St Croix Avid Casting Rod Review

What is the best all-around casting rod for bass fishing?

In my opinion, the best all-around casting rod for bass is the St. Croix Avid Series seven foot medium fast action rod. I fish spinnerbaits, topwater, jerkbaits, swim baits and crankbaits on that one series and action rod. The Avid Series is reasonably priced for a quality product. If I could have only one rod, that would be it.

I like a little heavier rod for shaky heads and small jigs, so I use the same rod, but in medium /heavy fast action. My hook-up rate with baits that require a strong hook set is better with this rod than with the medium action rod.

The seven foot rod gives plenty of length for long casts and for fighting fish. It is light weight enough to fish all day without tiring me too much.

If all my rods were destroyed in a fire or some other catastrophe, I would start out with two medium heavy rods and three medium rods. I could rig a shaky head and a jig on the heavy rods and a spinnerbait, crankbait and topwater on the medium rods to cover almost all situations i am likely to face on Georgia and Alabama lakes.

St Croix offers a good warranty, with repair or replacement of any rod with a defect. Even if you damage and break your rod, they will replace it for a low price. I have never had a problem with defective rods but I have broken them. It is easy to hit the side of the boat when working a topwater or jerkbait, and they can crack them. The damage may not show up until later when you load the rod up landing a fish but that is the most likely way to break one other than something stupid that shows up immediately like slamming the rod in a car door. Even that is covered.

A St. Croix rod will last you a life time with no problems.

Fishing PowerBait For Trout

Yakima Basics on Fishing PowerBait For Trout
by Buzz Ramsey, Yakima Bait Company
from The Fishing Wire

Catch trout on Powerbait

“Still-Fishing” (also known as dead-sticking or plunking) dough bait for trout is a popular and productive method for catching trout from lakes, reservoirs and rivers, many of which are frequently stocked with hatchery trout. It’s so Easy:Cast out, allow your outfit to sink to the bottom, wait for a bite, and set-the-hook when your rod tip dips toward the water. It’s important to leave some slack in your line, so trout can swim off with your bait and swallow it without feeling line resistance before you yank back on your rod tip to set the hook.

When using PowerBait you can greatly increase your success by using the right amount of dough trout bait in combination with a Lil’ Corky single-egg-imitation so that your bait will float above bottom to allow cruising trout to find it. This is fundamental to success and often results in quick limits. The buoyancy of your Lil Corky single-egg-imitation will take the guess work out of how much dough bait is the right amount to float your bait.

When rigging a Lil’ Corky/PowerBait combination, use a ball of PowerBait slightly larger than your Lil’ Corky. We can tell you, based on extensive testing and observation of underwater video footage, that you will catch far more fish if your Lil’ Corky and PowerBait combination floats side-by-side in the water column.

Selecting the Right Leader Length:

Leader length is important because, after all, you want your bait floating at the depth the fish are cruising, which might be close to the bottom during times when the water is clear and sun bright, higher in the water column during the spring – when water temperatures begin to warm – early and/or late in the day, or on overcast days. And while the average leader length should be 18-to-24 inches, a leader long enough to extend above bottom-growing vegetation might be the ticket to success when trout are swimming just above the weed tops.

Rigging is Easy:

Simply thread your main line through the hole in an oval egg sinker, add a small plastic bead, and tie your line end to a size ten (10) barrel swivel. Then attach your leader (18-to-24 inches), complete with Lil’ Corky threaded on the leader above hook, to the free end of your swivel end, then mold a ball of PowerBait around your hook.

Note: A size 12 treble hook should be used in combination with a size 12 Lil Corky, and size 14 treble with size 14 Lil Corky bait floater if you intend to keep the fish–if you’re release fishing, avoid trebles and go with a larger single hook, maybe size 10.

Terminal Tackle You Will Need:

1) Selection of size 12 and 14 Lil’ Corky floating egg imitation/bait-floaters; the most popular colors are pink pearl, red, orange, pink, sherbet, clown, and (for night fishing – where legal) luminous flame.

2) Selection of size 12 and 14 treble hooks.

3) Selection of ¼, 3/8 and 1/2 ounce “Oval Egg” free-sliding sinkers.

4) Size 10 barrel swivels.

5) Size 4 and/or 6mm plastic beads

6) Spool of four (4) or six (6) pound test monofilament or fluorocarbon leader material. Fluorocarbon leader material is less visible to fish.

Prepared Bait

The most popular and productive dough trout bait is Berkley PowerBait with the garlic flavors preferred by many anglers. The most popular dough bait colors include Rainbow, Sherbet, Chartreuse, Peach, and Flame Orange.

Rods, Reels and Fishing Line

Anglers specializing in still-fishing PowerBait employ 6 to 7 foot soft-tipped spinning rods rated for 2-to-8 pound test fishing line. Your spinning reel should be one with a quality drag, like an Abu Garcia or Pflueger brand. Purchasing a rod and reel combination, like one offered by Shakespeare and sized for trout, can represent an affordable option. The most popular fishing line is six (6) pound test monofilament.

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I Love/Hate My New Minn Kota Ulterra Trolling Motor

Minn Kota Ulterra Trolling Motor with 360 scan bracket

I ordered a Minn Kota Ulterra trolling motor from Their service and price was great, the chat person gave me good advice, their prices are competitive and there is no sales tax or shipping fee. The motor arrived in only two days. BUT, I was too excited to really check. Took the motor to be installed and he called me when he got ready to hook up the power.
My boat is wired for 36 volts and the motor was a 24 volt. Glad he noticed before hooking it up!

I contacted MyGreenTackle and they confirmed they shipped the wrong motor. Since it was already hooked up I decided to see how it preformed. It has more than enough power for my boat, and I can use the extra battery for accessories only, solving several problems. Decided to keep it, and MyGreenTackle refunded the difference in price, but I am worried about reserve power.

There was another problem I did not anticipate. I have a Humminbird 360 scan that I love, but there is no way to mount the transducer to this motor since the shaft slides. And my 2016 sonar units are too old to use the Chirp transducer built into the motor, so mounting the old transducer is a problem, too. I could order a newer unit for sonar, and may do that eventually.

I contacted Minn Kota and was told there is no way to mount the 360 transducer and they do not make an adapter. That is strange since both Humminbird and Minn Kota are owned by the same company, but I guess that is big business.

Fortunately, through a little searching I found that Cumberland Crappie makes an adapter for the 360 transducer as well as a bracket for mounting other transducers like Lowrance to it. I got both and got them put on. And although the resulting rig looks crazy, it works so far.

I have used the Ulterra in two club tournaments now and I love/hate my new Minn Kota Ulterra Trolling Motor.

I ordered the self stow unit since I have back problems and it hurts bending over and pulling in a trolling motor. And I really love that feature, as well as being able to trim it up and down easily when in shallow water. And I think I will really like the remote control feature when I get used to it.

I think I am going to love the spot lock, too. It worked fine the first time I fished with the new motor but the second time I could not get it to engage. I will study the manual and hope i am doing something wrong. It would be just my luck to have a defective unit.

I hate the foot control. It seems the buttons were placed in the worst possible position, especially for someone who has been using a regular foot pedal for 45 years. I have hit the button to stow the motor dozens of times when using my heel to turn the motor. And I am used to resting my heel on the back of the pedal and raising my toe when releasing the power button. That starts the stow function and I hve to quickly hit the lower button to stop it and get it back down. I make that mistake constantly.

There is no “feel” with this foot pedal, either. I have used the regular pedal so many years it is an unconscious effort to keep the boat going like I want it to. Now, I constantly have to look at what the motor is doing, very distracting while fishing.

Another thing I do not like is how high the head sticks up while fishing. I hit it repeatedly while trying to side arm cast and skip baits under docks. I hope I can adjust it lower.

Maybe I will eventually get used to the new system.

If i could go back, I would never order an Ulterra for a bass boat. I would stick with the Ultrex, even with my bad back.

Lake Guntersville Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Lake Guntersville Fishing Report

Check out these weekly updated reports for selected lakes in Georgia and Alabama Lakes Fishing Report. If any guides or fishermen do weekly reports and would like them published on my site please contact me:

Captain Mike with nice Guntersville bass

Captain Mike with nice Guntersville bass

Fishing Report, Lake Guntersville 6/15/19

June is on a tear and will go down for me as the best month in many years on Guntersville;
catching is at an all time high and fishing is as fun as it gets. The novice fisherman is having
fun and all abilities can catch fish; but you can’t do it from the couch! The bass are in 4 ft. to
20 ft. depending on the sun, but the one constant is grass; find the grass and you find the

We haven’t done much to change what we are fishing with, Tight-Line swim jigs rigged with
Missile Bait Shock Wave swim baits, Tight-Line 3/8 oz. jigs rigged with small trailers and big
worms and some Zara Spook action early or late in the day over the top. The key is fishing
being patient and covering areas slowly enough to get the fish to react.

Come fish with me no one will treat you better or work harder to see you have a great day on
the water; I have an experienced guide team ready to fish with you. Last minute no problem
we more than likely can put you in a boat! We fish with great sponsor products, Lowrance
Electronics, Ranger Boats, Boat Logix Mounts, Mercury motors, Power Pole, Vicious Fishing,
Duckett Fishing, SPRO Fishing, Navionics mapping and more.

Fish Lake Guntersville Guide Service

Phone: 256 759 2270
Captain Mike Gerry

Camping at Lakepoint State Park on Eufaula

Camping at Lakepoint State Park on Eufaula is a mixed bag. In six days and five nights there last week, I had to fight gnats, mosquitoes and ants constantly. But I was almost the only one in the waterfront campground area, with about four of the 50 sites occupied.

The showers there are great, with some of the highest water pressure in any campground or motel I have used and plenty of hot water. That is a good thing after a hot sweaty day fishing on the lake. The only bad thing is the hard water – it seems impossible to get all the soap film off your skin.

The staff is very friendly and helpful, unlike some Alabama State Parks where I have camped. They seem very happy to have you there and do everything they can to make your stay pleasant and convenient.

As I loaded to leave Monday morning a staff member drove up to my campsite and asked if I had a good time. He asked if there was anything they could do to make my experience better in the future. We talked a long time and he said they wanted to do everything they could to make visitors have a great experience.

The wildlife is amazing. On mornings I did not get on the water early, I sat in my screen room set up over the picnic table drinking coffee and watching a constant parade of animals and birds.

Birds came right to the edge of the screen room looking for their breakfast. Adult Canada geese with their half-grown goslings chipped among themselves as they pecked at the ground. Grackles, blue jays, cardinals, bluebirds, crows and one very pretty red-headed woodpecker, with its white breast and wing tips, red head and black body visited daily.

Blue herons and white cranes glided over the lake and waded the shoreline in front of my campsite, keeping a wary eye out for the alligators that slowly eased by looking for something to eat. Those ugly prehistoric lizards added a mystique unlike most other Georgia lakes. Big signs in the campground warn “Alligators Present Swim At Own Risk.”

Squirrels scampered around, digging for hidden food and fighting with the birds. Bullfrogs serenaded me each morning and evening, and spring peepers kept up their song all night.

Fishing Eufaula is on fire right now, especially for bass. But in my four days on the water I caught a gar, bowfin and chain pickerel as well as some bass. Lots of other fishermen filled their stringers with shellcracker, bluegill an d crappie each day.

Even in the hot summer Lakepoint, about three hours away, is a great destination, if you have and air-conditioned camper, screen room, Sevin dust for ants and plenty of bug spray.

Idaho’s Salmon

Hope for Idaho’s Salmon
by Chris Wood, President, Trout Unlimited
from The Fishing Wire

“I have concluded that I am going to stay alive long enough to see salmon return to healthy populations in Idaho.”

Those words by U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) at a conference at the Andrus Center last week may do more to project the recovery of the imperiled Snake River salmon and steelhead than multiple lawsuits, five biological opinions, and a whopping $16 billion spent on a failed effort to recover Columbia and Snake river salmon and steelhead.

Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID)

Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID) saying what needs to be said at an Andrus Center for the West event in Boise recently.

Twenty-eight years ago, after learning of the plight of “Lonesome Larry,” I dedicated my career to helping recover Idaho’s salmon and steelhead. Larry, a sockeye, managed to swim 800 miles, climbing 6,500 feet in elevation, crossing eight dams, countless predators—never feeding—to return to the lake he was born to have sex one time before he died. That didn’t happen—he was the only sockeye to return.

Wild salmon and steelhead in Idaho are on a path to extinction.

Before the construction of the four lower Snake dams, more than a million Snake River spring and summer Chinook and more than half-a-million steelhead returned to spawn. Today, those runs are a fraction of their historic abundance. In the 1950s, the Middle Fork of the Salmon was such a prolific fishery that anglers could keep two salmon per day for a five-week season. In 2017, fewer than 500 salmon returned to spawn in the Middle Fork – 1 percent of the historic runs.

Larry’s ancestors that gave Redfish Lake its name, once came in the tens of thousands. Last year, 134 returned.

Congressman Simpson rightly asks, “Why should Idaho bear all the costs of the Snake River dams and reap so few of its benefits?”

Half of all steelhead in the Columbia River system once returned to the Snake River in Idaho

The scientific evidence is overwhelming: after almost 30 years and billions of dollars spent on habitat restoration and techno-fixes at the dams, removal of the four lower Snake River dams is essential to salmon and steelhead recovery—adjustments will also be needed in hatchery, harvest and predator management.

Restoration, however, cannot simply be about fish. This hopeful and complex effort must be about people, too. Restoration of the Snake must ensure that farmers can irrigate and transport their crops. It must ensure that jobs are safe and energy supplies are reliable. It must help meet the social and economic priorities of local communities such as Lewiston. It must create robust, fishable, and harvestable populations of salmon and steelhead for recreational, tribal and commercial fishermen.

The fish are important; but people are, too.

While not himself calling for dam removal, Congressman Simpson’s willingness to ask the hard questions should result in an unbiased look at what is needed to bring back Idaho’s salmon legacy. U.S. Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) demonstrated the same type of leadership in developing the Idaho Roadless Rule which protects 9 million acres of incredible fish and wildlife habitat in the Gem State.

For three decades, we have accepted half-measures and lurched from crises to crises – unwilling to address the cause of the decline of Idaho’s magnificent salmon and steelhead. These fish are remarkably resilient. If given half a chance, they will return, but they are running out of time.

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Fishing Wisconsin

For the past few years (in 2004) I spent the first couple of weeks of September fishing in Wisconsin and got home last Thursday from this years trip. The fishing in Wisconsin is quite different than what we have here and the trip is very enjoyable.

In Wisconsin bass are not fished for like they are here. There, walleye are the quarry for food and muskie and northern pike are sought for their fight. In fact, muskie fishermen say all other fish, including bass, are just bait. Since bass don’t get a lot of pressure, the fishing for them is much better in many lakes.

Weather there is very different, too. The host of our group said he had seen everything from 90 degrees to snow on the ground on September 1st, and we had a little of everything while I was there. Most mornings the temperature was in the low 40s and a jacket felt good. It warmed up to 80 a couple of days, but the humidity was low, so even that felt cool.

Water temperatures were in the mid sixties, a good range for bass to be active. Local fisherman told me that was about the normal range all during the summer. The week before I left to go up there the water temperature here at High Falls and Jackson was 87 degrees – 20 degrees warmer. Bass here were deep and not feeding very good.

Most days up there I was able to catch a good many bass by fishing shallow water. My best day I had 8 smallmouth bass up to three pounds and three big pike that all hit while fishing water just a couple of feet deep. My partner caught a 4 pound largemouth that day as well as several smallmouth, and had a 40 inch muskie follow his bait right to the boat. We both got a good look at it.

The reason I go to Wisconsin is for a small tournament set up by a group of fishermen on an internet newsgroup. We talk about fishing all year, posting messages and pictures. Then we get together in the spring in Tennessee and in the fall in Wisconsin. It is a lot of fun meeting folks and fishing with them after talking on the net all year.

We fish Boom Lake in the city of Rhinelander, a 1800 acre group of lakes on the Wisconsin river. This lake does get a good bit of fishing pressure, and bass are harder to catch. The minimum size is 14 inches and it is easy to catch a lot of 12 and 13 inch largemouth and smallmouth, but you can’t keep them.

In the tournament I weighed in 5 keepers at 8.5 pounds and placed second out of 20 people. That made me feel good since two of the fishermen are local guides and two more live in the area. I pulled my boat 1138 miles one way to fish waters I am not familiar with and still placed pretty good.

Smallmouth fight much harder than largemouth and a 13 or 14 inch smallmouth will really give you a good pull. And the waters there are not like what I am used to fishing. Shallows are filled with Lilly pads and other types of water weeds, and stumps fill them, too. A lot of the bass we caught hit topwater baits like the Zoom Horny Toad and pike would give you a thrill when they exploded on it.

Most of my fish hit a Yamamoto Senko cast to shallow cover and allowed to settle to the bottom. I had three smallmouth and two largemouth during the tournament, and three of them came on the Senko. The other two hit a 4 inch Zoom worm. I caught a lot of bass too short to bring to the scales on those baits during the tournament, too.

I am already looking forward to the trip next year.

Kayak Safety Tips

Top 5 Kayak Safety Tips For Kayaking Alone
from The Fishing Wire

Fish safe from a kayak

Kayak safety is at the forefront of many discussions in the kayak community this year. While the 2018 American Canoe Association statistics have not been released yet, 2017 had a total of 149 documented paddle sport fatalities, which consisted of 94 kayak, 44 canoe and 11 paddleboard deaths. One fact that highlights the growth of kayaking as a sport is that canoe fatalities accounted for most deaths in the United States until 2010, when kayaking took over the leading category – and ever since, kayaking has not relinquished the title of deadliest paddle sport in the United States.

While not all accidents are preventable, there are a few kayak safety practices that you can work on to minimze the amount of risk you take on each individual trip. Here are some not-so-commonly mentioned kayak safety tips to help you maximize your chances of survival if you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation.

1. Understand the differences in PFD (Personal Flotation Device) types

·Type I PFD – provides the most flotation of any PFD, suitiable for rough water or stormy situations. The only PFD that will keep most unconscious victims face up and out of the water.

·Type II PFD – suitable for most water conditions and provides great flotation in calmer water, but may require the individual to tread water to remain face up in rough water.

·Type III PFD – designed for calm water or where rescue would be very quickly accomplished. Type III devices are not designed for extended survival situations and will not turn individuals face up.

·Type IV – throwable devices made for overboard situations or to keep someone afloat long enough to direct the watercraft into a rescue position.

·Type V – special use. This is a very broad category that encompasses most inflatable life vests, special purpose life vests and jackets, as well as white water vests. They must be worn to meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements for vessel flotation devices. Automatic inflatable life vests are included in this category and provide the most comfort and user mobility during use.

Each category of life vest has different uses and provides different levels of protection during survival situations. Understanding what your life vest will do in these situations is critical to making the right decision for your equipment and survival gear.

2. Dress appropriately and for the worst-case scenario.

It’s a common kayak safety mistake to plan to go out on the water for a few hours and not bring the right gear for an extended period of time. For example, if it’s a chilly morning below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s convenient to wear a hoodie and some thick pants and call it good for a few hours. But what happens when the wind is higher than you expected or you get wetter than you planned? Having the gear and protective clothing for the worst conditions puts you in a position to remove items rather than wishing you had them. I often sweat a little during my winter fishing trips because for me, if I’m anything but cozy, I have put myself at a disadvantage and have a higher risk of an incident if my situation goes south. Always try to carry extra gear as a precaution, even if it seems inconvenient.

3. Prepare to be rescued.

Nobody likes to picture themselves in a life-threating situation, but planning for these types of things can be the difference between life and death. Flares are exremely useful for helping you be seen and located by other boaters or authorities. If you’re out of range of a whistle to another boater, a flare or a good VHF radio might be your only shot at being noticed right away. Many search and rescue cases would have different outcomes if distress signals or messages were relayed at the time of the incident, but many searches don’t even start until that person is far overdue and reported missing by a friend or loved one. Those first hours can make all the difference in the outcome of a search. Even if you only fish freshwater lakes and rivers, flares and/or a radio can save your life.

4. Always have your safety equipment within reach of both arms.

Imagine you’re fishing in windy, choppy conditions and have a hook become imbedded in your dominant hand or arm. Could you handle lifting the weight of that fish and putting that much pressure on your wound to reach your gear? Personally, I have a pair of heavy-duty diagonal cutting pliers to cut the hooks away from whatever is connected to it, whether it’s a fish or debris, to at least regain full use of that limb. I can reach these pliers with both hands no matter what awkward position I’m in when this happens, if it ever happens. It looks goofy, but my big diagonal cutters in the center of my life vest are a huge risk mitigator if I ever get hooked while the line or lure is attached to an object. The point is to think about these situations and be able to plan for these things to happen so they don’t catch you by surprise. If you ever want to see an example of this, check out Chris Castro’s leg gear on Next Level Fishing TV. He always has some emergency tools and survival gear on his leg for unexpected situations.

5. Is your kayak rigged to flip?

This can be a contradicting kayak safety question at first glance. Is your kayak rigged to flip to save your gear, or save yourself? Tethers, line, trolleys and gear are valuable, but they can also create a tangle hazard when you’re flipped and in proximity to them underwater. I use every gear leash I have when I am actively fishing, but when I’m in a situation where I think flipping my kayak could happen, I disconnect everything, lay the gear down and use bungees that do not move and will not create tangle hazards for me if I flip with my kayak. Another important point on flipping a kayak is to always stay upswell of the kayak. If you’re on the side of the kayak facing the wave direction, a wave can throw the kayak into your body or head, which risks serious injury to you and in turn can impact your ability to swim and tread water. With kayak seats getting higher and higher, high winds can really increase your chances of flipping in rough conditions.

While these kayak safety tips may seem like planning for the worst-case scenario, there is a reason for it. Writer Alan Lakein once said, “Planning is bringing the future into the present, so you can do something about it now.” I plan because I spent eight years of my life in the United States Coast Guard observing and responding to situations that every single person I helped never planned or dreamed they would be in. Take these tips into consideration, and always keep in mind that it could happen to you.

About the Author

YakGear Brand Ambassador Holton Walker now lives in Tyler, Texas. After serving our country in the Coast Guard for eight years, Holton brought his family of four back home to Texas to work for McCoy’s Building Supply. Holton is an avid angler, having grown up fishing the Laguna Madre in Corpus Christi, Texas. Now, Holton spends his time fishing freshwater lakes and occasionally comes down to fish his home waters on the Texas coast. Don’t be surprised if you see Holton at your next kayak fishing tournament.

Mountain Lions in Pike County, Georgia?

Mountain lions in Pike County, Georgia? I received a call from a Pike County resident a few years ago and he said he had seen a mountain lion on his property. Several people have told me they have seen mountain lions in Pike County, including a state patrol officer, so I thought I would follow up with the state DNR.

When I called the DNR office I was told mountain lions are not native to Georgia and they do not follow up on any sightings.

A few years ago Georgia Outdoor News ran an article about mountain lions in Georgia and mapped the sightings. The DNR does not follow up on sightings because there has never been any confirmed evidence of one here. None have ever been hit by cars, no bodies have been recovered and no tracks have been confirmed.

Then one was killed during deer season about 60 miles away in Troop County. It was thought to be an escaped caged one, or a young male from Florida looking for new territory. Either way, it way a confirmed mountain lion in our area.

It is interesting to think there are parts of our area that are still so wild that mountain lions could live here. Since the DNR does not follow up on sightings, maybe that is why there have never been any confirmed tracks. But there have never been any pictures that were valid, and no dead lions have ever been found. So the question is still somewhat open, as far as I am concerned.

If you sight one, try to get a good picture or find tracks – without endangering yourself!

Build Coho Salmon Habitat

Working with Nature’s Engineers to Build Coho Salmon Habitat
NOAA partners managing an innovative pilot program in Oregon are constructing dam starter structures for beavers to finish building, creating slow water areas for juvenile Coho to thrive.
from The Fishing Wire

Beaver dams help coho

Analogs provide a solid foundation from which beavers can start building their dams. Photo: Upper Nehalem Watershed Council

On the Oregon coast, NOAA and partners are leveraging the strong engineering skills of their beloved state animal to restore important habitat for threatened coho salmon and other species.

Supported by NOAA, our partners at the Wild Salmon Center and Upper Nehalem Watershed Council are embarking on a pilot project. It will assist beavers with building dams in key areas of tributaries where juvenile migrating fish grow. Once built, beaver dams create slower moving sections of streams for juvenile fish to use as habitat.

To construct the beaver dam analog, a row of wooden posts is anchored upright in the stream bed.

Similar to estuaries and river delta habitats, the slow-moving pools of water behind beaver dams offer juvenile salmon critical time for feeding and growing before their trip to the ocean. Unlike man-made barriers to fish passage, adult salmon are able pass beaver dams when they migrate back upstream to spawn.

With these pilot projects, NOAA and partners are building foundation structures, called “analogs.” They are placed in areas where beavers once lived, and where the stream grade and size are optimal for juvenile salmon habitat. Think of them as the foundations of a home.

The slow moving pools of water created by beaver dams provide habitat for threatened coho salmon and other species.

Once we introduce the analogs to ideal areas, beavers find them and build out the rest of their new homes. Rows of wooden posts intertwined with tree branches and straw give our furry restoration partners a solid foundation from which to start building their dams. We also ensure they have plenty of food sources by planting willows and other tasty foods beavers like while removing invasive plants from the areas.

These innovative but simple projects are turning back the clock to times where beavers freely built dams along streams and rivers in Oregon watersheds. Modern development has straightened stream channels and increased the amount and speed of water flow. This makes it hard for juvenile salmon to rest during freshwater stages of their early lives. This habitat loss for beavers and salmon has created population declines for both species.

These pilots are one piece of a larger effort, the Oregon Coast Coho Recovery Plan, to restore Oregon Coast coho salmon habitat. We are providing funding and technical support to the Wild Salmon Center to implement a series of habitat restoration projects across the Oregon Coast. We are working with a variety of partners including local and state governments, non-profit organizations, tribes, and other federal agencies. Together these coordinated efforts are targeting restoration where it will have the greatest benefit and make the biggest impact for threatened coho salmon.