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September 21, 2010

Salmon Cakes

Filed under: Family — eD @ 9:08 pm

We have a freezer full of wild salmon. Perks of living in the Pacific Northwest. I wanted to make some salmon cakes but have never made them with anything but canned salmon. A quick Google search took me to this blog post:

Pan-Fried Salmon Cakes

The recipe is easy to follow and the salmon cakes are super delicious.

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August 22, 2010

Camping at Yale Lake

Filed under: Family,Fishing — eD @ 11:43 am

Two weeks ago Jared and I packed up our camping and fishing gear and headed south towards Mt. St. Helens. Since we now have our boat Olive, I wanted to go to a lake and do some fishing.

Ready to Leave

We ended up at the Beaver Bay Campground on Yale Lake near the small town of Cougar, Washington.


View Larger Map

Just south of Mt. St. Helens is a string of three reservoirs that are maintained and operated by Pacific Power. Most of the land around the reservoirs is owned by the power company including the Beaver Bay Campground.

The campground is great. It has space for RVs but no RV utility hookups. Each camping spot has a table and a fire pit. The restrooms have running water and warm showers which are included in the $20 per night camping fee. The campground also has a nice boat launch with a finger pier and a roped off swimming area.

I could not find a phone number or anything on the web that suggested I could make a reservation at the campground. When we arrived, there was no obvious place to go to pay for a camping spot. There was a small booth at the entrance gate but it was all boarded up. We stopped and asked one of the campers how we go about paying for a spot. It turns out that you just find a spot that is not already reserved and start setting up camp. One of the camp hosts patrols for newbies. The host will come to your camp and ask you to pay for the desired number of nights. You are given a card with your departure date and that is clipped to a sign that identifies your camping spot.

Setting up Camp

Jared and I really enjoyed camping on Yale lake. Jared loved swimming and he found plenty of kids in the campground to hang out with and ride bikes. I liked the fact that “quite time” is 10pm to 8am so there was plenty of peaceful sleeping to be had.

The scenery was awesome but it was rather cloudy and overcast for the first couple of days.

Yale Lake

I am still green when it comes to fishing for the various cold water loving fish here in the Northwest. People fish for Kokanee salmon in Yale Lake. I read a little about fishing for Kokanee before the trip. I knew that people used “ford fenders” or “pop gear” and wedding rings to troll for Kokanee. I know, what the heck is all of that? A ford fender is a metal lead that has on it a string of spinners designed to catch the attention of a hungry salmon. Apparently salmon like to chase after shiny flashy stuff. A wedding ring is basically a hook followed by some beads, a flashy bit that looks like a wedding ring and a small spinner.

We had the lures that are supposed to catch Kokanee and I have a fish finder to help determine the depth of the fish but on the first day of fishing we couldn’t even get a nibble. When we returned to camp, we talked to our fellow campers about fishing for Kokanee. We quickly learned that we were missing a very important thing: white corn. Apparently Kokanee love white corn. Yellow corn will not do, it has to be white.

Armed with our flashy lures and white corn, we tried again on the second day. No luck trolling. One thing that was against us was the water temperature was a bit high for salmon. My fish finder was giving me temperatures between 65F and 68F. The fish were hanging out at about 30 to 40 feet in 50 to 100 feet of water. We just couldn’t entice them to bite. While trolling, we found a spot with a bunch of fish just staying put. I maneuvered the boat up wind of this spot and we tried casting various lures as we drifted. Locals call this “mooching”. After making several passes over the same spot, Jared and I ended up each catching one small Kokanee.

On day three we were rather frustrated with fishing. I was beginning to think that it just wasn’t the right time of year to be out trying to catch a Kokanee. So instead of fishing, Jared and I headed towards Mt. St. Helens to go for a hike.

Mt. St. Helens

We went to an area in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest called Lava Canyon. The north side of Mt. St. Helens is where a lot of the destruction occurred back in 1980 when the mountain blew its top and that is where most of the tourists go. But there are things to see on the south side as well. When that last big eruption occurred, mud flowed through the Lava Canyon area and uncovered old lava flows. Now snow melt flows through that canyon.

Lava Canyon Hike

The scenery here is outstanding. A loop trail gives you a great view of the river and the old lava flows. There is also a trail along the river that turned out to be beautiful and a little scary as you can see from my video.

On our last evening camping we were talking about leaving early the next morning. I had given up on fishing. I was thinking about packing up early in the morning and heading to the north side of Mt. St. Helens. Jared wasn’t totally in favor of this because he wanted to do some more swimming before we left.

While we were fixing dinner, our camping neighbor stopped by and told us that her family was catching fish. She said they were catching them early in the morning out in deep water. This convinced me that we should go out and give it another try. I really didn’t want to leave feeling that we totally failed at trying to catch fish.

Friday morning we got up early, ate and packed all our gear into the 4Runner. I think we were out on the lake by about 8:30. Next to the lake is a mountain that casts a big shadow on the lake in the morning. I decided that we needed to do two things: stay in the shadows where the fish might be trying to stay cool and try to do a better job getting our lures to a consistent depth. I don’t have down riggers so knowing the depth of our lures was not easy. We started stripping the line off our reels by hand in small increments. We would count the increments. This didn’t mean we knew exactly our lure depth but it allowed us to consistently return to the same depth. We just experimented with different increment amounts. Quickly Jared caught the first fish of the day.

Jared caught the first fish of the day.

It wasn’t a huge fish but it was progress. In no time, Jared had caught three and I had caught one. A few of them we definitely would have kept if we were camping another night. We stuck to the shadows and kept adjusting our lure depths. In the end we caught a total of eight Kokanee. At about noon, the sun was high and the fish were not biting any more. Jared wanted to swim before we headed home so we headed to the boat launch. Jared got his swim on and at about 2:30 we headed for home.

This was a fantastic camping trip. I plan to return to the Beaver Bay campground to see if we can catch some more Kokanee. Even if you are not into fishing, I would recommend the area to anyone wanting to camp and relax.

July 25, 2010

Taking Olive on the Sound

Filed under: Bainbridge Island,Family,Fishing — eD @ 8:37 pm

A couple weeks ago, I found a 12 foot aluminum Duroboat for sale on craigslist.com. A guy was selling the boat, trailer, 3 seats, oars, trolling motor, battery, two anchors, and 4 life vests for $1,900. I ended up buying it. The title says the boat was built in 1998 but you’d be hard pressed to guess that it is even close to that old just by looking at it. I think it was a pretty sweet deal.

IMG_0013

We named it Olive.

A 12 foot boat is definitely on the small end of the spectrum. I wasn’t sure if I would be taking it into the Sound or not. The various cargo ships and cruise ships can generate some sizable waves out there.

Salmon season is starting up here in the Northwest so I have a desire to fish in the Sound. Last year, Jared and I fished from various beaches but did not have much luck catching anything of any size.

Last Sunday, we took Olive to Lake Cushman. On the way, we had to drive around the south end of the Hood Canal. The HC is pretty good size but not nearly as wide as the Sound is between Bainbridge Island and Seattle. Plus it doesn’t have any large boat traffic. On the drive, I realized there are lots of places in the Sound that we could take Olive without the risk of capsizing.

Yesterday afternoon, we loaded up our gear and launched Olive from Fort Ward State Park here on Bainbridge.


View Larger Map

Yes, when you look at the map, you can see the path of the Bremerton ferry. Because the ferry has to travel so close to land, the state runs it so it doesn’t generate a huge wake. So, no worries there. After we launched the boat, we headed north and trolled around the end of Point White.


View Larger Map

The boat handled everything just fine. There is a lot of boat traffic through the narrow gap at Point White. The only sort of scary wave came from a yacht that was pushing a lot of water.

Fishing was awesome. The advantage of a small boat is it is easy to maneuver quickly. Fishing from Olive is a lot of fun.

Fishing in the Sound

Catching was not as successful as I would like. I caught a sculpin that was 10 to 12 inches long. I also caught a tiny salmon that was smaller than my bait.

Whopper

Jared actually caught a crab on a silver buzz bomb. At first, he thought he was hung up on the bottom. He let me pull on it and I could tell it was not hung. As I reeled in the line, I saw something pretty good sized and red coming up. As it got closer, we could tell it was a crab. It had a pincher clamped on Jared’s lure. As it came up, it even switched which claw had a hold of the line. Just as it reached the surface, it let go. Just as well. Neither of us have a crab license.

Our outing was a great success! I am already thinking about other spots in Sound that we can take Olive to see if we can catch a big salmon.

June 24, 2010

Dad Life

Filed under: Family,Funny — eD @ 3:17 pm

Dad Life from Church on the Move on Vimeo.

June 20, 2010

Geocaching at Fort Flagler

Filed under: Family,Geocaching,Washington — eD @ 2:10 pm

With June still showing us a glimpse of winter here in the Northwest, every sunny day has to be enjoyed to the fullest. Friday’s forecast looked good so I took the day off from work and Jared and I headed up to Fort Flagler State Park located on Marrowstone Island.


View Larger Map

This was our first trip to Ft. Flagler. It is a shame that it has taken us so long to make our way to Marrowstone Island. It is a really nice place to visit and it is just a little over an hour drive from Bainbridge Island. In the state park, there are beaches, camping and picnicking spots and many trails. A lot of the structures remain from when the park was an active army base. There is a Battery Bankhead with its doors open that you can explore. You can drive to the bankhead but Jared and I parked just inside the campgrounds and followed a trail through the forest to it.

Off to find another cache

The park has plenty of beaches to check out. They are mostly sand which is a nice change from the rocky beaches of Bainbridge. The park also has a lot of open space that makes it a good kite flying spot. The wind was good while we were there so we broke out a kite.

Taking some time to fly a kite

Jared and I had not been geocaching since last summer so we anxious to do some hunting. Fort Flagler’s trails makes it a really nice place for geocaching.

The path to a cache

The path to a cache

History and a find

First find of the day

There are four caches in or very close to the park. The coolest one of the day was the one we found at the northeast end of the park. It is part of the Track the Dragon series of caches. This collection of caches was conceived back in the early nineties as an art project geared toward educating the public about the water cycle. At each cache location is a large dragon’s footprint.

A dragon print

A dragon print

Jared and I talked to a local guy who said back in the day when there were no GPS receivers, clues about the dragon track locations spread by word of mouth. Originally when you found a track, you also found a stash of playing cards. When put together, the cards formed a map or something. Now the tracks are regular geocache locations. On Friday, we only found one but we plan to return to find all twelve.

Next to Marrowstone Island, between the Olympic Pennisula and Marrowstone is Indian Island. Indian Island is home to a naval munitions handling facility which limits exploration of the island. But, along the south end of the island as you make your way to Marrowstone is a trail that connects a series of small roadside parks. You can find several caches along this trail. My suggestion is to park at one end and hike the trail to the opposite end. You will find geocaches as well as enjoy a really nice walk along the water’s edge.

Find #5

The view from find #6

Find #8

Find #7

The view at find #7

Find #10

Click on any photo above to see the full set. Click here to see our GPS track for the day.

Jared and I had an awesome day. I’ve said it before; geocaching is an outstanding way to discover new places. Caches are hidden in some very interesting places. We have visited spots while hunting for caches that we would have never visited on our own.

May 30, 2010

Washing My Car

Filed under: Bainbridge Island,Washington — eD @ 4:21 pm
Car Wash

The Pacific Northwest has changed the way I wash my car.

Anywhere else, washing my car was more like doing the laundry. I did it to remove the dirt; sometimes once a week whether it needed it or not. I would dry the car so it wouldn’t have spots. If it rained, I felt like the car would need to be washed again.

Now, washing my car is more like cleaning a fish tank. I don’t care if it is raining before, during or after. I do it only because I need to remove the algae that has built up on it.

April 25, 2010

Chicken Tractor

Filed under: Chickens,Family,Gardening — eD @ 5:14 pm

We enjoy allowing the chickens to scratch and peck in the yard. They usually do a pretty good job staying in our yard but not always. Jared and I constructed a chicken tractor today so we can allow the flock access to different parts of the yard and not worry about them going where they shouldn’t. It will also keep the ladies away from my vegetable plants as they start to sprout.

March 24, 2010

A New Mower

Filed under: Bainbridge Island,Family — eD @ 11:16 pm

Mr. J. will be 10 in a couple weeks. It is about time he learns to mow the grass!

The nice weather and sunshine has encourage my grass to grow. I drug the lawnmower out of the garage and Jared walked up as I was pouring in some gas. I asked if he wanted to give mowing a try. I asked him last year but he was a bit frightened of the idea. But this time he was all for it.

March 10, 2010

Rowdy Rover: A dream come true.

Filed under: Family — eD @ 7:27 pm

Tama’s offspring did very well down in Arizona last weekend.

Rowdy Rover: A dream come true..

February 15, 2010

Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy

Filed under: Cool Ideas — eD @ 1:10 pm

Here is a pretty cool post about Derek Siver’s recent TED Conference talk.

Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy | Derek Sivers.

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