I have often heard travelers make this remark about salmon in small streams, so I know this is not a common thing in streams below a certain size, but to see salmon like this in a river so great of volume as the McCloud must, I think, be a rare sight. The question now naturally arises, What are the results of all this great labor and expenditure extended over so many years! Allow me to reply as follows: When the work of the The United States Fish Commission in salmon breeding was begun on the Pacific Coast, it was supposed that that coast had enough salmon to spare, and it was the intention of the Commission to increase the salmon on the Atlantic Coast by restocking its depleted salmon rivers.
The highest hopes were entertained of doing this. That this did not prove to be the result was a stupendous surprise and disappointment. The eggs hatched out beautifully. The young fry, when deposited in the fresh-water streams seemed to thrive especially well.
They grew rapidly and when the proper time came were observed to go down in vast numbers to the sea. What afterwards became of them will remain forever an unfathomable mystery. Except in very rare isolated instances, these millions of young salmon were never seen again.
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What became of them? Where did they go? Are any of them still alive anywhere in the boundless ocean? Or are they all dead? And if they are dead, what killed them? Much as this information has been desired, there lives no one who can answer these questions. Some have thought that they wandered off to the far north, and so became lost to the civilized world. Others thought that they strayed out into the ocean and were devoured by marine animals and larger fish.
Professor Baird once jokingly remarked to the writer that he thought they had found an underground passage beneath the continent, and had returned by it to the Pacific. The war department furnished the station a military guard this year, which proved to be a valuable acquisition. No trouble will ever be experienced again from the Indians as a body. The gradual disappearance of the natives has contributed to this result, and railroads and white settlements have done the rest. Commissions Report — This year, in packing eggs, we averaged , an hour.
Nothing of special interest occurred in , but the next year, , was made memorable by the extraordinary rise of the McCloud River, which carried away most of the station in one night. Forty-seven inches of water fell in Shasta during this month, and in the mountains where the fishery is situated the fall must have been much greater. On the 27th of January the McCloud had risen feet, but the water had been higher than that in previous years, and still no one supposed that the buildings were in danger.
Again the river fell, but this time the fall was succeeded by the greatest rise of water ever known in this river before, either by white men or Indians now living. During the first days of February the rain poured down in torrents. It is said by those who saw it that it did not fall as rain usually falls, but it fell as if thousands of tons of water were dropped in a body from the sky at once. J B Campbell relates that near his house, in a canyon which is dry in summer, the water in not many minutes became 30 feet deep, and the violence of the current was so great that trees feet long were swept down, trunk, branches, and all, into the river.
On the 2nd of February McCloud River began to rise at the rate of a foot an hour. The water was soon a foot above the danger mark, and the buildings began to rock and totter, as if nearly ready to fall. There was now no hope of saving them or anything in them. February 3 they toppled over with a great crash, and were seized by the resistless current and hurried down the river.
When the day dawned nothing was to be seen of the main structures which composed the United States salmon-breeding station on the McCloud River. The mess-house, where the workmen had eaten and slept for nine successive seasons, and which contained the original cabin, 12 by 14 feet, where the pioneers of the United States Fish Commission on this coast lived during the first season of ; the hatching-house, which, with the tents which had preceded it, had turned out 70,, salmon eggs, the distribution of which had reached from New Zealand to St.
During the years the Baird McCloud River Hatch House was closed either due to the McCloud floods or the railroad blasting up the Sacramento Canyon and cutting off the Sacramento River for as many as 5 years, thus not allowing the salmon the ability to make it up the river. The US Government moved the operation up to the Clackamas River in Oregon to supply everyone who wanted trout and salmon when the Baird Hatchery was closed due to a high river or blasting by the railroad.
The lovely McCloud River emptying out into the Pit River on a bend that must of held so many species of fish, now all gone because of Shasta Lake. As the Industry Revolution took place in the United States, rich land owners and aristocrats from the San Francisco Bay Area began to emerge north as the train tracks were being laid and many new families began to travel together out of their counties and states for the first time up north to the Shasta area to enjoy the great out doors and all it had to offer. Kind of like that scene in Titanic when Kathy Bates was walking on the 5th deck with all her cronies, families found it high society to travel together.
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The weather was a lot different then now and just surviving the Shasta winters was something to be proud about. Meanwhile, the most important river in the world was constantly flowing freely to the oceans of the Pacific. That includes the Columbia River. Salmon are very abundant in the Sacramento and McCloud River, and are on the increase.
The sitnation of the station and its adaptability to its purpose are almost idea. McCloud River, on the banks of which it stands, is not only cold, clear, and inviting to the salmon, but it is almost the only cold tributary of the Sacramento that has not been roiled in gold mining, in consequence of which the salmon come into the McCloud to breed in the summer, not from choice , but also from necessity.
Then some of the richest people who made it big, not in the Gold Rush but an Uncle, who delivered mail to the gold seekers and he saved money and bought a plot of land in San Francisco, built a nice house and had a garden, His son became a big time attorney by the name of Charles Stetson Wheeler and bought a large piece of land from a man named Justin Sisson Mt Shasta was named Sisson from to , areas first tavern owner plus hunting and fishing guide.
You invite friends to come up to the estate by train, rich San Francisco friends who share in your delight of the only turquoise colored river in California with incredible hunting and fishing. When the SF Earthquake hit in , many of the richest hung out at clubs on the McCloud River waiting for the city to be rebuilt, many of them became sportsmen and outdoorsmen, as I have seen the pictures at the clubs, it was an amazing era indeed. Schilling had come to San Francisco in at the age of 16 and had gone to work for J. It would be the sons, grandsons and friends of these predominant San Francisco families that would later run this famous yet secret fly fishing club on the McCloud River.
Many times preceding , Wakefield Baker and Alexander Hamilton had camped along the upper McCloud River and had been enchanted with the beauty of the country, the fine fishing and good hunting. At the same time, their friends George W. Scott and William W.
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These guys started the McCloud River Association in , that led to the formation of the McCloud River Club, to preserve these lands for their friends and families. The land was originally deeded by the United States Government to the railroad, a predecessor of the Southern Pacific; some to Indian allotments, Prior to Shasta Lake, then the Indians lost everything and were never given any lands in return.
Ann Witter practically ran the whole operation there for years and was a leading decision maker and most club ventures. The first day I led them down to the river to a white bridge that crossed over the McCloud River. Bob Fisher was so excited he took off all his clothes and jumped in the river naked as happy as a lark.
We were all surprised and started laughing. One of those… Alrighty then…? Meanwhile, in Justin Sisson, one of the first guides of Siskiyou County, was showing some flat landers how to hunt and fish on his later famous section on the Upper McCloud River called the Bend,this is up river from the Bend, just down a mile from Lower Falls, on the McCloud River. Later George Hearst would strike it rich in Virginia City silver and his family would acquire the poorly named Wyntoon Estate. Delta on the Upper Sac. But we never forget those men who really put it all on the line for all of us.
Once you crossed the United States and got to the gold fields, then the real work began. So many good people came from the the SF Bay area to spend time out on the Sacramento and McCloud Rivers and enjoyed what the north state of California had to offer. It was a marvelous era that has never ended, you all are still coming up now, more than ever.
What I am really enjoying is seeing is all races of people and nationalities that I have never seen before, interested in nature and, hiking, fly fishing and protecting our outdoors. We call on all people of all races and nationalities, to protect the forests, rivers and mountains, it will take all of us to understand and care about what resources we have left, what we have lost or destroyed, in the less than years and some foresight would be nice, as we can learn from what our fore-fathers who told us in their writings.
George Hearst was a smart hard working man, to have hauled all that silver ore in those days, I mean 38 tons, my hats off folks! The son, that was a different story.. He worked as an apprentice in a copper mine near his hometown and there as a young lad he realized he had the ability to organize men that would be loyal and who believed in his ideas about mining. As he headed out west with his partners for the California Gold Rush then arriving in , he and his partners lived comfortable for about 10 years just outside of Nevada City, California.
After buying 3 of the most successful mines of that era, George Hearst gained tremendous wealth and reputation and in he married a girl by the name of Phoebe Apperson when he was 40 and she was In those days that was big time stuff for a lady on her own and she kept on Charles until he agreed to a ninety year lease. Phoebe Hearst died in like many other Californians did that same year due to the Spanish Influenza Virus. WRH was more of a playboy when it came to the Hearst Estate, he enjoyed entertaining friends and using the estate for big parties and personal entertainment.
He enjoyed inviting the most influential people of that era. One of them was Marion Davies a movie star actress and Broadway dancer he entertained regularly at the castle. Hearst died in but when I think of the Hearst Family, I think back to George Hearst and all his great efforts to make a better life for several generations if not millenniums to come. Wealth is not something that just falls from the sky, it takes will, desire, planning and a lot of hard work and an ounce of luck. Just like those flowing waters lies another story of the American Dream.
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George Hearst was a Legend and someone I have grown to admire over the years as a true American hero of his time. So Phoebe Hearst, enjoyed her time she spent at the Shasta Springs Resort and liked the Shasta water she had tried that day in the train station.
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She then rode the lift that took you up to the dining area and more lodging on the property. The Indians were given an allotment of lands near Baird, but after Shasta Lake was built in , the Indians for all their efforts not only in the local gold rush, but helping with the transportation of fish all over the world, was all but forgotten and never credited by allowing the tribe to own one inch of land on their own native lands after that.
Phoebe Hearst then proceeded to ask George Wheeler if he would sell her his property entirely. She built a seven story Bavarian castle!!
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This castle burned down in and her son William Randolf Hearst hired Julia Morgan 1st women architect in California. Hearst hung out on the East Coast with the kids. The family were conniving and powerful, able to get Presidents elected, change the course of rivers on their property and have the CCC pay for it and Roosevelt would get his endorsement. They could hide Wintu Indians from being federally recognized too, it happened people.
The family controlled the river, the utility decisions, railroad, the forest service, you name it.
The other McCloud Club owners were all in on it, most were active politicians or had family and friends in politics. Someone took it and brought it over there and the tourist up at the Upper Falls vacationing have one less table to have lunch with their family on. Angel House on The Hearst Estate.
Years prior to this photo.
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