Flooded Oregon – Blakelyville (Eula)

The Willamette valley is home to 13 major dam’s in the Willamette basin. Most of these dam’s are used for flood control, power generation and irrigation. But in the time before these dam’s were built there were many small towns that dotted these area’s and once the dam’s were completed they were swallowed up and lost to time and all that is left is the history of the location and a few pictures that may have been taken.

While out on a fishing trip this January I stumbled across the foundations of what was once the little town of Blakelyville. With a little research it looks like there were five towns at one point under what is now Lookout point reservoir. Carter, Eula, Landax , Signal , and Blakeyville have all been flooded and become one with the mud of the lake bottom. The first settler in the area was John Blakey who was a stowaway on a ship from Ireland at the age of 12 in 1829 to the United States and then settled in Oregon . He found his way to set up his homestead between Lowell ,Or. and Oakridge along the Willamette River in 1867 . The community which he called Blakeyville covered an area of five or six miles. A post office was established and ran from 1910 to 1918 in what was once the general store ran by John Clark. During this time the postal officials renamed it Eula which was the name of the Blakely’s daughter. Later the railroad changed it again to Armet because Eula was to much like Eola located in Polk County.

Old graded area which I used to think was the old road but it was for the old railroad
Really not a lot left that the mud has not reclaimed.
Old fireplace that finally collapsed
edge of what I assume was a boardwalk at the old Armet train station

Just a little bit of Oregon history that is only uncovered in rare low water times at the reservoir. Most of the other 12 reservoirs in the Willamette basin also have flooded areas under them that can sometimes be seen in extreme low water. With as much mud has built up around the remaining foundations in the last 70 years it does not look like it will really be much longer before they are completely covered and lost to history. Hopefully at least these picture and others like them will remain and show a reminder what was once a thriving community.

A longer article on the area with some pictures:

https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/downloads/kw52j8202

And if you are interested some books on Oregon’s history:

Rockhounding adventures: Lookout point Reservoir

Some days the constant fog of winter in the Willamette valley just drags you down into the gloom. Luckily though you do not have to go far to get away from it. And it leads to one of my favorite hobbies that does not involve fishing. Yes I know nearly everything I do somehow involves fishing, but on this adventure I did not even bring my fishing pole.

Oregon is a great state if you like to rock hound. Along every river that feeds into the Willamette you can find some type of rock. My favorites tend to be a variety of different agate and Jasper. Both tumble well and make great jewelry or just polish and add to the fishtank or into a jar. My fishtank is nearly all agate I have found over the years. And since they are polished usually algae cant grow on them. But I am getting sidetracked. Our adventure today was to check out the upper end of the reservoir and the exposed area from the lake being at low winter levels.

First stop of the day was way up where the river is.

For years I have drove by when the lake is at low levels and saw what I thought was an old road along the flats. Today was the first time I have ever walked down to it. Any old flooded town that gets exposed is considered an archeology site and by Oregon law cannot be disturbed. But you can still walk around and explore. What I thought was an old road is actually an old railroad bed. All the tracks and most but not all of the timber has been removed but old railroad spikes are everywhere.

Lots of these old concrete bridges along the old tracks.

On our first stop the rocks looked promising and we found several smaller agates and some green jasper. It looks like the gravel and rocks that were used to construct the railway were all brought in and the agates and jasper were from wherever that was dug up at. Climbing up the edges beyond that we did not find much of anything. After a nice walk and some complaining kids who didn’t like the lack of pretty rocks we headed back to the truck and headed down the road some more.

First agate at stop two.

The next location was much better for some agates and jasper. My oldest daughter found a nice pocket of blue agates exposed on the surface. They should tumble up nice for her. I was finding some nice larger pieces of red jasper. And found enough to run through my tumbler.

Very rough piece of jasper

Overall it made for a nice day out of the fog and into the sun with the family.

Fall fishing 2021 at Lookout point with Agates

If you have been reading my blog or watching my YouTube channel you have probably heard me say that I am not a bass fisherman. But I keep trying and learning more. Today’s adventure was back up to lookout point reservoir. Somewhere in that lake I know there has to be something bigger then the pikeminnow I caught during the summer.

I have realized this year that I need to get more exercise other then kayaking. Even though I love to kayak it doesn’t ever really give you a good workout unless you are going fast which makes it a bit useless for fishing. On today’s adventure we found a random pullout on the road and hiked down to the lake. This time of year the reservoir is dropped down to a low level in case of a massive storm to control flooding. Fun fact of the day before the dams were built in the Willamette basin most of the valley would flood every year. The dams hurt the salmon runs but were very effective on reducing the floods. Sadly they were also very effective in destroying most of the native salmon runs in the water basin.

All along the reservoir there is a lot of tiny pullout spots to park and walk down to the water. Until this trip neither of us realized there is a nice path running along the edge of the high water mark over half the length of the lake. We just stopped at a random spot and walked down along the path.

Not to steep right here

As always walking around on the loose rock and mud you really have to watch you feet. On a bonus note when you are walking and watching your feet it makes it easier to find agates and Jasper. Found a nice piece of a blue agate as we walked along the edge.

Nice blue agate I stepped on while walking

As much as I like to look for rocks to polish up our main goal is fishing for some late fall small mouth bass. Today was a bit of an experiment for both Jeremy and I. I used a jig with a curly tail grub and Jeremy used a larger brass mepps. With as many stumps as there is along the lake we didn’t want to lose a fortune in lures to the stumps.

Fish number one of the day.

After several miles of walking the shore and casting we finally started catching bass. Not that the three total we caught in three hours is really what I would call impressive. But all three were over 14″. I have noticed that walking the shores of the lake produces larger bass then when we troll in the kayaks. My thoughts are that the bigger fish are hugging the shore and the stumps and we are just a bit to far offshore when trolling and hit the schools of small ones that are away from the bigger ones. Something to experiment with next year

My biggest of the day

Sadly this is our last fishing trip of the year. The holidays and wet weather make it a bit difficult to coordinate and get out to fish. My goal for the next year is to get out and fish more and do more blogging and more videos.

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 – 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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Compact DIY Emergency fishing kit

No one can predict when an emergency will happen. It can be anything from as simple as having your vehicle break down, to a natural disaster that effects the entire area you are living in. One thing that is good to keep in a vehicle just for an emergency is a small kit filled with basic fishing supplies. For this kit I use a small metal altoid can. But any container that is small enough to fit in a glove box will work. The nice thing about these little metal boxes is that they can be used for several purposes once you have removed the fishing supplies. This also makes a great 5 minute craft to put together with children

Simple kit with basics in it. I do recommend more hooks and weights then what is shown in the picture.

Possible list of what you can put into your box:

Still some room that more weight and hooks can be added and a small folding knife

This list is for a very basic kit and can easily be customized to whatever works for you. As you can see from the pictures there is still lots of space inside the tin to add some other things to the kit. One additional thing that would be good to have in this kit is a compact knife. I always carry a belt knife so it is not needed for my kit. this would be very useful for gutting any fish and cutting a pole to use as a fishing rod.

The best way to store the line is to wrap it around the box and then secure it with tape. For this kit I am using 100lb nylon braid. Very strong and can also be used as cordage for any needs.
Wrap multiple layers of tape around the kit to secure the line and also to use in an emergency.

If making your own mini kit is not something you would like to put together then there are several pre-built kits available on Amazon that can be purchased.

This is a good list of books that are fairly compact and can be carried in the glove box or in an emergency bag.

All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms by David Arora (smaller pocket guide that is excellent to use)

The Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants

Pacific Northwest Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Alaska Blueberries to Wild Hazelnuts (Regional Foraging Series)

SAS Survival Handbook, Third Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere This is the go to guide for most people looking into survival

And some good survival gear

There are also several E-books that can be found on Kindle unlimited

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Spirit lake

Today was a search of some ripe huckleberries for us and the kids.  We went in search for them at Spirit lake in the western Cascades on the west edge of the Waldo lake basin.  It is only a short half mile hike with very little elevation change.  Making it perfect for kids of all ages.  Granted the youngest didn’t walk, and instead I carried her in the kiddo backpack. I don’t think I could have kept a toddler moving in one direction for that distance.  We didn’t find a lot of huckleberries, but there was enough to have a nice snack of them. The lake has a good population of brook trout in it.  The average size is about 10″  with reports of ones up to 15″ being caught.  I wasn’t able to get more then one bite, but the ones surfacing for mayflies looked to be about a foot long. For more information of fishing at Any cascade lake please check out Fishing in Oregon.  Tons of information in it on almost every waterbody in Oreogn

  • Directions: Proceed east from the Oakridge Ranger Station on Hwy. 58 to Oakridge. From downtown Oakridge proceed east on Salmon Creek Road (24) for about 13 miles to the junction of Road 2422. From here proceed left on 2422 for 9 miles to trailhead on right. Across from the Waldo Meadows Trailhead.
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Recommended Season: June – October
  • Elevation change: 169 feet

Nice easy walk to the lake.
Nice easy walk to the lake.

The view of the lake as you come to the end of the trail
The view of the lake as you come to the end of the trail.

Interesting tree growing in the meadow.  looks like it had fallen down and then grown up from the fallen trunk
Interesting tree growing in the meadow. It looks like it had fallen down and then grown up from the fallen trunk.

Lots of fallen trees in the water
Lots of fallen trees in the water.

Katy all ready to return back to the car for lunch
Katy all ready to return back to the car for lunch.

Several great books for the local areas

Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon: A Guide to the State’s Best Waterfall Hikes

Day Hiking Bend & Central Oregon: Mount Jefferson/ Sisters/ Cascade Lakes

100 Hikes / Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades

100 Hikes / Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range

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Goodman Creek trail

Now that the weather has changed towards spring it is time to do some more hiking adventures.  This is a new hike for us, with a bonus that it is still fairly close to Eugene, and there is a waterfall near the end of the hike. For me this is a very easy hike.  Not so much for Staci.  She didn’t yell at me at least this time. I normally do almost this much during my lunch hour at work.  Granted that is walking on pavement though. The path is nice and wide as it meanders through the forest.  The path was very muddy in spots.  As it dries out this would be a great hike to take kids on.  Not too steep and lots of wildflowers and scenic forest to explore.

interesting to see how the hike plotted out on google maps
Interesting to see how the hike plotted out on Google maps.

 

Goodman creek Trail: A well wooded trail that runs along side an inlet. After a brief climb, the trail crosses a few small creek beds before taking you through tall trees and fern lined views. Just short of two miles in, you will come across a small waterfall, that is very rewarding to your hike. Continue to the right just a few hundred yards to a large log bridge and Goodman Creek. Great picnic spot and turn around.

  • Distance: 4 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 300 feet
  • Difficulty rating (in alltrails): Medium (easy must be flat only)

How to get there: Take HWY 58 off I-5, just south of Eugene. As you approach Dexter Lake, and the small town of Lowell, keep your eyes out for a turnoff between mile post 20 and 21. There is a decent size parking lot to the south side of the road. The trail head is near the road and the sign will read Hardesty Trail, with mileage for Goodman Creek Trail junction as well. After a short hike through the trees, you will come to the junction for Hardesty Mountain going to the left, and a right going to Goodman Creek Trail. The waterfall is before you get to a log bridge across the creek.

I always wonder how old these signs are when I see them.

IMAG0630
Staci walking down the trail. We are almost to the waterfall at this point.

One of hundreds of Trillium blooming along the trail

IMAG0635
The waterfall at the end of the our hike. The trail continues in a loop that can be walked or biked.

Siuslaw river

River with fall colors
River with fall colors

One of my favorite rivers for all seasons is the Siuslaw River in western part of Oregon.  The Siuslaw River is nearly 110 miles long.  It drains an area of approximately 773 square miles in the Central Oregon Coast Range.

steep banks in places make for some interesting tree shapes
steep banks in places make for some interesting tree shapes

The river has historically been a spawning ground for Chinook and Coho salmon. And at one time was the only river in Oregon that had a higher return of salmon was the Columbia.  Although the Chinook population is substantial, Coho numbers have declined from an annual average of 209,000 fish between 1889 and 1896 to just over 3,000 fish between 1990 and 1995. Since the early 1990’s the Coho have slowly been increasing in number, but they still have a long ways to go before returning to historic numbers.  The estuary of the river is surrounded by extensive wetlands that are a significant habitat for migratory birds along the coast.  It is one of the very few Western Oregon Rivers where all major forks are undammed.

There are lots of boulders throughout the lower river
There are lots of boulders throughout the lower river

During the summer months the river is a great place to swim and get away from the high heat of the Willamette valley.  Even though the water can be very low there are many deep holes throughout the length of the river that can easily be over 10 feet deep.  Also during the summer there a many crawfish that call the river home that can be easily collected and eaten.  We made a crayfish alfredo one year that was wonderful.  After the first heavy rains of fall the Chinook and Coho will start running up the river to their spawning grounds.  Fishing is currently open for salmon until the middle of November.  But always check online for updates and changes to the season and catch quota.  As you move into winter and spring a very large run of Steelhead will run up the river.  Most of them are hatchery fish that only go up as far as Whittaker creek.

River just below the edge of tidewater
River just below the edge of tidewater

The drive along the river is a beautiful one no matter what time of year you go.  Enjoy the beauty of the coastal valleys and sample some of the fares of the wilderness.

Coquille lighthouse

Nice foggy view of the lighthouse
Nice foggy view of the lighthouse

During our trip to Bandon last month we also were able to stop and see this historic lighthouse at the mouth of the Coquille river. The view is not as scenic as the one at Heceta head but still worth the stop to look at it and go inside.  It is situated at the end of Bullard’s beach park.  There is a nice campground nearby and lots of good beach access.

Decription of the lighthouse at the start of the path to it
description of the lighthouse at the start of the path to it

And now for a little history on the light house:

Adjacent to the town, the Coquille River empties into the Pacific Ocean. The river extends inland a great distance and was a natural link to the virgin stands of timber in the area. The bar at the mouth of the river, formed by the interaction of the river and ocean, was a major obstacle for ships entering the river. At times, only a few feet of water would cover the bar, but vessels still attempted to navigate the river in hopes of reaping the rewards that lay upstream. In 1880, Congress passed a bill funding the construction of a jetty on the south side of the river’s entrance. The jetty created a clear channel in the river, resulting in a rapid rise in the number of ships entering the river.

A lighthouse at the entrance to Coquille River was the next logical step for improving navigation, and in 1890 the Lighthouse Board used the following language to request funds for it.

A light of the fourth order with a fog-signal, at this point, would enable vessels bound into the river to hold on close to the bar during the night so that they would be in a position to cross at the next high water. The light would also serve as a coast light and would be of much service to vessels bound up and down the river.
Congress appropriated $50,000 for the project on March 3, 1891, but it would be four years before land was purchased, plans were solidified, and the construction crew arrived on site.
The workers first leveled the top of Rackliff Rock to provide a base for the lighthouse and oil house. Local stone was cut to form the structure’s foundation, while the lighthouse itself was built of brick, covered with a layer of stucco. The design was unique with a cylindrical tower attached to the east side of an elongated, octagonal room, which housed the fog signal equipment and had a large trumpet protruding from its western wall.

A long, wooden walkway connected the lighthouse to the keepers’ duplex, 650 feet away. Each side of the duplex had three bedrooms, a kitchen, dinning room, sitting room, and a 15,000-gallon brick cistern for storing water. A barn was located 150 feet beyond the dwelling.

One of several history plaques inside the light house
One of several history plaques inside the light house