Tuesday, June 23, 2009



Mendenhall Fishing Trip 2009

Departure From Spokane Airport

   Please be aware, for those of you receiving this post via email, that I personally have not been able to figure out yet how to turn the active-x controls on in my Windows Email Client.  This post will contain three embedded you tube videos.  It may be advisable to view this post in its original URL here. Also, this post will contain a riddle that I want you to try to answer (except Grandma and Grandpa of course. . .since they already know), so I advise you to visit my Picasa web album and view my google maps for the fish caught at Billy Shaw Reservoir.  It can be found in the right "side bar".  Be sure to view the maps in all three modes for best effect (Map, Satellite, and Terrain). Another hint is to zoom in and out.

   So we flew out on Monday June 8th, while Grandma and Grandpa must have been packing their gear all day, and we arrived to find their trailer packed.  On Tuesday morning we drove to Billy Shaw Reservoir.  On this trip, thunderstorms would be the prevailing weather.

Grandma, Grandpa, and Eliason setting up camp.

View of Camp from Dam.

   While at Billy Shaw, we managed to fish the mornings, and would be forced off the water by thunder and lightning by lunch time. Unfortunately, due to bad management by the reservation, the quality in size of fish this year was way down.  For the last couple of years, the average size of fish we caught at this reservoir was in the 20 inch range.  This year, between all 4 of us, the biggest fish we caught was 19 inches.  For purposes of illustration, here is a picture of a fish that I caught this year.  Compare this to the picture of a fish that was average last year (found at the bottom of this web page)

18 Inch Rainbow Trout Caught by Dad.

   Honestly, the smaller trout this year is not too big of a problem. Compared to the trout we find up in northern Idaho, these guys are still big and fight like the dickens. So Eliason and I still had tons of fun with these fish anyway. Due to the weather I was not able to get a good picture of Eliason with a fish. However, I do have this video of Eliason fighting a good fight (and he is out on the water all by himself while the rest of us are getting dinner ready). He has already had the fish to his net twice, just to have the fish take off on him again. Watch for the reflection of light off his rod to see how much of a bend is in it. You can also see the fish make a splash in this video.

A Hard Fight at Billy Shaw.

   What amazed me the most this year, in regards to Eliason, is his independence on the water. Every evening, while we were making dinner, Eliason still insisted on going out fishing. Even when the wind and water were really rough. So here is another video to demonstrate this, although when the video starts you have just missed a wave that broke over Eliason's bow and sent spray into the air.

Watch Eliason Hold His Own in the Weather.

   Well, here is a picture of me with my biggest catch at Billy Shaw. Notice, it is a small mouth bass. Now, I don't mind fishing for bass on the fly rod, however this is supposed to be a trophy trout fishery. In other words, this bass is not supposed to be there. Bass tend to weigh more per inch than trout do, so while this bass is only 18 inches, it must have weighed in around 5 pounds. Grandpa also caught a couple of perch this trip too.

Nesting Bass are very Susceptible to the Fly.

   On Friday June 12th, after fishing in the morning, we broke camp and headed back to the Grandparent's house in Boise. So, before we leave Billy Shaw Reservoir on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation, here is my riddle. What is wrong with the picture below? Remember my hints above, and please post a response by either email or the comment box below.

Riddle me this. What is wrong with this picture?

   Amazingly, Grandma and Grandpa can unpack and break down the trailer, and get it back to storage, in just 3 hours. Saturday was a planned day off, and Grandma took both of us Birthday shopping so she wouldn't have to worry about us while she spends time with her new grandson Davis this summer. The plan for Sunday was to go fish the "Ranch", but the rain and thunderstorms were too much to even think about leaving that morning.

   The Ranch lies just about an hour and a half drive south from Boise in the Owyhees, which I think could be described as a high mountain arid desert. The weather improved just enough on Monday for us all to go, but we only got two hours of fishing in before storms blew us off the water again. However, I did catch this very nice rainbow trout pictured below. It took me 20 minutes to land this fish, and during this time Eliason also hooked and landed a very nice 20 inch, two and half pound trout also. Because I was fighting my fish, I was not able to get a picture of Eliason's.

25 inches and 5 pounds

   On Tuesday, June 16th, Eliason and I were scheduled to fly out late back to home in Moscow. Before Eliason and I witnessed Owyhee mud, we wanted to fish again. However, on Monday, after spending another three hours trying to clean this dried mud off everything, we decided that fishing Tuesday before we left was just not practical. Instead, Grandma and Grandpa treated us to a day of fun at Wahooz. Just outside of Boise, next to the water park, Wahooz has video games, bumper bumps, three go-kart tracks, batting cages, putt putt golf, and laser tag! So I will end this post with pictures of the very competitive go-kart races we had. Tight lines every body!

Grandpa and Eliason racing.

Grandpa Mendenhall


Grandma Mendenhall

Eliason and Me

Eliason and Grandpa

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Mendenhall Blog is Fully Operational!

Hello All!
Sorry for those last three horrible posts.  My Internet Explorer program had updated itself to version 8.0, and when it did so my blog site got a little weird.  The "sidebar" kept appearing below my actual posts.  It was not a problem in IE 7, nor was it a problem in Mozilla Firefox.  It turns out that one of my pictures of Eliason's graduation was too big, thus forcing the sidebar to appear below the posts.
I am not really sure why this is a problem for IE 8, not version 7 or Firefox, but Oh well.  My blog is now up and running.  I am going to try to have a new post out this morning before I leave for work, otherwise look for a new post tonight on the thunderstorms and fishing for the 10 day vacation that Eliason and I took.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Can you believe it?

6th grade graduation


Lighting today was very difficult, so I apologize for the poor picture quality.  Here are the two best pictures of Eliason's 6th grade graduation ceremony today.  Next year, Eliason is a Junior High School Student!

Monday, June 1, 2009

6th grade egg toss experiment.

Well, this is the last week that Eliason will be an Elementary Student as he graduates tomorrow (June 2nd), even though the last day of school is on June 3rd.  Eliason had an Egg Drop Experiment today at school.  He had to use the 'scientific process' last week to form a hypothesis, test his contraption, collect data and make it better.  The complex rules included things like:  "You may not use Nerf Balls, pillows, foam, bubble wrap or stuffed animals to protect your egg", "The egg and the project must have a combined weight of less than 200 grams", and "Of course the egg and its contraption must hit the ground!  I will be doing the throwing, and I'll throw them out the window anyway I want!" So I had Eliason brainstorm his own ideas, design, and hypothesis.  Once we had finished the first contraption, I tested it and helped him with further development.  While I was at work Friday and Saturday, Eliason wrote all of the following paper but the conclusion and reflection sections (which he finished tonight).  They had the "toss" today, and his egg survived fully intact!  I was really amazed with his writing, and thought all of  you would like to read it, so here it is:

Eliason Mendenhall

Mr. Berdoll's 6th grade class

June 1st, 2009


Egg Toss Experiment

Prior Knowledge:

Gravity is a force that pulls down, what keeps us on Earth. This relates to me because I need to make something that will protect an egg from cracking when it hits the ground. Force is physical power that that can be put in to an object that gives it movement or to change its shape. This relates to me because Mr. Hudelson will use his force to toss my egg drop project out the window. Gravity and force work together when something hits something else to make an impact. This relates to me because when Mr. Hudelson tosses the egg that is force and when it falls that is gravity acting and when it hits the ground that is impact. Shock adsorption is helping me because everything that is cushioning it decreases the presser on the egg.


Question list:

I thought of making a tube out of paper and filling it with paper, would this work?

How does the density affect the project?

Would glue work?

If someone put an egg in the freezer and it froze would that work?

Would it work better in a bigger container instead of a small one?

Would it work better if it was stuffed tight or a little loose?

Would it be more likely to stay intact if you dropped it instead of tossing it?

Would it work if you crumpled up cookies to protect the egg?

If something is frozen does it have more shock adsorption?

Would something smooth work better than something rigged?

    Would a rotten egg work better?

If you put in a box would it work bettor if you put it in a harder box or a softer box?

Would it work if you wrapped your egg in clay?




I believe that my egg will survive because I think that the egg wrapped in paper placed in plastic bags placed in a box will work best. I think this is the best option because all the different materials will give a wide range of shock adsorption.


 Research plan:

I plan to put paper in a Frango mint box, a hexagonal mint box, and then put the egg in the paper and put paper over the egg. Then go outside and toss it to test it. We will toss it several ways so we can make sure that the egg is protected on all sides.



Data / notes

We tossed my first project three times. The first time it worked and the seconded time it worked but the third time it broke so I had to come up with a new design so I did. I think my egg broke because the angle we tossed it at too high or wrapped tightly enough.

My second design was in one of my reel boxes, a rectangle shaped box, all we put in it was paper and on the third time we tossed it broke.  I think it broke because it was packed too tight in the small box. 

 After that I made one that I put the egg in the reel box with paper then I put plastic in the Dr. Pepper box to pad it more. It broke on the third time. I think it broke because rectangle in square doesn't provide equal shock absorption.

On this one I did the same thing but instead of using the reel box I used a round plastic plant container. It survived six good tosses by my dad so I went down to Rosauers to weigh it, and it came in (with the egg) at 0.42 ounces. When I got back my dad thought it was cutting it a little close so I designed a new one.

I took the egg, wrapped it in paper, and put it in a plastic bag.  Then I put the bag with the egg in another bag then I filled that bag with plastic bags and I weighed it (0.31 ounces) whick was fine so we tested it. It broke on the first toss.  I think it broke on the first toss because only paper and plastic bags don't provide enough shock absorption.

So I took in my fourth design to school and it weighed in at 153 grams without an egg.  Mr. Hudelson said that was ok.


Conclusion and Reflection:

My egg survived but I had to use my fourth design instead of my first design so I proved my Hypothesis is wrong. I think it worked because everything together provided a wide range of shock adsorption. I really wouldn't change anything it was so great.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Buggin Bass

My trip to Benewah Lake

On Tuesday May 19th, Alison and I explored one of the southern most lakes in the CD'A chain lake system. If you want to see where the pictures are taken on google maps visit my Picasa album here, the google maps is in the left column, and I have flagged the physical location for each picture. The picture above was taken at the end of the day and is the dock at the boat launch. Only one other person had shown up to fish, and she sat on this dock and caught nothing (using a worm thrower pole). I thought that maybe some big bass or pike were hiding in here, so I took a few minutes to try to catch them. Directly behind me was a big rain storm coming so I didn't spend much time here (it was well after 6 PM and I wanted to pack before getting hit with the rain.

This picture is of the lake facing east from the boat launch dock, which is the direction I traveled in the canoe to get to my bay. I was here to catch some pike, which I did not do. However this bay (pictured next) held a bunch of very large bass. Given wind conditions on the lake, this was the only accessible place by canoe so I was stuck (unless I was willing to pack up the equipment and move to another lake). I have no pictures of the fish I caught that day, because Alison had my camera and was playing around. But let me tell you, I caught the largest bass I have ever seen. It was a large mouth, and I could fit my whole fist into its mouth. It's over all length was 35 inches, and its girth was larger than both my hands wrapped around it. It had to be pushing the 6-7 pound range. I also caught several small mouth bass in the 4 to 5 pound range, and at least two more get off the hook (and another that followed my fly all the way too the dock).

It is spring, so the lakes here are very flooded. I could walk 400 yards in any direction from here, and the water depth still would not get above about 4 feet. After I caught my really big bass, I wondered back to were Alison was and she discovered this really cool Dragonfly that must have just "hatched". Alison was very intrigued with this, especially since it was on my butt.

Now I did not see any more dragonflies "hatching" that day, but the wind was very strong all day. The only way to remove him from me was to use my net, no manner of handling with fingers got him to budge. This dragonfly still needed some more time before taking off. (the next picture is one taken right before he did). However, I noticed the osprey circling the lake all day long, but not one every came down for a fish so I wonder if the hatch wasn't bigger than I knew and that the osprey were feeding on these big dragonflies getting sucked up into the wind, but boy was this one big! Sorry there is no pictures of fish.

Well, TIGHT LINES everybody!

Friday, May 8, 2009

6th grade fishing day - May 2009

First let me say, with the exception of Eliason, no fish were caught today by the sixth graders on a fly rod (only 10 fish where caught by 73 students using a worm/spin cast setup). However, you know the fish are hanging deep when even the osprey decided to nest today instead of fish. Depth in this reservoir would not normally be a problem for Eliason and I in the float tubes, however it was very difficult for "newbies" to get to any depth from shore. While the school rods where loaded with dry lines, I still had two rods setup with full sink type III and type IV, and only two students all day said they had a bite (however one was early in the morning so I suspect that it more of a log or a rock than a bite.)

If you want to download or view any of these pictures please visit: http://picasaweb.google.com/flyfish4pike/6thGradeFishingDay#

Ok, so here is how the day went. I arrived at the reservoir at 0830 and set up rods. I could tell instantly that it was going to be a slow biting day. Usually, at this time of year, the grass is already starting to grow in, but you will notice in the pictures that is not so this year. The Russell Elementary student arrived by bus at 0900, with one very excited Eliason jumping up and down on the bus waving trying to get my attention. The first group of 20 students in fly casting was extremely challenging (this could be due to the fact the the kids only had one hour of instruction with a fly rod before today). In the first group, every child snapped their fly off the line at least once (with one child going through 5 flies in an 1 hour period). Once you add the time of untangling bad casting knots to tying on new flies, then you will realize that Eliason, Mr. Markely, and myself barely had a chance to give any instruction!

For the second group of 20 students, Mr. Markely and I choose a different tact. We split the group in half, with Eliason and I taking half of the student on a little longer hike to reach the dock you see in this picture. . . . ..

From 6th grade fishing day
As you can see, I can comfortably fit 5 casters on this dock. At the foot of the dock, I had two more casters casting out and away from the dock. That just left 3 casters for Eliason to work with. He would work the shore just before the dock. Here is a picture from the dock looking east at Eliason and his group.
From 6th grade fishing day
At this point, we all broke for lunch. The St. Mary's 6th grade class arrived just shortly before we broke for lunch. They only had 13 students and 6 helpers! So I skipped helping them and had a nice roast beef sandwich lunch with the kiddo. After lunch, there was two biologist with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game that gave a cool talk about native and non-native fish species of Idaho, fish ecology, and fish identification. While hiking out with the third and last group of students, I noticed much more activity in the shallows (including bluegills starting to congregate). I thought for sure someone was going to catch a fish in the afternoon, but alas I was wrong. Eliason also noticed the bluegill, and as the students were hiking back to the bus to go home, Eliason casually casts on olive willy to them. Imagine how all 20 students stopped to see Eliason's catch! (Even though the bus was loudly honking at us to hurry up)
From 6th grade fishing day
By the time Eliason and I helped Mr. Markely break down his equipment and put it all away it was 4:00 pm and the skies looked like this:
From 6th grade fishing day
Even though there was a midge hatch that just began, Eliason and I decided to call it a day. Sometime at work, I will were a pedometer and average over 8 miles a day going up and down the halls. But, keeping 10 kids at time with their line the water must have taken 4 times that amount of energy. Oh well, I am sure Eliason and I will get one more day of fishing in before our June departure date, when we get to go fish "The Ranch" for some blue ribbon trout!


Thursday, May 7, 2009

More Rain

Hello Everyone,

Just a quick update from Moscow. Tomorrow, May 8th, is the 6th grade fishing day at Spring Vally Reservoir. However, I have not seen the sun all week. Everybody pray. . . I don't mind fishing in bad weather, and neither does Eliason. However, 73 kids will be a lot of kids to have fishing in the rain. . ..

Hopefully all goes well and there will be new pictures this weekend!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My very first blog

Hello everyone!

Ok, so this is my first blog ever. In fact, this is my first time even attempting to set a blog site. So please bear with me as I figure all of this out.

The motivating factor to get me to start blogging is the fact that I love my digital camera. In fact, as my son and I fish I love to send pictures to Grandma and Grandpa Mendenhall. However, email seems to be a rather difficult way to send them these grand pictures. So enter the blogosphere.. . . .

Ok, so here are some pictures from last Wed. My son is in 6th grade, and he is lucky enough to have a PE Teacher who loves to fish also. About four years ago, Mr. Markely got a grant from the FFF (Federation of Fly Fishers) to integrate fly fishing into his 6th grade curriculum. He has 3 classes of 6th graders averaging about 20 students a class. We combined with a local private catholic school that has one sixth grade class of 13 students this year. One sixth grade class from my son's school and the private sixth grade class meet in the morning to rotate between three stations; Fly Tying, Fly Casting, and Spin Casting. For the morning session I was tapped to teach the fly tying section.

That was a whole lot of fun, and I certainly hope to be asked to do it again next year. In the afternoon, the remaining two 6th grade classes got to rotate through the same three stations. We were short of help in the afternoon, and Eliason and I were asked to do a father/son fly casting clinic. Here are the pictures of Eliason being a fairly good teacher. In the picture above, Eliason is setting up some targets for students to cast at.

Now remember, the object here is for the "other" students to learn how to cast a fly rod.

Ever since the Woolly Bugger Fly Casting Clinic in Boise, Id in June of 2008, Eliason has always kept that rod very high during casting!

The picture to our right might be too wide of an angle to see, let me know what you think!

Ok, so how is someone supposed to learn how to cast if the fly rod is not in their hands?

Eliason is still holding the fly rod!

Finally, someone is learning to cast.
I have to admit, that afternoon I was really impressed with Eliason's focus and maturity during the fly casting clinic. In fact, I do believe he was better able to "reach" some students more so than me. However, when I got home that evening I was struck by how many of the pictures showed Eliason holding the rod, rather than the student. It could be due to the fact that I kept the camera at my hip, and each shot was taken in less than 10 seconds.
Well, I think my first attempt at a blog is not too shabby. Please feel free to leave a reply to give me hints on how to make this more readable, however, after 4 hours of work this is the best that I can do. Let it roll. . . . .