Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Little Goose Dam, Starbuck, Washington

Backroads Destination-Little Goose Dam

This is the destination for our annual fishing and hunting trip along the Snake River.  It is just up the road from the Texas Rapids Boat Launch along the Snake River previously discussed in this blog.  It is a popular fishing spot in a pretty eastern Washington setting.  The only downside to the area is you can hear the hum of the generators at Little Goose Dam.  It would be nice if those generators would quit running at bedtime, however, the lights would go out in Seattle!  If your into total quiet stay downstream at Texas Rapids.  Texas Rapids Boat Launch

The 5th wheel is off-limits for the annual hunting trip.  But with the tent trailer and add-a-room it is comfortable set-up even with the unusual rains during the hunting trip.  Is it suppose to rain in the desert?  The add-a-room did hold up in the wind unlike last year.  The Wilson antenna on the top of the tent trailer did provide cell service.

The fishing rod on the bank was suppose to provide either catfish and steelhead for dinner, but in ten days not even a strike.   We tried fishing off the rocks to see if our luck would change.   It did.  We caught one small 14 inch steelhead smolt.  The fish ladder counts showed thousands of fish heading for Idaho, but ALL of them decided to pass on our lures.

The Snake River has steelhead, salmon, smallmouth bass, channel catfish, largemouth bass, sturgeon, crappie, and largemouth bass.  The Snake River even has a fish that you can fish for money.  Yes, the Federal Bonneville Power Administration will PAY YOU to fish for the pike minnow.  You can be an independent contractor for the Federal Government fishing for a living.  If you are interested in the job here is the link:  Fishing for Money!

Oh, we did not catch a pike minnow, either.

However, it was not the fish that drew us to the Snake River, but upland bird hunting.  We were trying to lower the population of invasive non-native birds in the Snake River ecosystem.  Primarily pheasants, but chukers and hungarian partridges were also on the list as well as the "native" California quail.  Of course, we needed a lean mean hunting machine known as a German Longhair Pointer to help with the task.

This was Bugaboo prior to the hunt days.  Well, after ten days in the field that flowing tail was reduced to a rat tail as shaving was the only way to get the burrs out.  There were seeds in the tail and every other part of the body.  Nature has a way of using long-hair hunting dogs for seed dispersal.  He also got some ugly cuts from barb wire fences.  He had a couple of close calls jumping over barb wire fences, but we are happy to report that portion of his anatomy remains attached and he still has the capability to pass on his DNA.  But it was close a couple of times!

As mentioned earlier we had plenty of rain this year.  Clouds and rain are most unusual in eastern Washington and it made hunting a very wet experience.  So we hunkered down with a very bad internet connection and looked to the National Weather Service to provide planning information for our hunts.

With the forecasts we were able to plan our hunts around the rain storms and kept fairly dry.  The hunting was great, the shooting fair.  Bugaboo did great in his second year.  He returned the pheasants I shot to my hand without my having to resort to the good citizenship collar.  The birds Terry shot were also returned to me.  However, one time he caught a pheasant without us shooting it.  He promptly started sneaking off with the bird.  I guess he is willing to share IF we shoot them, however, the ones he gets on his own are ALL HIS in his mind. 

Bugaboo went on a classic point and I was torn between pulling out my camera or keeping with the shotgun.  Terry walked in and flushed the pheasant and it fell from the sky when he pulled the trigger.  I missed the photo, but will always have the memory of that classic point by Bugaboo.  Thanks to Bugaboo and his friends the pheasant dish on the last night was outstanding with that fine eastern Washington wine!

The hills of the Snake River have a beauty all of their own.  Great for wandering around with a gun or a camera.  The landscape is just as beautiful as it was two centuries ago when Lewis and Clark passed through the area.  Of course, all those pesky pheasants, chukars, and huns were not around!

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