with about 40 good looking oldies.

Sweet looking '55 Chevy.

Donna and the kids liked the pink T-Bird.

 The Rocky Point Resort had some great ambiance and a view but would I go back for the dinner?...not so much. Food couldn't overcome the view.

   We were witness to hundreds of swallows flying over the lake looking for insects to eat.

Edgar the Eagle giving us the "evil eye".

 A Red Wing black bird playing tag with the eagle...not a game I'd want to play.

How many years has it been since you have swung from a rope tied to a tree?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Out and about in Southern Oregon

The creek behind our motorhome had some debris and branches that looked like a beaver dam (it wasn't) so into the 47 degree water I go to clear it.

Klamath Lake near Rocky Point. There are many reeds and canals for the boats to travel between difference parts of the lake.

Donna is "birding" very near the beginning of the Woods River about 5 miles from the hatchery.

This I don't get? Some of the locals in Fort Klamath think they are drilling for water. WTF? The water table in the area is about 8...I repeat "8", feet. Why would you need a rig this big to drill for water with a 8 foot water table and a  water canal 3 feet away? I don't get it....

Here at the hatchery we have about 8 or 10 bat boxes. The bats have been gone all winter but just returned three days ago. You can tell when they arrive by the new piles of bat guano below the boxes. The more the merrier...less mosquitoes.

My first attempt at getting some bats on film. They are quick little buggers and only come out when it is mosquito time. I got many more bites than shots! Best I could do so far using a flash and trying to anticipate when one might fly out or back into the box.