Friday, May 27, 2011

Blog Summary--usbackroads Oregon, Utah, Nevada, Idaho and Montana

Blog Summary--Oregon, Utah, Nevada, Idaho and Montana

This is the summary of places we have visited.  To make it easier I have grouped the locations by state.

Just click on the link below to go to that blog entry.

Zion National Park, Utah
Blackfoot-Clearwater Wildlife Area, Montana
Wallace, Silver Valley, Idaho
North Fork Coeur d'Alene River, Shoshone County, Idaho
Lower Coeur d'Alene River, Idaho
Armitage County Park, Eugene, Oregon
Valley of the Rogue State Park, Medford, Oregon
Boulder Beach Campground, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
Las Vegas to Ely, Highway 93, Nevada
Ely to Jackpot, Highway 93, Nevada
Jackpot, Highway 93, Nevada
Snake River I-84 and Highway 201, Oregon

All materials and photos copyrighted 2010-2011©

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Leader Lake, Highway 20, Washington

Leader Lake, Highway 20, Washington

Leader Lake is managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources.  It is a low elevation lake just outside the town of Okanogan.  So it is heavily used by locals in spring for fishing.  As the weather warms, the use goes down and camping spots are easy to find.  It is currently (May 2011) a free campground, but this will change in July.  Check with the Department of Natural Resources for fees after July 2011.

Many people make the drive across the north Cascades along Highway 20.  Here are the other blog postings on Highway 20:

Lower Methow River, Highway 97

Chewuch River, Winthrop

30-Mile Memorial, Winthrop

Highway 20, Mazama

Pearrygin State Park, Winthrop

So there it is.  Lots to do in this area of Okanogan County.  Want cool weather head for Mazama.  Want warm temperatures Leader Lake is perfect for you.  The campsites below are on the north side of the lake and are waterfront campsites suitable for larger rigs.  Other campsites are suitable for smaller campers.  There are two boat launches on the lake.

There is no water, just campground spurs plus tables and toilets.  It is a nice quiet spot outside of fishing season and is just less than a mile from Highway 20.  It is also close to Okanogan with grocery stores and other services, yet you will feel miles removed from town.  Much nicer than the Wal-Mart parking lot in Omak!

This is a view of the south side camping area taken from the north side camping area.

Leader Lake has good fishing and I remember a great fishing trip complete with watermelon and chicken on the portable barbeque.  Sitting in the lawn chairs eating dinner.  Only problem was all those pesky trout that insisted on interrupting dinner.  They grow fast in Leader Lake looking like little footballs rather than slim and trim trout.

There is much public land in the area.  Get an Okanogan National Forest map.  It shows the Forest Service as well as BLM and state land.  The map covers the entire county so it is a great resource.  There is a Forest Service office in Okanogan.

Heading north of Leader Lake there is plenty of public land to boondock.  Enjoy exploring Okanogan County.

All materials and photos copyrighted 2010-2011©

Friday, May 6, 2011

How to Fish Good-Part 3 How

 How to Fish Good-Part 3 How

Well, this is the part that everybody loves about fishing.  Buying new stuff and trying it out.  It is the least important part of "fishing good". 

Basically, how to fish can be split into three categories:  bait, lures, and flies.  Many people start by fishing with worms, salmon eggs, or power bait.  There are lots of advantages to fishing bait.  One is that you can set the pole in a holder and eat fried chicken while listening to the ball game on the radio. 

For pure magic nothing beats a bobber with a worm attached at one end and a kid at the other.  Here is my daughter with a stringer full of trout caught high in the mountains of eastern Oregon.   She was the only person catching fish that day and even though she went up and down the bank sharing her expertise with the other anglers nobody took her seriously.  The trials of a expert fisherman at age five.

Many expert fisherpersons soon move on to lure fishing.  I suspect it has something to do with attention deficit disorder.  So fisherman give up the calm of bait fishing for the activity of lure fishing.  Not sure they catch more fish, but their hands are clean and there is a lot more activity.

I was a horrible lure fisherman.  It seems the only places I could catch fish with lures were miles from any trail or road.  For a decade or so I spent a lot of time miles from trails and fancied myself quite the fisherman.  Well, if the fish have never seen a lure and were starving then I caught fish on lures.

In a attempt to be a better fisherman I finally took up fly fishing.  In the 1970's the only people that fly fished were Englishmen and cowboys in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.   I had zero contact with English fly-fishers but those cowboys were catching fish!!  This was all before that silly movie brought a very undesirable crowd into fly fishing.  So now we are faced with fly fishermen that have all the humor of a Episcopalian minister. 

Fly fishing along streams is a lot like working in the woods as a professional Forester.  You trip and stumble a lot.  You get wet.  You get dirty.  At times, your vocabulary devolves into four letter words.  Wait, why am I fishing streams when it is so much like work!!

Then I discovered float tubes and lakes.  If you have ever wanted to fish out of a lounge chair smoking a good cigar (or in my case a bad, cheap cigar) fly fishing out of float tube is for you and me.  We will cover this great invention by a southern bass fisherman in later blogs.  But for now, heaven is a sunny day on a small lake in eastern Washington with a lit cigar and a tugging fish at the other end.

There is one thing that all three fishing methods NEED to have in common and that is SHARP hooks.  If you want to catch fish, you have to hook them.  There are plenty of hook sharpeners out there.  Find one you like and use it whether your fishing bait, lures or flies.  Lansky Multi-groove Fish Hook Sharpener.

Well, this concludes the how to fish good series.  Much different than your previous fishing advice, eh.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How to Fish Good Part Two--Where

How to Fish Good Part Two--Where

This is where the good stuff is found.  Yes, where to fish is the stuff of secrets, stories, and sleuthing behavior on the part of fishermen.  Where to fish has two components.  One is the lake or river and the other is where to fish in that lake or river.

I can write a book on how to find good lakes and streams to fish.  But the easiest way to find the best fishing lakes is to read the fishing regulations.   First, check the opening date and fish that.  See the previous blog entry Part One on why that is important.

Second, check the fishing regulations for limited limit lakes.  Today's fishing pressure is so intense that most places literally get fished out.  Those lakes and streams limited to catch and release or one or two fish limits have the best fishing.  When I worked on the Kelly Creek Ranger District in 1972 the fishing was poor, even though to reach the Ranger Station was a 50 mile drive on a dirt road.  It was that year that Kelly Creek went to catch and release regulations and within four or five years people were catching 22 inch Cutthroats with 50 fish days.  The good old days were back, if you were willing to throw all your fish back.

So there it is.  If you want to catch and eat fish.  Fish the openers or soon after.  If you want to catch fish later in the season or larger fish you will have to seek out the limited kill lakes and streams.  Catch and release works.

Now there are exceptions to the rule and you can find those lakes.  Believe me the effort is not worthwhile.  There are only a few of them and once discovered they are quickly fished out. 

Where to fish in a lake or stream?  Temperature is always important.  If there is a spring or creek entering a stream check the temperatures.  Those are natural places for fish to gather.

In ecological systems everything happens on the edge.  See this post "Living on the Edge".  Well, fish are no different than mammals.  They live on the edge.  Look for shallow water next to deep water.  Look for vegetation pockets next to clear areas.  You just have to start looking at the lake or stream from the fishes perspective.  Remember temperature is still important, it is an "edge" in itself.

Looking for an edge in fishing, means looking for an edge in ecosystems.  Lakes and streams are just ecosystems that are all wet.

Of course, if the fishing is poor there are more important things to do in camp!!  We are sure she will move on to a Lafuma RSX Padded Recliner, Marine in the future.


Next time we will talk about how to fish.

All materials and photos copyrighted 2010-2011©