By LEN ACKERMAN
For The Union Democrat
The Backpackers Literary Guild(BLG) recently returned from its 28th annual adventure into the wilderness.
The backpacking teachers, Mike Calbert, Carl Murry, Carl Brownless, Mitch Heldstab and Mike Kubasek, packed into Wood Lake in the Emigrant Wilderness from the Crabtree Trailhead. Their lakefront campsite had a small sandy beach and a clear view of the spectacular Sierra sunsets.
Cross country day hikes to surrounding lakes offered the hikers solitary adventures. A visit to lower Buck Lake showed that the Federally-mandated ruling prohibiting the maintenance of the Emigrant's check dams was having an effect. A front section of the dam had crumbled away.
The full moon, coupled with hot daytime temperatures, kept most trout down deep so lures and flies delivered no luck during midday fishing attempts. However, bottom fishing with Power Bait at Wood Lake provided a good supply of rainbowtrout up to 16 inches for dinner.
Trail Chef Mitch Heldstab's used his secret sauces and spices and made each night's dinner a gourmet event. The campers awoke each morning to the smell of his fresh brewed coffee.
Hikers into the backcountry should take note that the water levels in almost every creek are extremely low, especially the West fork of Cherry Creek and Paiute Creek.
Overworked Steri Pens that use ultraviolet light to purify drinking water required extra batteries for continued operation. Fortunately, most of the mosquitos had an early hatch with only a few appearing at dusk and dawn.
Predicted thunder clouds with lightning formed each afternoon but light precipitation did not force the campers into their tents.
The books selected for trail and campfire chat were: The Buddha in the Attic; Caleb's Crossing; Wild Swans; Three Daughters of China; The Eight; and The Bartender's Tale.
The BLG report was submitted by Mike Kubasek.
Night fishing at New Melones Reservoircontinues to be popular and productive for trout and catfish.
The Big Fish winner at Glory Hole Sports last week was Tim Gower with a 1-pound, 15-ounce rainbow. He also hooked a 3-pound brown trout which is no longer eligible since there is a planting ban on them in California.
The big catfish winner was Austin Kane, of Sonora, with a 7-pound, 8-ouncer.
Kokanee fishing continues to be good for the small but fat and feisty salmon. The best area of late has been between Glory Hole Point and the Highway 49 Bridge at depths from 50 to 90 feet.
Stan Blanchard and his wife Dolores boated seven kokes last week with the wife taking big fish honors with a 15-incher.
Fishing guideDanny Layne has been finding some good size kokanee at Lake McClure this past week.On Wednesday, Ed Brandi, of Sonora, caught a limit of nice kokes while out with Layne.
Streams along both Highway 4 and 108are in very good condition for fly anglers. These include the North, Middle, South, and Clark's Forks of the Stanislaus River system.
Pinecrest Lake continues to produce some good catches of rainbows with an occasional larger holdover.
Fall hunting seasonsare not far down the road and among the first is archery deer season openingAug. 17in our local area D-6 zone.
The bow and arrow guys will have untilSept. 8to stalk that elusive buck.