Tag Archives: environment

While many complain about the Lack, I shift my attentions to the Plenty

The drought and its unrelenting grip on the weather remind us of the absence of many things; moisture in any form, fishing of every type, and how Fall is being kept at arm’s length, denying us even a brief respite.

… unless you count forest fires as welcome change.

This year we had fires in every significant trout drainage in the state including; Hat Creek and Fall River, Yosemite, the Upper Sacramento, American, and anything else sloped towards the Pacific and sporting an overly warm dribble from the Sierra.

Naturally ebullient and unwilling to dwell on all the things denied us, I’ve busied myself with the Plenty, letting those prone to sourness swear at inclement conditions and hot weather.

olives1The Unexpected Plenty: defined by a big rig negotiating an onramp poorly and leaving 10000 pounds of Jalapeno Peppers on the edge of the road.

The Hoped for Plenty: that Garlic field whose harvester missed enough furrows as to allow me to squirrel away enough garlic to render myself off-putting to a Zombie Apocalypse, an uprising of Vampires, or most anyone ringing my front door.

… and the Unasked for Plenty; the appearance of enough Olives on the trees ringing the fields to allow me to dabble in toxic chemicals, converting the bitter and astringent Olive into something more docile and table worthy.

Fishing has been relegated to observation of the watershed and the realization that the two greatest despoilers of the environment are actually the root of the creek’s continued survival…

Man, for all his shortsightedness and many faults – occasionally preserves a watershed by intent. While that is infrequent in my unclean waters, occasionally we grow tired of crapping on the small and defenseless, and guilt makes us part with a few farthings for restoration work.

That other great despoiler of watersheds is the Beaver. Considered an unwelcome invasive in both South America and Europe, as it has great appetite for bank burrowing and tree felling, neither act endearing the beaver to anything else sharing the watershed.

As my creek has been dry since July, and does so each year at that time, the only life left in the watershed is contained in pockets of deep water. After the floods of Winter, the beaver rebuild their dams over the Spring, deepening the creek measurably, and these “islands of water” are all that remain for the fish, flora, and in stream fauna. Without beaver and his incessant engineering, I would have no fish.


I still patrol the last few islands every couple of weekends. I carry a rod so as not to be considered a “person of interest” by the occasional jogger or landowner intent on my doings.  I note the mink and beaver that occupy the remaining water and realize that predation doesn’t need my help. In this overly warm, stagnant environment it’s likely each fish hook thrust through jawbone could weaken the few brood stock that are left, and imperil next year’s fishing.

Which will be moot if this drought persists.

Rio Tinto opts out of Pebble Mine

miningThe global mining powerhouse, Rio Tinto, will divest itself of its share of the Pebble Mine, donating its 19% stake in the project to a pair of Alaskan charities.

The Pebble Mine has been the focus of much heat and wrath among the both environmentalists and the angling crowd, given the overall region is responsible for an enormous salmon population and many attendant industries.

Rumors of scarcity were overblown someone else exerted a prior claim

Having just finished the National Wildlife Federation’s report on global warming, and how half of our cold water fisheries will vanish in the next eighty years, I was content that the conservation issue was destined to be hot topic for the next several decades.

If it matters, I vote for smallmouth bass as the neo-nobility …

At the same time I was equally determined to find out why my lukewarm fishery was chosen to be extincted in the next eighty minutes, and without benefit of additional discussion.

So I checked the upper river …


Plenty of water, nothing appears amiss other than the constant roar of gunfire from the morning’s dove hunt. Both doves and I were content to stay on the edge of the highway and watch – while hunters blasted jays, sparrows, and starlings, as they were all “gray” and sporting a long tail, and therefore fair game.

Then I checked the park area, two miles below the dam and some 25 miles further downstream …


… and even that was lipping full of water, fish, fellow anglers, and even cormorants.

Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize I’ve been victimized by canal diversion, rather than any drought related reduced dam flow. The water is diverted below the dam, sent through assorted farms, rice fields, golf courses, and tomato fields, then restored to the channel about five miles below the newly dewatered Dead Zone…

The same zone that used to hold all the really big fish and deep water, and now holds only big rocks and deep dust.

… and explains why repeated exposure to the water downstream makes me want to scratch body parts. It’s likely to have been treated with fertilizers, anti-fungal agents, and warmed to lethal temperatures as it drains all that boron, selenium and arsenic out of your organic veggies and into that dogleg Par 5, behind the club house.

If a Big Mac and fries is characterized by the sudden blockage and subsequent fatal aneurism, my health-conscious salad having been strained through a couple of fairways and a tomato plot suggests my doctor is advocating a slow, Zombie-esque  demise.

Which isn’t the re-invigoration he describes will result from distancing myself from the fatty and caloric, but with all the maladies I’ll be contracting from local lettuce it’s likely to make his remaining years Golden as Hell …