Thursday December 5, 2013 Jenner CA.
This was the day to let the big fish in
As I approached Jenner this morning the sky was clear and the sun was out, but it was on the cool side. A light breeze was blowing, but not bad. I could see Ray was already there crossing over to Penny Island in his boat.
Since it was a bit on the cool side, no one else was kayaking, so I put my boat in the water and crossed over to where Ray was siting in his boat on the north side of Penny Island.
We shot the bull there for a bit and then headed down to the mouth area to see what was going on.
As we approached the west end of Penny Island, the excavator showed up on the sandy beach between the river and the ocean, headed down to open up the river’s mouth.
Here is the excavator when we first spotted him heading to the river mouth area.
He hesitated at the old mouth opening just behind the jetty end and I wasn’t sure what he was going to do, as this time of year they usually open the mouth on the north end of the beach, not here behind the jetty, that’s for summer time. But they have been having trouble keeping the north breach area open this year, so it looked like they might make a change and they did.
Here is the excavator just starting to dig a breaching channel by the end of the jetty which you can not see behind him. The breeze was dying down now too.
By this time, we had paddled down that way and were sitting in front of the new mouth area.
The channel is on it’s way to being dug in this picture.
We paddled past this spot and went on down to the river’s end and sat around for a bit and just watched. There were a bunch of spectators up on the highway one overlook.
It seemed like it was going to take a long time to open it so we started back toward the island.
This is the view as we passed back by the excavator, digging away.
We continued to Penny Island were we planned to enter it and sit a spell in the middle of the island and then go back and check on the mouth opening a little later.
This is what Penny Island looked like as we paddled into the newly flooded area from the mouth being closed. Shortly, this would all drain out when they opened the mouth, but that wouldn’t happen for a few hours yet.
Our view from were we sat in our boats on Penny Island, looking towards the mouth they were opening. The excavator is down there by that big rock.
The breeze had mostly died by now and the day was real nice, as we were dressed warm.
When all the excavator noise stopped we started back towards the mouth to see if there was any kind of fish or seal action.
Here is Ray just as we came off Penny Island and starting back to the mouth area to check it out. The excavator has stopped so the mouth should be breached.
As we approached, the excavator took off to leave, which spooked some seagulls.
Here he is on his way out. He did his job, now the ocean has to finish the job.
They cut a channel in the sand and the river water goes to the ocean, but the big event doesn’t happen until the ocean goes to low tide. When the ocean goes to low tide, the ocean water level drops enough for the sand in the newly opened channel to start flowing like water. When it does, eventually all the sand you see in the picture below will flow out to sea and this is when the backed up river water really starts to flow and drops the river water level fast. Low tide was about six Pm this evening, so it should of blown open by now and that’s when the big fish really start to flow in, if there are any out there in the ocean ready to come in to spawn.
This is the channel the excavator just made, river water in front and ocean water in the back. It’s set up to blow out at low tide now.
About this time of year, we change from mostly salmon coming in, to Steelhead coming in.
Salmon run from late August to about December, go up river, spawn and die and steelhead run from around December to about April, go up spawn and return to the ocean, if they can make it. In other words, salmon die after spawning and steelhead do not die after spawning, but return to the ocean, if they can.
Ray and I checked out the newly opened river mouth, but didn’t see anything of real interest so eventually we headed back to the west end of Penny Island and slowly worked our way up the back channel to the east end of Penny Island where we sat around for awhile before heading in for the day.
It was actually a very nice day down at Jenner, especially if one compares it to just about anywhere else around the US right now.
Lots of fishermen will be looking for fish in the river now.