Theres been a pretty steady rotation of campers and day-users down at the hot spring. I've got some guests around for the holidays too, renting the trailer and camped out in back with their heaters plugged in and enjoying a holiday out in the wilderness.
The fish run is long over, only two big dead salmon remained in the deep part of the pond out front. As a rule most spawned-out fish are swept away, or if they are not too deep, the eagles, coyotes and bobcats will wade into the ice-cold water to retrieve them. Anyways, often one or several will expire in the deep part of the pond, and in that cold water last a considerable time. I've always gone out over the years and poked away at the dead fish to move them downstream, or drag them into shore and flip the carcass up on the rocks where it disappears pretty quick after dark. A stinky job I could do well without, but my efforts at fish-poking are in my own best interests. If the weather were to get very cold, and freeze up my intake system up the mountain, I would be reduced to chopping a hole in the ice here and bucket water up to the house, so the less dead salmon in there the better.
So I looked at these two out there, I could see the buggers right from the front-deck, for about a week and a half hoping they would disappear.
Well it got to the point I was going to have to go down there and fish them out into shallower water. I had a long hollow aluminium tent-pole around out back I took down to the creek and jammed a hooked stick into the end. I had been saving that long hooked stick since it drifted in during last Spring's high water, it had a natural cradle on one end, similar to what you might herd sheep with, that looked ideal for snagging any stinky Winter dead fish.
With the aluminium pole and the improvised 'fish herder' I had about a nine foot reach if I got right out balanced on the rocks, chancing a really cold dunking, and being careful not to bump the rotten fish out into deeper water, I managed to work them out of the pond and drag them one at a time over to the rocks.
Best before date expired. Now what.
I wasn't too keen on packing them any further than I had too, so I just flipped them up on the bank. There had been an eagle around, and bobcat tracks from the night before, so I knew they wouldn't hang around for long.
A coincidence, there was a game camera under the Xmas-tree this year, and figured this would be the perfect opportunity to capture an un-suspecting fish-napper in the night. After a quick peruse of the instructions we strapped it to a tree near the well-aged fish banquet.
This morning there is bobcat tracks everywhere on the river-bank and where he walked over and inspected the game-camera, and the fish were gone, except for one big head he chewed off on the spot and left behind.
Upon checking the camera card there were some interesting pictures. There were several of the living-room ceiling, a blurry elbow, and one really good shot of me standing there looking at bobcat tracks. After another study of the instructions, the camera was placed back on the tree above the fish-head, so maybe tonight the camera and it's operator can redeem themselves.
Colder weather is coming I'm told, I ran up the mountain on the machine this afternoon to tramp the road in and have a quick look at my screens and make sure I'm all set for cold.
I took my snow-shovel up to dig a trail down to the screens. That wasn't the best idea I've come up with all week, but once I got on the steep under the trees it wasn't too bad a going.
The intake-pond hadn't begun to freeze over yet, but was starting to fringe-up on the edges. The main screen looked in good shape, and my specially designed 'frazzle-ice' separator was ready to do it's thing. I hope.
Funny, the only tracks I saw up the mountain were that of another bobcat, he came along the ridge and used the dam to cross the creek, leaping the eight foot spill-way in one bound.
There is a cougar that often crosses here in the same manner.