What a Load of Bull Trout
The upper Imnaha country is an honest-to-golly end of the rainbow place to be this time of year with hillsides of gold from the tamaracks going off. The weather for the bull trout spawning ground survey at the end of October was eeeeeeeepic. Gearboat master Todd Kruger was the wilderness chef. Barry Cox packed our gear in. I got to go along to help look for bull trout redds. Here we see Ian Wilson of Nez Perce Tribal Fisheries wading in the water peering around for redds. Note the blue, blue sky and green, green water. Man, it was nice up there. You outdid yourself, Ma Nature.
Here’s Jeff Yanke of ODF’nW and Brian Simmons from NPTFisheries beholding the lovely idyllic stream before bushwacking down through face slappy brush to their next survey stretch.
Thanks to Gretchen Sausen with US Fish & Wildlife for running the show and letting me talk her into taking me along. Identifying these spots where fish make babies is interesting work. You wade your section of stream with eyes peeled for likely signs. A disturbance in the river bottom. Waterproof baby montitors. Little fish diapers littered around the gravel. That kind of thing. Then you consult. Measure. Say some science things. I like to announce a possible redd sighting by singing out: “I spy with my wee little eye … a clear line of deposition over here.”
Again, look at the grandeur. I can’t stress enough the grandeur.
This time of year in the Wallowas is just the bee’s knees, shins and ankles. Kruger and I are about to shove off on the Grande Ronde a five day steelhead float. So we got that going for us, which is nice. Meantime, got in a little mountain biking. Got on a trail recently that was so steep I worried about fire danger from the heat coming off my melting brake pads.
No joke, Todd’s brakes got so hot they gave up on doing their job and Kruges got a nasty blister when he touched the brake disc to investigate. Just a fun little bike ride, I was told. More or less straight down, it turned out.
Been hearing of great results on the Grande Ronde from steelheaders. Will bring back a report from this Minam to Wildcat expedition. See you out there.