Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kayaking, Salmon Snagging and Shift Forks

More busy days.  I got started putting the shingles on B&V's cabin but they aren't finished yet.  I needed to give my ankle a rest.  Tristan came one night and got a few rows laid then had to leave.  Susan, Barbara and I will finish them up today (Saturday) ... we hope.  We took our anniversary off to do some kayaking then went scrounging (A.K.A - dumpster diving) and after that went to Fortine to shoot pool and eat dinner before heading home.

We went kayaking at Upper Stillwater Lake.  We wanted to explore up the river a bit but the water was either too shallow or to swift for the kayaks.  We finally came to a waterfall we couldn't get over so we got in the kayaks and floated back to the lake.  It was a fast trip back! 

Out on the lake we spotted this large beaver lodge.  It's hard to describe the size without being there to see it.

I got this shot while the water was quiet enough to act like a mirror.  Susan said I should turn it over to see if anyone could figure out which way was up.  I asked her how she knew I hadn't already done that.  The large bump on the left side is the beaver lodge in the previous photo.

One of the local residents.

Tristan is standing to the right of the sign.  This is the tribute the local fire department does every year on September 11.

I finally got around to taking apart my boat motor to see why the shifter didn't work.  It was in gear all the time which made it interesting when I started the motor up initially on the lake.

Six bolts and three nuts out and the halves separate.

This is the offending part.  The roll pin (center front) was loose in the shift fork and wouldn't disengage the gears.  There are supposed to be two but one was already gone and the other one was falling out.  I had roll pins the right size but the hole had worn too much to hold them in place so I improvised.  I found a nail the right diameter and cut it down to the lengths I needed.  I used the small C-clamp to press the new pins in the holes then used a file to clean up the saw marks.

Here I'm checking the gear for proper fit.  So far it's working great.

We learned the the salmon had started running in Eureka so we did some salmon snagging.  You can see the fish (orange/red) in the water.

Susan and Victor began out on the bridge ...

I found some eddies down below and began snagging salmon then Victor joined me for awhile.

We ended up with about 35 to 40 fish in all.

Victor and Susan moved over to the other side of the river.  I'd caught my limit so I went to the car to give my ankle a rest while they continued snagging.  Susan actually ran one of the fish down.  Tristan had caught it and was reeling it in when the line snapped.  Susan raced down the shore then into the water and caught it in her hands before it got away.  Ya' gotta be careful doing that because the hook was still sticking out of the fish!

The aren't real big but this early in the season are good eating.  Victor is getting his first lesson in filleting fish.

Now he's getting experience filleting fish!

We're almost finished!

Yesterday Susann and I took the kayaks to the Stillwater river to do some exploring.  She caught me wearing one of my "Duh!" looks!

Just some of the scenery along the river.

More scenery ... The water looks placid but it has some current going down stream.  Fortunately the kayaks work well in those situations.

Any guesses as to what kind of tracks are present?

There were several challenges along the river.  This one is a low foot bridge we had to go under.  I had to take my hat off but did have some advantage since my greater weight made my kayak sit lower in the water.

Another challenge.  We hit three beaver dams that spring flood waters had breached.  Each one had a spillway of sorts we had to paddle up.  It took us each two tries to make it through this one.

I made it through then it was Susan's turn ...

One of the problems is that the channel is just wide enough for the kayak so there isn't really much water to paddle against to propel yourself.  The sticks are too slick for the paddles to grip and too far away to grab with your hands ...  You can see the water coming off her paddle here.

Now she's through and into deeper water where the going is easier.

This area is marshy and low so there were few trees along the edge.  It's mostly willow brush.  Here we're almost back to the Cherokee to head for home.  We paddled three hours upstream and took three hours to get back.  We did some fishing on the way back which made that trip take longer.  Didn't catch any fish.

The sun was setting and we were both wet and cold so we headed home to a meal of venison pot pie, a hot wood stove and a movie.

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