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Houseboating: The Ideal Last Minute Summer Vacation

Have you had a chance to take a summer vacation this year? If not, houseboating is the perfect last minute summer vacation for these 5 reasons:

Last minute rentals are often available due to last minute cancellations.

To always be aware of the best deals out there, sign up for email updates for very special last minute offers. Look all the way down and to the right in your browser window.  See that little box that says “WANT TO WIN A FREE HOUSEBOAT VACATION?”  Fill that little box out and you are automatically entered!

Planning help.

Family and extended family, friends, family friends, coworkers, and pets are all options to experience houseboating with. Delegate planning the food, planning any additional activities (such as sight seeing or hiking around the surrounding area), arranging for ski boats or other toys, planning the transportation, and making provisions for the payment of money.

Easy set up with our Reservationists or online.

Once you reserve your houseboat, our Reservationists will email you a link to securely pay online. You can simply forward that link to your group and they each will have the ability to pay their portion directly to us, online, via credit card.

Packing is easy for a houseboat.

Summer allows for less clothing and items to pack, especially on the lake! Our houseboats are equipped with many amenities as well.

Food stays simple on a houseboat.

Tip: If you’re houseboating for a week, consider packing meat and frozen goods for the second half of your trip in an ice chest with dry ice, taping the lid shut. After 4 days, everything will still be frozen and you won’t have maxed out the refrigerator/freezers on your vessel.

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Lake Shasta Native American Tribe History

IndianMap

Before the arrival of the first Caucasian people less than 200 years ago, Shasta County was inhabited by five Native American tribes, each with their
own territory. Archaeological evidence now proves and confirms that these Native American tribes inhabited the Shasta County area for over 12,500 years! The five Native American tribes were the Wintu, the Yana, the Atsugewi, the Achomawi and the Okwanuchu. The major difference between these five tribes was their language. There were two different languages that the tribes spoke; the Wintu, Atsugewi and Achomawi spoke Penutian and the Yana and Okwanuchu spoke Hokan. Other than the language differences, the tribes were very alike in every other characteristic of their lives.

The Wintu lived along the upper Trinity River, along a part of the Sacramento and McCloud rivers. mccloud_river_indiansThere were around nine groups of the Wintu. Each village had from four to 30 houses where 20 to 150 tribal members lived. A number of villages were in each of the groups. The members considered themselves part of their village, not a larger group. The leaders were expected to know how to guide the daily life of the villagers as well as be talented singers and dancers. They did not hunt, the people hunted for the leaders. The leader’s first born son inherits this position from his father. The name Wintu derives from Wintuh, which members called themselves and translates to “person”.

The Yana resided east of the Sacramento River in the foothills and valley that was the border of the Wintu territory. The large volcano, Mt. Lassen, was the main landmark of the Yana’s territory. The territory’s elevation range was between 300 and 10,000 feet. Like the Wintu, the name Yana simply means “people”. The Yana was not often kind to their neighbors, resulting in sour relations much of the time.  The Yana consisted of many villages throughout the territory. Unlike the leader of the Wintu, the leader of the Yana did not have power to control people but could only make suggestions to the community.

pitrivertribeThe Atsugewi lived in the valleys along the creeks that flowed northward into the Pit River, specifically Hat Creek, Burney Creek and Horse Creek. The villages would have from three to 25 houses. The village leaders led their people in gathering and hunting food as well as settled villager’s quarrels. The Atsugewi were known as the Pit River Indians and divided into two groups. The Atsuge, or “pine tree people”, had territory north of Mt Lassen and had a lot of lava from the volcano. The Apwaruge, or “juniper tree people” resided on the pains easy of the Atsuge.

The Achomawi resided along the Pit River as well, and along some streams and rivers that ran into it. Much of the land they had away from the rivers was high elevation mountain country – forested with pine and fir. Other parts were covered in lava from Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen eruptions. The Achomawi had nine villages in their territory. Each village had their own leader, chosen by the people of the tribe. When addressing someone in the tribe, a member would always refer to them as their relationship ( such as mother, aunt, cousin), not their personal name. It was considered rude to call someone by their actual name. The name Achumawi means “river people” originated from the people’s name of the villages, located along the Fall River. The Achumawi were also known as Pit River Indians. The river received its name from the people’s practice of digging holes and pits multiple feet deep and covering them with brushwood in order to trap deer.

The Okwanuchu lived at the northern end of the Sacramento River and covered a heavily treed and mountainous area around 60 square miles starting at the north fork of Salt Creek and the upper Sacramento River, to the headwaters of the Sacramento River to the McCloud River from its junction with Squaw Creek Valley. Not much information is known about the Okwanuchu – even the origin of their name is unknown. Their population was estimated to be no more than 200 to 300 people in the late 19th century and by 1918 the Okwanuchu were thought to be extinct.Okwanuchu_Tribal_Territory

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How to Clean Your Catch: Part 2

Clean your catch if you plan to steak your fish or cook it whole!  Here is Part II of our How to Clean Your Catch blog posts.

How to Clean a Whole Fish

  1. Set the fish on a cutting board. Slice the fish’s belly from the head to the tail. Make sure the blade stays shallow so that you don’t slice any intestines.
  2. Open the body up and confiscate all innards. Find the fish’s anus and cut it out in a notch form. If your fish has a kidney by its backbone, you can remove it by using a spoon to scrape it out.
  3. Rinse out the inside of the fish. Sometimes fish will have dark tissue lining the abdominal opening that should get scraped off to prevent fishy flavor and scent.
  4. Cut off the head if you elect to.
  5. Make sure to wash your cutting board and area right away. Gather the intestines, head and scales to dispose of them appropriately.
  6. Your fish is now clean and ready to be cooked!

How to Scale a Fish

While learning how to clean fish, you may need to learn to scale the fish if you do not already know how.

  1. Place your fish on a flat surface and hold it by the head.
  2. Using a fish scaler or spoon, rake the scales from the tail toward the head.
  3. Do this to both sides of the fish’s body.
  4. Remember to take your time! Some fish have very fine scales that require much patience.

How to Skin a Fish

Bullheads, Catfish and other bottom-feeding fish are often skinned. Taking the skin off the fish improves the taste of many fish as well as removes the thin layer of fat right under the skin.

  1. Place the fish on a flat surface and hold it firmly with a clamp. It is often a good idea to clip off the spine prior to skinning your fish.
  2. Gently cut through the skin behind the pectoral fins and head.
  3. Use pliers to pull the skin off of the body from the head down to the tail.
  4. Snap the backbone at the base of the fish’s head
  5. Tug the head and guts away from the body
  6. Rinse your fish in water!

Steaking Your Fish

A bigger fish is often cut into thick steaks.

  1. Before steaking it, place the fish in a freezer or cooler so that the fish is hard for cutting.
  2. Clean your fish in the fashion you find appropriate.
  3. Remove the skin and scales.
  4. Slice the body from tail to head. Cut each steak from .5 inch to 1 inch thick.
  5. Trim away any belly fat or bones you come upon (but not the backbone).

Tips and Tricks

  • Be aware when holding the fish’s head that certain fish have sharp teeth
  • Fish fins are often super sharp as well – do not get punctured!
  • Sometimes fish are too strong flavored or boney to be considered appetizing

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How to Clean Your Catch: Part 1

Along the same lines as our last two blogs, this one will give you information about properly cleaning your catch to be cooked!

Fishing offers not only an awesome outdoor voyage, but also a wonderful dinner for you and your loved ones. However, before you are allowed to relish in it, you first must properly clean your catch. (more…)

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4 Ways to Cook Your Catch

One of the best parts about fishing is bringing the winning prize to your galley. There are many different types of fish and unlimited ways to cook the catch – this includes grilling, boiling, baking and frying. Whether you prefer a humble lunch on the shoreline or a decadent supper of your caught fish, it is definitely going to be nutritious and delicious. We were inspired by last week’s recipe to give our readers more information on cooking your catch.

Cooking Fish – Tipscookfish

Rub some lemon juice on your fingers prior to handling the fish. This will prevent a fishy smell from lingering on your skin

Wet your hands and fingers before handling the fish. This will help avoid the fish smell from remaining on your skin.

Include a slice of lemon when poaching or boiling the fish for flavor enhancement. It also helps keep the fish from falling apart.

Cover your pan in foil when baking for stress-free cleanup.

Fish is done cooking when the meat shows color and flakes easily when prodded with a fork.

Cooking Methods for Fresh Fish

Tips for Grilling Fish

Place the raw fish directly on the grill with sliced lemons on top.

To keep your fish from falling apart when you transfer it, consider leaving the skin on when you grill it.

Give a fish basket a shot. Rather than flipping the fish, flip the basket with the fish in it. It stays in place and doesn’t fall apart this way. This is the best course of action for campfire cooking.

Using the steaming method on the grill is a wonderful way to keep the fish from drying out. To steam, wrap the fish in foil and place it directly on the grill or the coals of your campfire. You can add other fixings to the packet to enhance the flavor such as butter, herbs, lemon or sliced vegetables.

Tips for Pan Frying Fish

The first step is to coat your catch in some sort of batter. This could be flour, breading, or cornmeal for example. First coat the fish with flour, breading, cornmeal or batter.

Heat oil in a skillet. Make sure the oil is hot enough by testing a piece of fish. If the piece sizzles when dropped in the pan, it is ready for the whole fish.

Place your fish in the skillet. Cook each side for 3 to 4 minutes or until the color is opaque and the meat is flakey.

Tips for Baking Fish

Preheat the oven at 425 degrees. Lightly grease a baking tray or dish.

Rinse the fish off and pat dry. Place fish in greased baking tray.

In a bowl, combine melted butter, lemon juice, garlic, sugar, pepper, thyme, parsley or whatever seasonings you prefer. Stir well. Pour evenly over fish. Then sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Bake at 425 until fish is cooked through and flakey.

Tips for Boiling Fish

Rinse the fish.

Fill a pot with enough water to cover the fish. Add some lemon juice.

Place the fish into the pot, and set it on top of the stove. Turn the heat on medium so that the water comes to a slow boil. It is very important that the water boils slowly, so that the fish has enough time to cook thoroughly.

Boil your fish until it is cooked through. As a general rule, for thicker, large fish such as catfish, allow it to cook for approximately 8 minutes for every 1 pound of fish, and thinner fish such as sole should cook for approximately 5 minutes for every 1 pound of fish.

Chow up!

Chow up!

Cooking fish can seem intimidating at first, but as you read today it can be very simple! Now head out on the water, catch a fish and show us how you cooked it! Happy houseboating!

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Houseboating Recipes: Grilled Catch of the Day

Spring has arrived and the fish are biting! Wouldn’t it be neat to catch your own meal and prepare it for your family? Serious anglers know how awesome the experience can be, and now you have a chance! These opportunities don’t come around very often, but the opportunity exists on a houseboat at Shasta Lake! Below is our simple recipe for your fresh caught fish dinner.

Cooking on a houseboat is a different and fun experience, but where to start? Most of our guests use a collaboration system for meals and cooking. You’ve got Friday, I’ve got Saturday, etc. Depending on which houseboat model you choose for your adventure, check with us to make sure you’ll have the appropriate cookware for preparing what you’ve planned. We provide most of what you’ll need, so your list of what to bring is sure to be a short one! And keep in mind, you’ll need to bring a selection of condiments and spices to dazzle your group’s taste buds!

Ingredients

  • 2 (8oz) fish fillets, skin removed
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon dill Parmesan sauce (store bought or make your own)
  • Crushed garlic croutonsbq0326_bass1.jpg.rend.sni18col
  • 1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 (8-ounce) striper fillets, skin on
  • Chopped tomato
  • Diced shallots
  • Chopped cilantro leaves
  • Chopped sweet peppers
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil

Directions

  1. Heat grill to medium high heat.
  2. Position 2 skin-off fillets on a sheet of tin foil, lightly cover them with olive oil, and then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of lemon dill Parmesan sauce over each fillet. Sprinkle crushed garlic croutons liberally over them and top with 1 tablespoon of cheese over the fillets. Fold tin foil sheets inward to hold juices in. Place these on your grill for about 20 minutes.
  3. Take the skin-on fillets and slather both sides with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place straight on grill and cook for about 20 minutes. You can score the skin side with a knife to keep filet from curling.
  4. While the fillets are on the g rill, combine chopped tomato, diced shallots, chopped cilantro leaves, chopped sweet peppers, chives, garlic and olive oil for the dressing. Put aside and leave at room temperature.
  5. After 20 minutes, remove the skinned fillets from the grill.

Serve and enjoy with asparagus and angel hair pasta!

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Jake Owen: Boating Inspiration

There are many thoughtful and peaceful moments that happen while boating, but there is never a dull moment. This is a distinguished fact to practiced boaters, but could you imagine never having experienced the pleasures of being out on the water?

Discover Boating, who’s purpose is to promote the hobby, created a sequence of videos emphasizing the amazing life boating offers this past summer. Included in the videos was superstar country artist Jake Owen. Boating is a very important aspect in his life – he fishes, wakeboards, wake surfs and rafts. He is well known for singing songs about the lake and boating, and it’s no wonder why.

Jake Owen’s video is one of three of Discover Boating’s Stories of Discovery – check it out:

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The 5 Rules of Fishing Preservation

2/22/15: This fish was caught on the squaw arm out of a Jones Valley rental fishing boat! Way to go!

2/22/15: This fish was caught on the squaw arm out of a Jones Valley rental fishing boat! Way to go!

If you are an avid angler then you know the importance of fishing preservation – you want the younger generation to experience the same joy you receive from fishing! In order for that to happen you must understand preservation and apply what you know about fishing preservation to your practice. If you are just beginning you dive into fishing territory then it seems like the best course of action to begin the correct way – respecting the water, your catch and next generation’s fishermen who will follow in your footsteps.

Rule #1: Catch & Release

Rule #1 may seem like a given – you have probably heard of this even if you’ve never fished. Recreational fishing can quickly become unbalanced if everyone decides to Catch & Hold. There is absolutely nothing wrong with catching your next meal, just don’t forget to be reasonable! Let the rest of the fish stay in the lake until next time.

Rule #2: Encourage Access

Because waterside populations and government interventions often limit water access for conventional boaters and fishermen it is important to be attentive in defending your rights. Make sure you are known in your community! Oftentimes a well-educated and persistent angler with a modest message about access is all that is needed to preserve that local boat ramp from the new housing development.

Fishing on Shasta Lake

Fishing on Shasta Lake

Rule #3: Defend Water Quality

As we all know, everything that goes into the dirt has a high probability to reach one of our waterways. To help preserve fishing it is important we keep their environment in the condition the population deserves. To lessen the need for cleaning products on your boat, always wash it down with fresh water and dry it after every use. When it is time to clean the boat, do attempt to use non-toxic options when available. Do your part!

Rule #4: Create Structure

Thousands of resident and nonresident anglers and sport divers take advantage of the numerous artificial reefs off states each year. Artificial reefs or structure can have an incredible effect on fishing stocks. The artificial reefs offer an environment for shellfish, crustaceans and fish where there wasn’t before. Make sure your state’s reef program is active and ask how you can help or participate. They offer an environment for fish, crustaceans and shellfish where none existed before. Most states have reef program, so make sure yours is active and see how you can participate. Check this out: An artificial reef the size of an automobile can produce thousands of pounds of fish over five years.

Rule #5: Motivate Beginner Anglers

The sooner you teach and show a child about the joys of fishing, the earlier you will inculcate a lasting desire to preserve and protect fishers and develop considerate agents of the wilderness. All you have to do is lead by example and you will be astonished at how your teachings inspire the next generation to preserve the future of fishing.Young girl with a fish

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What’s up with Shasta Lake’s water level?

Over the past year there has been a lot of discussion about Shasta Lake’s water level. Contrary to popular belief, there is plenty of water and the level continues to rise today.

As of today, March 4, 2015 Shasta lake’s elevation is at 990.48 feet and rising. Full lake elevation and dam crest is 1067 feet. There are countless miles of shoreline to discover and more.

Seasonal rainfall totals for northern California have been normal for months now. San Jose is 106% of normal and Moffett Field in Mountain View is 117%. Shasta Lake has almost 1 million acre feet more water than a year ago and will continue to fill for months.

Check out these pictures of Shasta Lake’s current lake level from fellow instagramers:

via @complexstevee

via @complexstevee

Beautiful spring scenery!

via @jesse_saeteurn90

via @jesse_saeteurn90

via @jesse_saeteurn90

via @jesse_saeteurn90

Plenty of water to recreate in!

via @kellyyybee

via @kellyyybee

Great fishing!

via @nareshdhall1

via @nareshdhall1

Miles of shoreline to discover!

via @rochvillarreal

via @rochvillarreal

via @solrac_figgy

via @solrac_figgy

via @wander.with.me

via @wander.with.me

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Your Shasta Lake Fishing Guide

We have just added more information and resources to the Fishing page on houseboats.com. See below to read your updated Shasta Lake fishing guide.

Shasta Lake Fishing

Shasta Lake is a two level impoundment that offers habitat for both cold and warm water fish. There are numerous parts all over Shasta Lake of sheer rock walls, large boulders, submerged islands and long points that will attract and hold fish. The habitat for cold water fish is considered respectable; however, habitat for the warm water fish is limited by the absence of shade & cover, water level fluctuations and steep-sided banks.

Trout and bass are caught most often by anglers. Although there is a bit of natural reproduction, the cold water fish inhabitants within Shasta Lake are mostly maintained through annual stocking with help from the California Department of Fish and Game. The warm water fish inhabitants are self-perpetuating.The species of fish in Shasta Lake are plentiful and diverse. Rainbow trout, brown trout, chinook salmon, largemouth bass, spotted bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, carp, Sacramento sucker, Sacramento squawfish, riffle sculpin, black fish, hardhead minnow, white sturgeon, channel squawfish, threadfin shad, white catfish, brown bullhead, golden shiner and green sunfish are a few examples of the many species that inhabit Shasta Lake.

Jones Valley Resort is one of the three locations where annual stocking takes place on Shasta Lake. The project is a co-op between the Jones Valley Resort, California Fish & Wildlife, Kokanee Power and the U.S. Forest Service. Each year, 450 to 650 rainbow trout are raised and released. The fish cage is stocked the first of November and the matured fish are released in the first part of April. Over the last couple of years, Jones Valley has assisted in the release of rainbow trout that range between 4 to 5 pounds.

Fishing Tips

Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Salmon: On the McCloud River Arm, trolling from Turntable Bay to Hirz Bay will typically yield brown trout. The Sacramento River Arm, Dry Fork, Little Squaw creek and Big Backbone Creek will typically yield some rainbows. Fishing for rainbows is generally best at Shasta Dam when the releases are high. Mooching for salmon is best in spring and early summer. During early spring, before the water

2/22/15: This fish was caught on the squaw arm out of a Jones Valley rental fishing boat! Way to go!

2/22/15: This fish was caught on the squaw arm out of a Jones Valley rental fishing boat! Way to go!

temperatures begin to warm up, bank anglers can typically catch rainbows, brown and Chinook salmon in the sports mentioned above. By late spring and early summer the trout are moving to deeper, cooler water. Marshmallow and egg mixtures and live minnows, from both shore or boat, two to three feet below a bobber in the spring, or 50´ to 100´ deep in the summer, generally work well. Minnows survive for a longer time and will have more mobility if they are hooked under the spine in front of the dorsal fin. Lures that are confirmed and established producers are: Thinfins in varying colors, Kastmasters, Rebels, Flatfish in Z-r or X-5, Rapalas, and Z-Rays. Trolling at depths of 30´ to 70´ is also effective. During the summer it is suitable to use a diving plane or down riggers.

Bass, Catfish and Crappie: Bass fishing on Shasta Lake is good year round. Fishing is finest in the spring and early summer. Spotted Bass are the most common, but Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass are also caught. Plastic worms, spinner baits, swim baits and live bait produce the most, depending on the time of year. Catfishing is best during the spring and summer. Anchovies, chicken liver and “stink” baits are most effective. Fishing after sunset is permitted for catfish. Channel Catfish, White Catfish and Bullheads are all found in Shasta Lake. Crappie can be abundant some years. Crappie populations cycle dramatically, so check with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to determine availability. Crappie jigs and minnows work best.

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Houseboating Recipes: Sunday Brunch

Usually we offer easy dinner and lunch recipes for our interested guests, but today we are changing it up and giving you a special brunch recipe to enjoy while houseboating.

Cooking on a houseboat is a different and fun experience, but where to start? Most of our guests use a collaboration system for meals and cooking. You’ve got Friday, I’ve got Saturday, etc. Depending on which houseboat model you choose for your adventure, check with us to make sure you’ll have the appropriate cookware for preparing what you’ve planned. We provide most of what you’ll need, so your list of what to bring is sure to be a short one! And keep in mind, you’ll need to bring a selection of condiments and spices to dazzle your group’s taste buds!

Fried bread, Sauteed greens and Egg Brunch

Ingredients

Photo by houseboateats.com

Photo by houseboateats.com

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • bunch of your favorite dark leafy greens, chopped
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • splash of rice vinegar
  • 1 big ripe tomato
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices of bread
  • ~8 Tbsp salted butter
  • a few generous slices Raclette (or substitute with your favorite cheese)
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

The easiest way to do this is to prepare each aspect of the meal separately and then add them together when ready.

Sautéed Greens: Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Throw the minced garlic in the pan. Cook a couple minutes over medium heat until aromatic but not brown. Add greens, red pepper flakes and vinegar. Cook for about 8 minutes until greens are soft and floppy, but not mushy.

Fried Bread: This is much more delicious than toast, and also very English. You can prepare this while the greens are sautéing. Use about a tablespoon of butter per side of bread. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat and toss in the bread. Fry for 2 minutes per side.

Eggs, over easy: Begin the eggs after the greens have been sautéing for 5 minutes or so. Melt a teaspoon and a half of butter in a big frying pan over med-high heat. Crack two eggs in, well apart. Cook for about 3 minutes or until whites are solid enough that you are assured that the entire egg could be flipped. Carefully flip the eggs to ensure the yolk doesn’t break, and cook for about a minute and a half until both sides of the eggs are a little brown but the yolk is still runny.

Assembly: Set one slice of fried bread on each plate. Place a couple thick slices of tomato on the fried bread. Pile the sautéed greens onto the tomato, then a few slices of cheese, and then the egg. Sprinkle with pepper and salt as desired.

Voilà! Your very own gourmet English brunch to be enjoyed with mimosas or bloody mary’s! All very simple to prepare in your galley. Enjoy!

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