Turtles, Fox, Steelhead, Seals, Fishermen

Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, Monte Rio, CA.

All on the Russian River, while kayaking.

I looked at the weather report for Jenner this morning and it said the wind was going to be up, so I decided to kayak at Monte Rio today.

Work to be done.

When I got to the Monte Rio Boat ramp today, there was the fire chief shoveling mud off the disabled car parking spot, next to the ramp. Since I had a shovel in the car, I volunteered to help out. I retrieved my shovel from my car and we shoveled for about a half hour. I carry a flat nosed shovel in my car during the winter, just in case I need to shovel some mud to get to the river. He only wanted to shovel half of it today and the rest tomorrow. Good idea for a couple older guys.

Headed down stream in my kayak.

After that, I put the boat in the water and headed down stream. The wind was up a bit, but the sun was out and it was a nice day.

Fishermen in their boats.

First up, was the fishermen in the boats, of which I know a few of them. I shot the bull there for a bit and took a pic of a steelhead just caught.

Below, is a picture of the fishermen and a fresh caught steelhead on the Russian River.



Lots of turtles sunning themselves today.

Continuing on down the river, taking my time, enjoying the scenery, the turtles seemed to be out sunning themselves and didn’t seem to want to dive back into the water as I went by, so I got some close up turtle photos.

Below, you can see three turtles sunning on a log.



Just below those guys, I spied the same guy I took a photo of a couple days ago, but got a much better shot of it this time. It’s shedding it’s shell. You can clearly see the platelets starting to peel off. This is the way they shed their shells.

Below, you can see a big platelet about ready to let loose on this rather large turtle. It’s about eight inched long in the shell.

turtle 1


Andrew and his dog.

As I continued on down the river, the wind seemed to be dying down quit a bit. I saw Andrew at Villa Grande hole walking his dog so I went over and shot the bull with him for a while.

There’s a go back steelhead fish, and another.

There’s a go back, he says pointing over there, just above us. It drifted down past us and I got a not so good pic of it. As we were talking, he kept saying there’s another one over there and over there, about ten times.

He left and I went back over to the Villa Grande hole and sat around for a bit and this thing drifted on past me, which I knew was a go back fish. A go back is one that has gone up the river to do it’s egg laying thing and was now going back to the ocean. The go backs one actually sees are usually in pretty bad shape, some can barely move and others still have lots of energy left in them. These guys had a lot of their skin missing and tails and fins were in real bad shape too.

Below, is a pic of what one looks like as it goes by. All you can see sometimes is the fins floating slowly by.



After that one, I followed another one that stopped for a bit by this pair of mallard ducks, as you can see in the picture below.



Old fishermen never stop talking.

There was a fisherman in a boat just down river from there that appeared to be talking to someone, using lots of hand signals, but there wasn’t anyone else in his boat, not even a dog. I thought maybe he was talking on the phone, but as I approached and cautiously said hi, there was no phone. :O)

Seems he was an ol river fishing guide, just enjoying his past. As one gets older, talking to ones self, seems to be more understandable. :O) I shot the bull with him for awhile and headed on down the river, stopping along the way. I didn’t go too much further down, about a half mile, where I took it easy for awhile than turned back up the river.

A foxy fox too.

I was slowly making my way along the south shore line when something caught my eye, a fox, right by the water. My camera wasn’t ready and I was too close to get a pic, so I turned my boat out toward the middle of the river and got my camera ready as I turned back and got the pic below, of this nice big healthy fox, just as he entered the bushes.



I immediately turned my boat back out to the middle of the river and watched to see if he’d reappear? I watched and waited for about ten minutes, but no fox. Oh well, lot’s of brush there, I didn’t really expect to see him again.

But,……………as I started my paddle back up the river, there he was again, so I turned back toward the middle of the river again and came around for another picture of him. He was checking me out.

Below is a picture of the fox, after I thought he was gone for the day.

fox 3


This fox didn’t seem too concerned about me as long as I was out on the water, so I was able to get some good pictures of it.

In the picture below, you can see him watching me, as I’m drifting closer.

fox 2


I got fairly close to it, before it got a little nervous and went back in the bushes again.


And another go back steelhead fish came by.

I decided not to wait to see if it would reappear again and headed back up to the Villa Grande hole, where I sat for about a half hour, when this big go back fish came over by me.

Below, is a picture of a go back steelhead, I think.

steelhead 2


Steelhead or salmon?

I say, I think steelhead because of, my first impression is this must be a salmon that has been up doing it’s egg laying thing and is now dying as they do after they do their thing, but……….

It’s sorta the wrong time, as most of the salmon come up a little earlier and this was a bit late.

So, this should more likely be a steelhead, but they don’t die after doing the egg laying thing, so what’s up?

I got an explanation from the fisherman that was talking to himself. Seems the hatcheries have problems with things getting in their tanks and causing their fish some medical problems. Some kind of herpes gets to their skin and causes them to lose a lot of it. He says the skin problems cure up rather quickly once they get back to the ocean.

Maybe that is so, but I’ve seen a lot of these guys that can barely move and are more likely seal bait. Some years I see a lot of them and some years I don’t see any of them.

A seal had a big fish too and was being a bit coy with it.

Shortly after that, this seal popped up right across from me. Did he have a fish. He was being coy and just barely sticking his head out of the water and I waited with my ready camera to see  if he would show me. Sometimes they keep the big fish sorta out of sight as they don’t’ always like to share what they have.

But,. finally, it showed what was left of the fish, just before it submerged and disappeared.

Below, you can see the seal with what’s left of that steelhead fish.



Lots of variety today on the river.

Boy, I thought, lots of things to take pics of today, variety. It was still early, but I headed back up the river and stopped and talked with the fishermen in the boats some more and took my boat out and came home for a nap.

Great day on the river.

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