I'm baaaaack!

Jay

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I’ve been on vacation in Big Sky Country for two weeks. In the 20 years my family's been going back there I've never seen so many deer. It's amazing what 3 mild winters in a row will do. I saw alot of country and a lot of river basins, some ducks.  I'll post the details later.

Read a great book called: "Lasso the Wind" by Tim Egan. I'd put it up there with Cadillac Desert on the must read list.

What did I miss?

Is Scank still playing nice?

It must be getting close to duck season cause I see  LetEmWork is back.

I see E.A. scuttled the WaterfowlMaster and did a right fine job of it.  



(Edited by Jay at 9:20 am on Aug. 7, 2001)
 

Greenhead

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The deer herds in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, etc. can go from nothing to too many in a very short time. When I was a kid growing up in Wyoming, it was always feast or famine come big game season.

Scank is not playing nice. See his post "Klamath Water Battles" a few days back.
 

jerry d

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You been somewhere???

Just funning you. :ABG

Glad to see you had a good time and made it home safe. Are the rainbows still taking an elk hair caddis or a yellow midge out there in Gods country.

Can't wait to get back there next summer.

Scank kinda got going on the Riley trip again and I reminded him of his pledge. Haven't heard much from him lately. Guess he's changed.
 

Fubar

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Jay  Welcome back. Glad you had a good time. I would like to hear about your trip.     Fubar
 

Jay

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Here’s my trip report:

Pulled out of Castro Valley around noon.  The refinery marshes near Martinez had a few mallards, pelicans and Canada geese.

Crossed the Benicia bridge. The duck clubs of the Suisun  marsh are pretty much dried out for the summer. A few coots and mallards at Gribaldi’s, no geese.

There’s a couple of potholes in the freeway cloverleafs before Davis, they looked real ducky although I didn’t see anything. The Yolo Bypass ponds had water but no ducks. There’s a lot of rice this year to the south in the bypass.

Coming down the backside of the Sierra’s we picked up the Truckee river past Donner Lake.  The river looked good all the way to Reno. Some doves were swishing around Reno. After Reno the Truckee didn’t look so good, a lot of exposed shoreline and sluggish water. Just before Fernley the river takes a sharp turn, goes under the freeway and dumps into Pryamid Lake, a Paiute Indian reservation. As we crossed the river it looked to me like the Indians were getting Reno’s effluent and any left over water, which wasn’t much.

The geothermal basin area just past Fernley was basically dry although there were a couple of small potholes along the freeway that held a couple broods of ducks.

So on through the sagebrush lands of the Paiute Indians. The Humbolt sink was dry with all the water being held behind Rye Patch dam.

Passed Lovelock, which by the way is where the world’s oldest duck decoys were found. The Paiutes of the area made Canvasback decoys out of reeds, some where found in a cave near Lovelock. Some dove were flitting around the ag fields.

Rye Patch Reservoir was very low, a lot of exposed shoreline.

Crosses started popping up along the roadside. Saw about 300 roadside crosses on my trip, I-80, highway 93 and I-15 were the worst areas. Long straight stretches were the worst. Almost all of them were single car accidents. People drift off the right shoulder, suddenly wake, over correct and roll the car. I saw one roll over being placed on car carrier. Very sobering to see how many people had bought the farm along the way.

Hundreds of miles of dry sage. The Humbolt river is just a trickle of interconnected pools.

A few doves around Winnemucca.

Passed the BM on the mountain.

Hours of more sagebrush.

Stopped in Elko for the night. The Ruby Mountains have to be the most beautiful range in Nevada. The Ruby marshes are on the backside of the range, fed by springs at the base of the mountains. I’ve always wanted to hunt the Ruby NWR but I haven’t done it yet.

The next day we hit Wells and headed north. Good mule deer country.  The Salmon Falls river (it’s amazing what they call a river in Nevada) looked the same as it usually does, a little trickle.

Crossed over into Shoshone land in Idaho.

Coming into Twin Falls and the Magic Valley, I started to see lots of doves. Crossed the Snake and made our way up the Snake River valley. Saw some ducks and geese in ponds, saw lots of birds sitting on the river near the Minidoka NWR.
Stopped at the Fort Hall trading post and pumped some money into the economy of the Indian reservation.

The upper Snake River was in poor shape.

The Market Lake waterfowl area north of Idaho Falls was bone dry.

Went up over Monida pass and in to Montana.

The Red Rock river was low and so was Clark Canyon reservoir, a few geese out on the mudflats.  Ted Turner is running some of his buffalo in the Red Rock valley and he’s employing a lot of people to redo his ranch to erase all indication of Jane.  

The Beaverhead river looked good since it’s dam controlled and the farmers downstream were calling for irrigation water.

During our stay we saw at least 50 deer, a moose, a bear, a coyote and 20 –30 antelope. Lots of critters due to 3 mild winters in a row.

Fished Grasshopper creek with my wife and bumped a couple mallards, one was a hen with two youngsters.

Drove to the Lewis and Clark Caverns down the Jefferson River Valley, saw several ponds with ducks on them, plus an evening flight of a dozen Canada geese. The river itself was very low.  The Caverns were great.

Took another day trip to the Bitterroot valley. Crossed through the Big Hole valley and passed the Big Hole National Battle field were the US Army attacked the Nez Perce Indians while they slept in their tipis.  The army managed to kill (mainly club) numerous women, children and elderly as they came out of the tipis. The Indian warriors managed to rally and kicked some serious butt, including capturing the army’s cannon which was mounted on the hill. The Big Hole river was so low that fishing had been banned in some areas in an attempt to protect fish stocks.  The Bitterroot River was low also.  

On the way home we followed the trail taken by the Nez Perce as they dodged the US Army. We crossed Horse Prairie and went over Bannock Pass, down to the Lemhi river which was extremely low. Then we followed Birch creek down to Mud lake and cut down the dry side of the Lost River range, through Howe, Arco and Carey. Drove through the Craters of the Moon, which is one of the most surreal landscapes in North America. Just outside Carey there is a waterfowl management area wedged between the mountains and the lava beds.  It looked real good, plenty of water with lots of cover.    

After hitting Twin Falls we came back the way we went.

All in all we saw a lot of country, most in the grips of drought. Most of the water that is in the rivers is being used to grow cow food. We need a couple of wet years to bring duck production back up in these areas.
 

Fubar

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Jay  Thanx for the report. I really enjoyed it.    Fubar
 
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