Trout Opener

Teri and I like to combine morel mushroom hunting with the opening of trout season in the high Cascades. This year we opted to fish a high mountain creek instead of one of the lakes. As is usually the case, April 25 is very cold and early for the black morels. So we hiked in, skirting melting snow and tiny rivulets, very much anticipating the trout fishing.

We could not help noticing some of the early fungi. These photos will definitely not go on my Wild Edible Mushroom page. The first we found was a Gyromitra species.

Gyromitra species...the false morel.

Gyromitra species...the false morel.

One of the first mushrooms we see alongside the melting snow is the false morel. This red Gyromitra species is definitely not for consumption. Commonly I’ve also heard this mushroom called the snow mushroom or the calf brain mushroom. Some people say you can eat this mushroom. I would not even consider doing so. The scientist say that this mushroom contains gyromitrin… known as N-methyl-N-formylhydrazine. In the human body, gyromitrin is changed into monomethylhydrazine (MMH), which is a chemical used in rocket fuel. (1)   Would you drink rocket fuel? They say people suffering from gyromitrin poisoning experience nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea and so on.  In severe cases convulsions and jaundice, and in a great many documented cases, coma or death!

Another early mushroom Teri and I observed on the trout opener was this dark, round, jelly-like fungi. The jelly-like fungi feel something like a rubbery gelatin. Some you can eat.

Very hard to identify dark cup mushroom.

Very hard to identify dark cup mushroom.

I wouldn’t eat one, as the cup-shaped mushrooms are very diverse and hard to identify. As near as I can research this species is possibly Peziza violacea, a California fungi. At any rate it is very dull looking…ediblity most likely unknown and insignificant.

Our first glimpse of the little creek showed it’s wild and hidden nature. She fairly peeked out at us from her woody covering.

 

A high Cascade mountain creek.

A high Cascade mountain creek.

 We really lucked out on our first decent to the little creek. Though steep, we chanced upon fairly easy walking through some clear grasslands. Teri was delighted to find a little snow at the bottom of the hill.Teri with her hiking stick

Teri with her hiking stick

 

I delighted in the remoteness of the mountain creek. There would certainly be wild trout hiding within the rushing snowmelt. The brush, trees, downfall and rocks along the creek, threatened to offer as much challenge as the wild fish of the creek. If there were any to catch?

 

Rushing, snow-melt creek of the Cascades

Rushing, snow-melt creek of the Cascades

 

I found a few…wild, dark redband trout…not numerous and their bite was very deceptive in the cold, strong, rushing flow of the creek. I anticipated having time to react to a pause in the drift, a pulling at the end of the line, a set of the hook and the fight was on. Something like the hooking of a Rogue River steelhead! What I got was a quick, mouthing of the offering, and an equally quick rejection of the fraud. These were wild trout, naive but honed to survival in the wild, extreme setting of the high Cascade mountains. I connected with but just a few. One I kept…for dinner. He was delicious!

The dark, wild trout of the southern Cascades

The dark, wild trout of the southern Cascades

(1) Gyromitra information from Michael Kuo’s fine book Morels.

Kuo,Michael. 2005. Morels. The University of Michigan Press. 2:21-27

ISBN 00-472-03036-1      

Michael Kuo’s website: Mushroom Expert.Com  http://www.mushroomexpert.com/index.html

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Unusual Morel Mushroom

A uniquely shaped yellow morel mushroom has been added to my Wild Edible Mushrooms page. Funny looking but it should taste just like the rest of them. The weather is warming and the soil is drying. Teri and I gathered a bag full apiece. That should be the last of them from along the Rogue River.

Fly of the Month

Dec Hogan's Summer Fly

Dec Hogan's Summer Fly

 

April’s Fly of the Month is the Summer Fly. I believe this is Dec Hogan’s creation? I tied this dozen up for a client over the winter. I guess this long, cold, spring has got me thinking of the summer steelhead of the Rogue. I’m looking forward to trying this pattern out on some warm summer evening here on Oregon’s Rogue River.

California Salmon River

Cal Salmon at Nordheimer Camp

Cal Salmon at Nordheimer Camp

 

Over the weekend I camped on the California Salmon River with Momentum River Expeditions. The above is the view I enjoyed from my sleeping tent.  This is a most beautiful wild river …one that you must see at some point. For those who seek adventure and thrills, the Momentum whitewater guides raft this river with respect and the confidence of years of  whitewater running practice. Spring chinook salmon once returned to the Cal Salmon in numbers.  Fishing on the river has been closed for over twenty years. Today the local Salmon River community works to restore the spring salmon, coho, and steelhead runs. Details of this salmon restoration effort can be found at the Salmon River Restoration Council’s website.

www.srrc.org

The Cal Salmon River tributary remains one of the most beautiful I have seen in the Klamath River basin.

Morels

First of the Morels along the Rogue

First of the Morels along the Rogue

April first and the first of the yummy yellow morels have turned up along the Rogue River. Stumbled upon these early morels (Morchella escuenta) yesterday under an Oregon ash tree. In my humble opinion, these are the best eating of the morel species. They are just getting started growing and much too small to pick. I’ll let them grow a bit before Teri and I go back to harvest. There should be a lot more of them to find as the grass and greenery grows along the forest floor.

The steelhead seem to be…busy spawning. The fish count has gone up, but still is low. I’ll look for more fish to arrive as April progresses.