Saturday August 3, 2013 Jenner, CA.
Looking up river by Markum Hole for Lumens
I thought it would be a good day to stay home and do some cooking and stuff, as I need to eat more as I’m getting too skinny.
First, I started some strawberry jam, just fresh berries and cane sugar boiled to 220 F. and jarred hot. That went rather well, I only make a quart or two at a time. I did learn to put some in a smaller jar to take on adventures, it can really spiff things up I eat, when I add it too cooked stuff. Yummmmmmmmmmm. :O)
I did a bunch of other stuff, but we need to get on to the lumens. I like to use the term lumens for short for phyto phosphorous plankton. And yes, phyto is actually spelled right, but most people use photo, so either will work. The lumens part is because these critters light up in the water at night when anything disturbs them, such as fish swimming under water or one’s paddle pushing through the water, or even a boat bow can light up as the boat glides though the water. These critters can only live in salt water, not fresh, so if you see water light up, you know it’s salty, without having to taste it.
So part of the key to seeing lots of lumens at night is to have lots of salt water coming into the mouth of the river, filling up the estuary. That’s why it’s best to view them on high tides that are just before or right around dark, as that will bring a lot of lumens into the river to see. One could go at a later tide, if one wanted to stay out that late, as I’m sure these little critters go all night long, when the high tide is in.
I told Steve I’d meet him at Markum hole around eight PM, as he was already up river someplace and had been most of the day.
Ok, enough set up. I put my boat in the water around six pm. Yesterday evening it was all stars and real calm. Today, at least so far, it was fog and a bit windy, but it was dyeing, and a bit on the moist side as far as the fog
I headed up stream right away, going across the river to the south side.
Here’s the seal I mentioned above. He’s resting on a submerged redwood log. They look so cuddly, but they do have a habit of smelling a bit like some kind of old fish, in various stages of rotting. :O)]
I continued on up the river at a rather faster pace then I usually go, as I wanted to make the Markum hole by eight to meet up with Steve, but that still left me plenty of time for breaks along the way.
I passed under the bridge on the right side, then crossed over to the other side of the river and continued on up, until I got to Seal Haven.
And an osprey flew over my head from the back and landed in a big tree just up ahead of me.
It was looking down on me as I went on by.
Here’s Markum Hole where I hung out and was going to meet Steve. I hung out in the corner over there to the right in the picture. This hole is fifty feet deep, the deepest in the river and huge too, at least a couple hundred yards across.
This is the view from where I was hanging out in Markum hole as I mentioned above, looking up the river, which I did go up a bit more, shortly. I wanted it to get dark here, so I could view lumens if there were any. Steve is still up the river, but I saw something come down the left side and disappear into the trees and it may be him. There are quite a few campers to the right in the trees as there is a state, boat in, walk in camp ground there. None of them came out in the water during the night while we there.
This is the beach which is to the right of the picture above. It’s a fairly good landing area and somewhere back in the trees, there is a state potty building for the camp area, but I’ve never checked out just exactly where that is. It’s the inside of Markum Hole turn.
I did slowly wonder up stream a bit more to see if that was Steve I thought I saw earlier?
Just before dark, the fog came down a little more and it was a bit on the damp side.
I went up the river just a little further and heard a whistle. That was Steve so I whistled back, letting him know I heard him. We do a whistle when we don’t know where the other person went to, especially in the dark.
I found him just ahead under a tree where we waited for it to get darker. It has to be dark to see the lumens.
It did get darker, but not enough yet when we ventured out from under the tree and headed back down to Markum hole where we waited some more. It ‘s hard to wait for it to get real dark, something just makes you want to head on home.
We waited as long as we could at Markum hole and it was almost dark enough when we started to leave, checking out the water for lumens, which can be seen by the paddle strokes or if a fish rockets away from you as you approach it.
I had seen a lot of fish in the Markum hole area before, but very few this trip and for some reason the fresh water seemed to be three or four feet deep until you hit the salt water over Markum hole.
Steve wanted to go down the right channel around Goose Island, but I didn’t because it was real dark and spooky over there, but we did go down that way. About half or two thirds down it we started running into a lot of lumens and lighted fish rocketing away from us. This was encouraging.
We were a little concerned we would run into the logs at Seals Haven and tried to steer a wide path around them crossing over to the other side of the river here, the south side.
From here on down to Willow Creek we saw a lot of lumens and in places lots of fish. Some looked to be fairly good size, maybe two feet and lots of footers. I’m just guessing as you see them all lit up from the lumens.
I have noticed that there are bigger fish up above the highway one bridge, then below it down by Penny Island and the mouth of the river. Maybe the seals are hard on them down there as there are more of them down in that area, seals I mean.
I also noticed that the fresh water was about six inches to a foot in a lot of the places down below Markum hole, but at the same time, I had noted that the fresh water on top of the salt water in Markum hole was three to four feet deep or deeper? I can’t explain the difference in fresh water levels, it should all have the same levels, but it doesn’t appear that is the case, at least to me?
Anyway we continued down river in the dark. It seemed a bit warmer now as just after dark, the lower moist fog lifted to about a hundred feet and the moisture in the air was gone, making it warmer and easy to see going down the river.
As we approached Paddy’s rock, just about a half mile above Jenner, the lumens and the fish got hard to find. Seems the tide was headed out and the fresh water was moving in as most of the salt water heads back out the mouth of the river to the ocean. It was almost Midnight as we headed in after a stop at the Paddy’s rock gravel bar.
It was a great lumens night. The high tide tonight was at about nine pm and was 5.7 feet, I believe.
I had a good time looking at the lumens and all the fish. It’s amazing to see just how many fish are in the river, at least at night when it’s dark. I don’t know where they go in the day? Maybe they are just down there under the water, under my boat?
We put in at Jenner around midnight. It was late as we did a lot of poking around, exploring the lumens.
I went home and didn’t last long before I conked out for the day.
Nice day and a great evening paddle too.