DC wiring a Hobie outback to run a watersnake trolling motor

I finally registered my kayak to be able to use the little Watersnake trolling motor I modified to fit into my mirage drive slot. So to make it easier it is time to wire through the hull so that I don’t have wires hanging all over that can get tangled up in a net or a fish. Which happened on my test trolling trip more then once.

Needed materials for the build

For this modification I wanted to make sure that when I am not using the motor that the system has plugs that have a waterproof cap on them. Or if I am using the motor in the rain or heavy swells that it has a tight connection. The best ones I could find were the SAE style of plugs and cables. This entire setup cost me less then $40 to order on Amazon.

My one word of warning on this is that before ever putting holes in a kayak for any reason always make sure that where you cut or drill is where you want them at. Once you cut the holes you cant change your mind to move it around unless you are good at hole patching. For my kayak I wanted a plug in the front that will keep the motor wires away from my feet.

For the first hole I put it up front just below the front hatch. This looked to be a good spot so that the connector from the motor went forward a short distance and should not be in the way to land any fish unless it was a salmon then nothing could be really be out of the way.

One huge thing to keep in mind on using the SAE plugs is to verify that the cord colors match. Going between the two in hull connectors will swap them unless you use an adaptor to swap it back. Which is actually included when you purchase the set of two socket ports.

The second hole that I needed I put just forward of the seat and pointed up. This plug will be used to plug the cable to my pulse modulator and then to my battery. For a watersnake motor it only comes in two speeds and both of those are to fast for trolling. For me high is about 4mph and low is 2mph. But by using a pulse modulator you can turn the motor into a variable speed motor. My original one I built works well, but with the sealed Plano box it is bulky and in the way. So I found one in a metal box that also has an amp meter on one side so you can see the draw coming through. This makes it handy to calculate how long your trolling battery can last. My only worry with the metal box is that it has the vents in the side to keep it cool but that also can let water in. The location I have it setup for is under my leg while fishing but it is something to keep in mind.

Next to find a day where the wind and rain are not to crazy to go out this fall.

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Kayaking Siltcoos river on the Oregon coast

Some places on the Oregon coast just have to be explored. Through the dense coastal forest or through the windswept dunes adventure always waits. For many of these places you can only see them from a kayak or a boat. Luckily Siltcoos river is one of those places and I have a kayak. The river meanders through the coastal forest and sand dunes for just over 4 miles to finally run into the Pacific ocean.

For todays journey I started at the boat ramp on the main lake to try my luck for some large mouth bass, but there was an algae bloom starting and all I had was just a couple bites. Normally the river section produces a few bass through out but it was such a quiet day I just enjoyed the view going through the trees. one of the best things about floating the river is that no matter how windy it is the river is still always calm and protected by trees and dunes.

When you start at the lake you will first go under a small bridge before hitting the main river section. Then after a short half mile you will pass under the highway 101 bridge. For the first mile and a half the river is actually a dammed section and the it is a true peaceful float. Throughout this sections there are several downed trees that you will need to navigate around or over if you can. As of the summer of 2021 they are doing some repair work on the highway 101 bridge but it is easy to navigate around their work.

Once you get to the dam on the river there is a portage area to move into the lower section with a canoe or kayak. Getting from your watercraft onto the dam is a bit tricky as all you have is a wooden bar on the cement and about three feet of water below. After you are on the dam you then pull your kayak across some plastic rails and onto a lined metal portage that you can sit down in and slide down into the lower river.

Not a very large dam, but it brings the level of the lake up quite a bit from historic levels. To the right side of the picture there is a fish ladder to allow Coho salmon and Steelhead over the dam

The lower part of the of the river is very shallow in many sections and you have to be careful of where you are paddling to so not to get stuck in soft mud just under the water level. Once I hit the lower section I saw a pod of otters playing in the downed trees. Surprisingly this is the second pod of otters I have seen this year. Nice to see them along the rivers. Now if only the beaver population would rebound back up. If you are looking for a nice easy float I do recommend floating on Siltcoos river. You can go all the way to the ocean but during the majority of the year the dune area is closed to getting out of the kayak due to Snowy Plover nesting in the area.

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Willamette river float from Hyak park to Albany for small mouth bass and agates

Some days during late summer nothing sounds as good as a float down a lazy river on a weekend. And of course fishing makes it better. The wife and I found a nice section close to home that looked promising on the map. Hyak park is along Highway 20 between Corvallis and Albany. Floating from Hyak towards Albany has three possible pull out locations. Bryant park and Takena park are both on opposite sides of the river at the northwest side of Albany. But since that was the shorter of the trips we picked the longer spot of Bowman park.

For the first mile it was flat and surprisingly not as deep as I expected. For most of this section I could see the bottom and none of it was over 10 feet deep according to my fish finder. Which made for some poor fishing since there was no structure in the area for any fish. I did have a bite at the ramp but it appeared to be a fairly small fish. Moving down stream there was a nice rock structure towards the middle of the river. As I floated past one side I finally caught my first fish using a swim bait.

By far not my largest smallmouth but it was a good fight and just the one fish was worth the float. Now for my wife this was not a fishing trip but more of an agate finding trip. She cruised the shallows and filled up her kayak with rocks for me to tumble. Most gravel bars along the upper Willamette (and maybe lower) are great places to find agates. My largest find so far over the years was a blood agate up towards Harrisburg that was nearly the size of my fist. From Albany upstream I have mostly found shades of red towards clear along the gravel bars. But from where the Calapooia river meets the Willamette there is a chance to find an agate called a holly blue agate.

For the rest of the trip until we made it to Albany the fishing was slow, but once we made it to the hwy 20 bridge down to Bowman boat launch the river deepened up and the bass were more active. The final count for the float was four small mouth all from 10″ to 14″ There are by far bigger in the river but since it was a float and not really a dedicated fishing trip I didn’t stop to fish as much as I could have. There were several spots by the bridges that I saw some very large carp swiming around. Soon I am going to go back out and attempt to catch one from teh kayak. I imagine it is like catching a salmon from a kayak and it will pull it around a bit. Should be some fun to do before summer ends.

Highway 20 bridge coming into Albany

I do need to try some other floats along the river. From Harrisburg down is a good location for trout and over the years I have caught some very large river rainbows from the bank in that area.

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Fishing beyond the road – Salt creek

Oregon has so many rivers, creeks, and lakes that are just off any road or path and just waiting to be explored. This is the first in a series of hiking off the road, and into wild to find fish and adventures. Maybe this series will even include a float or two using the kayak’s and fishing major rivers.

Video journey through the wilds

The first stop on my journey is to Salt creek. Salt creek is one of many tributaries to the Willamette river. Salt creek can really be divided into two different sections that can be fished. the first section is below Oregon’s third highest waterfall. This steep canyon area has little to no access until the creek comes out miles below and borders the highway. The lower section contains mainly native rainbow trout. For this fishing trip I focused on the area above the waterfall which is mainly meandering meadow areas. I say meadow area but really it is brushy, horribly brushy. The headwaters of Salt creek is Gold lake. The creek outflows the lake, and meanders several miles until it flows under the highway and enters a meadow area that is extremely brushy and difficult to get through. This is the target I picked for the day. yes I know it is a bit crazy, but all the small Brook trout are fun to catch

After several scratch’s I was able to push my way through the brush and mosquitos to a nice tranquil creek. Now the fishing can begin. Salt creek is currently open for the use of bait, with no restriction on size or quantity of brook trout kept. Brook trout preproduce in such high numbers here that they really overwhelm the available food. There are also native rainbows in the stream, but I have rarely caught any due to the large quantity of Brook trout that inhabit this stretch of creek.

Nearly the entire section of stream has heavy Alder and Willow brush. Be prepared to get scratched walking through it.
This section of stream has some deeper holes with lot of fallen logs creating hiding places for the fish.
All the fish I have ever caught in this section are small brook trout.

Over the years that I have fished in this area I have never caught a fish over 10 inches in length. There may be some in there, but they are few and far between to catch. The best way to catch them is to use small spinners or a fly pole. Whichever method you use though the brush along the stream can cause a lot of trouble placing the lure/fly where you want. You can use worms or other bait in this section, but with brook trout they tend to just swallow any food and the mortality rate on release is very high.

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Fishing Beyond the road – Central Oregon’s Odell Creek

There are so many great places to fish in central Oregon that it is hard to choose where to go. Luckily most of the small streams in the area are managed so that the native fish will not be depleted and people can enjoy to fish in them for years to come. Odell Creek is currently catch and release for all trout and limited to using fly or lures.

For every trip I take like this I always have a checklist of things to bring with me. For anyone hiking remote areas you should always have a backup plan for emergency. The main three to always focus on are shelter, water, and food. And always in that order. There is no need to buy the fancy expensive hiking ones. But even something as simple as a life straw can mean the difference of being stranded and waiting for help and waiting for help and having any type of intestinal issues from drinking unpurified water.

Odell creek is a small stream flowing from Odell Lake down through mostly thick timber down to Davis lake. In low water years like this year is turning out to be the upper end by Odell lake is very shallow with few places for fish. The lower end closer to Davis lake picks up some water and has some decent rainbow trout fishing. The size varies year to year depending on the water levels in the area. In early 2005 a fire swept through the area and the removed all the heavy timber in the last few miles of the stream going into Davis lake. No shade for fishing or to keep the water cooler. Still chilly even without the shade.

90+ temps but still fun
Towards the area outside of the fire burn.

Since I was a teen I have always enjoyed fishing this gem of a stream. In the really hot years once Davis lake gets warm the larger trout can swim up into some of the deep holes in the creek. Sadly the large fish in Davis are not what they used to be. Bass were illegally introduced in the mid 1990’s and that has hurt the trout population. For avid bass fisherman this is a great thing, but for those of us that love the trout it is a sad change. You can still find these bigger trout but since the fire I have noticed less of them going very far up into the creek.

At the edge of the old burn line the smaller brushy river alders are making a comeback
Closer to the lake the banks are still bare of any sized trees. There are a lot of smaller ones coming up now.
A larger native rainbow.

In my last couple of trips to the creek the average size has been around 6″-8″ with the occasional larger fish. I normally spin fish with lures but this is a great creek to fly fish in. Just lots of brush and logs in the water to make it a bit challenging.

Since It was a nice day this last time I also made a short fishing video. Not a lot of fish caught but it is a great hike along the creek.

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Unexpected crappie catch from Hills Creek Reservoir

You have probably noticed I fish this lake often for a quick limit of trout. It is heavily stocked and most days the trout will bite nearly anything that is thrown in front of them. Which also makes it easy if you want to experiment with different trolling presentations and are not sure how they would work. As always when I go I bring a trolling pole and my normal trout gear. But this time just on a whim I tossed in some panfish gear I got in a mystery tackle box. I figured that hatchery fish eat anything and panfish gear was no exception. That and trout are fun on ultralight gear.

a bit of wind and a downpour greeted us. 5 minutes after launching it was nearly impossible to see down this section.

Normally When I am up here fishing I follow the old channel of the river since that is the coolest area and the trout tend to be a down about 20+ feet this time of year. Year ago when fishing with my grandfather I remember him talking about when he would troll and circle across the shallower side of the lake he would catch the occasional crappie on his trout gear. Since I brought the ultralight gear (Okuma Celio ultralight trout pole) I put on an underspin jig head and a small curly tail grub. I have not fished for crappie in a long time, and it has been over 20 years since I caught one over 8 inches.

I wasn’t sure about the pink but it proved to be effective

Within 5 minutes of cutting over to the other side I caught a smallish 8″ crappie on the jig. Since it was big enought to eat I kept it and continued trolling. within another 5 minutes I had another bite and had something way bigger on. Since I normally just catch trout I expected a holdover stocker trout. But it was a big 14″ crappie. This ended up being the largest of the trip and at just over a pound by far my personal best. The last largish one I caught was maybe 10 inches and that was when I was a teenager in the 90’s (yes I am old). The fish finder showed several schools in the area so I continued and just kept circling the area for them. Between the grub and a sixth sense crank bait I ended up with over 20 crappie total. Of those 6 of them were over 12″ and I lost several others that were the same size.

First three of the day.

Kept six of them for dinner. Total wight of the 6 fish was 6.76 pounds

Over all even with all the rain and wind it ended up being a very good day on the water. Didn’t catch a single trout but I did lose a bass that was about the same size as the crappie. catching these makes me want to try for more and to see how big of crappie I can find there. I have heard that Lookout point has had some caught up to 16 inches. With a state record of over 4 pounds for a white crappie that would be a fun fish to catch. Hard to imagine one that big though.

Practiced my fillet skills. I am very out of practice and need to catch more crappie, bluegill or bass to practice on.

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Gear used in today’s trip:

Converting a Watersnake trolling motor for a Hobie outback Kayak part 2

After the first test run using the motor there were several things that needed to be fixed to make it easier to use.

  • The cassette is made to be put in only one direction and not both. Some rubber pads would be helpful to prevent kick up every time the motor starts and stops.
  • Adding a DC controller between the battery and motor to give it a variable speed while trolling.
  • The clamps on the motor made it difficult to hook to the controller box. They should be removed and some circle ones installed so it can be screwed down. Same with my connectors from the battery to the controller
  • Add Volt meter to controller box to see how much power is left in the battery
  • At full speed the motor wanted to shift in the cassette and would have to be held to keep it from angling.
  • Removing the motor from the cassette hole is very difficult if the blade is not straight up and down.

The first thing I adjusted was to make sure the motor is facing the correct way for how the cassette fits into the mirage drive hole and then sealing the top and bottom of where the drive post goes into the cassette with waterproof epoxy. This fixes two of the issues I was having. It prevents some of the kick up of the motor when started, and will keep the motor from shifting sideways at higher speeds.

Top section sealed with Epoxy.
And the bottom sealed up

One thing that I saw other people had issues with is the cassette vibrating and making a bit of noise. I did not notice that to much, but as a preventative I filled the cassette with waterproof expanding foam. This also adds some rigidity to the cassette since it is not very thick plastic. Make sure that the foam you get is outdoor spray foam. The indoor variety tends to break down quickly when exposed to the elements. Once the foam has been added and dried cap the hole with some silicone or epoxy so water cannot enter

A small hole drilled into both sides of the cassette to put the straw from the can of spray into.

And now for the control panel. I did not get any pictures of the build but the box is clear and you can see all the connections. I used a sealed Pelican box to hold the controller so that the electronics parts wouldn’t get wet. To keep it sealed I drilled holes in the sides and put a bolt facing out and then used a wing nut to hold it on with a drop of sealant on the bolt head to keep it sealed. One side the clamps from the motor can go on and on the other side O-clamps for wire terminals that the wingnut holds in place. Once turned on the speed can be adjusted by the just turning the nob up or down

I also added a volt meter just so I could do a quick look to see how the charge is

Now to take it on a test drive to see if there is any other tweaks needed. And maybe a video of the next test run.

Converting a watersnake trolling motor for a Hobie outback Kayak

Lately as I get older it has been a bit more difficult for me to always use the hobie mirage drive for all day. Finishing a day of trolling, and barely being able to walk due to back pain is a bit discouraging. So after some searching I found a build to convert a Watersnake 18 lb motor into a trolling motor that fits into a hobie mirage slot on the kayak. This build looks like it will work on any size of watersnake. But really I cant see the need for a bigger thrust then I currently have. Now for some long ocean trips maybe to deal with the current.

Needed Supplies:

and a couple other links:

Watersnake all ready to start the conversion. Total weight at start is just 8 lbs
First step as with most things is to remove screws. There are 4 screws that hold the top to the bottom part of the control panel
Before removing any wires make sure you take a picture of how it looks. This makes it a lot easier to reassemble after you shorten the shaft. There are only three wires that have to be removed. All three lead into the shaft so it is easy to tell which three they are
After removing the controller from the top you will need to insert a small PVC pipe into the shaft. These will keep you from accidentally cutting the wires as you shorten the shaft.
Before cutting the shaft you will need to get the the cassette plug set up to insert the shaft into it. The easiest way is to use a 1″ spade bit. A hole needs to be made on each side of the cassette so the motor shaft can fit into it.
Once the cassette is seated onto the shaft use a piece of tape to mark where you will cut it off. I put the cassette just above the blades of the motor and then added about 5 inches above to where I cut it off. This is right at 10″ cut off. Do not discard the top. You will need it as a template to cut out guides into the new shortened shaft.
Once the shaft is cut off you will need to cut out the gap and the hole through to reattach the controller. Once you have it cut out reassemble everything.
Once everything is assembled you are ready to go

Once you are done the set up is ready to go as is. There are several other adaptions that are useful in the long run while using this set up. At this stage you are limited to only the two speeds that are set up on the motor. high and just slightly less then high. Good for going from place to place but way to fast for trolling. At least for my trolling.

Some things to note from my first test run:

  • The cassette is made to be put in only one direction and not both. Some rubber pads would be helpful to prevent kick up every time the motor starts and stops.
  • I added a DC controller between the battery and motor to give it a variable speed while trolling. (worked perfect for this)
  • The clamps on the motor made it difficult to hook to the controller box. They should be removed and some circle ones installed so it can be screwed down. Same with my connectors from the battery to the controller
  • Add Volt meter to controller box.
  • 21AH battery lasted just over 4 hours of trolling. A 2nd battery will probably be needed at some point.

Shane’s outdoor fun is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com 

Since there were some tweaks needed I made a part 2 to better stabilize it. Converting a Watersnake trolling motor for a Hobie outback Kayak part 2

After finishing I found I needed less wires by my feet fo did an in hull wire setup https://shanesoutdoorfun.com/2021/10/06/dc-wiring-a-hobie-outback-to-run-a-watersnake-trolling-motor/

Birthday Kayak trip to Hills Creek in late fall

Late fall lake fishing in Oregon can be a lot of hit or miss. When the storms roll through it can make for some high waves and a very difficult time controlling a kayak. We started out the day thinking we might be able to catch some walleye or something else in Lookout point reservoir. Even with our early start there was already some chop on the water, and as comfortable as I am in the kayak I am leary of trying to fish that lake with even a chance of wind. Lookout point is 12 miles long down a valley. I have kayaked it in the summer and it went from flat calm to white capped waves in 30 minutes.

Video fishing. I wish I had these when I was younger fishing in Alaska

Instead of taking a chance on the lake birthday boy Jeremy and I decided to hit our standby of Hills Creek. We do fish it a lot, but it is close and nearly always provides some fish for us to catch. It seems in recent years that the average fish size has increased in the lake. Or we are just getting much better at catching the bigger fish ( I like the 2nd answer myself)

Started out with drizzle but became a beautiful day

Today’s water was around 55 degrees for this late November trip. Not as cold as it will get but still cold enough I decided to wear my dry suit. Early in fall I was not paying attention and leaned over the edge to grab a floating cap and flipped my kayak. I can go out in two foot waves and heavy wind with no issues. But a glass calm lake and not even moving and I flipped. At least it had been warm still then.

For this trip I branched out and decided to try something other then my normal gear. 90% of the time I use a dodger with a Brad’s cut plug or troll a rainbow colored rapala. Both of those are highly effective in nearly every body of water I have fished. Except Odell lake, for some reason nothing hits a cut plug there. Well a mackinaw might but I haven’t trolled for them with a cut plug. That is part of next years fishing goal. Anyway back to the gear. instead of the cut plug I used a pink and silver wedding ring with a smile blade on it. It didn’t have quite enough weight to get down more then a foot until I added a quarter ounce weight to it. This was a highly effective setup! 10+ fish and nothing smaller then 12 inches. The only thing I caught on my rapala on the 2nd pole ended up being just a single landlocked Chinook. It was easily over 12 inches and a great fighter.

I realized I need to take more pictures for all of you to enjoy. But if you want to watch the video of the day please check out below.

Fall fishing Lookout Point Reservoir

When I was a youngster, many years ago. Lookout point reservoir was known only as a place to fish for trash fish. It wasn’t stocked with anything and the northern pikeminnows had pretty much out competed every other fish. You would catch an occasional trout, but for the most part suckers and pikeminnows were all. And then came the illegal stocking of warm water species into this reservoir. It is now one of those lakes that if it lives anywhere in Oregon then you can probably catch it if you learn the lake and where to target them.

For our fall trip down to the lake, we are trying to catch for us the elusive Walleye. Several years ago ODFW did a study in the lake to the percentage of predator species, and how they are distributed in the lake. I was able to get ahold of one of the biologists that were a part of the study and when they did the trapping for them they found several Walleye over 24″ in length. This was nearly a decade ago study so she believed that some of them could be pushing up to 30″ now. Neither Jeremy or I have ever caught a walleye so this would be a great catch to add to our bucket list of fish. Walleye are limited in Oregon to the Columbia river, small stretches of the Willamette river and now Lookout point.

One thing I have noticed in the last five years is the reduction in pikeminnow in the lake. Years ago when we trolled we would catch 5 pikeminnow to 1 of any other species. Now I rarely catch any at all.

Finding a place to walk down to the water is always a challenge since the lake is so steep. But we were able to find a place we could walk down and fish along the edge. A storm was coming in so our fishing time was limited before the heavy rain and wind hit. Third cast once we made it to the water my shad rap was hammered by a very nice sized Small mouth bass. Before this fish I actually didn’t know there was small mouth in the lake and thought the bass were limited to the large mouth variety.

First nice smallmouth bass I have caught this year

As with most reservoirs in the area there is also tons of stumps everywhere. After a near loss of the crankbait I swapped over to a finesse jig to try nearer the stumps. I will say now that I am not a bass fisherman. Or really much of a fisherman for anything other then trout and salmon. But I am trying got change that. Last month I signed up to start getting a monthly bag of bass gear from 6th sense. Using the finesse jig this was my first attempt at using anything other then a worm and bobber for bass. Jigging is a skill I need to work on, but I was able to somehow catch another bass near a stump using the jig. If you watch my video you can tell I am a bit excited about catching my first bass on a finesse jig

My first bass ever caught on a finesse jig from 6th sense.

With the short amount of time we had before the weather turned and we had to pack it up we caught three nice smallmouth bass and lost a couple of others. And of course lost several lures to the stumps. No Walleye on this trip but that just means we will need to go back and try again at some point. As windy as this lake gets it is hard to fish from our preferred choice of a kayak. But we will someday catch one even if it is tiny.

For more fishing or hiking in the area please check out these books

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