Paid Crew Members Return to Volunteer at Babyfoot Lake Fish Stock

Paid Crew Members Return to Volunteer at Babyfoot Lake Fish Stock

13 October 2014 | Selma, OR — Seven SMC volunteers spent last Saturday packing in 250 Chetco River steelhead into Babyfoot Lake.


We arrived at a foggy Babyfoot Lake Trailhead at 11am and introduced ourselves. “We just gotta get these buckets filled,” said fish biologist Steve Mazur with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife as he pointed at a large steel box full of trout 3-6 inches long. The clouds lifted a bit and breaks of blue sky started breaking through.


They filled up six-gallon buckets with water, then the pinky-sized trout. We loaded the buckets onto packs provided by ODFW and started the easy hike into Babyfoot. By the time we got there it was sunny, and everybody’s fish swam away into the lake.


“We’re trying to re-establish a trout population in here,” said Mazur as we gazed into the clear waters of Babyfoot, sun rays shining through the water. “At some point someone put bass in here, and the trout have a hard time competing.” Mazur says the trout can’t reproduce without moving water, but the bass can.

I brought the group to the severely damaged portion of Babyfoot Lake Trail 1124A that leads from the lake’s outlet back to Kalmiopsis Rim Trail 1124. We stopped at an outcrop with views of the Chetco drainage. “Now if you ask me, this is true wilderness,” Mazur said gazing out into the Kalmiopsis. “It’s great you guys are doing trails out here,” he said.

We walked around the lake to see if we could spot any trout from last year’s stock. Full rays of Autumn sun beat down on the lake, surmising its clarity. Babyfoot’s waters shine like a turquoise gem among a skeleton forest that burned very hot in the 2002 Biscuit Fire.

ODFW staff member Ryan caught a bass, and Mazur cut it open to inspect its diet, revealing some creepy crawlers. One was even still moving. “See, this is what I mean. This is the same stuff the trout eat.”


Volunteers included Micah Nash and Sam Nixon, both 2014 crew members. “It was fun,” said Nixon. “But not long enough.”

When paid crew members come back to volunteer, we take it as a good sign.