Many years ago the IEFFC in cooperation with the WDFW put in five weirs (low dams) and laid down gravel in the ponds formed by the weirs to create spawning beds in the short, channel-like stream that flows during spring run-off out of Potters Pond into Bayley Lake. The idea was to enable rainbow trout to come up in the channel in early spring and spawn with the females getting rid of their eggs enabling them to return to the lake and live a year or two longer than the normal three years. This of course, meant more large fish in Bayley that we could fish for. Normally, the water temperature in the channel gets too high for the fertilized eggs to hatch so there isn’t much if any natural reproduction.
During the summer the grass along the channel grows almost chest-high and then droops into the channel tending to restrict the flow. Also, the gravel gets moved around and is sometimes covered with sand.
Just about every year a group of eight to ten members from the IEFFC has gone up in September or October to cut the grass, rake it out of the channel and restore the gravel beds. Most years the channel is dry as it was this year so it is fairly easy to do the work and usually takes about two hours.
Typically we pair up and drive from Spokane to meet in Chewelah at Zips for breakfast and then drive to Bayley to do the work. After we get done with the work we go and fish Bayley Lake which is pretty good fishing in the fall.
This year we tried a little different approach. We scheduled the clean-up for Saturday, September 22, 2018 and actively recruited members that had joined our club in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The idea was that newer members who have full-time jobs Monday through Friday might be able to come up and help on a Saturday. I recruited five “veterans” who had done the cleanup before, had fished Bayley and had boats. They were Lee Funkhouser, Bob Schmitt, Scott Fink, Bruce Morgan and Jerry McBride. The “veterans” were to be paired up with five newer members. The three newer members (all retired) recruited were Ron Gill, Leo Harman and Bob Littlejohn. Unfortunately Bob Littlejohn had a last minute sewer system crisis and was not able to come over from the coast and help us. Lee Funkhouser recruited his son Jeff Funkhouser to come instead and being a young guy, he outworked all the rest of us. As he has done many times in the past, Bill Papesh volunteered and showed up with his killer weed whacker.
We had a great breakfast at Zips, got the work done in about two hours and then all of us except Bill Papesh went over to Bayley to go fishing. The conditions at Bayley were less than ideal with a very strong wind and a heavy algae bloom. Some of our members did fairly well and some not so well. I think all of us had a good time and felt we had done something helpful for future fishing at Bayley Lake.