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April 2000 Forays

On April 8, I went on the Oregon Mycological Society field trip to the Sandy River Delta. There were very few mushrooms of note, principally Verpa bohemica in various states of decomposition and a few Coprinus micaceus. On an earlier trip, I collected some stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) and boiled them to eat. I found them to be of the same quality as spinach, but with a bit less substance.

Recently, I tried something new: clamming on the Oregon Coast. I went to the Old Coast Guard Pier at Garibaldi and joined other diggers at low tide. I still have a lot to learn about this, and am somewhat concerned with the effects of digging on the estuarine ecosystem, but I also see that it is an important means of foraging. I came away with numerous littlenecks and one butter clam. The littlenecks especially were scrumptious steamed and drizzled with melted butter and lemon juice, so I'm sure I will try this again!

During the past week, certain sections of Powell Butte Nature Park have been blooming with oyster mushrooms, Pleurotus ostreatus. It's amazing how fast they grow and decay. I've had a couple of batches as side dishes; I'm still undecided about how much I like them. Claytonia sibirica makes a good trail nibble and is abundant in the woods at this time of year.

Fall 1999 Mushroom Season Summary

Fall mushrooming in 1999 came in fits and starts. From mid-August to late October, there was very little rain in Western Oregon, and even when the rains did come they didn’t bring the same variety of mushrooms as in wetter years such as 1996. Still, there were some high points. 1999 was a very good year for Boletus edulis and Tricholoma flavovirens, and there were lots of chanterelles as always.

Mid-August: Chanterelles were present in limited numbers on Kings Mountain in the Coast Range. Other mushrooms were virtually absent.

Mid-September: I found a few white chanterelles near Mt. Hood, but later in the fall the main flush of this species never came.

Early October: A foray in the Cascade foothills found more than the usual number of lobster mushrooms and a few chanterelles, but most species were absent.

Mid-October: Chanterelles were still present on Kings Mountain and other Coast Range sites. Other interesting Coast Range fungi: Polyporus hirtus, Amanita smithiana, Clitocybe deceptiva, Coprinus comatus and Pseudohydnum gelatinosum. Coastal forays brought huge numbers of Chroogomphus vinicolor and a few Agaricus campestris and Suillus sp.

Early November: Forays in suburban Portland revealed: Lepiota rachodes, Agaricus subrutilescens, Pleurotus ostreatus, Boletus chrysenteron, Agaricus praeclaresquamosus, Geastrum saccatum, Leccinum scabrum, Paxillus involutus, Amanita pantherina and an unidentified large “bleeding” Lepiota sp.

November 6: A trip to the foothills of Mt. Hood yielded: Pine habitat: 1 white matsutake, a bucket of Leccinum aurantiacum, Tricholoma flavovirens in good numbers, Gomphidius subroseus and several Suillus species. Second-growth Douglas-fir: Loads of golden chanterelles and pig’s ears (Gomphus clavatus), Quite a few hedgehogs (Hydnum repandum) and Helvella lacunosa.

November 12-14: Cape Perpetua area of Oregon Coast. Lots of Agaricus subrutilescens and golden chanterelles. A few Agaricus smithii and other typical coastal mushrooms.

November 23: I found a few big Boletus edulis near Tillamook. Preferred habitat seemed to be shore pine and beach grass without a lot of ground cover. In the past, I’ve had trouble finding this species in good condition, so I was psyched! Other esculents present in quantity: Lactarius deliciosus and Russula xerampelina. Amanita muscaria were everywhere; supposedly this species is a good indicator for B. edulis. Other colorful but inedible species: Russula rosacea and Clavaria purpurea.

November 27-28: Florence area. Boletus edulis all over the place, in mixed pine/spruce woods as well as the pine/beach grass habitat. Chanterelles, hedgehogs and Agaricus subrutilescens were popping as well, along with a few Tricholoma flavovirens, Lactarius rubrilacteus, Leccinum manzanitae, Agaricus smithii and Gomphus clavatus. Not a matsutake in sight, but the Boletus edulis made up for it. One thing I can’t complain about this fall is the coastal weather. Bad weather at the coast seems to happen only when I’m not there!


1998 November 28: Coastal Mushrooms

I often tell people that the Oregon Dunes and adjacent areas have the best mushroom picking in the state. How is it, then, that I haven't been there since November 1995 and almost didn't get there this year? Well, for one thing, it's quite the drive from Portland. This year, I was crazy enough to make a one-day trip of it, getting up early and scraping the ice off my windshield, gassing up and heading out to be there at the break of dawn. The following eight hours of daylight were a hectic mix of mushroom picking and hiking, and then I got to drive home again. At least it didn't rain.

Lest anyone think differently, I am about to describe a great trip. I hiked over eight miles, saw some great familiar scenery and found many choice mushrooms. My first stop was Yachats, not for mushrooms but to view the pounding surf and the Spouting Horn and stretch my legs. After a bit of this, I hiked along the Oregon Coast Trail between Cummins Creek and the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center. The main mushroom bonanza here consisted of many young and awesomely tasty Agaricus subrutilescens, still in the button stage. A large, mature Agaricus augustus also appeared. I was disappointed in not finding any hedgehog mushrooms, and the chanterelles and Lactarius deliciosus were all old and waterlogged, but in general the trail was full of fungal color from the ubiquitous Russulas to some temptingly large but disgustingly rank Clitocybes.

My big stop for the day was the Threemile Lake Trail alongside the dunes. Three miles of pure hiking delight, in almost complete solitude. Birds and squirrels and trees and wind and dunes and creeks and lakes. And mushrooms? Chanterelles and hedgehogs and matsutakes, oh my! Someone had been working my favorite matsutake patch, but there were still some for the taking. Chanterelles were everywhere, many in good condition. Hedgehogs were confined to a small area along the trail, but there were plenty. Three nice buttons of Agaricus smithii, a sweet-smelling and tasty mushroom, made an appearance, along with a couple Boletus mirabilis. And, as always, there were humongous fly agarics to look at.

The fall days are short, and when I emerged from the woods it was time to drive home. Tired and happy as hell was I.

1998 November 8 Mushroom Notes

I went up to the 3000 foot level towards Mt. Hood, and the snow was falling and over an inch deep in spots. I sought matsutakes--Tricholoma magnivelare--and found them in two of the three major mycelial patches I identified in 1996. One patch contained three mature mushrooms and one button, all in excellent condition. The other contained three decomposing buttons, not fit for consumption. Four was plenty for me, though! Other mushroom activity was very slow compared to 1996, with few edibles out. A few new white chanterelles made an appearance, along with a few Boletus mirabilis and a single hedgehog mushroom.

1998 October 31-November 1 Mushroom Notes

This weekend, I went out with two groups of Lewis and Clark students and mycologist Connie Thorne for College Outdoors mushroom hikes. We hit the Coast Range looking for chanterelles and did not come back disappointed. There were plenty of meaty, firm golden chanterelles. Other edible species included Sparassis (two specimens), Lactarius rubrilacteus, Agaricus subrutilescens, Boletus zelleri, and a few puffballs. 

1998 October 24-25 Mushroom Notes

Mushrooms are slowly starting to "pop" around Portland. I went out for a few hours and found some interesting species, but very few edibles. The best of the bunch were Agaricus albolutescens and Pleurotus ostreatus but I found only a couple specimens of each. Again visiting the Mt. Hood foothills the next day, I found a slow progression of the mushroom season. The most common edibles up there were Gomphidius subroseus and Lactarius rubrilacteus, but these were almost invariably wormy. Fresh specimens of both white and yellow chanterelles could be found, as well as plenty of puffballs (Lycoperdon pyriforme). I visited the Old Maid Flats area and found no matsutakes, but pound upon pound of fresh, clean Leccinum aurantiacum.

1998 October 4: Mt. Hood Mushrooms

The rains arrived a little late for the Mt. Hood Salmon and Mushroom Festival, and pickings were slim (but it's wet now, so they won't be for long). An experienced hand can always find a few early chanterelles in the western foothills, so that's what I did after checking out the festival.

At around the 3000 foot level, there was a nice mix of white and golden chanterelles. These will all rot quickly with the moisture, but this weekend they were still in prime condition. I also picked a couple of yummy lobster mushrooms and some pig's ears (Gomphus clavatus), and left a few small puffballs that wouldn't have made much of a meal. Fungal diversity was still not up to par, but should be soon.

1998 August 30: Kings Mountain Chanterelles

The late August or early September climb of Kings Mountain is the traditional beginning of fall mushroom season for me. With the hot, dry summer, would I get skunked this year? No!

 I only found two mycelial patches of chanterelles, and only one of these contained fresh mushrooms. It was big enough, however, that I gathered plenty. The old standby patch at 1 mile trail length had only a few moldy fruiting bodies, but as I trudged past the summit I found a bunch of nice chanterelles amongst a salal thicket. Persistence paid off again!

 The summer did take its toll on the huckleberries, which were mostly long-gone. There were plenty of ripe salal berries for a trail nibble, though. I found out just how out of shape I was; as a matter of fact, I am still finding out as I write this. The ascent is exhausting, but the descent is harrowing, especially with tired muscles and the loose gravel on the trail. I don't remember slipping quite as often in previous years. The view from the top was nice, although there was a bit of haze and the leaves haven't really changed yet. A large clearcut was visible to the south; I think it is an old one that has been enlarged recently. Boo!!!

1998 July 25: Sauvie Island Catfish and Blackberries

This was a fun trip, the best I've had in quite a while. I got to the island sometime between 5:30 and 6am, and by 6:30 I had eight brown bullhead catfish in the ice chest. I was literally getting bites on every cast for most of the time I fished, and by the time I stopped at 9am I had 21 catfish. I also caught about 10 small perch, which I released, and a little pumpkinseed. I spent the whole time fishing in just two spots on the bank of Webster Pond, so I know there are still a lot of fish out there. Nightcrawlers fished on the bottom were the key. While waiting for bites, I picked up a large bag of trash. Please DO NOT trash the island! These bullheads averaged 10 inches and fought really hard, diving deep or thrashing on the surface.

 After getting my fill of fishing, I picked a half-gallon of blackberries near Haldeman Pond. The berries are in their prime right now, and there are lots of them. Yummy!


August 24: Kings Mountain

On a rather wet late summer morning, I decided to go out in search of huckleberries and perhaps some early chanterelles. I found both on the trail to the summit of Kings Mountain. I found that there had actually been an earlier crop of chanterelles, probably the result of fog-drip or thunderstorms about one month ago. These were mostly moldy, but a second crop was starting due to the recent rains. With a few outliers near the base of the trail, the fresh ones were clustered between 1 and 1.5 miles into the trail, in several distinct mycelial patches. Some of the larger old crop was nearer the top, but most came from these same patches. Berries were all over. Species I noted included the ubiquitous red huckleberry, black huckleberry (Vaccinium membranaceum), Vaccinium alaskense, serviceberry, salal, and Oregon dewberry. The view over the Coast range was limited by the fog, but still very scenic.

August 17: Sauvie Island

I returned to Sauvie Island to focus on catfish. Action was not as good as I had hoped, but I caught seven between 8 and 11 inches, which was plenty for supper. I used heavy weights to cover most of Webster Pond with my casts, and also made a visit to the mouth of the Gilbert River at the end.

July 26: Fishing Cedar Island

I went out to fish Cedar Island, as I had two weeks before. I intended to arrive early in the morning, hoping the fish would be more active then. I got sidetracked for a couple of hours and wound up arriving in mid-morning, so I didn't get to test that hypothesis. The reason for getting sidetracked? My first stop was on the other side of the river at Clackamette Park. I caught two crappie and a chub, and lost several other fish.

Fishing on Cedar Island was slow to develop. Boats were plying the good structure areas, with no apparent success. After a couple of hours, my efforts had grabbed me a 9" bass, two pumpkinseed sunfish, and a 14" carp. Not that I was choosy or anything. I took a walk and did some exploring, then came back after 11 a.m. The fishing had suddenly turned on, and in the next half hour I caught 6 crappie between 8 and 10 inches, along with another pumpkinseed. The boats were doing fairly well, too. Then everything died down and I didn't get a bite. The timing of the feeding frenzy corresponded with the arrival of high tide. Hmmm...I'll have to try that again sometime. I also know another little secret about this period of activity, which I won't reveal here. By the way, don't even think about fishing Clackamette on a weekend afternoon, as I did. Jet-ski city!

July 20: Fishing, Blackberries on Sauvie Island

The ODFW was reporting good catches of catfish in the Gilbert River and on Sauvie Island in general, so I got some worms and a parking permit and headed out there. My first stop was the fishing platform at the mouth of the Gilbert. It was occupied by several people with buckets of catfish. Apparently, this was the only hot spot around. The current was strong, and I lacked the necessary weight to keep my bait on the bottom (some of the fish these people were catching were smaller than their sinkers), so I jigged for perch in the quieter water near shore. Very few casts went without a bite, and a fair number of the fish were 8-9" long. No big ones, though. Scattered in the catch were a chub, a few sculpins, a small crappie, and a pumpkinseed. One person was catfishing in nearby Little McNary Lake; he reported that he had caught two.

I headed to Haldeman Pond, but it seemed to be overpopulated with stunted perch and sunfish. So, I took a short walk to Webster Pond where a fisherman was just leaving with a bucket of catfish and sunfish. After catching a couple of bluegills, I went to the opposite side of the pond and caught five catfish (8-9") and a small perch before my worms ran out. Back at Haldeman, I picked some blackberries. I am happy to report that both the blackberries and the fish (including the catfish) tasted excellent.

July 13: Fishing, Huckleberries in the Timothy Lake Area

After an astronomy session at Mt. Hood, I dropped over to fish Timothy Lake and the Oak Grove Fork of the Clackamas River. Not many fish were rising at Timothy, and I only caught two small cutthroat trout on a spinner. While walking the lakeshore, however, I discovered some nice bushes loaded with ripe blue huckleberries (Vaccinium ovalifolium). Most huckleberries in the area weren't ripe yet, but will be within the next month. I waited until after I fished the Oak Grove Fork before picking a pint or so.

There is one very nice stretch of the Oak Grove Fork below Timothy, close to the road yet not too easily accessible. I caught fish in several of the holes here, but spent most of my time fishing a single large pool at the base of a cascade. This place produced a seemingly endless procession of 7-11 inch trout, all cutthroats except for one brookie. The best producer was a size 14 Adams, either skittered across the surface or weighted and drifted as a wet fly. I also caught fish on a spinner and an ungodly-looking bass streamer I tied years ago. The Oak Grove Fork is limited to flies and lures only, with a limit of two trout. I found an empty package of bait hooks there from someone who didn't heed the tackle regulation, which makes it even more amazing that there were 20 or more fish in this one pool.

July 12: Fishing on Cedar Island, Willamette River

This was a prospecting trip of sorts, to see if there was indeed good fishing in this slough area of the Willamette near West Linn. The Oregonian Outdoors section had written this place up as one of the recent improvements funded by an angling license surcharge, and noted it as a "bass- and crappie-rich lagoon". To be brief, it warn't that rich when I was there.

The island is a short walk from Mary S. Young State Park. A bridge connects the mainland to the C-shaped island, and most of the fishing is concentrated inside the "C". There are several fishing platforms on the shore, which are probably more useful in high water. Presently, the water is down, and most of the shoreline is accessible to walk around. My first fish was a 4" pumpkinseed sunfish: very pretty but very small, and a couple of others followed from casts into shoreline structure. Letting a worm sit in open, deep water produced a 12" bass and, much later, a 9" yellow perch. The perch was a pleasant surprise, but after that I went a long time without a bite (except for little sunfish striking my bait as I was reeling it in). For some reason, there were a lot of dead and dying catfish along the shore.

I had no further action until I worked my way into a rather inaccessible portion of the lagoon. There, with some structure around, I caught a bunch of small perch, a couple of small bass, and a few chub. In the end, the fishing was sort of fun, but too much time and work for the size, number, and quality of fish.

June 30: Fishing at Bonneville Dam

With a free Monday afternoon, I decided to try the shad run at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia. Extreme water conditions had limited my success on shad at Clackamette Park this spring, and I wanted a couple of fish for a shad bake and subsequent stir-fries. The daily fish counts showed tens of thousands of shad going over the fish ladders, so I knew the fish would be there. I wasn't sure of the water conditions, or whether my normal crappie jig rig would work at Bonneville, but I decided to give it a shot.

My first stop was the Bradford Island visitor center. On the bottom floor is the fish viewing area, where shad could be seen moving through the windows almost continuously, with a fair number of sockeye, steelhead, and a few chinook and lamprey. Fishing on Bradford Island appeared to be slow. I saw one angler with a couple of shad, but most appeared fishless at the time. I watched a sturgeon angler fight a large one for twenty minutes before losing it, and saw a couple of small sturgeon caught. Finally, I decided to make a go of it for shad, and rigged up with a chartruese crappie jig below a 3/8 oz. weight. My first cast was rewarded with a strike, and after a nice battle I landed an 18-inch female shad. I missed a few strikes before catching another, almost identical silver rocket. Then the fishing slowed down as the wind came up hard from the west, making casting and staying out of other anglers' lines difficult. My neighbors took one or two fish, and soon I caught another shad, a 14-inch male that I released.

Slightly upstream, one of the sturgeon fishermen was into a big one, and most of us shad anglers took a break to watch him try to bring the monstrous fish in. The fish was 100" long, well over the legal limit, and had to be released after a trophy picture.

Someone stole my spot while I was over looking at the sturgeon, and while I didn't begrudge them the spot or the couple of fish they caught there, my new standing place had some snags in bad places, and I depleted my terminal tackle. I did catch a 10-inch rainbow trout, and much later a squawfish, but the shad bite seemed to be on the decline. I watched another sturgeon angler lose a 9-footer that had briefly smashed the surface of the water, and that other lucky fisherman get his fourth sturgeon of the afternoon, an oversized one of 87".

The rain finally came with a vengeance, and on my drive home I encountered several ferocious downpours. When cleaned, both of the shad yielded voluminous egg sacs in addition to the meat (the eggs from one of the fish weighed nearly one pound!), allowing for several fine meals.

June 28: Fishing Willamette Valley Ponds

I took an afternoon trip to Woodburn Pond, hoping to get some action from bluegill and bass. The weather turned nasty, with a little rain and lots of wind. I saw one nice bass, but couldn't get it to bite. The shoreline was full of recently hatched bass, 2-3 inches long, that constantly got in the way by grabbing my worms and lures and moving them away from where I cast them. Bluegill were in their gravel spawning beds, especially on the western shore. The fish make shallow nests about a foot across, and the eggs are guarded by male bluegill after spawning. The necessity of staying close to the nest means the fish don't get spooked easily. Sometimes, spawning bluegill will ignore bait, but these fish were very agressive. The closest nests were just five feet from the shoreline and clearly visible with polarized glasses. I dropped my worm straight down into the nest, saw the fish open its mouth and take the bait, and pulled out a bluegill. I caught about a dozen, and kept six for dinner. These beds provided about the only action on the pond.

On the way home, I stopped by Wilsonville Pond for the first time. This pond had been crowded earlier in the afternoon, but everyone had left on account of the weather. Wilsonville is a deeper, colder pond with different aquatic vegetation. I didn't run across any actively spawning bluegills, although I saw some likely beds. I caught one large pre-spawn female, but the water will have to warm a bit more for good bluegill action. This looked like good catfish water, and I did see a dead one in the shallows.

June 20: Fishing Cullaby Lake

On Friday, June 20, I fished Cullaby and Sunset Lakes on the Oregon Coast between Seaside and Astoria. It had been years since I last stopped by, so I figured it was time to visit again. I hoped to catch some yellow perch, small but good eating.

I arrived at Cullaby at around 10 a.m., and began hitting the weedlines around the docks. Cullaby's shores are mostly lined with lily pads, so fishing from the bank is limited to a few patches of open water. I used my traditional rigging for perch, a 1/64 ounce white mini-jig tipped with a piece of nightcrawler. My first casts were unsuccessful, but in one of the smallest pockets of water I caught and released a 10-inch bass. I kept fishing that same little pocket for about two hours, and ended up with a nice mess of perch from 6-9 inches, using both the jig and a bobber/worm set-up. Afterwards I headed around the shoreline to a place where fish were rising. I discovered that all these fish were small bass, ready to hit the worm with vigor. Larger fish splashed from time to time in the lilies, but I couldn't get them to bite even when I placed my casts well. The trail along the lake edge turned into a wilderness of sorts as I moved on, munching on some very sweet salmonberries. After fighting through the brush, I finally reached a prime pocket of water. For some reason, I wasn't getting any bites. Then, I saw a school of minnows scattering, with an ominous "V" wake behind them. A huge bass! I cast a worm out, and landed it right on top of the wake. The bass instantly broke the surface and grabbed the worm before moving into the weeds. I knew the bass was probably more than a match for my 4-lb. test line, and would use the weeds to its advantage. I fought it out of one patch, then into another. My drag croaked as the bass took out line, shooting across the open water area. Finally, it must have found a stick or something to wrap my line around, as while fighting the fish through some more weeds my line went limp and I saw that the fish had broken off. Maybe I should bring an outfit with heavier line, just for these situations. I caught a couple of bluegill and some more perch to add to my dinner collection, and ate a few more salmonberries. Then the rain started, and with it the fish stopped biting. Utterly stopped biting. My luck was over for the day. I tried Sunset Lake across the highway, where I had caught some nice perch in the past. Alas, the only fish that I could raise were little sculpins, but because of my success at Cullaby I went home with a cooler full of delicious fish and yet another story of a big one that got away.

June 18: Local Foraging

Agaricus augustus continued its streak of fruiting on campus. I have seen this mushroom during both fall and spring every year since Fall 1992. Only two specimens were found, and both were maggot-ridden despite being young.

Stropharia rugoso-annulata, a species I first noticed on campus last spring, had a massive fruiting in several areas of campus.

Salmonberries (Rubus spectabilis) are turning ripe along the banks of small local streams. In areas with more sunlight, osoberries (Oemleria cerasiformis) and red huckleberries are also ripening.

May 31-June 1: Fishing the Cascades

I went on an overnight trip to some of my favorite lakes in the upper reaches of the North Santiam River. The weather was cloudy and often rainy, but I hoped that would mean good fishing and no crowds.

I pulled in to Fay Lake in the Big Meadows area. My plan was to hike to Fir Lake, then return and fish Fay and the North Santiam before retiring for the night. Although I hiked a trail littered with fallen logs and patches of snow, I was not alone at Fir. Three other anglers were there, two of them in boats. The fish were very reluctant to bite; I saw one small brookie follow my lure, but got no strikes. I couldn't raise a fish at nearby Pika Lake, either.

When I got back to Fay, the rain had stopped. The water was high, and the lake looked very "fishy". After several casts, I caught an 11-inch brookie, and after several more I got a 12-incher. Very surprising, since my only previous success at Fay had been a batch of small rainbows in 1993. After this, I walked halfway around the lake without a strike. Because of brush around the edges of Fay, bank angling requires a lot of log-walking, and I got myself into a number of precarious positions. Out on one log, I got four strikes in succession in different directions, and managed to lose all four fish. Even after resting the area for a while and changing to different lures and worms, I was only able to get one fish, a 10-inch rainbow.

I then moved to the upper North Santiam, a fast-flowing meadow stream. I had great fun here two years ago with small cutthroats and brookies, but the fish were few and far between in the section I fished this year. The blooming wildflowers made up for the slow fishing, and I fell asleep at night to the rush of the water.

The next morning, I planned to hit Daly Lake, then move on to Parrish and/or Don Lakes. Daly is a very fun lake to fish, with lots of little inlet streams and enough shore access that you don't have to climb on logs if you don't want to. It is also a blue jewel with views of snow-covered ridges in the distance. Using a spinner, I caught 12 brookies and cutthroat in the 6-10 inch range.

 Time flies when you're having fun, and I never made it to Don Lake, which has often been the most productive for me. I wound up going to Parrish Lake, another gem with a catch: a marshy island separates it into a deep section and a shallow section. On this occasion, I was able to walk a log to get out to that island. Plant life out there was incredible, dominated by white-flowered buckbean and insect-eating sundew. Fish were rising all over, but most were small, in the 6-8 inch range. They hit anything and everything with wild vigor. I found a few places where slightly larger fish hid, places that most anglers wouldn't think of fishing. As I released all of my fish, I hope to have even better fishing on a future trip--perhaps when some of this year's brookies have grown a bit.

May 11-18: Local Fishing

The weather finally turned nice enough to warrant fishing expeditions. On May 11, I visited Woodburn Pond. The air temperature was over 90 degrees F, but the water was still cool and murky. Fish were generally not lurking where they usually are at this time; I did catch one 10" bass and a couple of bluegills. Look for this to be a hot fishery in the next few weeks as we get more hot weather followed by moderate temperatures.

The shad run is happening on the Willamette River at Clackamette Park. My first trip was a bust, but I caught one fish and lost several more on each of my subsequent trips. The fishing runs hot and cold here; I haven't hit a hot period yet, but it's just a matter of time. To brush up on shad basics, read last year's report.

The most exciting event was when the fellow next to me hooked a salmon. The fish ripped line off, headed downstream, wrapped the line around a log, and turned up the Clackamas, as this guy stood there ignoring us when we told him to go after the fish. I went downstream and started retrieving the line hand-over-hand, and soon the still-hooked fish was free of the log. The lucky angler finally came down and after much effort was able to land and release the chinook. (Salmon season is closed on the Willamette.)

March 21: Urban Report

I went out looking for miner's lettuce, and there was plenty of it out there, but the big bonus of the trip was a patch of Mica Cap mushrooms (Coprinus micaceus). The clusters of mushrooms were all ages from very young to deliquescing. I picked a bunch and fried them up. Pretty good, though not one of the very best. Also, a few oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) appeared on an alder snag that produced last year. Notable plants showing up included stinging nettles, chickweed, and wild ginger.

November 22: Portland Urban Mushroom Report

Gee, Portland got snow on November 18-19. Some places were hit harder than others with the very heavy wet stuff, but now only a few remnants remain. Campus mushrooms are still popping up. The delicious highlight was a very nice cluster of shaggy manes along a dirt path in the woods. The other 'shrooms have not been of interest as edibles, but they include Boletus chrysenteron, Leucopaxillus amarus, Agaricus praeclaresquamosus, Tricholoma zelleri, and big bad Amanita pantherina. A single mycelial patch of the shaggy parasol (Lepiota rachodes) continues to be very active, but is unfortunately on ground treated with chemicals, so no munching for me.

Oregon Coast Range Foray from Nov. 10

I forgot to include a brief note on the second mushroom hike I did with the College Outdoors program. On Nov. 10, we visited some mature forest stands in the Oregon Coast Range near McMinnville. Sharp eyes found a plethora of mushrooms, including lots of chanterelles, the biggest hedgehogs I have ever seen, and a few specimens of Clavariadelphus truncatus. There were many other species around as well.

November 4: Mushrooms in the Cascades

My primary focus was the 3000 ft. level below Mt. Hood, right at the snowline. It looks like this might be my last foray in this area this year. The mushroom diversity was incredible, with edibles including Gomphus clavatus (Pig's Ears), Leccinum aurantiacum, Gomphidius subroseus, Rozites caperata (Gypsy Mushroom), and even one specimen of Sparassis crispa (Cauliflower Mushroom). There were also quite a few Tricholoma magnivelare (White Matsutake), and many white and golden chanterelles. Diversity among non-edible species was also excellent. 

October 21-30: Various Forays

I have been very busy the past few weeks--busy foraging! and facilitating the first of a pair of mushroom hikes through LC's College Outdoors program. On October 21, I went to the same places I visited on my October 8-9 foray and found matsutakes in acceptable supply right below the snow line. The chanterelles were mostly waterlogged, and other edibles were in short supply. One beautiful mushroom I found was Hydnum fuscoindicum, the Violet Hedgehog. I found one specimen of the edible Hedgehog (Dentinum repandum); hopefully, more will be on their way.

Portland's shrooms took a dive for a while due to cold weather. Still, the LC parking lots have been producing some amazingly humongous specimens of Amanita pantherina, and the Russula xerampelina crop just keeps going and going...

The actual mushroom hike, on October 26, went to some timberlands in the Coast Range and came up with an incredible array of fungi. Cantharellus cibarius and Russula xerampelina were present in good quantities, and there were also a few Agaricus subrutilescens. We saw more than 30 species in all, a good introduction to the fungi even if most were inedible.

The following day, I made my annual pilgrimage to the Fall Mushroom Show and Festival in Eugene. Afterwards, I headed east to Hills Creek Reservoir for an overnight fishing/mushrooming expedition. I chose this place wrongly over Fall Creek to the north. The fishing was virtually nonexistent, although I saw some other anglers catch a few small bass. The night was cold and foggy, and the next morning's mushrooming was relatively unremarkable. I found a grand total of one golden chanterelle in good condition, as well as some winter chanterelles (Cantharellus infundibuliformis group, see my edibility ratings for comments on their attributes). After this, I decided to spend the rest of the day at Fall Creek, and to concentrate on fishing before mushrooming. On the way, I stopped at a county park to pick up some nice Agaricus campestris and a few Marasimius oreades. Fishing at Fall Creek was fun and reliable: native rainbows and cutthroats from 6-10" on worms. I released a bunch and then took my limit. Mushrooms were considerably more common than at Hills Creek: A bag of chanterelles, some Pleurocybella porrigens that turned out to be a bit bitter, a few Russula xerampelina, and a single Boletus mirabilis. As I prepared to head home, it started raining. Good timing!

October 8-9: Cascades Foray

I went on an overnight trip to several areas in the Cascades near Mt. Hood. The recent rains had wet the soil, but mushroom season wasn't quite in full swing yet. (Although it certainly is as I write this, on October 13!) My first stop was at a fairly low elevation, second growth forest with a lot of downed woody debris. The fungal species were few but distinctive, with _Cantharellus subalbidus_, _Cantharellus cibarius_, _Chroogomphus tomentosus_, and _Gomphidius subroseus_ the most prominent. Several specimens of _Boletus mirabilis_ were found, but these were either maggotized or attacked by _Hypomyces chrysospermum_. Other notable but occasional finds were _Cortinarius_ sp., _Gomphus floccosus_, and _Suillus punctatipes_. I fried and tried the _Suillus_, it had a mild flavor and pleasing puffball-like texture.

My next stop was in a higher elevation forest closer to Mt. Hood. I parked right next to a pair of young, healthy _Boletus edulis_, and jumped out of my car expecting to find more. Unfortunately, it was not to be. The fungi of this area included _Suillus lakei_, _Russula brevipes_ (all maggot-infested), more _Suillus punctatipes_ and _Chroogomphus tomentosus_, and a single _Tricholoma magnivelare_ button that the maggots had really enjoyed.

My last productive mushroom foray came along the Laurel Hill trail. This area had very few mushrooms, but the highlight was an incredible grouping of young _Boletus mirabilis_ on several adjacent logs. Usually, I would have to hunt through a whole forest to find that many.

In addition to the mushrooms, I had a good astronomy observing session, found a few berries, and caught one 8" rainbow in Trillium Lake. This was one of the few fish in the lake with the good taste to fall for a fly; the one angler who was having a lot of success was using PowerBait. Yuck!

October 6: Portland Mushrooms

Friday's rain brought out the mushrooms in droves. A walk through the LC campus and a local city park revealed hundreds of Shaggy Parasols (Lepiota rachodes var. hortensis). Most of these were old and had been claimed by maggots and slugs, but there were plenty of fresh ones as well. I also found four nice specimens of _Agaricus augustus_, two of them buttons. The oyster mushroom fall fruiting is well under way. I ran into several shaggy manes and even three golden chanterelles.

Other mushrooms that made an appearance: Agaricus praeclaresquamosus, Boletus chrysenteron, Lepiota naucina, Lepiota rubrotincta, and Suillus caerulescens.

September 20: Timothy Lake Area

I more or less repeated my journey of three weeks ago, except this time I searched for mushrooms instead of huckleberries and allowed more time to fish the evening rise at Timothy Lake. I was quite successful. The day started out slowly. Bushwhacking along the banks of the Oak Grove Fork of the Clackamas above Timothy Lake yielded no fish and only inedible/mediocre mushrooms such as various Russulas, Gomphus floccosus, and Paxillus atromentosus. The Timothy Lake trail area was essentially barren. I tried to fish the Oak Grove Fork below Timothy Dam, but the reservoir was being drawn down so the flow was extremely high. I caught a couple of small cutthroats, but most of the river was unfishable. An attempt to reach Buck Lake to see if last year's matsutake bonanza would repeat itself failed: a flood of Anvil Creek had left a gaping notch in the access road.

After these setbacks, I continued south towards Ripplebrook, aiming to reach successful foraging grounds chronicled in my Foray Report from October 22, 1995. I found white and yellow chanterelles in prime condition, just coming up. No other mushrooms were present in any quantity, although hopefully Lyophyllum decastes and Coprinus comatus will show up within the next couple of weeks! There was no shortage of chanterelles; I left plenty of them out there. At one point, I saw a movement above me in the trees and came face to face with a Northern Spotted Owl! Not having a mouse handy, I threw a white chanterelle on the ground, and I'll be damned if the silly bird didn't fly down right in front of me for a closer look! The owl wasn't frightened at all by my proximity, and even insisted on following me through the forest as I picked.

It was late afternoon by this time, and I proceeded to Timothy Lake to get some fish to go with my mushrooms. The rise never really took off, with only a few fish jumping near shore. Nevertheless, I ended up with three nice brook trout. The first one fell for a spinner, and the others were taken on a topwater wet fly presentation that began as accident rather than design. I didn't have fly floatant handy, and couldn't get my elk-hair caddis to stay dry (fishing it behind a floating bubble). So, I cast near rising fish and retrieved just fast enough for the trailing fly to make a wake from below the surface. An 11" brook trout came completely out of the water and splashed down on the caddis, and I was hooked (so was the fish!) I caught another nice brookie as well as a little guy, and missed a few more strikes. As the twilight grew deeper, I could hear the splashes of rising fish throughout the lake, all of them beyond my casting range, but exciting still as they played a symphony of varying tempos and volumes.

September 9: Portland Urban Report

Surprisingly, no mushrooms seemed to care that it rained a week ago. The only new arrival was a cluster of Coprinus sp.. Agaricus augustus should have appeared, but the only one I found was the sole specimen from an earlier fruiting following a slight sprinkle on August 26. I wasn't expecting anything from that shower, and as a result I got to the mushroom too late.

Berries are still ripening here. Salal are in prime condition, just luscious. I also had some Smilacina racemosa, a red berry with a burnt sugar/fruity/caramel taste. Of course, there are plenty of Himalayan blackberries (Rubus discolor) around as well. A very nice natural snack bar!

September 1: Kings Mountain (OR Coast Range)

I returned to Kings Mountain (see foray report for Sep. 3, 1995). Since the precipitation pattern for this year was a near-repeat of 1995, I hoped for a similar early flush of chanterelles, and was also counting on a good picking of red huckleberries. I was not disappointed on either count.

The first mile of the trail featured a lack of mushrooms, with the exception of one old clump of puffballs. After one mile, chanterelles began to appear. The ground was very dry, and most were in excellent condition. Because of the dryness, however, the cap color was very dull. This made finding them a challenge. Retracing my steps, I always seemed to find mushrooms I had almost stepped on. From one mile to 1.5 miles along the trail (1000-1500 ft. elevation), chanterelles were pretty thick off to the sides of the trail. Cantharellus cibarius was the only mushroom species I found, aside from the aforementioned puffballs, some polypores, and several bedraggled Russulas. The chanterelles seemed to prefer eroded, disturbed ground. In the same area where I found most of the chanterelles, elk sign and tracks were prevalent.

After 1.5 miles, the chanterelles stopped appearing as the trail climbed through rocky and exposed areas. At the viewpoint just past the 2-mile mark, I picked a couple hundred red huckleberries. Many berries were dry and shriveled here, so I continued on to the summit. After signing the register, I proceeded to the secondary summit and ate lunch among the gentians. The sky was mostly clear; I could see Mts. Hood and Adams, but the top of Mt. St. Helens was clouded out. Just a few feet from my lunch spot, the first in a long line of loaded red huckleberry bushes beckoned to me. I picked over a pint. There were a few Vaccinium membranaceum, but I get the feeling that this is borderline habitat for the species.

On the way down, I picked some nice, ripe salal berries. I also found more chanterelles that I had overlooked on the way up. In order to increase my chances of perception, I adopted a standard procedure. I wandered around slowly until I saw a chanterelle. I then sat down next to it and gazed out over the duff. It's amazing how many more you can see from ground level. For the uninitiated, chanterelles typically grow in loose groups, so when you find one you'll usually find at least a couple more nearby.

I ended up with a very nice haul of chanterelles, and they are now being put to use. (Killer omelette: 2 or 3 farm-fresh eggs, freshly sauteed chanterelles and onions, and pepper-jack cheese.) After descending, I fished a bit in the Wilson River but got only one bite. On the way home, I stopped by Dorman Pond at the junction of Highways 8 and 6. It appeared to contain mostly stunted bluegill and bass, although I did catch one nice crappie.

August 30: Timothy Lake Area

On Friday, I drove to the area around Timothy Lake in the upper Clackamas River drainage. I wasn't sure what to expect. There had been a little rain, but it turned out not to be enough to cause any mushrooms to fruit. With 'shrooms out, that left fish and berries. I tried Timothy Lake with no luck, and then headed down to the Oak Grove Fork of the Clackamas River for some fishing. The river in general lacks good holding water, but I was able to find a nice stretch. Access to this section involved some gut-busting bushwhacking, which is probably why it hadn't been fished out. I caught six nice, little cutthroat between eight and 10 inches. I only kept one, as the limit is two. I didn't find fishing this good at any of the other places I stopped. Most of the river is barren, fast water. There are some good holes a bit farther down, but they are so close to the road that I mostly caught sublegal trout.

Later in the afternoon, I hiked the Shellrock Lake trail and picked some huckleberries. The two main species were Vaccinium membranaceum and V. ovalifolium. Some of the berries, especially the V. ovalifolium, were dried up. In this condition, they tasted like very sweet blue raisins! The V. membranaceum varied in flavor from plant to plant; when I found a plant with lots of delicious berries, I picked on it for awhile. Gaultheria humifusa, the little berry with the big taste, was also around.

I was too late for the evening rise back at Timothy; the fish were jumping but I only had a few minutes of legal fishing time. Someday, I'll figure those trout out...

July 15: Urban Berry Report

With the blistering heat of the past week, there are no mushrooms coming up in Portland right now. However, this weather is just right for ripening berries. Vaccinium parvifolium, the red huckleberry, currently has the most ripe fruit. While size and taste vary from plant to plant, this year's crop seems to be very large and sweet. Maybe it's just because I haven't tasted them for a while. Salal (Gaultheria shallon) is coming on strong as well, although most plants don't have ripe berries yet. A few thimbleberries (Rubus parviflorus) are ripening as well. Species that haven't ripened yet are Vaccinium ovatum, Rubus discolor, and Disporum hookeri, among others. Also, berries at higher elevations won't be ripe for some time.

July 3: Willamette River Shad

I live just a couple of miles from Clackamette Park, acknowledged as the best bank fishery for shad on the Willamette River. In mid-June, I managed to divert myself from my daily activities and take a look at this fishery. I saw a bunch of people having a bunch of fun catching a bunch of fish. I watched their technique carefully and came back the next day with a bit of tackle and some high hopes. I left with a skunk, two days in a row. I seemed to be using similar equipment and a similar presentation to the "pros", but I wasn't having any luck. After stewing about this for a couple of weeks, I decided to give it one more try. On June 28, I caught two shad and lost several more. On July 3, I caught four and lost several. I hadn't varied my technique much, but the fish had gradually decided that my jigs were fair game.

Shad are an anadromous member of the herring family. They were introduced to Oregon from the East Coast. Many Northwest fishermen regard them as trash, not worth eating, but I think they're great. Asians and Eastern Europeans share my opinion, and make up a large proportion of the bank anglers at Clackamette. The standard rigging for bank fishing is a swivel and slinky-style sinker, two to three feet of leader, and a 1/32 or 1/16 oz. crappie jig or shad dart. The pros at Clackamette always remove the feathers from the jigs. I don't know why, but it seems to work. This rig is cast out perpendicular to the bank and slowly retrieved as it drifts downstream. Most or all bites seem to come when the jig is quite a bit downstream. Snags can be a problem, but are minimized by keeping the jig moving and using the slinky sinker.
Many anglers think the shad are particular about something: shallow water, a certain spot, chartreuse jigs, long leaders, etc. I'm not sure that any of these make a consistent difference, but I'll keep using what has caught fish for me: a 3/8 oz. slinky, 2.5 foot leader, and a 1/32 oz. crappie jig with a red head, yellow body, and no tail.

I've got a light spinning outfit I use with 4# test line. This can be pretty hairy with the shad, which average 15-20 inches. I've lost a couple of behemoths that completely overmatched me. To complicate matters, shad have very soft mouths, and more often than not the hook pulls out before you can land the critter. Those with heavier outfits may land a greater percentage of fish, but they still lose a lot of them. Shad make sudden, line-popping, hook-dislodging runs, usually punctuated with a jump or two. A light drag setting is advised. The initial run may be directed right at you, but shad have an extreme dislike for the shoreline and will fight their hardest just a few feet from the bank. This is usually where the hook pulls out. Just keep hanging on; there are more fish out there.

The traditional end of the shad run is July 4, but the fish were still there in numbers today. Even the pros weren't hooking them on every cast, but there was plenty of action. Anglers at Clackamette stand shoulder to shoulder, which can be unnerving for someone used to solitude. The crowd is generally very friendly, however, and the fish seem to travel in groups. If your neighbor connects with a fish, you are likely to have a bite within a couple of casts, and vice versa.

Shad for eating should be thoroughly cleaned, scaled, and skinned. I also remove the strip of oily red meat along the lateral line. Try soaking the fish in salt water for an hour immediately prior to cooking. The recommended cooking method is to slather them with butter and onions, seal in aluminum foil, and cook in a 300 degree oven for four to five hours. Note: For your information, studies of some game fish in the Lower Columbia River Basin have shown elevated levels of carcinogens. Shad were not a part of these studies, but should be comparable to other anadromous fish. The risk is probably minimal, especially for moderate consumption, as these fish do not spend much of their life foraging in the polluted waterways. The long cooking time is essential to break up all of the tiny bones. The bones will still be visible, but are crunchy rather than dangerous. Roe from female shad can be dipped in eggs and flour, and fried. Some people rave about it; I found it interesting in texture but lacking a distinct flavor of its own.

Shad fight just as well as trout of similar size, and light tackle really brings this out. Those who look down on shad should know that the shad runs on the East Coast were in trouble for many years due to dams and pollution, the same menaces that face Northwest salmon and steelhead today. New Englanders are probably jealous of us, as we have a virtually untapped run of millions of shad right in our backyard!

June 19: Urban Mushrooms

A little bit of rain on Monday and Tuesday, and Agaricus augustus is back at it. I found three new specimens. Two were mature; I salvaged parts of them. The other was a nice little button. All three campus patches that fruited last fall have now fruited this spring. I also found a single specimen of Agaricus subrutilescens: Add that species to the list of fall mushrooms that have fruited this spring.

June 18: Haldeman Pond Fishing

On June 18, I went to Haldeman Pond on Sauvie Island to catch some yellow perch. Using salmon eggs, I caught 11 perch (little guys, 5-7 inches, but great for breakfast!), 3 rainbow trout from 9-12 inches, and three bullhead catfish. All in all, a fun afternoon, and worth the $3 Sauvie Island Parking Permit. Afterwards, I went to visit my friend Tuck, who works at an organic farm on the island. The farm is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) business, and the selection of produce there is yummy to say the least! (But, I still prefer foraging! :))

June 9: Urban Report

Back in Portland after a two week absence, I checked out the progress of plants and mushrooms around LC. Agaricus augustus, the "Prince" of mushrooms, finally fruited here for the first time this spring. The dry weather slowed the mushrooms' development, and as a result all but one of the specimens I found was riddled with maggots. Oh, well, one mushroom is better than no mushrooms, especially when it's a Prince and you have a few Oyster Mushrooms to go with it...

The bumper crop of oyster mushrooms just keeps going and going. A tree I found early in the season broke off, and from the stump sprouted a very nice clump. I found several other fruitings, but most were old. In Tryon Creek State Park, I saw a very large tree covered with thousands of oysters. The tree was neither accessible by trail nor legal to harvest from, but definitely spectacular to look at from a distance.

Salmonberries (Rubus spectabilis) are coming along pretty well, though most aren't ripe yet. It will be a while before any thimbleberries (Rubus parviflora) or osoberries (Oemleria cerasiformis) are ripe. Sweet-cicely (Osmorhiza sp.) is all over and makes a nice trail nibble/breath freshener.

May 24-June 4: Southern Oregon Fishing

I visited my parents in Chiloquin for two weeks around Memorial Day. On my way down from Portland, I stopped at Hills Creek Reservoir near Oakridge. On my first cast with a jig-and-worm, I caught a 10" rainbow, then spent two hours catching nothing. My next stop was Salt Creek, where I caught a few 6-8" rainbows and brookies and lost a lot of tackle in the process. Salt Creek is a brushy and difficult stream, one that I'll have to try again someday. Over on the other side of the Cascades, I fished Crescent Creek. Crescent Creek is usually a nice little stream with cutbanks. Now it was full of roaring, brownish water. I lost two fish before giving up. The Little Deschutes River was neither high nor muddy, but for some reason my favorite holes were lacking in trout. I had never been skunked there before, but this time I left without a bite.

 I had a much better outing on Memorial Day. Two streams flowing from the Cascades east into Upper Klamath and Agency Lakes are Threemile Creek and Sevenmile Creek. Both provide excellent small-stream fishing for small brook trout, but each has its own special character. Threemile rushes quickly down the mountain; its only holes are small waterfalls and occasional log pools. These fish-holding spots had been completely rewritten by the winter's floods, and the fish were scattered. Many holes contained no fish, and none was big enough for more than one fish. I really labored for my five fish, but it sure was fun. Incidentally, a gut check of Threemile brookies always reveals a diet consisting of terrestrial insects, mostly ants with a few beetles.

Sevenmile Creek, on the other hand, is a slow and meandering stream. The brookies here hide under cutbanks and feed on nymphs and other underwater morsels. The pools are large and can hold many fish. Sevenmile Creek was in pretty sad shape for a while, with damage from the drought and logging operations causing high water temperatures. Now that the water level is up and the banks are vegetated, the fish are starting to grow to fit the size of the holes. I caught 15 fish in less than an hour, many of them in the 8-10" range.

On June 2, I checked out the Sprague River, my "home river" in Chiloquin. It still was muddy and out of shape, but the fish were there. Nice trout jumped every now and then, but there didn't seem to be a consistent feeding pattern. I got four bites, but didn't land a fish.

I was much luckier on June 4. The Williamson is considered by many to be one of the best trout rivers in the state. True, it has a lot of big fish in it, but I always preferred the Sprague because of the easier access and uncrowded conditions. I made an unplanned stop on the Williamson near Chiloquin and wound up staying for awhile. I cast a salmonfly imitation out, and a 13" trout hammered it. I lost that fish, but another one jumped near a rock just a few feet from shore. I let the fly drift from far upstream, and a rainbow I estimated at 16" slammed it. After a few jumps, it threw the hook. I failed to connect on a couple of other bites, but then I caught an 11-incher. I moved downstream and caught a 9-incher before I suffered a fatal backlash. After eating supper and respooling, I went back. I soon caught a 10-incher, and lost another pretty large one. The fish were hitting salmonflies, but not with enough vigor to stay hooked. I debarbed a 1/8 oz. Green Roostertail, my old standby lure, and worked it near the shore. On my first cast, I connected with a large fish and was in for a good tussle. With 4-lb. line, I couldn't horse this fish, but it stayed hooked and eventually I pulled in a 17" rainbow. The fish was a bit tired, but I soon revived it and watched it swim away. I cast the lure again and was immediately doing battle with an even larger fish. This one tried to take me around rocks, and forced me to let it rest at times. After one desperate surge straight at me, it came into shallow water and under control, my largest landlocked rainbow ever at 23". I flipped the hook out and the deep-bodied, powerful fish thrust its way back into the current. I made two more casts before losing my lucky lure to a rock and calling it a day.

May 16: Urban 'Shroom Report

Portland's 1996 weather has been so weird that the mushrooms are getting mixed up. Two species that I have previously found only in Fall (Boletus chrysenteron and Lepiota rachodes) showed up on the LC campus this week. I also found a new mushroom species on campus: Stropharia rugoso-annulata. It apparently was imported on some wood chips or mulch. A welcome introduction, indeed! On the other hand, the characteristic May crop of Agaricus augustus hasn't shown up yet. :(

 The weather dried out for a few days in early May; in order to keep some immature oyster mushrooms from drying out, I gave them a few sprinkles of water. It worked splendidly, and last week I harvested a couple of nice clumps. More may be coming soon with the rain we've had this week.

April 25: Oysters, Oysters Everywhere!

At least it seems that way. A month ago, I saw a few worn-out oyster mushrooms on a snapped-off alder. Over the weeks since, I have found fruitings on a few other trees (mostly maggotized or at least past their prime). The original tree started to bear another batch last week, but I was so engrossed with this that I forgot to check the trees in the immediate vicinity. Two of them had very large clumps of mature oyster mushrooms on them, easily visible but somehow overlooked before! Luckily, most of the fruiting bodies held up to the soggy weather of the past two weeks, and were remarkably free of maggots.

Hopefully, I am sharpening my observation skills with each new walk through the woods, and will start seeing more of the mushrooms I would have missed before!

April 18: Urban Report

Spring is springing by leaps and bounds in Portland! In addition to an explosion in miner's lettuce and chickweed, oyster mushrooms (_Pleurotus ostreatus_) are popping up on dead alders. All but one of the patches I found earlier in the year were too old, but just today I found several clumps in the very first stages of growth. I plan to monitor them every day until they are ready for harvest. There are dozens of little fruiting bodies less than 1/2 inch across. It will be interesting to see how many of these develop into full-blown mushrooms and how many stay tiny. I saw one little group of _Coprinus micaceus_. The largest members of the cluster were big enough to eat, but had already been colonized by maggots (strange how the little buggers can find a fruiting body with so short a lifespan). Wild ginger leaves are appearing in areas where they disappeared over the winter.

April 8: Fishing at Woodburn Pond

With record high temperatures, warmwater fish are stirring in Willamette Valley ponds. I visited the Woodburn Pond on Monday and came home with three nice largemouth bass from 12-15" in length. The fish were in good condition, pre-spawn, and taste excellent! The population of medium and large bass in the pond seems to have grown since last year, as evidenced by the number of other fish I spooked during my walk around the shoreline. (Another note: The 15-incher had a healed jaw mark on its back where something larger had tried to grab it!) The bass were all hanging out in the shallows near submerged brush. Much of the former shoreline is under water, and the water is a bit murky, but the fishing seems to have picked up a month earlier than last year due to the warm spring temperatures. Bluegill were in scattered pre-spawn schools, but hesitant to bite. I only caught one. With another week or two of warm weather, they should join the bass in the shallows and provide excellent fishing!

Edible Plants Report: Portland, March 12

Spring is springing upon the landscape in the Willamette Valley. I easily collected enough Siberian Miner's Lettuce (Claytonia sibirica) for cooked dinner greens yesterday and as part of a salad today. Pacific Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum tenuipes) is rapidly covering the ground in its preferred areas. Resources list the roots of this plant as edible, but I haven't tried it yet. One of the first trees to flower is the Osoberry, Oemleria cerasiformis. It is out in full force, although it will be a long time (three months or so) before the drupes of this species ripen.

Foray Report: 1995 Nov 19-21

This was a three-day, two night trip to the Central Oregon Coast, between Waldport and Reedsport. On the first day, I visited a stand of Sitka Spruce and found quite a few chanterelles and hedgehog mushrooms (Dentinum repandum). Also present were Agaricus smithii (a coastal version of A. augustus), Agaricus subrutilescens, Albatrellus ovinus, and Ramaria araiospora. I later hiked to Threemile Lake south of Florence, and found most of these species as well as a few others: Amanita muscaria, Amanita pachycolea, Catathelasma imperialis, Lactarius deliciosus, and Cortinarius alboviolaceus were the most conspicuous. Threemile Lake lies in the dunes, and as the soil became more sandy other mushrooms appeared. Tricholoma zelleri, Leccinum manzanitae, and numerous Suillus species were present, along with a few white matsutakes (Tricholoma magnivelare).

I camped overnight at Threemile, and after collecting a few mushrooms on the way out decided to do some non-mushroom activities. Evergreen huckleberries (Vaccinium ovatum) were quite plentiful along the Siltcoos River, so I picked some. On the third day, I went inland a bit, but stayed within the zone of Sitka Spruce. I was rewarded with more chanterelles and hedgehogs. Some interesting Amanita species were also sighted, as well as Gomphus clavatus and a peculiar Agaricus (=A. lanipes ?) which stains orange-red at the base of the stalk and on the very surface of the cap.

The Central Oregon Coast is a varied environment, with lots of opportunities for birdwatching and beachcombing. If you plan on collecting mushrooms there, check with the Siuslaw National Forest (which also oversees the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area). They have some rather severe restrictions on personal collecting (over 0.5 gallons of mushrooms requires a paid permit), and the permit conditions specify a list of mushrooms which may be harvested. The mushroom list incomprehensibly leaves out many plentiful coastal edibles such as Agaricus smithii and other Agaricus species, Russula xerampelina, Lactarius deliciosus and L. rubrilacteus, Armillaria mellea, and Boletus mirabilis.

Portland Urban Mushroom Report: 1995 Nov 16

After a week of freezing temperatures followed by record rains, mushrooms are again popping up on the Lewis and Clark College campus. This fall has been at least as productive as 1992, the last year with optimally timed autumn rains.

Surprising 'shrooms: The flush of Lepiota rachodes seems to be over, with no new fruiting bodies being produced. Agaricus augustus is turning up in some new areas on campus, although I have found only seven individuals within the last week. One specimen of Cantharellus cibarius showed up in the woods, only the second chanterelle I have found on campus in four years of 'shrooming. Russula xerampelina, previously unreported from campus proper, has shown up in a couple of parking lot dividers, and the specimens have been huge. Lycoperdon pyriforme, usually uncommon here, has been found on wood chips and at the base of tree trunks.

Prolific fungi: Amanita gemmata and A. pantherina are all over campus. In Tryon Creek State Park, huge fruitings of Armillaria mellea have occurred. Clitocybe nebularis has been ubiquitous in both places.

Future fungi: With the rain, we may get a fruiting of Boletus aereus, which has not been seen on campus since 1992. Pleurotus ostreatus is also likely to make an appearance.

For more on mushrooms at Lewis and Clark, check out Operation Fungus Among Us, my comprehensive list of fungus species on campus.

Foray Report: 1995 Oct 29

I went far afield this weekend, and also went home. I drove down to my former hometown of Eugene and stopped by the Fall Mushroom Show and Festival at Mt. Pisgah Arboretum. This is a regular tradition for me. The show just keeps getting better and better. There was a "humongous fungus" table, with huge chanterelles, shaggy parasols, a giant puffball, and the biggest fresh specimen of Boletus edulis I have ever seen. There were very few gaps in the display tables; this is obviously a good year in terms of fungal diversity.

After hanging out at the show for a couple of hours, I drove east to Fall Creek. This is another place rich in memories. I hoped for both mushrooms and fish, and I was not disappointed. Boletus mirabilis and Pleurocybella porrigens were both present in gatherable quantities, and the whole place was lousy with Boletus zelleri and Amanita pachycolea. Most of the lobster mushrooms (Hypomyces lactifluorum) were past their prime, but I managed to salvage a couple.

As for fishing, I just wish I had more time. I caught and kept a small cutthroat and a slightly larger rainbow, and released a beautiful 13" redside rainbow. I had an even larger fish break my line when I was too cavalier about my knot. Too bad it got dark so quickly. Fall Creek is beautiful, with lots of deep pools. It may get its name from the waterfalls, but in my mind it will always be associated with the season of Fall. The fish take readily, and the creek isn't crowded with swimmers. On the last weekend of trout season, it felt good to be back.

Foray Report: 1995 Oct 22

This was an afternoon trip which resulted in some good pickings. I initially tried an area above North Fork Reservoir on the Clackamas River, but left quickly as most of the chanterelles were old and waterlogged and there seemed to be a lot of hunters around. Next, I went eastward past the Ripplebrook Ranger Station and tried a couple of other spots. The first of these was packed with inedible mushrooms, but I also got some Clitocybe odorata. The next place had quite a few white chanterelles (Cantharellus subalbidus). Not all of them were in good condition, but because of their abundance I could pick selectively. There weren't any matsutakes around, although there were some specimens of Armillaria zelleri. I wandered across the road into a stand of young Douglas-fir, and entered a completely different fungal jungle. The chanterelles here were Cantharellus cibarius, but the most common mushroom by far was the Fried Chicken Mushroom (Lyophyllum decastes). Some huge but old specimens of Lycoperdon perlatum were also present. I started home with my haul, but soon happened upon a clump of shaggy manes. Not wanting to collect at the immediate edge of the road, I ventured into the woods and found more patches. Yummy!

While mushrooms were my main focus on this trip, I also stopped to sample some red huckleberries near the Oak Grove Fork.

Foray Report: 1995 Oct 13

As on September 3, I trekked to Kings Mountain in the Oregon Coast Range. I also planned to visit my traditional chanterelle grounds on the Wilson River. Kings Mountain was practically barren. Only a good harvest of Lycoperdon perlatum made the mushroom picking a success. A few chanterelles and angel wings were present, but most were too old. The red huckleberries were done for the year, but there were still some tasty salal berries ripening. The view from the top of the mountain was great. Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and the top of Mt. St. Helens were visible, all blanketed in snow. The view to the west was marked by golden fall leaves amongst the evergreen stands in the former Tillamook Burn.

After coming down from the mountain in the late afternoon, I drove a bit farther west to the Wilson River just below the Jones Cr. bridge. I have hunted chanterelles here for the past two years, but the place is now gone. I saw signs saying "Timber Sale Boundary", and soon saw the awful truth: A clearcut was in progress on this land! The area near the road had already been devastated, and trees littered the ground closer to the river. There were a few Boletus zelleri and Suillus lakei in the uncut area near the river, but the bulk of the area will not produce mycorrhizal fungi for years. I don't know what they wanted with 40-year-old trees. Pulp for paper, maybe? I guess I'll have to find another area, but this trip was ruined.

Urban Report (10/15):

In the Portland area, Lepiota rachodes is showing up all over! Other mushrooms of the urban woodland are poking their heads out of the duff as well. Seen in various parks around the city over the weekend: Amanita vaginata, Agaricus hondensis, Agaricus augustus, Agaricus xanthodermus, Agaricus diminutivus, Boletus chrysenteron, Suillus lakei, Geastrum saccatum, and Lepiota naucina.

Foray Report: 1995 Oct 01

I left for Timothy Lake late in the day, hoping to catch the evening rise and maybe some fresh mushrooms. Both mushrooms and fish were hard to come by, although eventually I did score some matsutakes.

I drove to Timothy Lake on US26, admiring snow-coated Mt. Hood against the clear blue sky. When I reached the lake, it was clear that no fish were active, so I hiked the north shore trail with mushrooms on my mind. Most of the mushrooms were left over from the previous rain a month ago, and few were in any condition to collect. I did find one tasty Boletus mirabilis, but there were many more which had long since been maggotized. Most of the fresher mushrooms were unpalatable/poisonous (Ramaria stricta and Amanita smithiana for example). I also found a single specimen of Amanita alba, the first time I have found this species. A few old matsutakes and chanterelles were around, but all were rotten.

I decided to head for Buck Lake, which is about 5 miles from Timothy. The trailhead sign and many road signs had been torn down, so finding it took a little map work. I also donned a blaze orange vest for the hike, on account of the numerous hunting rigs I encountered on my way there. The short trail to the lake runs along the edge of a clearcut, providing a view of Timothy Lake. A forest fire was also in sight, as were more clearcuts. The trail then ducks into the woods, although the ground is rocky in places. Buck Lake is clear and a beautiful sapphire blue, but it was also dead as far as fish were concerned. Even with the sun up, it felt 20 degrees cooler than at Timothy, so the fish probably were ensconced in deep water. The fungi I found were not spectacular, although I salvaged pieces off a couple of matsutakes. On the way back, something made me take a detour off to the side of the trail, and I stumbled on a loose patch of about 15 matsutakes. One was a nice, firm button, two were mature but still in good shape, and the rest had been maggotized. Still, I had plenty for a stir fry plus several soups.

I drove back to Timothy Lake. The evening rise did materialize, but there weren't as many fish as two weeks ago, and these just weren't hitting. They would jump out of the water as if to laugh at me, or take a mayfly on the surface just after I pulled my fly off. Gunfire from hunters rumbled in the distance as I trudged back to the car. Oh, well. I returned via the scenic route of Highway 35 to Hood River and down the Columbia Gorge to Portland, catching skip from faraway radio stations and looking forward to future forays.

Foray Report: 1995 Sep 16

This time, I made a loop, heading from Portland on Highway 224, crossing on FS57, and returning via Highway 26. My planned destination was the Rock Lakes area. I hiked about 2.8 miles from road 5830 to Middle and Lower Rock Lakes, and then returned. My main objective was fishing, but I was disappointed here as I only caught one 6-inch rainbow in Middle Rock. The best part of this hike was the preponderance of Vaccinium ovalifolium between Frazier Turnaround and the Rock Lakes. These were without a doubt the tastiest berries I have ever eaten. Mushrooms were in abundance between Shellrock Lake and Rock Lakes, although most were dried out and this isn't a picking area anyway. Middle Rock Lake does look like it could be a good fishing area, and I did see some nice fish rising but couldn't get them to take anything. Shellrock Lake also has some nice water, although I only saw small fish. Lower Rock Lake is shallow and looked dead.

After returning to my car, I did a little mushroom picking around Hideaway Lake. The only abundant edible was Rozites caperata. There were a lot of these, some in good condition. Mostly, however, the ground was overpopulated with sordid Russulas. There were a few Boletus mirabilis around, but unfortunately they all had been maggotized. This area really needs a rain to become productive for mushrooms. As for berries, Gaultheria ovatifolia was all over. These are delightful to pop in one's mouth, just full of sweetness!

I was still sore over the bad fishing, so I drove to Timothy Lake. Along the way, I threw a few casts into the Oak Grove Fork of the Clackamas, but didn't have a bite. I arrived at Timothy with a couple of hours of daylight left. Fish were just starting to jump. They wouldn't touch a worm or a spinner. I got a couple of bites on parachute flies (the fish were taking large mayflies), but I couldn't hook them. I finally got a 10-inch cutthroat (which fought like it was about 13 inches) on a wet fly tipped with a worm. I'm still not up to snuff as far as fishing goes. I think I need more practice. I was concentrating on fishing at Timothy, but I did notice a nice cluster of Amanita smithiana. These are pretty white mushrooms, but definitely not on the list of edibles!

I could see lightning painting the clouds to the south as I rolled out of Timothy and onto US 26. The Big Dipper hung in the sky to the northwest as I went over the pass. Then, I descended into the fog and rain that told me I was headed back to Portland.

Foray Report: 1995 Sep 10

I screwed around in the area between Highways OR 224 and US26, in the Clackamas foothills. My eventual destination was the area around Pyramid Lake. This is definitely rough road country, and my car has scars to prove it.

The hike to Pyramid Lake is a little over a half mile of no-problems trail. There were salmonberries, strawberries, and several Vaccinium species represented near the trailhead. As the trail neared the lake, mushrooms began to appear. Most of these were nondescript Suillus species and Russulas, but I also found Gypsy mushrooms (Rozites caperata). Throughout my hiking, most of the fungi I found were insipid, such as:

Armillaria zelleri
Hydnum scabrosum
Suillus lakei

On the better side of the edibility scale:

 Tricholoma magnivelare, only one specimen
Lactarius rubrilacteus
Armillariella mellea, a nice cluster
Dentinum repandum, a few young specimens

The big hit of the outing was the huckleberry/blueberry crop. The most common species were Vaccinium ovalifolium, V. alaskense, and V. parvifolium, the latter being more common along the paved roads off 224. V. uliginosum (which I don't particularly care for) and V. membranaceum were also present. A delightful little bonus was Oregon tea-berry (Gaultheria ovatifolia). If you haven't tried these, then check them out. They're really flavorful!

Fishing at Pyramid Lake was less than fantastic. I ended up with one 6" cutthroat, which I released. I had a lot of strikes on flies both wet and dry, but I doubt that any of these fish were much larger. Oh, well.

Unfortunately, Pyramid Lake and the surrounding areas are not open to the picking of mushrooms under the Mt. Hood National Forest permit system. However, there are a lot of other pickable areas in the vicinity. Make sure you pick up a mushroom permit and harvest area map from a ranger station before picking in the Mt. Hood National Forest.

Foray Report: 1995 Sep 3

On September 3, I went to Kings Mountain in the Oregon Coast Range (just off Highway 6). This is a nice climb, 2.5 miles each way with an elevation change of 2600 feet. The trail encounters all types of habitats in this part of the old Tillamook Burn. In the hardwood forest near the trailhead, I found some Agaricus subrutilescens. These are very delicious mushrooms, but most specimens here and elsewhere on the hike had already been claimed by maggots. Oxalis oregana formed a lot of the ground cover; I took some home to garnish my mushroom dishes. Another edible/spicy plant found here was wild ginger (Asarum caudatum). As reforested Douglas-fir took over, I started finding Cantharellus cibarius. I ended up with a lot of chanterelles, and there are still a bunch out there for the interested mycophage. Unlike most fungi, chanterelles are almost never "maggotized". Less desirable species included Boletus chrysenteron (usually swallowed by Hypomyces chrysospermum) and Suillus lakei. More and more Agaricus subrutilescens showed up; I sorted through them to find a few of good quality. After about 1.5 miles, Lactarius rubrilacteus started to show up in quantity. I didn't collect any, since I would have my hands full cooking the two species I was already gathering, but these mushrooms seemed to be good chanterelle-indicators. Amanita aspera was also present in this section. For some distance, the eroded banks above the trail were sprinkled with dozens of chanterelles and milky caps. After this, the trail became dry and rocky.

Mushrooms gave way to berries as I reached the summit. An artificial timberline was present just below 3000', where burn reforestation had largely stopped. I picked over 1.5 pints of Vaccinium parvifolium (red huckleberry) from the summit area. Also present were salal (Gaultheria shallon) and the less-tasty maple-leaf currant (Ribes howellii). Vaccinium myrtillus was also present; I tried some but it wasn't that good.

All in all, this was a fun and successful trip. It was foggy, so there was no view from the top (it looked like one could jump off into oblivion). I started out a bit late, so I was in a rush to get back down. This was facilitated by the steep slope. Hopefully, there will be more mushroom diversity when I go back later in the fall.

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