Fishing and Hiking McDowell Creek falls

Terrace falls
Terrace falls. There is a path that goes up to the top, and stairs, lots and lots of stairs.

Fall in Oregon is a great time to get out and explore. The places to go is enormous and limited only by your willingness to get out into nature. With the start of some fall rains we decided this weekends adventure should be to a waterfall. Located between Lebanon and Sweet home McDowell falls is close and has multiple falls to explore. This area, due to it’s close proximity to the valley and local towns does get a high amount of traffic. Almost every small stream on the west slope of the cascades has some fish to catch. As is most streams in the area it is catch and release only in McDowell creek and restricted to fly’s and lures. Which is not really much of an issue when it comes to catching fish in these small streams. For more information on streams and lakes please check out the fishing in Oregon book. Lots of information on what lives in each water body.

Directions: From Eugene drive north on I-5 and then take the exit to Hwy. 20 east towards Lebanon. Once you have driven through the town of Lebanon continue 4 miles, and then turn left at the McDowell Creek Park exit. Follow this road for 10 miles then turn right into the parking lot. The parking lot is big enough for about 15 cars and tends to be full on nice days.

This is a very easy hike and the entire loop is almost two miles in length. Dogs are welcome but must stay on a leash. If you hike up the stairs to the top of Terrace falls it does get a bit steep. But there are plenty of spots to stop and rest on the way up.

McDowell Creek County Park map
The head of the trail has a nice map that tells you the different routes and the distance.

The fishing in the stream is actually fairly good. There is very little pressure on the stream, and the native cutthroats are feisty. During summer amid the low water flow most of the fish can only be found in the numerous pools in the stream. Most areas have been worn down to bedrock and the pools tend to be deep trough’s with undercuts for the fish to hide. The lower section of the stream where it approaches the Santiam river are private property, but the upper area goes through several sections of public lands. The largest trout I caught on our trip was only about eight inches. Small fish, but fun to catch on an ultralight pole and reel.

Small stream creek fishing
There are several bridges across the creek that provide a great view of the crystal clear water

To see a video of the fishing and parts of the hike please visit our YouTube channel at the link below.

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

If there are any video subjects or articles you would like to see please comment to let us know.

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 

How to make a stove out of a soda can

If you have ever wanted to make your own stove this is your chance at an easy stove for day trips, hiking, or to cook after the zombies arrive. With all the trash that tends to be anywhere in the world you should be able to find some type of can that can be used to make a simple stove. To make this stove you will need two cans of the same size.  Even though most cans look like they are the same size there is a small difference between brands so if you can find tow of the same kind it would be best.   The fuel used for this type of stove can be any type of denatured alcohol that is over 60% alcohol. If you use 60% rubbing alcohol you will get a sputtering burn and a cleaner burn with a higher percentage of alcohol.  I typically use the bottles of HEET used to treat gas tanks.  They are inexpensive, and as long as they are sealed will last for years until an emergency.  Typically a stove will burn for 10-15 minutes on one ounce of alcohol.  Which if you have a full bottle will give you at least 160 minutes of burn time total. Just remember to let the stove cool down in between adding more alcohol.  I did some testing with different pin hole sizes for the burner, and didn’t get too much variation on the burn time.

Items needed to make a can stove:

  • utility knife
  • two aluminum cans of the same type
  • thumbtack or something of similar size to use to poke holes through the can bottom
  • needlenose pliers

Start off with two of the same type of soda.  Different soda cans may look the same size but often are not
Start off with two of the same type of soda. Different soda cans may look the same size but often are not

Use an exacto knife or utility knife to slowly etch around the bottom edge until you cut through the bottom of the can.
Use a utility knife to slowly etch around the bottom edge until you cut through the bottom of the can.

Remove the bottom carefully.  The edges can be sharp where you just cut.  Some emery cloth or steel wool can dull the edge so it doesnt cut you.
Remove the bottom carefully. The edges can be sharp where you just cut. Some emery cloth, or steel wool can dull the edge so it doesn’t cut you.

Use a marker and mark off 16 holes evenly spaced apart.  then use a thumb tack and poke a hole in your marked spot.  The size of the hole will determine the size of the flame
Use a marker and mark off 16 holes evenly spaced apart. then use a thumb tack and poke a hole in your marked spot. The size of the hole will determine the size of the flame.

Use a book or a block to draw a line around the can with a permanent marker.  This line is about 1 1/2 inches up
Use a cloth measuring tape (or a piece of paper) to draw a line around the can with a permanent marker. This line is about 1 1/2 inches up.

You can poke a hole above the line and then use sizzers to cut the bottoms off the can.  Take one can and cut an even strip as in the top of the picture.  The strip should be just a little taller then one of the bottom sections of can.
You can poke a hole above the line, and then use scissors to cut the bottoms off the can. Take one can and cut an even strip as in the top of the picture. The strip should be just a little taller then one of the bottom sections of can.

Take the strip you cut and insert it into the bottom section.  It should fit right inside the inside rim of the section
Take the strip you cut and insert it into the bottom section. It should fit right inside the inside rim of the section.

use a small pair of needle nose pliers and crimp the edge of the can on the upper section with the pin holes in it.  If you crimp and do it the other way the alcohol will leak out when you light it.
Use a small pair of needle nose pliers, and crimp the edge of the can on the upper section with the pin holes in it. If you crimp and do it the other way the alcohol will leak out when you light it.

And you now have a completed stove.  now you can add one ounce of alcahol to the center of the can and light it up.
And you now have a completed stove. Now you can add one ounce of alcohol to the center of the can and light it up.

These are very simple stoves to make and cost very little.  They are surprisingly durable considering that they are made out of aluminum cans.  I have used them for cooking many times while out in the woods.  The only thing you will need is a way to keep your pan above the stove.  Two flat rocks side by side work very well to rest a pan on.  If you would like to see one burning you can go to this you tube link.  There are many variations to making this stove.  I have tried several of them and they all work well.  This version is the easiest to light out of the ones I have made.  But if you make one try different hole sizes and designs until you find one you like.

For other survival tips and builds please visit our main page

Wilderness and Urban survival

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Peppered beef jerky recipe

With all of the delicious recipes for Beef jerky that are floating around it is difficult to just stick with a single recipe to use.  Some are dried in the oven, some in a dehydrator, and some are smoked dried.  For this recipe I am going to do a side by side comparison and do half in my electric smoker and half in my dehydrator.  I tend to just do all of it in the dehydrator normally, and add a little smoke flavoring to the brine.  This is my all time favorite recipe for making jerky.  It does have some curing salt in it so anyone that is concerned about having nitrates they can leave it out.  It doesn’t change the flavor of the jerky but does make it last longer if you plan on multi-day trips.  The sodium nitrate in it helps prevent the growth of bacteria. This recipe is set for only one pound of meat but can easily be scaled up as needed.  The amount of curing salt will seem high to anyone that has experience in curing meats, but since this is a brine recipe more is needed.

Peppered jerky recipe
Kayla is ready with all the ingredients to make some jerky

Ingredients needed:

  • 1 lb of lean beef (any lean wild game can be used also)

Marinade:

  • 1 1/2 tsp of pickling salt (or any salt without added iodine)
  • 1/4 tsp Prague Powder #1 (I added a link here since I have never seen this sold locally)
  • 1/4 tsp ground Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (mesquite or hickory work well)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground back pepper (if you would like a stronger kick feel free to add more)
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water

how to put it all together for delicious jerky:

  1. Make sure you trim all visible fat from your meat. if anything goes bad first it meat with a high fat content that goes rancid.
  2. Mix ingredients for marinade together in a glass bowl or plastic container.  Most marinades are acidic and will start breaking down a metal bowl (and aluminum is a very bad thing to eat)
  3. Cut meat into strips going with the grain.  You can cut it against the grain but it tends to break and get very crumbly.  the strips should be about 1/4 inch thick.  any bigger and it takes longer to dry.
  4. Marinade for 6-24 hours in the refrigerator.  I normally just leave it in over night so around 12ish hours
  5. Finally dry for around 7 hours at 160 degrees in a dehydrator.  For the half I put into the smoker it took 10 hours to finish.
Dried beef jerky
Lay the thinly sliced beef out flat on the racks
Dried beef jerky
The two different ways to dry the jerky made for different texture and color. The top one is from the dehydrator and the bottom from the smoker. Both taste great but also not even close to the same taste or texture

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

Olymbros underwater fishing camera review

Olymbros Underwater fishing camera
Olymbros Underwater camera with swivel attached

From an early age I have always been interested in what it is like under the water from a fish’s point of view. As a low cost entry into getting a camera for trolling I purchase the Olymbros camera to see how it would perform while I was trolling. This camera can be used for more then just trolling, you can cast it out and retrieve, or hang it from a bobber and stationary fish with it. But my main purpose to get this was to see what I was having strike at my trolling gear and to see how the fish react before, and after they strike at the lure.

What’s in the box?

  • Camera
  • spare o-rings
  • Quick setup manual
  • USB charging cord
  • Attachment swivels

With everything in the box you only need to get an micro SD card to be able to start using the camera. But as with most things you should fully charge it before use. Mine had a partial charge and was able to fully charge up in about 30 minutes. From a full dead battery I was able to charge it in about 3 hours hooked up to my PC’s USB port. Since I wanted to get a large amount of video I opted to get the max sized SD card that the camera could handle at 32gb. Once turned on to record the camera records in three minute video sections in AVI format. On a 32gb card this means that every 9 minutes will fill up 1gb of the card. I was able to get about 200 minutes of video per trip. There is easily enough charge to on the camera to max it out. The one thing I found to be careful of is that once the card is filled to capacity it will start dropping the oldest file on the card and writing a new file over it. I made the mistake of leaving the camera running after a fishing trip and overwrote all of the fish strikes. Now for the technical details of this camera.

Device Specifications:

  • Lens: F=2.2, f=4.4mm 5P+1R
  • Video Resolution: HD 1280 X 720 Video
  • Format: AVI Cycle Recording (3 minutes)
  • Storage Support: TF Card SD/MMC Max.32GB
  • Video Recording Time: Up to 4+ Hours (under ideal conditions)
  • Battery Recharging Time: 4 Hours
  • Waterproof: Up to 65 ft.
  • USB Port: USB 2.0

This little camera performs great for trolling. As with any type of underwater camera the water clarity is the biggest factor on how good you video’s come out. For this camera after using it several times the setback for the lure works best at around 24 inches. If you use any type of crankbait or Rapala type lure the slight dive from the bill will put it at the borderline edge of the camera. An inline spinner or something like a Mack’s wedding ring worked perfect to keep the lure in the center of the video,

Olymbos underwater camera
Trolling for rainbow trout in a slightly colored water

Now for the good vs things I would love to see improved on newer models

The good things:

  • Easy setup
  • Instructions are easy to read
  • Small video clips make it easy to search and keep video’s of fish strikes
  • Slightly buoyant so if the line breaks the camera will float to the surface

Things that could be improved:

  • The slight buoyancy of the camera makes it good for retrieval but when trolling a weight needs to be added to get deeper then the surface.
  • Replace the plastic connectors on the camera with metal clips. This would make it easier to take on and off a fishing pole.
  • Some type of app that would allow for you to check the video’s without opening it up and having a connector.
  • opening the camera when wet to turn off/on is a bit difficult. Adding a waterproof button on the outside would help

Over all this is a great little entry level camera for fishing for under $100 that wont break the bank to use. If you are just starting out and would like to experiment this would be a great one to try. I can see how this would be a good camera for ice fishing or any other type of still fishing. I just have not tried to use it for this purpose yet. This is my first review so if you have anything that I should add or remove please let me know in the comments.

No one has paid me to write this review or given me the product to review. I just like to write about items that I use that are a good addition to the fishing collection.

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

Urban fishing with my little Micro fisher

With a little bit of sun out my six year old decided that we should go fishing and have an adventure. There is a small creek just a few blocks away that we have never fished and it makes a perfect trip for a child that wants to explore. And it is not far from home in case of an early fall rainstorm.

Urban fishing

Once we climbed down to the creek we discovered a salmon ladder that had been built into bottom of the tunnel. For those of you that have not seen one before a salmon ladder is a series of gradually stepped down pools. These allow a salmon or steelhead to reach area’s to spawn that they would not be able to. Sadly a lot of small streams and creeks like this have culverts in place that have to steep of drop for the fish to jump and swim farther upstream. This is a large part of the issues with increasing salmon runs in the area. In the last decade there has been an increase in pushing to change out a lot of culverts with tunnels and other fish friendly areas.

Urban creek fishing
Urban creek fishing

Now what kid could resist exploring a tunnel under a road. Well since I watched the IT movie as a kid I would be one that would avoid it. No red balloons anywhere at least. As for fish we were able to catch two while we were fishing the pool. One looked to be a hybrid cuttbow (rainbow/cutthroat trout hybrid) and the other was a small salmon smolt that was close to the same size as the lure.

.

cutthroat

Later in the season we will need to come back down and see if we can see any salmon coming up the ladder and video them with the camera.

Urban fishing
Salmon ladder plunge pools

To see our adventures please check out our video on YouTube

Urban fishing with my micro fishergirl

And for the gear we used in today’s adventure

If there are any video subjects or articles you would like to see please comment to let us know

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

Fall kayak fishing at Hills Creek Reservoir

Fall in Oregon never disappoints for anyone that is a fan of the outdoors. Fishing picks up as the water temperature cools and the fall mushrooms come up. Instead of hunting this year I spent opening day out on the lake fishing with Jeremy in the kayaks. Since it was a normal fall day here it went from wet and windy to nice and sunny to back to a down pour.

Oregon Kayak fishing
Kayak fishing in Hills creek reservoir

When fall hits and the temperature drops in the local lakes it triggers a feeding frenzy as the fish work to fatten up for winter time. Everything was biting in the top 20 feet of water. When we dropped below the 20 foot mark the bite stopped for both of us. Two weeks ago the surface temp was sitting right at 70F, and most of the fish were down 10′-30′. Today it had dropped down to 64F. Since the fish had been so active I dropped down the trolling camera to catch some video’s of the aggressive fish hitting the lures.

Underwater camera

Sadly I did not get a picture of the largest fish I caught which was a nice 18″ native rainbow. Heavy rain and wind makes it a bit difficult to get good pictures. Hills Creek is a great lake to fish due to the large amount of stocked fish and the many different species of fish that can be caught. The lake contains Rainbow trout, Cutthroat trout, Crappie, Largemouth bass, Brown bullhead, and landlocked Chinook. Bank fishing is very productive on the entire lake. ODFW stocks this lake with thousands of Rainbow trout and Spring Chinook every year. As always when you go fishing please always check the fishing regulations and make sure you are fishing within the law. Currently for trout only fin clipped fish may be kept (including any Chinook under 24″)

Oregon Kayak fishing

If you would like to watch the video of us fishing for the day the link is below.

some useful things we use for fishing:

If there are any video subjects or articles you would like to see please comment to let us know.

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

Oregon’s invasive Purple Varnish clam

When camping for my birthday on the Oregon coast, I found a nice area that had a very large bed of Purple varnish clams.  What is a purple varnish clam you ask? It is a clam that was first found invading Oregon’s estuary’s in the 1990’s.  The assumption is that it came over in the ballast water of large ships from Asia.  While this clam is an invasive species it is also a very easy one to dig, and the current regulations allow for up to 72 per digger to be harvested. Some studies have shown that this clam able to produce densities exceeding 800 per square meter I don’t think that they are going to get over harvested. Since these clams are high in the inter-tidal zone and in soft sand my toddler was easily able to help me dig these up.  And surprisingly once we cooked them up she wanted to eat all of them.

img_20160816_155831389
A quick limit of clams on a not very low tide

Kayla and I were able to get our limit in less than 30 minutes.  The deepest clam we found was only maybe 12 inches down in the sand.  The area we dug for them was a three foot by three foot section.  It seemed easiest to dig a small hole until you got to the depth they were at then just use your hands to start digging the hole wider.  The shells can be a little sharp so a pair of garden gloves help prevent any cut fingertips.  After the clams are dug you have to let them soak in seawater for 24 hours so the clams expel out the sand they have inside them.  We steamed some up before we realized that, and it was almost as much sand as clam inside them.  All you need to do is fill a bucket up with bay water and put the clams inside so the water is over all of them.  After the soak we steamed and dipped in garlic butter and they were delicious.  Just like steamer clams but a little bit sweeter.  They would probably make a great clam chowder. Which I will try at some point when I have time to make it.

My helper and her clam. They are not a very big clams, but are great eating.
My helper and her clam. They are not a very big clams, but are great eating.

One thing to note for anyone eating these is that many of them have pea crabs inside of them.  If you are allergic to crabs these would be a bad clam to harvest to eat.  A good book to read if you are interested in clamming in Oregon is this book of Clamming the Pacific Northwest or some recipes on how to cook them The Pacific Northwest Seafood Cookbook: Salmon, Crab, Oysters, and More  the cookbook doesn’t have anything specific to the Purple varnish clam but any steamer type recipe will work for them.

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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

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

Jamacian jerk smoked chicken legs

Time for more smoked goodness.  The whole chickens I made last time were delicious, but the chicken breasts didn’t have as much flavor as I was hoping.  So this time I decided to just smoke some chicken legs.  They remind me of making large hot wings.  The original  recipe for this calls for Habanero peppers.  Which would have put them just the way I like them to eat but for all the others in my family they would be too hot.  The jalapeno and Serrano’s made it just right.  They have a nice tingle but don’t make everyone run for a glass of milk

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 Serrano peppers
  • 2 lime, juiced
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon dried thyme ( you can use fresh if you have it)
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 pounds chicken legs
  • 1 onion cut into chunks

Use a food processor or blender to make a puree of the ingredients (minus the chicken).  If the mix is to thick add a little water to it.  Pour the puree over the chicken legs and let marinate for 6 hours or more in the refrigerator. Next preheat the smoker (I use Mastercraft Electronic smoker) to 275 and cook them for 60-90 minutes or until the interior of a leg is up to 160 degrees.

Mastercraft Electronic smoker
Chicken legs all seasoned and going into the heated smoker

Mastercraft Electronic smoker
smoked and all ready to eat. Eating them the next day was actually tastier than fresh out of the smoker.

I like the flavor of these but I think a buffalo style smoked chicken leg would be even better.

 

For other smoker recipes and general recipes you can visit the recipe page

 

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Rosemary smoked chicken

Mastercraft Electric smoker
Finished to perfection

Dinner for today will be something new in the smoker.  I wanted to try smoking a whole chicken in the smoker (since they were on sale it is two chickens).  This is an adaption of a recipe by Bobby Flay for his Tuscan rosemary smoked chicken.  He has some of the best smoked recipes out there. The first thing you do with the chicken is to prepare a brine for them

Brine mix:

  • 4 chicken bullion cubes or 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 cup non-iodized salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
  • 10 sprigs of fresh rosemary(mine were about 3-4 inches long)
  • 1 head of garlic diced/crushed

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil, and add in all the brine ingredients.  Make sure all of the salt, honey and sugar are dissolved, then remove from heat.  Add in some ice to bring the brine down to room temperature. Pour into a container and refrigerate for 3 hours.  I put mine in a small cooler and added extra ice to keep it cold while it brined.  For a crispy skin rinse dry and let air dry in your refrigerator for 2 hours.  I am not a skin fan so I did not let mine dry before putting into the smoker.  Right before you put the chicken in the smoker rub them with oil.  Preheat your smoker to 275 degrees and then cook for 1.5-3 hours depending on how big the chicken is.  Mine went the full 3 hours.  The wood for smoking is hickory and rosemary stem mixed together.

Mastercraft Electric smoker
After the first batch of wood chips. Already turning color on the skin.

 

Delicious chicken for tonight’s dinner.

To go to the recipes page please click the link

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