View Full Version : Excavating at Manzanar and Fishing Throughout the Week

05-14-2007, 10:29 PM
Basically this entire trip rocked. I really wasn't sure what to expect. I had recently gotten connections to a dig at Manzanar through Fear No Trout/Cory and had free hotel for an entire week to stay in Lone Pine while I helped the team conduct an excavation. I left on Sunday, May 6th, and came back the following Sunday May 13th.

This entire week I spent doing a dig 8 hrs a day Monday-Friday. In between I fished at several different lakes, creeks or ponds. Our first day digging our team of 8 or so people got an introduction to Manzanar and what we would be doing. Manzanar was a camp that the Japanese were sent to after the attack at Pearl Harbor during WWII. This is a National Historic site now which is preserving the stories of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans during WWII. This is one of 10 of the camps the Japanese were kept in.

Here is a view of Manzanar from the 395:


Here is our crew From left: Jeff burton (leading archaeologist at Manzanar), Maria, Ron (assisted Jeff), Loretta, Dick, me and Sandy.


Basically, we worked on the gardens in Block 9. We dug up a man made pond built by the Terminal Islanders from Japan who worked as deep sea fisherman. This pond was incredibly complex. It had a waterfall which led into a stream which led into a big pond. We were not sure if they put trout or any kind of fish in the pond. The outsides of the pond had fake looking logs to add to the detail of it. The archaeologists here were so interested in this site since this particular group kept their culture more than the rest did, and we also didn't have any historical photographs to look at from this site.

Here is a view of the garden/pond before we dig it up:


Here is an image of us working on the outline of the pond:


This site was complex and took several days to work on. The first few days we cleared the site of brush, did survey and then started digging. We did not sift and the site was already mapped out when we got there. This pond had a mess hall to the east and barracks to the west so we found many artifacts that were dumped into the pond when it was torn down.

Here are some artifacts found such as an ink bottle, nails and tar paper from the barracks.

Here is the outlining of the side of the pond where we found a bottle intact from the 1940s:


Here is an image of a mug we found in pieces at the site.


Here is a bottle I found at the side of the pond:


When we found this we wondered if it was a bait holder?? There was hole in the top and I haven't seen a bait bottle look like that before so we weren't sure.


Basically we found abalone shell, a ring, a pipe in the pond, bottles, nails, tar paper, cemet slabs from the base of the barracks, etc. I found a piece of glass with Japaense writing on it, marbles they use to play games with, a bottle, etc.

Here is Loretta, Maria and I starting to dig on the first day.


In between all the digging I made several friends on this trip. Many people on the team worked in various places. I met a radio caster from Bishop named Bill Snyder. He wanted people to call into his station and request fishing songs. If u r up there his station is 93.3. I also met a majority of the staff here at Manzanar such as the Park Rangers. Many others lived in Lone Pine, Independance, Bishop, etc. I def. had my share of people to meet and hang out with.

And of course as I said above I went fishing and exploring on my time off and on the weekend. The first place I went was on Wed, May 9th, at Diaz Lake just because it was close to my hotel. I caught one little trout in an hour and then had to meet the crew for dinner.

Here is Diaz Lake which is in Lone Pine:


Here is the one fish I caught at the Lake:


On Thursday, after digging, I went to this little pond and fished right by Independance. I found out later that it was a Bass only pond so I didn't catch anything here. The funny thing was the cows decided to visit me while I was fishing but it was beautiful there.


When Friday came I took one of the park rangers from Manzanar, Richard, fishing at Shepard's Creek since he hadn't gone in a long time. I helped him with some basics and then we fished together. I caught two fish in about 20 minutes or so. Then we had to go back since it was getting dark.

Here is Richard fishing:


Me with my fish at Shepard's creek:

The weekend was definitely a blast after a long week of digging. I went over to Convict Lake at 5am. I was one of the first people there. I was a bit dissapointed since I spent 5 hrs fishing there and only caught one fish over the course of that time. I met several people around me and no one was catching anything. It seemed like all the fish were gone here after the opener :(

Here is Convict Lake:


Me with my one fish at Convict:


Later that day I went over and ate some lunch with part of my excavation team in Mammoth. I went exploring all over the 395 that day and here are some pics I took.

Twin Lakes, Mammoth


Silver Lake (on the June Lakes Loop)

After much uncertainity of where to fish I got some advice from Dre. I decided to spend the rest of my Saturday fishing at Virginia Lake. I fished from 3-6pm. I caught my limit here and many others that got away. This place I enjoyed fishing at the most just because it was so beautiful and the fish were well stocked up here. I def. got my experience here since the fish kept gettin off my hooks and one male fish decided to release itself all over me.... :D There was some snow but not too cold here.

Virginia Lake



Me and my fish at Virginia Lake:


I definitely had a blast fishing up in the Sierras! Sunday the 13th I came home after talking with the Rangers at Manzanar.

While I was there I checked out the museum more in depth and at Cory's work


Here was the end result of the block 9 gardens created by the Terminal Islanders:


There is definitely a lot more work left to be done with the gardens in Block 9 and since it is so fragile they may have to backfill it later in order to preserve it :(

The end result of this trip : I landed a possible volunteer opportunity over the summer for 1-2 months working on education and oral history here or else a possible internship/job. If I land the volunteer opportunity over the summer I may be transferring to work at Starbucks up in Bishop for 1 or 2 months where anyone is welcome to come and say hi if they are up there. I will definitely keep info. posted, but it was a great trip. I really enjoyed myself and reccomend to anyone to visit Manzanar on site when they go. The dig is going for another week until May 18th so check it out if you get a chance and def. fish up there!

05-14-2007, 10:56 PM
I'm glad you were able to take advantage of the wonderful opportunity to particpate in the dig at Manzanar.
The pond looks like it was very realistic.
I'm sure the internees that are alive will be very happy to see that it has been reclaimed.
It looks like you had a great time.
The fish you caught were beautiful!
If you caught one when everyone else was getting skunked you did pretty good. IMHO
The pics were awesome and your report rocked.


05-15-2007, 12:40 AM
Looks like you were having some fun while diging 8 hr. a day.

Thanks for the totally awesome report w/ the pics.

Congrats on the interm / job possibility way cool. You'll get alot of fishing in!!!

05-15-2007, 10:36 AM
WOW... That is an amazing report! Thank you for the pictures of Manzanar.
I've been fishing Bishop, Independence and that area for 5 or 6 years.
I've always driven by Manzanar, but never stopped. Now with all the renovating and activity there, it's definitely time to stop and check it out.

Big THANKS for the info.

Nice fish by the way too.


05-15-2007, 02:52 PM
where exactly is that bass pond in Independence located?

05-15-2007, 03:19 PM
where exactly is that bass pond in Independence located?

When you are driving up the 395 you will pass Manzanar. Right before you enter Independance you will see a sign that says Auto Repair. There is a street there on the right called Mazokura Canyon...turn right there. You will go over the LA Aqueduct and on your way see many trucks. You will keep going and go around a bend in the road. The next dirt road after the bend on your left you turn left. Go about half a mile down this road and make a right on the first right. You will see two ponds....one is to the right and the other to the left. They are absolutely beautfiul! I have met people who kayak there as well...lol. If I was a bass fisherman I would fish there.

05-15-2007, 04:02 PM
Awesome report Carrie. It was cool to see the work that's being done at Manzanar and to see you get on some fish up there. As I'm sure you could tell it's a different brand of fishing. A bit of advice for next time you post a report like this, if someone asks you for the location of a secret spot, you should probably PM it to them if you want to share. Cuz all the lurkers will decend on it and fish it out. Now that we all know where it is we'll have to patrol it when we're up there and make sure people are C&Ring up there on those bass. Anyway, once again, awesome report.

Fear No Trout
05-18-2007, 06:54 PM

Awesome report! I too just returned from the Eastern Sierra from my first trip to Crowley Lake. I stopped by Manzanar on my way to Mammoth and Crowley and also on the return trip back to the SoCal area.

While I was there I had a chance to visit Block 9 and see what you guys had uncovered from the previous week. I regret that I was unable to see you in person on this trip but I venture to guess I will eventually will have the pleasure some day soon.

From chatting to my fellow ranger friends, Carrie Andresen-Strawn, Mark Hachtman and of course the quirky but very cool Ricky "The Ranger" Potashin, they all appreciated your participation and enthusiasm.

When I stopped by today, I gave Ranger Ricky some Crowley Trout. I even took ranger Mark Hacthman for a days fishing at Crowley in which I will post later.

Kudos for all your hard work and congratulations on becoming a candidate for a "volunteer" position at Manzanar.

I don't have to tell you how thrilled I am about your interest that coincides with mine about lost history about the Japanese Americans who were interned behind barbed wire without "due process of law".

Congratulations again for a job well done.

Cory....aka...Fear No Trout