American River Clean Up And Fishing Adventure
The American River Fish and Cleanup was the brainchild of Headwaters Fishing Team member Adam Koons. Adam and I had talked about doing a "Fish n Chill" event on the American when the salmon started running.
A Fish n Chill is what the Nor Cal Kayak Anglers club calls a non competitive event geared toward getting new and old members together to fish, relax and potluck. We wanted our event to double as a river cleanup, an idea originally brought to us by fellow NCKAer Jim Meier.
Jim hosts a kayak fishing tournament series called "Fresh Kats" (freshwater kayak angler tournament series). This was his way of promoting and rewarding good stewardship of our fisheries. Usually at all of Jim’s tournaments there is a large prize for the most trash collected. We decided to make this part of our event, and the Headwaters Kayak Shop got on board and donated a Wheeleez kayak cart to whoever brought in the most trash.
Soon after the event was posted interest started pouring in from all over Nor Cal. We had people RSVPing all the way from Paradise, the Bay Area and surrounding cities. We quickly realized that we would need to get in touch with the parks and to get a permit and make this a ligament event.
Thankfully Adam made the call and talked to the parks person about our plans. Not only did he make it easy to get our permit, but because it was based around a river cleanup he waived the fee, proving doing the right thing really has it rewards. Adam also got in touch with local artist Skinner to design a really awesome shirt for the event. A zombie salmon with some trash in his mouth. Gross sure, awesome absolutely!
The Fish n Cleanup took place on Sunday October 6 at Howe River Access on the American River Parkway. We all started rolling in at dark and watched the sun rise over the river. Mist was rising of the water and salmon were rolling everywhere. Everyone quickly hit the water and begin working spinners as they drift down the river. Right off the bat as I was side drifting through the first bit of current and I got a hard hit. I was still half asleep and didn't set the hook in time, but it was enough to wake me up and get my attention.
Unfortunately for me, that was the only action I would get all day. My fishing partners and fellow team members Bam and David continued toward the Pump House near Sac State. This is where a lot of the guys were anchored up jigging the deep hole near the pump.
Soon after we stopped by the pump house we saw James headed up river with what looked like a loaded down kayak. As we looked closer we saw that James had two wood pallets strapped to his back deck. It was obvious James had given up on the fishing and went straight for the trash prize.
We fished the pump house for about a half hour with no love so we decided to make our way stream to scope out some trash. Team member David Fowler spotted a section of bank completely littered with trash. The two of us stopped and filled our entire kayaks with bags full of trash. It was simply amazing to see how people just throw everything right on the ground or into the river.
Soon after David and I paddled off a young family walked down the beach and had a nice clean fishing spot, and a safe place for their kids to play. It felt good to see our small efforts immediately pay off. Soon after this we saw James roll by with his second score of the day. A partially submerged shopping cart.
Our crew spent a few more hours casting around and enjoying the beautiful fall colors before heading back to the launch. On our way back we heard some VHF radio chatter about someone boating a nice salmon. We quickly paddled up to the pump station to find our good buddy Ron with a 36" salmon on board his yak.
He caught him on a spoon, jigging near the pump house. This was Ron's first ever river salmon off a kayak and needless to say he was stoked. It towed him all around the river before he finally was able to net it and get it in his yak.Back To Reports