Thursday, July 29, 2010

What happens to headwater creeks when they are restored and connected to their watersheds?

the big fish return!

Fish heaven Creek just north of the Idaho/Utah border. The cutthroats are reoccupying the creek.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July

I woke up too early this morning. My mind spinning with dreams of fishing for trout in small creeks in the foothills around Pocatello, creeks that only exist in my mind. I seem to have a habit of doing that, creating watersheds while I sleep.

The realities of a double dip depression, high unemployment, and having a niche skillset for which there are not many positions in SE Idaho have relocated my family and I (oh on a family note, Happy Birthday to my wonderful wife!) to the hill country of Texas. North and east of Austin whose motto is "Keep Austin Weird." Austin has a good vibe and is full of music, food, activities, a zoo and shopping (shopping is high on my wife's criteria) but the climate reminds me more of Brazil than anywhere else I have resided and the local creeks are warm like my bath tub.

So as I ponder ways of becoming independently wealthy to the point where I can return to mountain headwaters, that or convince my wife to simplify, simplify, simplify our lives to the point where we live with a much smaller house, foot print and income..... my dreams about creeks return my thoughts to a project I had intended to undertake this summer; namely fishing the small creeks that flow into the Portnuef in the Pocatello valley.

I will start with the three northern most on the west side of the valley:
Trail Creek, City Creek and Cusick Creek.

Trail Creek is born from small springs in a notch south of Horward Mountain and the unnamed peak to the south which is essentially the top of the "west bench" valley view dr. area. It is a small creek, never really growing much more than 3-4 feet wide. It flows through some pastures and countrified residential areas in its lower boundaries before disappearing underground or to irrigation, and through sage and juniper around and above the BLM boundary. I have never caught anything here despite fishing it once or twice (plunking worms) when I was about 10 or 11 or so. My gut tells me if there are any fish in the creek they most likely reside in the shaded stretch right in the area where the creek crosses the BLM boundary. This is also where the creek is at its largest as various branches come together here (it may be a bit larger downstream but it is all in private land around meadowlark). There could be few hiding in here, but temps may get to high during the summer months.

On a side note if you want to view a cool rock go visit "holey rock" a large rock with various holes through it, in a horse pasture next to Trail Creek above where Meadowlark splits off of the main road.

City Creek is also the result of springs that feed it from a draw about 1/2 way up and more spirngs at the foot of Kinport peak. City Creek is a larger creek than Trail Creek and has more flow, probably about twice as big. The City creek area has always been used for recreation by Pocatello residents and is now part of a really good mountain biking trail system.

When I was a boy scout we used to go camp along the creek which was also a popular destination for partying teens. About 20 years ago or so the city got [more] serious about protecting City Creek as a part of the Pocatello watershed and banned camping along the creek (if I remember correctly). We caught small trout out of City Creek when I was a scout. I can not remember if they were Cutts or rainbows but I imagine that there could possibly still be some cutthroat in the creek. The best bet would be in the shady willowed and aspen lined areas below where the road up Kinport peak does the sharp bend back (just below the gate that is closed in the winter on the upper road).

City is a very scenic creek from the trailhead at the LDS church up to its beginning and I have hiked or ridden most of its length. Both City Creek and Cussick Creek are owned by the city of Pocatello as part of a 3000 acre watershed management area as part of the City's drinking water supply.

Cusick Creek is born of springs in a grove of pines about 3/4 of the way up Kinport. In the pine areas it is very shaded but lower down it is very exposed. Cusik creek used to be diverted and provided at one point much of nascent Pocatello's drinking water and the old holding pool can still be visited. I have never fished Cusick Creek but I think the creek could hold fish. If it does they are most likely in the more protected areas above where the old two track that is now part of the "Prison Trail" loop intersects the creek or down below in the canyon directly above the cabin area that the Pocatello Police Department has at the foot of the bench. I think this creek could hold some cutthroat ;)

The difficulty for these creeks is that they are all now essentially detached from the Portnuef River, and that the river itself through Pocatello, while once a major spawning corridor for Cutthroat is now severely impacted and largely turned into a large concrete ditch. Any fish in these creeks are either remnants from past plantings, or holdover from original populations now resident in the small creeks (must be a heck of a time in the winter).

If anyone who reads this has any knowledge of fish in these three creeks (or other Pocatello area creeks) in the last few years let me know, or if you have any photos of the area creek that I can use, well they would be appreciated!

I plan on writing about more Pocatello area creeks (and I know a few with a certainty hold fish and cutthroat) in the next little while and will visit a couple as soon as I can (which will most likely not be any time soon as we are now in the south).

Friday, July 2, 2010

Salmon and salmon flies.

Sitting on the sofa in TX. The kids and I waded a local creek last Saturday. The bottom was a solid piece of limestone, kind of cool, and the temps were like my bathtub.

Hoping to make if back to the SF for a day next week, hopefully the salmon flies put in an appearance.

Support wild salmon and steelhead. Wild salmon at dagger falls on the headwaters of the MF of the Salmon. Nice!