Purissima Creek: Let’s go Fishing (Psst: First Pass the dynamite!)

Story from John Vonderlin

Email John ([email protected])

Hi June,
This story, eight years after the whistful looking-back-at-the-Good-Old-Days La Purisima” story about the degraded circumstances in Purisima Creek, might explain one aspect of the problem of the fish disappearing from local streams at that time. Enjoy. John
The San Francisco Morning Call
August 24, 1900
Rod and Line

Streams Which Will Be Stocked   To-Day
With Ranbow Trout.
Superintendent   of   Fish-hatcheries   Wood –
berry   and   his   attendant,  Richardson,   will
arrive   from   Bissons   this   morning   with   40,000
young   fry   of   the   rainbow   trout,   which   will
be   distributed   in   the   La   Honda,   San
Gregorio   and   Pescadero   creeks   in   San
Mateo   County.
These   streams   have   numerous   tributaries,
which   will   benefit   by   the   stocking   of   the
main   waters.   The   Pescadero   is   a   magnifi –
cent   stream,   and   carries   a   large   body   of
water   in   the   summer,   as   well   as   in   the
winter   months.   It   is   hoped   that   the   farm –
ers   who   reside   in   the   vicinity   of   the   glens
will   take   an   interest   in   the   labors   of   the
gentlemen   who   are   connected   with   the
Fish   Commission,   and   use   their   utmost   en –
deavors   to   bring   to   justice   those   who   are   in
the   habit   of   destroying  fish   by   giant-powder
explosives   during   the   winter   season   when
the   salmon   run   up   the   river   to   spawn.   In
a   few   years   hence,   if   the   vandalism   which
has   been   going   on   without   interruption   for
years   be   checked,   the   fraternity   who   enjoy
good   trout   fishing   will   be   delighted   with
the   sport   these   streams   will   afford   when   the
youngsters   arrive   sit   their   majority.
The   average   freight   of   a   lull   grown   rain –
bow   trout   is   lrcm   2 1/2   to   3   pounds,   and   a
greater   trout   is   hard   to   find.
‘The   Dolly   Varden   is   a   more   stubborn
customer   to   land,   but   his   rushes   are   not   as
desperate   as   the   rainbow,   who   tires   himself
completely   out   in   the   early   part   of   the   fight
for   liberty.   The   “Dolly,”   when   hooked,
generally   goes   to   the   bottom   of   the   river
where   it   lodges   and   remains   so   doggedly
steadfast   that   one   not   acquainted
with   the   fishes’   ways   of   battle,   would   im –
agine   that   his   hook   bad   become   fastened   in
a   tree-root   or   some   hidden   substance.
A   steady   pressure   on   the.   line   will   soon
convince   the   man   on   the   shore   end   of   the
rod   “that   he   is   still   in   it,”   and   presently
the   reel   sings   as   the   silk   runs   through   the
loops   of   the   rod.   Then   it   is   that   care
must   betaken   to   prevent   the   fish   from   mak –
ing   some   place   of   its  vantage   which,   if   once
gained,   is   almost   sure   to   give   it   its   freedom.
The   hooking,   play   and   landing   of   a   four –
pound   Dolly   varden   trout   is   sport   which   is
thoroughly   appreciated   by   the   angler   who
understands   the   art   of   fly-casting.
Of   the   two   species   of   trout   the   rainbow
is   preferred   by   anglers,   principally   on   ac –
count   of   its   system   of   feeding.   In   the
months   of   June,   July   and   August   it   rises
freely   “to   the   fly”   and   as   a   matter   of   con –
sequence   the   angler   with   artificial   devices
can   rely   upon   having   some   good sport.
The   Dolly   Varden   feeds   principally   on
grubs   and   larva   which   are   swept   by   the
current and lodge  generally   on   the   bottom
of   the   deep   holes   and   whirlpools.   Occa –
sionally   a   dolly   is   tempted   to   the   surface
ol   the   water,   but   as   a   general   rule   this
species   of   trout   are   what   is   termed   by
anglers   “bottom-feeders.”
It   is   quite   probable   that   the   Fish   Com –
missioners   will   honor   some   of   the   residents
of   San   Mateo   County   with   badges   entitling
them   to   the   office   of   deputy   commissioners.
It   is   certain   that   unless   a   custom   which
has   prevailed   among   classes   of   men   who
have   been   destroying   thousands   of   fish   by
explosives   is   stopped   the   efforts   of-   the
Fish   Commissioners   to   restock   the   streams
with   a   magnificent   fish   will   be   a   worthless