Fishermen Return to the American River

Sunday, September 23, 2018,     730 am    56 degrees

Happy Anniversary! “Mornings on Fair Oaks Bridge” blog is two years old.

Taking photos and writing observations about my morning visits to Fair Oaks Bridge began as a fun way to capture my experience. It was several weeks later before I thought of posting them as blogs. Two years later, I am still posting my observations, enjoying regular visits, and a full color book featuring a selection of first person narratives and photography      is ready to print.

During that September as today, fishermen are sitting in their boats waiting for salmon. Although it is very early in the season, 11 boats line the American River all the way around the bend. When I asked one of the fishermen in a boat close to the bridge, if salmon were in the river, he said, “A few.” Anxious fishermen face a lot of competition to catch a few fish. River level remains low. 

Fair Oaks Bridge, American River, fishermen, fishing, salmon, mornings, fall,

Arriving long after sunrise, the blinding yellow sun is sitting just above the trees behind the boat launch ramp (outside the photo on right). A few thin strips of white clouds do nothing to hide the sun’s harsh light. A slight breeze blows against my skin. What I notice immediately is thousands of tiny insects swarming on the outside of the bridge side rails. Their swarm stretches at least one-third the length of the bridge. Floating through the air, they look like tiny feathers released from a pillow or quilt and being shaken into the air.  wild man, American River, Fair Oaks Bridge, water, mornings, flood,

I see “The Wild Man” still lies where he fell after being knocked over by the floodwaters in early 2017.

I walk down to the boat launch ramp in time to see one duck splashing itself with water, other engaging in regular morning ritual of cleaning feathers. Muscovy duck, Mallard, ducks, standing on rock, American River, Fair Oaks Bridge, mornings, nature, outdoors, writing, Two others stand on rocks and watch. Looking across the river, I see an Egret on the opposite riverbank in its usual spot. About 50 yards to the west sits the Great Blue Heron. They always do their best to avoid each other. As I watch the Heron, I see a squirrel behind it, dash up a small hill on the Fair Oaks Bluff. Squirrels are one animal I never see on the riverbanks.

When I cross Fair Oaks Bridge much later in the morning, more people are out walking, with their dogs and others are cycling. A tiny bird is singing good morning. Ti Too! Ti Too! Four pigeons tuck their heads under one wing as they perch on the highest cross beam of the bridge.  


Salmon Swim as Seagulls Watch

December 2018

Salmon completed their fall run this month. Most finished their journey home before Christmas.

A group of salmon splash as they swim upstream through the narrow, shallow river channel


This group of salmon swim through the narrow, shallow river channel. I watched them swim in the morning and sunset. Their journey continues. Some stop here to spawn, while others keep swimming. The weir (fence) at the Nimbus Dam blocks further passage up the American River. Salmon find their way to and up the fish ladder at Nimbus Fish Hatchery about 2 miles upriver from Fair Oaks Bridge.

seagull, salmon, American River
They all wait their turn to enjoy a salmon meal




Sitting in the rocky area near the small island in the center of the river, these seagulls patrol the water instead of standing at the shoreline wondering where is the food.



seagulls, group, salmon, American River,
The narrow, shallow channel the salmon swim through is to the left of the photo. This group of seagulls wait in shallow water for their chance to eat. The opposite shore is the deepest part of the river, where Buffleheads and Goldeneye dive daily in winter months.