August 2011

Tuesday -- August 2, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.67     Water Temperature: 90

There have been more improvements around the Sycamore Store. Best of all there is now a crosswalk across Macarthur Blvd. Which might make it safer to cross that raceway. They also installed solar panels on the roof of the store! A word of caution though, do not leave any valuables in your car while you are here. There have been a number of smash-and-grabs along Macarthur from Anglers down.

Still waiting for the fishing to pick up. The river is nice and warm and very low but the water is clouded by something, and the fish can't seem to find my lures. I guess that there are just too many nutrients in the water and the algae is flourishing.

Tuesday -- August 9, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.72     Water Temperature: 85

It has been a quiet month down here so far. August in D.C. and everybody scatters. It's been quiet but I have had a steady stream of swimmers coming down.

Just when I thought I had seen everything, I saw a ground hog in a tree! It was so strange when I looked out my window and saw this groundhog looking like a giant squirrel or some kind of northern hemisphere koala bear. I went to get a picture, and the fat marmot nimbly climbed down and disappeared. I had another unusual sighting. I see rat snakes all the time, but this one was in the clubhouse and crawling into a hole in the wall. It's nice to know that the walls of the club house are lined with snakes.

I've been doing a lot of caulking and painting and I'm getting excited about finally tackling all of the painting that needs to be done around here.

I got out the secchi disc to check the rivers turbidity. (just for you Kent) Last year on August 24th I could see six feet down into the river. Today I checked and the disc disappeared in just 20 inches of water. It must be an overload of nutrients causing an abundance of plankton. Further down river they are having trouble with toxic, blue-green algae. Thankfully we don't have that here.

We have one great egret hanging around but nothing like last year when we would get groups of twenty sitting together in a tree.

Monday -- August 15, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.92     Water Temperature: 81

I have good news and bad news. The good news is that they have finally started painting the metal truss bridge that spans the canal. The bad news is that the bridge will be closed from 7:00 am until 3:00 pm Monday through Friday, for the next six weeks! I suppose that this won't affect most of you but it does pose some new and interesting challenges for me. I'll either have to break out my hip waders to get across the canal or I'll have to do all of my errands in the evening after the bridge is reopened.

I finally caught my first small mouth bass of the year! I had to go all the way up to Front Royal to do it but I finally caught some fish. The Shenandoah Riverkeepers were hosting a fishing rodeo on last Saturday so I went up to volunteer and to spend some time in the canoeing capital of Virginia. The Shenandoah is really low right now but on the south fork, the water was crystal clear and the fish could be seen everywhere, darting along the bottom. The water was clear where we were but apparently after the two forks converge, the water is plagued by the same green, cloudy algae that we have here. Everyone has been asking about it but no one has an explanation. There is also less of the star grass this year.

Monday -- August 18, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.92     Water Temperature: 81

It's raining pretty good out there right now. Maybe it will wash away all of the slim on the surface of the water. I went over to take a dip earlier and, for the first time, I changed my mind. Besides the weird green color of the water there was this brown stuff collecting on the surface and around the dock. Usually, the swimming is so great at this time of year, how sad.

Don't forget, the annual George Maluski Fishing Derby is this Saturday, starting at 8:00 am! The fishing can only get better, and as a sign of things to come, some bass and catfish were caught here yesterday afternoon!

Wednesday -- August 31, 2011
Water Level at Little Falls: 2.8     Water Temperature: 78

A lot has happened since I last checked in. We had an earthquake and a "hurricane. The hurricane, thankfully, did not pack much of a punch and the Island faired very well. We did not lose any trees and there were only a few small branches for me to clean up. I guess we were lucky, but if it misses us then it is sure to hit somewhere else. I feel so bad for all of those flood victims north of us.

The other major event that I need to mention is the 5.8 earthquake that we had last week. No, we did not have a tsunami on the Potomac. I was not even here on the island when it struck but I did find a couple of pictures on the floor when I got home. I doubt if the main clubhouse shook very much, considering it's strong steel construction. I happened to be on the front porch of Lock House 8(I was painting the porch rail)when the quake hit. It was quite alarming to hear that 182-year-old structure creek and rattle and to feel the porch move.

The river is beginning to clear up a bit but the bass fishing is still the worst its ever been. Maybe September will bring us some good fishing.

On a humorous note, a young squirrel fell out of a tree and landed in the river. It was clinging to a small branch when it made a big slash in the water, right in front of us! It looked terrified but other wise fine. It instinctively swam to shore and climbed the nearest tree.