Clearlake in the fall is a wonderful place to visit especially Rodman Slough. I went today with two of my buddies with the intention of making it a combo fishing/photo trip but I never even picked up my rod except to move it out of the way. Joe the weatherman Benoit predicted there would be a break in the weather and he was right on. Steve the Bassman Eckdahl and Joe met me at the boat launch this morning just a little past dawn. We unloaded our kayaks and headed out onto the lake.
There was a light cloud cover so the lighting was soft and light and there were immature Western Grebes in flocks everywhere around the entrance to the slough. They were feeding on schools of minnows that were scattered over the slough.There were a lot of Great Egrets and I decided to focus on those first. I got a couple of nice perching images and then a few birds in flight as they took off. There were a few Redtail Hawks present but they were too high up in the trees for my 400 mm lens.
After the egrets I worked on getting some images of the Western Grebes. There were lots of opportunities with them as there were so darn many of them. Which actually made it difficult to get portraits without another one showing up in the frame. The fall colors on the shoreline made for some beautiful colors on the water in a couple of locations.
After the Grebes I was slowly going down the shoreline looking for ducks when I spotted a Virginia Rail on the edge of the tules. A first for me so I was pretty excited. I only managed one image of it due to the heavy cover. I caught several glimpses of it later on but it was too well hidden to even try.
Following the rail Steve called me over to capture an image of a nice Largemouth Bass he had caught before he let it go. It was a really nice fish as you can see in the picture. It took off like a shot when he let it go.
A little bit later Joe motioned to me to join him out on the main lake. When I paddled over he pointed into a cove to the side of the slough. There were literally hundreds of American White Pelicans feeding on minnows and fish pushed up against the shore. When I paddled into the cove they started taking off in waves. The sound they made taking off was incredible. What an incredible sight to witness. About then the cloud cover lessened and the lighting immediately got to harsh to photograph any more. in any case it was a fabulous morning for photography.
Rodamn Slough is located on the northwestern end of Clearlake. The slough is roughly 4 miles long. A good paddler can kayak or canoe to the end and back in four to six hours depending upon the conditions. Towards the end of summer only about half the slough can be paddled sometimes due to low water conditions. Access to the lake is from several dirt or gravel boat launches at Rodman Slough County Park. Small boats only as it would be really easy to get a larger boat trailer stuck. The park is on the Lucerne Cutoff located about a 1/2 mile off of highway 29. A kayak ,boat or canoe is highly suggested as it is all but impossible to get around on foot..
God's blessings to all,
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