View Full Version : Stop and smell the fishes

07-03-2017, 07:39 PM
Had a couple unexpected experiences recently that re-taught me a lesson. Took the kids to the coast for a camping trip with the extended family. On the way over went through Berryessa to avoid traffic. Nice drive but kids started to get car-sick. Pulled over next to a small creek west of Beryessa. Didn't look like much but needed time to ease sour stomachs, so decided to play who can spot a fish. Creek looked seasonal and didn't think it would actually hold anything. Much to my surprise, daughter started spotting small fish right off. After about 10 minutes of watching them the son popped up with "look at the big one". I'll be damned if it wasn't a 10" largemouth. Creek was 20' wide and a foot deep at it's best. You could walk across the riffles without overtopping hiking boots. Watched him swim around for a while and were back on our way. Few miles more we reached Lake Hennessey. Don't know if the fish swam up in high water, or they've established a small creek population. Either way surprising and pretty cool.

On the way home had to make a similar puke prevention stop just east of Booneville. Same routine only this time the boy spotted the first fish which was what I believe to be a steelhead fry about 2" long. After about 10 minutes walked down to a little (2' deep) hole with a log in it, and there were a couple dozen more grouped up, along with 2 about 6-8" long. Definitely trout (parr marks on little ones, not on larger 2). The creeks is a tributary to the Navarro River, and I believe they were steelhead fry and smolt, but could have been resident trout I suppose. This creek was smaller than the first one and I'd have bet $50 it wouldn't hold fish. Too small and weather too hot. Wrong again.

I have fond memories of being a kid and exploring little creeks and ponds. Gotten more synical and pessimistic with age. It was nice being proven wrong, and have the kids get excited about seeing even tiny fish. Was also fun to re-learn what happens when you sit, let the woods/creek settle down and watch them come to life. Only downside is having two kids ask "Are there fish in there?" every time we crossed a bridge or culvert the rest of the way home.

07-03-2017, 08:17 PM
All the coastal rivers are STUFFED with juvenile steelhead this year! That trib to berry probably would have steel as well before that dam!