Saturday, March 18, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 70th Installment

other and simultaneously shouted ‘rodeo’! I sidled up to a particularly large sucker fish, diving on its back and giving it a bear hug. The fish came to life and took off while I hung on; after getting thoroughly wet, dunked under, and taken several yards, I lost my grip and came up sputtering. I know I was grinning from ear to ear as I saw Russ pounce on another big sucker. All I saw was a thrashing fish tossing Russell around like a flapping flag in the wind, his legs splayed.
The hardest thing is hanging on to those slick suckers,” Russ said after he was shook loose and came up gasping. I also noticed some other kids watching and soon there were splashing fish rides all around. I took a lot of fish rides: some wild thrashing adventures and some slow rides like being towed by a slow boat. After a couple of hours of fishy fun, a Fish and Game officer came over and told us we really should get out of the water because they had poisoned the lake to kill the fish, and it wasn’t healthy for us kids to be in the water.
Camas creek was the inlet water supply for Mud Lake, and the farmers around had water rights and would pump irrigation water from the lake. Most of the water in the creek was supplied by a bunch of artesian wells. Camas Creek and Mud Lake down stream were filled mostly by artesian wells making it more of a canal than a creek. Because of this, the water at North Lake Road Bridge was crystal clear and too cold for algae to grow. On the bridge you could see clear to the bottom of the creek, with the only interference the shimmer of the sun on the surface. We had tied a rock to a twine and lowered it to the bottom of the creek; pulling it up and measuring it, we found the water was twelve feet deep. Even at that depth you could toss a quarter into the creek and see if it was heads or tails as it lay on the bottom. The natural Camas Creek head waters were the Camas National Refuge and the Refuge was where the fish would migrate from the wild to the Camas canal and Mud Lake. The Idaho fish and Game stocked the creek with game fish from time to time. Russell and I would lie on the bridge and watch the fish that seemed to be floating in the air as they swam by. The trout would scatter as occasionally a mammoth bottom feeding sucker fish would float by hugging the bottom. The suckers and chubs were trash fish; they were always in season and we were allowed to take as many out of Camas Creek as we could. We put a juicy worm on our biggest fishing hook, and because the water was so clear, we

500 more words tomorrow

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