Fishing

Dory Days Celebrates an Unusual Tradition

Beautiful Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, Oregon

Beautiful Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, Oregon

Standing on the beach one summer day in 2015, just staring out at the ocean and enjoying the rare sunny day on the Oregon coast, suddenly we hear a horn. “Odd,” we think. “There’s no fog, it can’t be a fog horn.” Then we see a small boat speed around the giant rock sitting out in the middle of the ocean. We watch in a bit of shock as it races towards us on the shore. “Uhmmm, is that thing going to crash?! It’s heading right for the beach!”

 

We stand there just staring as it keeps racing in. There’s nothing we can do. It zooms right up onto the beach and – just stops. No crash, no yelling, no damage. What the heck? We ask someone standing near us, “What is that?” They smile and tell us, “That’s a Dory fishing boat. That’s how they land. They don’t dock. They also just launch from the beach.”

Dory Boat landing on the beach, Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, Oregon

Dory Boat landing on the beach. (Photo credit: David Keaton)

We are thrilled and fascinated. Standing there at Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City, Oregon, we found out more about this unusual type of basically flat-bottomed fishing boat. While there are different types of dory boats, the beach dory is only used in a few spots around the country where the fishermen launch and land from the beach. According to the Pacific City Dorymen,“There is no other harbor, port, or fishing fleet anywhere in the world exactly like this. It is truly unique how we evolved.”

Traditional Dory Boat in the parade at Dory Days, Pacific City, Oregon

Traditional Dory Boat in the parade at Dory Days. (Photo credit: David Keaton)

Pacific City celebrates this traditional way of fishing by holding “Dory Days” in July. We decided we need to check that out. Fast forward to July 2016. We pulled into Pacific City on a slightly overcast day, which quickly changed to downright warm. We managed to find a parking place pretty easily, and walked back over the little bridge over the canal to the “four-way stop” as everyone seems to refer to it. There we saw several tents with vendors selling their enticing wares. After checking them out, we went back to the bridge and found ourselves a nice little perch where we could sit and watch the parade. We were worried that since we had forgot to bring chairs that we would be standing the whole time but no worries with the bridge to sit on.

Dory Days, Pacific City, Oregon

David and his mom, Sue, are ready for the parade to start from our great perch on the bridge.

Who doesn’t love a small town parade? Everyone hollering out to the people they know on the floats, lots of candy being thrown. Since it’s the coast, David was thrilled to find they were throwing salt water taffy, one of his favorites. He ignored all the other candy but swooped in on the taffy like a seagull.

Creative jelly fish! Dory Days, Pacific City, Oregon

Creative jelly fish! (Photo credit: David Keaton)

Some of the usual features, like a few politicians, were in attendance. But what was most unique in this parade was the Dory boats. Some were fairly plain, but many were decorated very creatively and were quite entertaining. For such a small town, it was a nice parade lasting about 45 minutes.

Dory Days Parade, Pacific City, Oregon

This patriotic Dory boat shows the simplicity of the design. (Photo credit: David Keaton)

As soon as the parade was over we made a beeline for the car. We knew we wanted to hurry down to Cape Kiwanda before the rest of the crowd got there. Again, we quickly found a parking spot right by Pelican Pub and Brewery, a place we have been wanting to try. Luckily we got there when we did because we got in right away and later saw quite the crowd waiting.

The Pelican Pub & Brewery is a popular spot at Cape Kiwanda. Pacific City, Oregon

The Pelican Pub & Brewery is a popular spot at Cape Kiwanda. (Photo credit: David Keaton)

Delicious meal at Pelican Pub & Brewery! Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, Oregon

Delicious meal at Pelican Pub & Brewery! (Photo credit: David Keaton)

After our very tasty meal, we went on out to the beach to watch the Dory boats coming in. We didn’t have to wait long before one came ripping in. I was a little nervous we were in its path, not sure how far they come up on the beach.

Dory boats are loaded up right from the beach after a happy and successful fishing trip. Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, Oregon

Dory boats are loaded up right from the beach after a happy and successful fishing trip. (Photo credit: David Keaton)

The customers who were on the boat and had been fishing looked happy and excited. Exactly what you want to see. We think we need to come back again and fish next time!

Vendor at Dory Days, Pacific City, Oregon

A variety of vendors set up at Dory Days. This gentleman showed how to flintknap, shaping obsidian into knife blades. (Photo credit: David Keaton)

There were a few other activities that were offered as part of Dory Days, such as the Fish Fry and the Oregon Heritage Traditional Dedication Ceremony. Dory Days was a very fun, small town event that we highly recommend attending. And you have to watch the boats landing!

Categories: Festivals, Fishing, Oregon, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Smelt Dipping – It’s Not What You Think

Smelt, Cowlitz River, Kelso, Washington

Smelt (Photo credit: David Keaton)

My first thought was that smelt dipping is just another way of saying using chewing tobacco. My second thought was it had something to do with extracting minerals from ore (like copper, silver, etc.) because this is also known as smelting. Turns out I was way off on both thoughts.

The first time I heard of dipping smelt was about 28 years ago. I worked for two bosses who decided I needed to find out what this was all about. They said, “The smelt are running on the Cowlitz!” What? OK, smelt are a small fish, the Cowlitz is a river in Southwest Washington running through Kelso. You don’t catch these fish with a fishing pole, but scoop them up in a net. That’s why it’s known as “dipping.” So we jumped in their car and ran down there. We took a net and went to the river and – nothing. Gee, that was fun. David had tried it many years ago too, without success.

I never thought much more about it, although I heard a lot of people talking about it over the years. They would say how the smelt run used to be so thick you could just go down and dip net after net of the little fishes. But over the years the run got smaller and smaller until it finally became a protected species and smelt-dipping was no longer allowed – until recently. This is the second year that limited time has been opened to allow smelt-dipping.

Using a net to dip smelt, Cowlitz River, Kelso, Washington

Using a net to dip smelt (Photo credit: David Keaton)

This past Saturday was one of those dates. We already had plans to go to Portland for the day when we heard about it, but as we drove down I-5 we could see the Cowlitz and a lot of people were out on it. David couldn’t stand it, he had to check it out so we got off the freeway and headed down to the river. It was packed with people, but many were leaving. Not only is the date set, but so is the time – you can only fish from 6am to noon and it was just before noon when we got there.

Pat and Dick Lindeman, Cowlitz River, Kelso, Washington

Pat and Dick Lindeman with their smelt catch (Photo credit: David Keaton)

I saw a couple who looked friendly and asked if I could talk to them. Pat and Dick Lindeman are their names and they were very friendly and helpful. They even offered to let us use their equipment next weekend since there is another catch date set for February 14. They showed us their catch, which was the limit, and said they got it in only 2 scoops! Now that’s starting to sound like the stories I have heard!

Smelt in a net, Cowlitz River, Kelso, Washington

Smelt in a net (Photo credit: David Keaton)

If you’re wondering what to do with smelt, Dick said that he will freeze some to use for bait, smoke some, and fry some.

Another nice part about smelt-dipping is that no license is needed, just a net, a bucket, and some good shoes to slog through the mud on the side of the river. Be sure to follow the rules, take only your limit – we want to make sure we do our part to help bring this fish back to its natural run, and we can do that by fishing responsibly. And even though you don’t need a license, if you are fishing past noon you can get a ticket for that, as well as if you go over your limit.

So where will we be on Valentine’s Day? You got it – smelt-dipping!

 

Categories: Fishing, Outdoors, Washington | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fishing, Kayaking, and Walking at Carlisle Lake

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Kayaking on Carlisle Lake

It’s not much of a lake. It’s only about 22 acres. Carlisle Lake used to be a mill pond for the Carlisle Lumber Company. The mill shut down in 1942 but the smoke stack from the mill is still standing on the site. It’s quite the landmark. David was very excited when we flew over it one day on our way back from Las Vegas because he could see the smokestack from the jet.

The lake has been stocked with trout since 1953, and Coho Salmon are raised in pens in the lake. It is a cute little lake, and perfect for a quick afternoon fishing trip or kayaking. We can stick our kayaks in the back of the pickup and be there in 20 minutes, then spend a few leisurely hours kayaking from one end to the other while Josh does catch-and-release fishing. Most of the fish that we have caught are small and bony but some people have caught larger fish.

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Interesting Things in Carlisle Lake (yes, we put it gently back)

There is a trail going all the way around the lake and people have made trails down to the water so you can fish from the bank and you don’t need a boat. It’s a great lake to take little kids to since it’s not only easy for them to fish, you can run them on the trail around the lake and tire them out.

Onalaska Alliance, a non-profit group, was formed to restore the lake and surrounding area.  The previous owners, the Southwest Washington Development Association, donated the land, which measures 72 acres, to the group. The Alliance intends to develop it for better recreational use as well as an environmental education aid. This past summer they received a grant and paved the parking lot. It’s a fabulous upgrade because it used to be a pothole-filled gravel and dirt mess. They now plan to clean up the trail around the park. Future plans include a fishing dock and wheelchair accessibility.

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David and Josh

Getting there: Take exit 71 off of I-5 and head east on Hwy. 508 for about eight miles. When you see the grocery store/gas station on your left you will take a left on the street right before the store. The street will take you about 2-3 blocks north and you will end up in the parking lot at Carlisle Lake. You can also look for the smokestack as you get into town.

Categories: Boating/Kayaking, Fishing, Historical, Keatons Out and About, Outdoors, Parks, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Forest, Fishing, Fun – Taidnapam Park, Washington

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Mother-in-law, Sue, very happy with her catch!

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Beautiful forested camping spots

It’s the perfect family camping spot. A lake for fishing, boating, and a swimming area, a playground, tent sites, RV sites, trails – what more could you ask for? This perfect little spot is Taidnapam (pronounced Tide-nuh-pom) Park, hidden off of Highway 12 in Washington, just west of the town of Morton. It is operated by Tacoma Public Utilities and is located on the shores of Riffe Lake.

Riffe Lake is a 23 1/2-mile lake that was created in 1968 when the Mossyrock Dam was created and flooded the towns of Riffe and Kosmos. Taidnapam Park is located at the east end of the lake and has 139 RV sites and 24 tent sites. There are also primitive sites and group camps. Shower facilities are available. Prices range from $18 to $33. A boat ramp is also available and can be used without camping at the park.

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Ready to fish on the Fishing Bridge!

But my favorite part of the park is “The Fishing Bridge,” also known as the “108 Bridge.” You can easily walk (or bike) to it from any of the camping spots. There is a section just off the parking lot that is wheelchair accessible. But wheelchairs would also not have any problems getting up the short ramp to the bridge. The bridge has a fence on both sides that is about 3 ½ feet tall, tall enough that many parents bring their children up on the bridge while they fish. There’s a picnic table nearby, as well as restrooms and the very important fish-cleaning station for all those fish you will catch!

Once up on the bridge, you just pick a spot and drop your line into the water. What you hope to catch there are called “silvers” or “land-locked salmon” but one time I caught a beautiful 14-inch small mouth bass. I was Queen of the Bridge that day! Some days you can sit there and fish all day and end up with nothing, other days within seconds of your line touching the water, you will get a hit. Some days it can be pretty crowded but since most people just drop their lines in and aren’t trying to cast out, it really isn’t too difficult to stand almost shoulder-to-shoulder to fish.

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Tunnel to playground

If the kids aren’t interested in fishing, they can simply walk through a tunnel under the Champion Haul Road which runs next to the Fishing Bridge, and reach the playground. There is also a roped-off swimming area but you’ll want to go early in the summer to use it. The water gets down pretty far by the end of summer.

You don’t have to camp at the campground to use the Fishing Bridge or the playground. Then you would just pay the $5 day use fee on weekends and holidays. Weekdays there is no charge! We often just run up there for the day to try our fishing luck.

Taidnapam Park is easy to get to, not too far from the nearest town, yet far enough off the highway to feel quite remote. Cellphones still work while on the bridge but when you head back to the campground, you may lose reception.

So with all the activities you can do in one spot – fishing, swimming, boating, bicycling, hiking, camping, playing – Taidnapam Park makes the ideal family lake-and-forest getaway.

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Wheelchair accessible fishing dock

Getting there (courtesy of Taidnapam Park website: http://www.mytpu.org/tacomapower/parks-recreation/taidnapam-park.htm)
Taidnapam Park is about 110 miles south of Tacoma in Lewis County, near the town of Morton. From Tacoma, take I-5 south to Highway 12 East (Exit 68). Drive east on Highway 12 for approximately 37 miles (5 miles past Morton). Turn right on Kosmos Road, then left onto Champion Haul Road. Drive approximately four miles to the park entrance.
An alternate route from Tacoma is to take Highway 7 south to Morton. At Morton, turn left onto Highway 12 and drive 5 miles. Turn right on Kosmos Road, then left onto Champion Haul Road. Drive approximately four miles to the park entrance.

Categories: Boating/Kayaking, Fishing, Keatons Out and About, Outdoors, Parks, RV/Camping, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lake Wynoochee, Washington

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Lake Wynoochee (Photo by Brandy Kirkendall)

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Beautiful Wynoochee Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucked away just 30 minutes from the town of Montesano, Washington, lies the small pristine body of water called Lake Wynoochee. Located in the southern part of the Olympic Peninsula and created when the Wynoochee Dam was built to provide a reservoir, the lake is exactly what you expect of the northwest – deep blue and surrounded by a thick forest.

We decided to go up and check out the Coho Campground and take our boat (lovingly named “Lawn Art” since it sits as a decoration on our lawn more than we would like.) We headed west to Montesano and right past the exit to the town was Devonshire Road. We headed 34 miles up the twisting narrow road, then made a left when we saw the sign for the campground. Important note: cell phone service ends about 4 miles up Devonshire.

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(Photo by Brandy Kirkendall)

Pulling into the campground, there were two options for sites. Loop B can be reserved online. We didn’t have reservations so we headed into Loop A which is first-come, first-serve sites and there were plenty available. The cost was $20 a night. There are also walk-in sites for $16 a night. There are pads for RVs but no hookups. Three yurts are also available for rent. There is a campground host, but no amenities. There are normally regular restrooms but unfortunately, they were closed due to a septic failure, so there were port-a-potties and hand-washing stations set up.

The weather cooperated pretty well and while it wasn’t warm and sunny, it didn’t rain while we set up camp. Then we jumped in the truck and took Lawn Art out on the lake. So this is where I have to tell you that we rarely do anything that doesn’t involve an adventure. There is no dock on the lake. We had to back the trailer into the lake, Josh then pulled away from the ramp and had to nose up to the bank so David could jump on. That worked pretty well actually. Until we pulled away and out into the lake. All of a sudden I looked that the floor and said, “Oh, we’re taking on water!” My 9-year-old grandson, Anden, started freaking out – “We’re gonna sink, we’re gonna sink!” I told him, “No, we’re fine, you have your lifejacket on and we’ll get back to shore.” Meanwhile I was thinking, “We’re gonna sink, we’re gonna sink!” I really hate it when I have to be the adult and act calm! So we had to quickly nose back to the bank so David could jump off and run and get the truck and trailer, while we then pulled back around to the ramp. David admitted, “I think I put the plug in the wrong hole.” Yes, dear, you did.

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Trail to Day Use Area

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Boating on Lake Wynoochee

Since fishing on the boat was too traumatic to do again that evening, Josh and Anden went to the day use area of the park and were able to do some fishing there. The day use area has the swimming area, picnic tables, and trails where you can get to the lake away from the swimming area.

Back at camp we ate dinner and made S’mores. That always makes life better. The next day dawned sunny and clear. I was worried Anden wouldn’t want to go in the boat again, but he was fine. The lake was like glass and while we knew there had to be other boats out there, there were none in sight. We really liked the fact that this lake is a lot less populated than other lakes that we usually go to. We fished awhile and didn’t catch anything, so headed back in to meet up my daughter, Brandy, and her fiancé, Jason. After they arrived, we went back out in the boat twice, fishing, puttering around, and just plain enjoying the sun and the company. A few more boats were out in the afternoon but still nowhere near enough to feel crowded.

Another evening back at camp eating dinner and S’mores and enjoying visiting. The best part about camping at Lake Wynoochee was the time alone with family. No cell service, no internet, no TV, no interruptions. Truly rustic. If you really want to get away from it all, there are several levels at Lake Wynoochee – RVing, tenting in the campground, walk-in sites in the campground, yurts, or even places where you can take your boat to isolated spots along the shoreline.

It’s not too far away from a town yet far away enough away from it all to remember what is really important – unforgettable, precious time with family.

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Brandy, Anden, Nancy (Photo by Brandy Kirkendall)

Categories: Boating/Kayaking, Fishing, Outdoors, Parks, RV/Camping, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making Memories – Campbell’s Resort, Chelan, Washington

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Just three hours from downtown Seattle, the small town of Chelan swells from a population of 3800 to 38,000 during the summer. It seems that everyone you talk to, from store clerks to other visitors in the wineries, has some connection to Seattle. There is a lot to do with the gorgeous deep blue 55-mile-long Lake Chelan providing miles of water fun. So where should a family stay when they visit Chelan? That’s easy to answer – it’s the incomparable Campbell’s Resort.

Campbell’s Resort is the heart of Chelan, both physically as well as emotionally. It’s the place where families come back year after year, generation after generation and is located right on Lake Chelan. Of course, there are several nice facilities in Chelan, so what makes Campbell’s stand out so impressively?

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Kayaks for Use by Guests

The first thing that makes this resort outstanding is the variety of family activities. Kids of all ages can take out the resort’s kayaks or stand up paddle boards. On Wednesdays, Campbell’s hosts a Kids Fishing class. There’s craft hour, movie night, and organized activities on the beach. But the parents have not been forgotten – there is also a convenient beach bar for the adults. To keep guests secure, Campbell’s actually has their own security force and web cams. That eases a parent’s mind who wants to be able to let their children branch out and have some fun without mom and dad hanging over them. Guests also have a wristband to help identify them as customers. Co-owner, Tom Campbell said this job is first memory-creating, then property management. Everything has to run like clockwork. “There’s never a time there’s not a Campbell on site,” smiles Tom. Tom and brother, Eric, are 5th generation Campbell’s to work at the facility and are very proud of their family tradition.

View from Veranda

View from Veranda

The customer service is top-notch. Just talk to the staff and you will see how much they enjoy working for the Campbell’s. An enjoyable workplace always translates to the staff passing on that attitude to their customers. Taylor Growth was our waiter when we enjoyed a tasty meal on the open-air veranda. He has worked for Campbell’s for five years, year-round. One of the perks he appreciates is that Campbell’s provides season passes for two employees at one time to go skiing at Mission Ridge.

For those interested in history and architecture, the story behind Campbell’s resort is as fascinating as the experience of the stay. The original structure, known as the Chelan Hotel, was built in 1901 by Archie Campbell who came out from Sioux City, Iowa and served as lodging and meals for miners from Holden Village which was once a copper mine. Tom and Eric’s grandfather dug out the dirt below the hotel to make the restaurant. The original structure is now listed on the historic registry.

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Door Knob in Original Building
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Window Over Room Door in Old Building

Room in Original Building Left As Is

Room in Original Building Left As Is

Over the years the original building has been added on to, creating the surrounding motel rooms, Bistro, and Pub & Veranda. Today there are over 170 rooms which includes two cabins, some two- and three-bedroom suites, rooms with adjoining doors as well as regular single rooms. In 2008 the Campbell’s chose Dawson Design to completed a $3 million renovation to create a more cohesive style to their rooms. With so much variety, there are facilities to accommodate any size of family.

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Cottages

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View from the Veranda

Campbell’s Resort now encompasses eight acres, including 1200 square feet of beachfront. Across the road from the original site sits more meeting space and a full spa. The resort hosts events such as weddings, bachelor parties, and family reunions.

Campbell’s Resort is a well-respected business and a valued member of the community. Their reputation is a testament to the hard work of the previous generations. The Campbell’s intend to continue the fine service and community involvement that their ancestors started. As future families return to Chelan year after year, there will be future Campbell’s to help create those cherished memories.

Check them out at http://www.campbellsresort.com.

104 West Woodin Avenue
Chelan, WA 98816
Phone: 509-682-2561

Getting there (courtesy of campbellsresort.com website):

From Seattle/Tacoma and South on I-5/I-405

  • Take I-90 East toward Spokane
  • Just after Cle Elum, take Exit 85 to Wenatchee
  • At the top of the ramp, turn left and then turn right, following the signs for 970 East toward Wenatchee
  • US 970 becomes US 97 North
  • After about 35 miles, turn right onto US 2 East
  • Just before entering Wenatchee, exit onto US 97 ALT North toward Okanogan/Spokane. The off-ramp will loop around to a stop light – go straight through the stop light
  • Take the second right after the stop light labeled 97 ALT north to Chelan. The exit will loop around to US 97-ALT North
  • Take 97-ALT North approximately 33 miles. You will enter the Chelan Valley and follow the lake for three to four miles
  • As you near Downtown Chelan, you will see a sign that says City Center and another lodging sign that says Campbell’s Resort. Turn left, following those signs. Just over the small bridge, turn left into the entrance of Campbell’s Resort

From Everett and North on I-5

  • Take US 2 East through Monroe, Goldbar, Leavenworth and Cashmere to Wenatchee (about 120 miles)
  • Just before entering Wenatchee, exit on to US 97 ALT North toward Okanogan/Spokane. The off- ramp will loop around to a stop light– go straight through the stop light
  • Take the second right after the stop light labeled 97 ALT north to Chelan. The exit will loop around to US 97-ALT North
  • Take 97-ALT North approximately 33 miles. You will enter the Chelan Valley and follow the lake for three to four miles
  • As you near Downtown Chelan, you will see a sign that says City Center and another lodging sign that says Campbell’s Resort. Turn left, following those signs. Just over the small bridge, turn left into the entrance of Campbell’s Resort

From Spokane

  • Take I-90 West
  • Take US 2 West thru Davenport, Coulee City, and Waterville to Orondo (about 130 miles)
  • In Orondo, take a right on to US 97 toward Chelan Falls (about 22 miles)
  • Just after crossing the Beebe Bridge, turn left onto US 150 towards Chelan (about three miles)
  • Turn left at the stop sign onto US 97A/SR 150 toward Chelan/Manson
  • Go through straight through the stop light and straight through the stop sign
  • Campbell’s Resort will be on the right hand side, before the bridge

From Portland via Yakima & Blewett Pass

  • Take I-84 East toward Hood River
  • At The Dalles, take Exit 104 toward Yakima/Bend
  • Turn left at the top of the ramp on to US 97 crossing the bridge into Washington
  • At the top of the hill, turn left at the stop sign following the signs for SR 14/ US 97 North
  • Take an immediate right, following the signs for US 97 north. After about 59 miles, US 97 becomes WA-22
  • Merge on to I-82 West toward Yakima
  • Merge onto I-90 W/US-97 N via the exit on the LEFT toward Seattle
  • Take the US-97 N exit 106, toward Wenatchee
  • Continue to follow the signs to US-97 through a series of turns
  • After about 12 miles, turn right to stay on US-97
  • After about 35 miles, turn right on to US 2 East
  • Just before entering Wenatchee, exit on to US 97-ALT North toward Okanogan/Spokane. The off-ramp will loop around to a stop light
  • Go straight through the stop light
  • Take the second right after the stop light labeled 97-ALT north to CHELAN. The exit will loop around to US 97-ALT North
  • Take 97-ALT North approximately 33 miles. You will come into the Chelan Valley and follow the lake for three to four miles
  • As you near Downtown Chelan, you will see a sign that says City Center and another lodging sign that says Campbell’s Resort. Turn left, following those signs. Just over the small bridge, turn left into the entrance of Campbell’s Resort

From Okanogan/Omak, Oroville and Penticton, BC

  • Take US 97 South
  • Turn right on to US 97 ALT/ST 150 toward Chelan
  • Follow the highway into Chelan, going straight through the stop sign at Walmart
  • Go straight through the second stop light and straight through the stop sign in the middle of town
  • Campbell’s Resort will be on the right hand side, before the bridge

 

Note: As is common in the travel industry, we were provided with complimentary meals for the purpose of review. While this has not influenced this review, we believe in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.

Categories: Boating/Kayaking, Fishing, Historical, Outdoors, People, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lake Scanewa, Lewis County, Washington

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Beautiful Lake Scanewa is great for boating as well as fishing! (Photo credit: David Keaton)

Lake Scanewa (sku-NEE-wuh) is a 610-acre reservoir located in Lewis County, Washington, south of Hwy. 12 between the towns of Morton and Randle. It was created by the Cowlitz Falls Dam and is stocked with trout and hatchery salmon. Cowlitz Falls Day Use Park is located on the east end of the lake. By the way, don’t go looking for the falls – they don’t exist anymore. There is a boat launch, picnic tables and restrooms (although not much better than port-a-potties).

We like to go to the day use park because you can do so many things right there. You can fish (starting June 1) from the bank for salmon or trout. There is a small lagoon where kids can swim plus it is blocked off at the beginning of fishing season and stocked with trout for kids to catch. This year’s Kids Fishing Derby will be on Saturday, June 8.

Often you can see the trout jumping and the silver flash of huge salmon rolling around in the water. But nothing is more exciting than hooking that amazing salmon and slowly reeling it in and landing it. And nothing is more heart-breaking than when it gets loose…

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He said his was bigger. But I think he just measured wrong…

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My first salmon! (Photo credit: David Keaton)

 

You can launch your boat from the boat launch and troll around the lake or up the river, with hopes of increasing your chances of catching that big salmon.

 

 

 

 

But to really get up close and personal with the area, a kayak is the ideal method of transportation. You can get right in to the shallow tight spots that you can’t get to any way else. We even found a small stream just slightly wider than the kayaks and took a ride up it until it got too tight and we had to turn around. You feel very intimate with nature when you can do something like that.

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Another fun thing to do is watch the fish delivery. To stock the lake, Tacoma Power employees must go downriver to capture the fish near Barrier Dam and load them into a big truck. They then transport the fish past the dams, which have no fish ladders, and stock them at various sites including Lake Scanewa. You can also check out Tacoma Power’s website at http://www.mytpu.org/tacomapower/fish-wildlife-environment/cowlitz-fish-report.htm to see how many and what kinds of fish they stock each week.

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Tiny islands (Photo credit: David Keaton)

Tacoma Power releases the fish several times a day, including on the weekend. It’s fascinating to watch the truck back up to the boat dock, open the hatch, and dump out hundreds of fish. It’s quite the sight – and quite the tease for fishermen!

 

 

 

Getting there: From Morton, take Highway 12 east to Savio Road (If you get to Randle, you’ve gone too far). Turn right and go to Kiona Road. Turn right and follow Kiona Road to Falls Road. Turn right and continue to the Day Use Park on the left.

From Yakima take Highway 12 west past Randle to Savio Road (if you get to Morton, you’ve gone too far). Turn left and go to Kiona Road. Turn left and follow Kiona Road to Falls Road. Turn right and continue to the Day Use Park on the left.

Categories: Boating/Kayaking, Fishing, Outdoors, Parks, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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