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Steve Foss

Chainsaws: An addict's perspective

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I started to respond to Powerstroke's post in the Husky chainsaw thread, but realized there just oughta be a thread to celebrate chainsaws and folks who love to run them, or who run them for a living, too.

Now, Powerstroke is as loyal to Stihl as I am. I started cutting with them in 1977, and while I've cut with other saws, including Sachs-Dolmar (now just Dolmar-Makita), Jonsered, Mac, Poulan, Homelite and Husqvarna, it's been a love affair between me and Stihl for over 30 years.

Chime in, HSOers. What saws do you have? Which saws do you like? What do you like about chainsaws in general? smilesmile

There are differences between homeowner and pro class saws. Homeowner saws from excellent manufacturers can last years and years and years for casual to medium use applications, if they are well maintained and thoughtfully used. For guys making their living by making chips, the pro class saws (not just Stihl, mind you), offer that extra durability and ease of rebuilding/servicing.

I ain't gonna get into a Ford/Dodge/Chevy thing, cause I've been a Chevy man for as long as I've been a Stihl guy. They all drive and cut good if you treat them right.

These days I'm running 6 Stihls from 40 to 90cc (plus a tough ultralight little Tanaka for up the ladder), and only my lightest old Stihl gal (011AVEQ) isn't considered a "pro" model. Lots and lots of arborists (tree service specialists) adopt the Stihl 2-saw plan of the MS200T and MS460Mag. Between them, they are a fine one-two punch for work in the tree and on the ground. I ended up getting my 460 ported, and it is a real ripper! Throw a 20-inch bar on the 460 and it's a great firewood saw. Stock, it'll pull a 28-inch bar with full comp chain with authority, and a ported 460 will easily pull a 32-inch bar and full comp chain buried in hardwood.

But, IMO, for most guys, pro saws are overkill and money not well spent. I cut a LOT of cords of hardwood with a Stihl MS290, probably the most popular top-brand homeowner saw sold for the last gazillion years (and still only about $350 new), and me old 290 is out there in different hands in firewood land cutting up a storm. Lots of Huskies, Jreds and Dolmars doing the same thing. We have a Jred 2153C at the lake cabin. Does everything we need it to do out there.

Saws. Mmmmmm. wink

Here's my current lineup: 660Mag, 460Mag, 038Mag, 028Super, 026, 011AVEQ, and the Tanaka. The three largest saws are ported and/or milled and muffler modified to add punch to the power-to-weight ratio. Sorry guys for the overkill. I've been a saw ho since I was 15, worked as an arborist for several years back when bell-bottom jeans were in fashion, have never been without one or two saws since, but have gotten back into saws and tree work the last few years. I know, it's kind of sick. For arborist and firewood work, all I really NEED are the 026 and 460. OK, and maybe the little one-hand Tanaka when ya gotta be nimble. The rest is just Stihl obsession, and maybe is a bit embarrassing. The 028S is a sentimental favorite. It was the first saw I ever actually owned, and it did 90 percent of my tree work out in N.D. lo those many years ago. I'd bet the 028 is one of Stihl's top two or three most popular pro designs over time. It's outdated now, with no current pro model to continue the tradition (The MS280 doesn't even come close.) The 038M is its bigger brother, and I've always liked those older round-butt Stihl saws. Because of their profile, the two are easy to pick out in the photo.

Hey, some guys collect fishing lures! shockedshocked

seven-saw-plan.jpg

And I'll add the perspective that personal protection equipment such as kevlar chaps/pants, helmet/ear/eye protection cost about $150, but have saved many a sawyer (weekend warrior and pro alike) from disfigurement or death. I'm no PPE Nazi, and believe everyone should be free to do as they will in this regard. Just a word to the wise. smilesmile

Have fun cutting out there, and be safe! grin

As a bonus, here's my daughter this spring two weeks before her due date (with my first grandchild), helping us clear dead/unwanted trees at the lake cabin. She's wearing PPE and handling the Stihl 026. Grandson Zachary Robert (ZBob, I call him), was at the time only a foot away from the roar of a Stihl. Kind of like reading to the child in the womb, Jackpine Savage style. gringringrin

Is she a chip off the old block or what? I bought ZBob a plastic Stihl key fob for teething. winkwink

Heather-026.jpg

So chime in with your own perspectives on chainsaws. Pics are good, but not necessary. Stories are REALLY good! smilesmile

My name is Steve, and I'm a Stihlaholic. grin

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Not a PPE nazi but you must be a saw nazi!!! I've never seen that many used saws so clean in my life! I don't really have any experience with husky saws but have a lot of experience with stihl pro model saws and even for the occasional cutter I wouldn't recommend anything but. It's something you will have for pretty much the rest of an average persons life unless doing cutting for money then you may go through a few. Been in the tree business for a while and we beat the [PoorWordUsage] out of them and they keep going like crazy.

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Not a PPE nazi but you must be a saw nazi!!! I've never seen that many used saws so clean in my life! I don't really have any experience with husky saws but have a lot of experience with stihl pro model saws and even for the occasional cutter I wouldn't recommend anything but. It's something you will have for pretty much the rest of an average persons life unless doing cutting for money then you may go through a few. Been in the tree business for a while and we beat the [PoorWordUsage] out of them and they keep going like crazy.

Yeah, loggers and arborists alike talk about how long Stihls last when they get the snot beat out of them. I know the world ain't made up of Stihlies. I'm just saying.

And my saws get used a lot. But I'm a photographer too, so when I'm taking a portrait I like to slick them up a bit, not to mention that a wider angle group shot like this makes the dings, scars and scratches of individual saws harder to see. And, well, compressed air is a blessing for guys like us. winkwink

I will admit that the Sugi bar was new in the photo, and I used a bit of Photoshop magic on the Stihl bars to get them ready for the personals. gringrin

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I gotta say, that is a cool photo!

I have a confession to make--as cool as I think chain saws are, I have never used one, and frankly, they kind of scare the bejesus out of me (I'm already down one finger due to a lost fight with a table saw). My bro-in-laws run Huskies at our cabin; I usually pull stacking/spliting duty. Someday, I'll get over that.

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Steve,

That is a great photo and a wonderful essay! While I cannot compare my experience to yours, I can share some interesting stories. I too have been cutting wood for a long time and not just firewood. I started out back around 1980 with a Power Mac 6 from McCulloch, which at the time was the lightest saw available at only 6 pounds. A friend and I had a local tree trimming business and I was the climber, so that saw was perfect. A little while later I bought a Pro Mac 700 (70cc) to cut the bigger stuff. I still have the PM700 today and it still runs great. I wore the main bearings on that little 6 out and now use a Jonsred Pro 38 for the lightweight work. It is nicely balanced with the handle on top of the engine and can be used for one handed work when necessary.

I have been an avid woodworker most of my life and shortly after I got the PM700 I heard of the “Alaskan Mill” attachment to rip lumber from logs. Being a devout DIY guy, I built my own mill attachment and set it up on a 28” bar. To maximize the saw’s power, I used a .404 skip tooth chisel chain, modified to have every other tooth a raker. Over the years I probably cut over 1000 board feet of lumber this way. Needless to say, I got rather good at filing chain!

I also experimented with synthetic lubricants, starting about 20 years ago with an oil sold by Grandberg that was rated for 100:1 mix. Most of the lumber cut with the PM 700 was fueled at 100:1, and with the saw run at WOT and heavy loads. Today, it still runs excellent, a testimony to lubricity of that synthetic oil.

It’s a little sad to look back now that McCulloch is history and realize that the saw that has run so good over time is now obsolete. I guess I’ll keep it running as best I can until something that cannot be replaced finally fails. Who knows, maybe then I’ll join the club and buy a Stihl!

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Ralph, I'm still a bit afraid of them, even after 30 years. It's good to be a little bit afraid. Keeps you alert. smilesmile

Hydro, cool story and perspective. I've been a carpenter and woodworker for a long time, too, and have come close to getting one of those Alaskan mills a couple times. No room where I am right now for a milling operation, and not much real nice lumber up here, anyway. If I was 100 miles south or west in prime oak and maple country, you betcha! I think the milled/ported 660 would do a bang-up job milling with a skip chain on a 36-inch bar. Very little lumber wood in northern MN a 36-inch bar can't handle.

I use Amsoil synthetic in all my 2-stroke motors, and of course within the chainsaw community all you have to do is say synthetic at 100:1 to start a bar fight. gringrin

I mix my Amsoil at 50:1 or 40:1 in all my 2-strokes. While I think Amsoil is a great synthetic, even after using it for years with great results I'm leery of going 100:1. I deal almost exclusively with used motors when I buy tools, and I'll tell you that running several tanks of Amsoil at 50:1 (really, substitute any high quality synthetic here) has cleaned, smoothed out and increased apparent power on many a motor gunked up with the cheapest conventional oils.

No, NOT trying to start an oil argument, anyone. But I do find your results with 100:1 intriguing. Milling is one of the tasks hardest on a chainsaw motor, with all those long cuts at full throttle, and if you've been running synthetics at 100:1 in your milling saw for that many board feet, that's saying something. Have you ever pulled the saw apart to examine the piston, rings and cylinder? Or even pulled the carb and muffler to take a look at the piston and rings? If they are all clean, I'd say that's pretty strong evidence that a synthetic rated for 100:1 is doing its job.

I hear you on the old Macs. Those saws were ahead of their time. Too bad the company got sold and the saws went down the tank. But that's a different thread! smilesmile

I ran a Poulan 4200 back before Poulan Wild Things were all the rage, in the days when Poulan was one of the respected names in the saw business. That saw cut a LOT of wood for me at 10,000 feet in Colorado and never missed a beat in that thin air. Well, didn't hurt that it was all SPF or aspen (soft woods). I've got my eye on an old Homelite EZ Super that's been sitting in an old fellow's garage since he bought it new a gazillion years ago. Yeah, like I NEED another saw. Homelite is another one of those companies that produced top quality saws for many years.

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I run a part-time tree service and most of mine are Stihls. Line up now: 025,029,390, and 75 power pole saw. I have an Echo climbing saw because its lighter weight than the Stihl and I'm an old man. Also a Husky climbing saw that has a great power to weight ratio. I've retired a stihl 011, 028, and 031. I tried to run too much bar on the bigger ones and paid the price. The 011 just got used up. There are other brands that probably would serve me as well as the Stihls but the Stihl dealers are great about service and parts and the hardware and big box stores that sell other brands aren't. My sons also seem to be buying Stihl saws too, since that's what they grew up using----and borrowing.

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Thanks for the comments Steve, it’s nice to hear someone who actually has some real perspective on the synthetic oil topic.

I agree with your comments on the 100:1 mix ratio issue and I have to say that most of the vocal people on that subject really have little objective experience to base their opinions on, but argue hard anyway. On my PM700 I have had the carb off for cleaning, and since it is piston ported, I was able to look at the piston skirt and rings, and they still look fine with no scuffing or ring bind. Compression is still good so that says something for the oil that was used. These days I still use the Grandberg oil (I bought a case of it a while back) but I mix it at 64:1 simply because it’s easy to drop one ounce in a half gallon can, and I don’t use the fuel fast enough to use up larger quantities.

On the other side of the argument, my little Power Mac 6 did wear out while running the same fuel mix. It eventually wore the main sleeve bearing on the flywheel side out of round, so maybe the 100:1 was not enough oil for that type of bearing. BTW, I gave that saw to a friend and it is still running today. In my opinion, the bearings in a motor are the limiting factor in oil requirements, and since most chain saws and outboards are fully rollerized they are good candidates for the leaner ratios. On a side note, some of the smaller OMC outboards in the mid 80’s were actually rated by the factory for 100:1 oil mix. We had a couple at out resort and ran them at that mix on standard OMC oil and they never showed any problems related to lubrication.

If you ever did look at a chain saw mill, that 660 would be a good fit. For a good read, look up chain saw milling in the archives of Fine Woodworking magazine. They have a pictorial of how to set up and sharpen the chain for maximum cutting speed. I added an auxiliary oil tank that held about a half gallon of oil to the top of the rig since you go through a LOT of bar oil when in the cut. My saw only had a 28” bar and never found a log too big around here that I could not cant and rip. I ripped through many a tough old elm that put the saw’s torque to the task. I cut red elm (my favorite), white elm, butternut, red oak, maple, white oak (toughest stuff I cut), hackberry, and anything else I could get my hands on. I’m sitting at a table made from red elm as I type. Still have a bunch of boards in the shed today.

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Fantastic reading. Steve, I laughed my arse off when I read your doting about your daughter running the saw. The perspective is fantastic.

I will right my true contribution to this thread tomorrow. Its given me something to think about.

I'm very interested in doing the home milling. I'll have to look at that more. I'll save the rest for tomorrow.

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Although I don't spend the time cutting wood like many of you guys, I bought a Stihl MS310 with a 20" bar about 6 years ago. My dad did a lot of tree work during his employment with the city (Dutch Elm era). At that time, their main saws were Homelites. They now use Shindaiwa.

The first time my dad wrapped his lunch hooks onto the Stihl, his eyes immediately lit up like a speed freak in a top fuel dragster for the first time. He didn't want to put it down. Although he's no longer in the health to be out cutting firewood, he's a closet Stihl fan. grin He's used the Homelites and Shindaiwas for so many years so he's a bit brand loyal.

But for me, it's all Stihl.

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I'll start by saying I'm a city boy, but not by choice. I grew up in N. Minneapolis and the only motor I knew how to run was a lawnmower.

In an effort to get more experience I took a job with the Minnesota Conservation Corps at 19yrs old. The MCC is the modern version of the depression-era CCC. I was the youngest guy in our group and had never used a chainsaw, let alone held one. In a few days I learned everything there was to know about running, cleaning and maintaining a saw. The DNR used all Stihl saws. Mostly 026's with a couple Farm Boss 360 or 390's. The MCC did various jobs for the DNR, for other gov't agencies or for non-profits who contracted us. I did everything from small scale logging to exotic species removal, and primarily more of the latter. Some of my finest work can be viewed along the Mississippi River near St. Thomas University.

When I took a real job with a large nationwide tree company, I was told the only name in professional tree-work was Stihl. Our company had a corporate contract and we had nothing but Stihl. I bought an MS 200T right away. We bought our own saw and received a "saw wage" as a rental fee for using our own equipment. Having guys own their saws created responsibility. Only a foreman owned a "big saw". I bought mine after 4yrs. An MS 460. We had the choice of bar size. I was only 24yrs old and thought bigger was better. That 28" bar does some mean things. The only downside is we could only buy safety chains.

6 years later I still own both theses saws and they run like tops.

After busting my butt for profits, I decided to aim for quality. People can say what they want about city workers, but some of the best city workers started working in private business. The city was flush with saws, and mechanics who fix saws and accounts for purchasing parts. I used a different brand for the first time. The city owned 11 saws of various sizes covering the big 3, Stihl, Husquvarna and Jonsered. I quickly learned what I liked and didn't like.

The Jon is a nice saw, especially in the mid-size. I like their decompression the best. The Stihl has some unique designs that are a little annoying when shopping for parts, but I still think they are the best out there.

Any average Joe can make a homelite, echo, poulan or craftsman last a long time if you cut wood at camp or in the yard a couple times a year. When you use a saw 5-8 hours a day, 4-6 days a week you need a saw built to last. It is tough and easy to service. Give me a Stihl!! At work we have Stihl backpack blowers, Stihl chop saws for cutting pipe or asphalt Sthil trimmers with convertable heads and Stihl polesaws. The only thing that puts one down, is not using mixed gas. That never happens in a business, but when you don't own the equipment, you're not as careful.

I'll try to get a pic of mine. They aren't as pretty as Steve's, but that's okay, I know I'm prettier than Steve. But we all know looks aren't everything. I'd love to buy another saw that falls inbetween the two I have. I also want the backpack blower. My wife gets more hours on the leaf blower than I do. She loves it.

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Great stuff, Andy! Thanks for sharing it. Now I know more about you than a did 10 minutes ago. smile

My saws ain't that pretty when they're on the job, but they do clean up OK for pics. Kinda like me. gringrin

Think about an MS362 to fall in between your 200T and 460. It's a strato design, but the strato saws have already proven themselves. And compared with either of your current saws, the 362 will sip gas. Better filtration and some other key features as well. Just a bit heavier than its predecessor (non strato MS361), but very nice. I got to cut with one recently. Strong design advances since the 460 came out.

Put a 20-inch Rollomatic ES bar and full comp Stihl non-safety RSC chain on that 362 and you'll really like it! The 200T for up the ladder/ropes, 460 for felling/bucking big wood and the 362 for felling/bucking 90 percent of your day-to-day work. And the mid-range saw will take some of the load off your two other saws, extending the lives of all three. In fact, you can leave the 28-inch bar on the 460 and only trot it out for the big stuff. Honestly, with full skip chain, the 460 will pull a 36-inch B&C with enough authority to get the job done, though I imagine with your situations there's not much a 28-inch B&C couldn't handle.

If budget means a new saw isn't feasible, lots of used 360/361s out there with plenty of life left in them.

And if you're running 3/8 sprockets/chain on all three saws, you never have to phart around with different file sizes. Heck, you might even buy a roll of 3/8 chain and start making your own loops! I'm not to that point yet, but only the 011 (low profile picco) wears anything different. All my other Stihls run 3/8. Makes it nice. smile

Great 3-saw plan.

Well taken care of, as I'm sure your saws are, they'll last you several more years. If memory serves, most pro-class Stihls will yield about 2,500 to 3,000 hours with proper care/maintenance.

Chainsaws. Mmmmmmmmm. gringrin

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Stihl for me. MS 290 (FarmBoss) with 18 inch bar and more chains than I know what to do with (found a couple in our woods this spring after the snow melt and a couple in the back of my pickup when I traded it in this summer). I cut quite a bit of firewood every summer and the saw is great!

I also own a Stihl weed whipper.

Stihl makes great products and it is easy to find Stihl certified repair shops (can think of 3 within 10 miles of my place).

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2 Stihls for me. I picked up a 036 or 038 with a 24" bar for cutting my heating wood when I lived in Alaska 20 years ago. Cutting 20" diameter hemlocks was work but the saw went thru it but man it got heavy after a couple of hours. I had a kinda close call with it and realized I needed to pace myself and stretch out my cutting so I wouldn't get tired. My safety rules are now no cutting if I'm tired or had any alcohol. The second part of that rule gets me out of some work at the cabin now a days. I do have to get myself some chaps. I always wear safety glasses and a helmet with ear muffs.

I picked up a little 026 (I think) 8 years ago. That covers most of my cutting now, except for larger items or ripping logs. I got an attachment for my big saw and had a chain cut flat so I can rip logs. It is fairly slow cutting, even on Cedar. I made a nice picnic table for the cabin and a really nice picnic table for the deer camp. I too like my chainsaws!

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I forgot to add on about the safety gear. I am an absolute stickler about this and won't compromise. You will always find me with Stihl helmet like in Steve's pic with safety glasses, ear plugs or muffs, leather gloves and chaps.

I personally have cut into chaps several times. Twice they've saved my leg. Had I not been wearing them I surely would have a much different left leg. The most tedious job I don't mind doing if pulling all the little threads out of the saw sprocket after hitting the chaps. If you've never seen the demonstration of stopping a saw on chaps its worth your time. First cut is done on a watermelon without chaps, second cut done with chaps wrapped on that melon.

The final thing I harp on is cutting "one-handed". I don't care how small a saw is or if the handle looks like its made for only one hand, its a recipe for disaster. I know too many guys with less than the standard of fingers because of this. Its too much power to be holding in one hand.

I know no one likes a safety nazi, but its become my passion. Enjoy your saws, but always protect yourself.

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I won't cut at all without the helmet assembly, gloves and Kevlar chaps. Too many close calls over the years that, like in Andy's case, could have been really ugly without PPE.

The chaps pictured are full-wrap Labonville chaps, I highly recommend them. I just picked up a Peltor helmet. Like the Stihl helmet pictured it's got the face mesh and earmuffs, but also has a rear plastic bib that covers the back of the neck so you can cut in hot sun or rain, and a plastic bib also is mounted between the top of the face shield and the helmet so no chips/sawdust can get into your eyes through the gap. At only about $50, the Peltor costs the same as the Stihl and has those two extra features.

I keep thinking I'm going to spring for Kevlar lined chainsaw boots but haven't yet. I've got a great pair of Carolina steel toe boots with the steel flap that runs part way up over the front laces, so there's some protection offered.

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Well I have to change the color up some and say that I run Jonsered. I have run others (mainly stihl) and still like the Jonsered. Dad's firs one that I started with was an old 70E. Still works like a top today. Pretty much just keep an older chain on that one now for work around dirty logs or where there may be old fence through a tree etc. Now have two additional 2171's.

Should mention however that I have a Stihl weed trimmer/brush cutter and a stihl pole saw however.

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Steve I have a stihl 028 wb and wondering how big of bar and chain it will handel. It is the only saw I have now looking to ad a 14" stihl to the fleet some thinig a little liter for clearing brush and cutting up small limbs any secrets to sealing a bar oil tank I think it is leaking betwen the case halves thanks for any in put oh also have a stihl combi tool string trimmer brush saw love that thing thanks Bret

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Bret, you need to stay with the pitch of your current drive sprocket (either 3/8 or .325). Look at the base of your bar and it'll tell you whether it's .325 or 3/8. Your sprocket should have the pitch stamped on it, too. Most likely 3/8, but could be either. No matter which it is, I wouldn't got over an 18-inch B&C. The 16-inch is optimum on that saw, but 18 will work fine, too. You could go 20-inch in spruce/pine/fir, but even softwood like that will be a bit much for the saw if the bar is totally buried. If you are working smaller wood and don't want to have to bend down as much, a 20-inch B&C works well.

As for the leaking oil, if you're sure it's leaking out of the case seam, other than splitting the case and resealing it, your only real option is to drain the oil, let the saw sit for a couple days to make sure it's REALLY drained, clean and scour the outside of the seam, dry it completely, and apply JB Weld. JB does a ton of great things. Make sure you give it a full day or two to harden before moving on. Since the bar oil reservoir isn't under much pressure, the JB Weld ought to work well if you prep the surface as mentioned.

The first ever saw I ran as a pro was an 028WB, and I have a soft spot in my heart for that saw. I do own an 028 series saw these days, but it's an 028 Super, which has a good bit more beef than the Wood Boss. Those 028 series saws were darn near bulletproof with care and maintenance, and there are hundreds of thousands of those saws still making money out in the woods, on the woodpiles and in the back yards today. smile

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Does all the oil leak out? I believe it is normal for a small amount of bar oil to "leak" out. Both my Stihl's do that and I've been told that it is normal by a Stihl service shop.

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I have the same problem, if my 026 pro sits 5-6 months the bar oil will be gone. my 192t never leaks!

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It depends on where the leak is. Since the bar oil comes out with gravity and being pulled out as the chain moves, its possible that oil is seeping out onto the chain while the saw is just sitting.

If you notice the oil is leaking from a seam or the filler cap, then you need to find the leak and seal it.

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Hey guys thanks for all the help I will stick with the 18" b/c. Just want to get a smaller saw little less weight Just thought a bigger spread would be nice but I only cut wood for smoking meat and camp fires not for heating. The leak is going to get envestigated more it seems to be geting worse I got a new cap and looking in to a o ring or what ever is behind that plug below the filler but it does leak all the oil out in may be two to three weaks. Thanks again Bret

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Bret, as mentioned, most of my Stihl saws drool some bar oil after use. Take paper towels and thoroughly dry the whole oil tank area. Fill the bar oil reservoir completely and run the saw for 15 mintues or so cutting wood. Then pull off the bar and chain, lay the saw on a square chunk of 2x4 so it's elevated, and keep an eye on it so you see where the oil is leaking. It's easier if you run something like Poulan oil, which is bright red (or at least used to be) because it's easy to see where it's leaking. Transmission fluid is another good option for the experiment, for the same reason.

You may just have the typical Stihl drooling problem. You'll know that's it if the oil pools under the round metal clutch drum or out the small oiler hole by the front bar nut. If it's that, nothing you can really do about it. If you do actually have cap/rubber ring or seam leakage, you'll be able to tell.

I have one Stihl saw (an 034 AV Super) that will leak out everything left in the oil tank after use, so I just make sure I run it almost out of oil as I finish cutting.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • It was slow for us this year, steelhead on Sunday afternoon, and only a couple nice kings on Monday. But the potential for a big fish is there again this year.   My friend is a little on the small side, always makes nice fish look HUGE.   My early morning fish came in at 23.6 lbs. A pound and a half heavier than the top pic.      
    • Nice work, that looks incredible. And I'm a big fan of the grey motif.   Thanks for the show and write up.
    • Yeah we brought it up to our cabin and sleep in it if there are a bunch of people up there. Thanks!
    • Are you guys using it as a summer camper as well?  Super Product right there!  😎
    • Thanks! It weighed in over what I thought which was disappointing. It was right around 7000 lbs with full propane tanks and some other stuff in it. We actually weighed it just after getting spray foamed and it was already at like 5000 lbs I’m not sure how others that did the same style steel stud house have a finished weight around 5500 lbs.    The cost in materials was above 20K but below 25 still too scared to finish adding the receipts. We really tried to use the best materials we could find and not cut any corners. When I was pricing stuff out before we started my ballpark was 19K but I forgot to add a tv screws wire and little stuff like that.    Yeah it took a lot of time but I enjoyed it for the most part. I’m actually getting kind of bored now and don’t know what to do with all the free time. 
    • Thanks for taking the time to do a write up and post all the pics! That alone is a big undertaking in itself. Nice work.   any idea what finished weight is for the entire house?    And just a ballpark figure are you willing to share what it costs in material to build something like this?   I can’t imagine how many hours of your own labor you got into this build. I think it turned out amazing.
    • Alright here’s the finished product. I think it turned out pretty nice. Still need a stove/ range but working on it.    Underneath the lift bed there are 7 lights and two speakers. There are 4 lights above the lift bed. The 3 middle lights underneath are on one button the outer 4 are on a different button and above are on a separate button.  55” smart tv recessed into to wall. The speakers really kick out some sound in this thing though. The tv sound comes out of the 5 speakers in the house which are all ran through the stereo and an amp.      Hole lights  Single light above the stove area  This door is for the satellite receiver. The black center piece is tinted acrylic so you can still use the remote with the door shut. The hole just below the tv is also so you can use the tv remote.  Battery monitor  Supply and return water temperatures for the in floor heat. I was actually really surprised I got my 20 degree delta t I calculated for.  Lights above lift bed. Lift bed in lowest position. Could go lower but that’s just where we put the lowest at.  Different height if people are sleeping below.  Folding table.  These are the cabinets inside the bathroom wall. These are only about 9” deep but I think they will be deep enough for a little more storage. The converter is in here as well it is just above the wiring panel. And the large center square is a false front so you can access the tv wires. I think we are going to go with the dry flush toilet. I put a little 12 v outlet in there so it can br ran off the house batteries.     The only other thing I did that i don’t know if others have done is I wired the rear porch light to the reverse wire of the trailer plug. So when you put the truck in revers that porch light comes on and lights everything up.    I think that’s everything. Feel free to ask any questions if you have any. And thanks again to lipripper and others for posting their builds the information was a ton of help and sorry if I copied too much of your design. 
    • Next we made the back benches that our couches sit on. These things are very comfortable. The couches are the same ones they use in the firebrand fish houses. Matt from fish n style ordered them for us.     Both fold out to be beds. We also bought a 4” thick piece of foam that can go over the whole thing to make one bed when it’s used for camping.  Under each couch we made drawers. I figured it would be a pain to have to lay on the ground and open some doors to get something. They actually can hold a ton of stuff.  Both rear couches have the drawers.      Next we started working on our cabinets above the wheel wells. The two inside openings have doors and the outer two are soft close drawers.      We then made some countertops. They were actually really easy to make.    For our our upper bunk in the back we wanted it to be a lift bed. We did similar to what lip ripper did without the strut trolly things. We used some plastic that just keeps the bed within the strut. For our unistrut we found some super light aluminum strut that worked great. We are going to make a black cover to go over the foam.   inside the bed looks like this.      We have two motors inside the bed. One motor runs one side and the other runs the other. So basically the motor is in the middle and two cables come off of the wheel going opposite directions. Each cable goes around a pulley so now they are both heading for the wall. Once they get to the edge of the bed there is another pulley that directs the cable up towards the ceiling. On top of the strut we have a bolt that the cable is connected to. Each side does this. And the motors are wired together and are ran by a switch. We have holes drilled at different heights on the strut for pins to go through and the bed then rests on the pins. The motors were kind of pulling the bed up at different speeds so we contacted the motor company and they said thar getting two motors to go exactly the same speed without spending a ton of money is very hard to do. So we are going to try and either find one motor to somehow control all four sides or somehow connect the two motors with a shaft. But it does go up and down just one side ends up being about an inch higher once you get to the top.    Next up finished pictures.             
    • The house is done I’m just slowly putting pictures up and describing it.    Next thing we did was have it spray foamed. Which was a nightmare we went with the cheaper guy which was a mistake. I would not recommend American Spray foam which is who we used. After it was spray foamed we started the in floor heat similar to liprippers 2017 build. We put down 2 layers of 3/4” 250 pink foam board. In the top layer we used a router to make a groove where we wanted our pex to go worked out pretty slick. Next we put down as many heat transfer plates as we could. We used these little pex clips that got screwed into the plywood to hold the pex down around bends and a few straight places. Next we Pushed the pex into the heat transfer plates and the clips. We did ours with one zone that was around 120’ of pex.  I took a bunch of pictures of where all the pex ran with the tape measure showing how far away each line was from walls and stuff so We didn’t screw into it accidentally      We then put a layer of aluminum over all the pex.      We then stained all our pine tongue and groove. We used Jacobean then went over it with grey for a little different look. I think it turned out pretty good. For the trim pieces and cabinets we used special walnut. After the pine was stained we started nailing it to the furring strips.  For the window casings we used cedar in case there was any condensation. For the window trim we used pine. Once we got to this point I was a little nervous thinking our stain looked like something you’d see in your grandparents house but we kept going.  All these wires are for the lights and speakers we put in the lift bed.  We kind of installed lights and other things as we went.  Soms of the tongue and groove pine looked really cool and unique when we were staining and we set those aside and used them on the front wall. We thought about doing some fake stone looking stuff  but we were feeling the time crunch.  Next we started making some upper cabinets and finishing the window casings and trim. We’ve never done any of this so we were just kind of learning as we went.      Once we got the upper cabinets made we screwed them in place.    next we put up the backer for the tv. We used 3/4” pine I think they were 10” wide. Wasn’t exactly sure which tv we were getting and they all vary a bit in size so we stained it in case you could see behind it. Oh I forgot we also put the rubber coin floor down. We purchased it from garage floor LLC. The first roll they sent took like a month to get and it was the wrong floor but after I told them I needed the right floor right away they had the new roll on the doorstep the next day which was surprising. The floor got screwed down under cabinets and where the hole covers went. But by the time we got to the floor it was cold already and new we would have to figure something out in the summer when it got hot and expanded. So this summer when it was good and hot we pulled the edges of the floor tight and used some left over VHB tape which actually worked to keep it tight.  After the floor was done we started piping the in floor heat. We accidentally broke the  insulation around the water heater which is why it’s taped. We put some unions off of the pump in case it fails. We use the furnace to get the house up to temp while the floor is heating up but once everything is up and running the furnace never kicks on. I was trying to figure out how I wanted to control the system and was trying to ask lipripper questions but he has a patent on his so he couldn’t really answer.  What I ended up doing was running 5v from the arduino board to the thermostat. I then ran a wire from the thermostat to my relay board. The relay board I am using  closes the circuit when it gets 5 volts. So when the thermostat calls for heat 5 volts is allowed to pass through the thermostat back to the relay board closing the circuit that I have wired to the hydronic pump. You could use any relay for this just have to pick the voltages that you have available in your fish house. So I’m not really sure how lipripper did his but that is how I did mine and it works.  The whole in floor heat system fits under the front couch. I call this the mechanical room since all the moving parts are under this couch. We have the hydronic system, the hydraulic pump to raise and lower the fish house and our batteries. Only have the one battery in this picture but we have one battery for our hydraulics and two 6v gold cart batteries wires in series for everything else. The two 6v batteries are charged by the converter and the single battery is charged by a one bank minnkota  on board charger.     
    • NORTHWEST Black Hawk Lake
      Water temperatures are around 80 degrees. Water levels are 5 inches over the crest of the spillway. Bluegill - Slow: Try Town Bay, Ice House Point, and the North Shore. Use a small hair or tube jig with a small piece of crawler fished under a bobber in 5-6 feet of water. Target deeper fish this time of year on the rock piles near Gunshot Hill, Cottonwood Point, and the East Basin. Walleye - Fair: Try leeches or crawler harnesses around Ice House Pt, the dredge cut near Denison Beach, and around the rock piles near Gunshot Hill, Cottonwood Point and the East Basin. Largemouth Bass - Good: Catch largemouth all over the lake using traditional bass lures. Many anglers have found good bass action at the Ice House Point, the east shoreline,and the lake side of the inlet bridge. There is a 15 inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass in Black Hawk Lake.  Channel Catfish - Fair: Use stink bait, cut bait, or crawler fished on the bottom along Ice House Point and in Town Bay. Look for fish along rocky shorelines this time of year.  Brushy Creek Lake
      There is a 15 inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass in Brushy Creek Lake, and a 40 inch minimum length limit for musky. Walleye - Fair: Use minnows and leaches in 15-20 feet of water. Black Crappie - Fair: Try minnows on a jig in 10-20 feet of water near submerged structure. Yellow Perch - Fair: Find perch along the vegetation and deeper structure. Largemouth Bass - Good: Catch bass along weed lines near shore just about anywhere with traditional bass lures. There is a 15 inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass in Brushy Creek Lake.  Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
      Storm Lake has a daily limit of 3 walleye and all 17- to 22-inch walleye must be released; no more than one walleye longer than 22 inches may be taken per day. Walleye - Fair: Boat anglers are picking up fish trolling crankbaits or drifting crawler harnesses on the edges of the dredge cuts around the lake in about 8 feet of water. White Bass - Fair: Use crankbaits; most action has been from boat while fishing dredge cuts.  Swan Lake 
      Bluegill - Fair: Use a small jig tipped with crawler along the dam and off the jetties in 3-6 feet of water. Most fish are 6-7 inches.  Water temperatures in Black Hawk District lakes are around 80 degrees. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.   Beeds Lake
      Black Crappie - Good: Drift fish or troll with a tube jig or small minnow.  Clear Lake
      Clear Lake is 3 inches above crest. Surface water temperature is 81 degrees. Walleye - Fair: Troll spinners near the edge of vegetation in 3 to 6 feet of water. Channel Catfish - Fair: Use stink bait or cut bait after dark. Black Crappie - Good: Try fishing the edge of the vegetation with a jig and minnow.  Crystal Lake
      Bluegill – Fair: Bluegill are biting. Use a small piece of crawler and a bobber in 2 to 3 feet of water. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Bass are biting spinners and plastic baits. Black Crappie - Good: Drift or troll small tube jigs in the dredge cut.  Lake Smith
      Largemouth Bass - Good: Largemouth bass are biting on a variety of baits. Bluegill –Good: Bluegill are biting. Use a small piece of crawler and a bobber in 2 to 3 feet of water.  Upper Pine Lake
      Largemouth Bass - Good: Use topwater baits.  For information on the lakes and rivers in the north central area, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.    East Okoboji Lake
      Yellow Bass - Good: Excellent bite continues with good numbers of fish being caught. Cast mini-jigs or hair-jigs or use small baits tipped with wigglers. Walleye - Good: Numbers of fish are being caught with traditional baits; good numbers of yellow bass are mixed in with the catch. Bluegill - Good: Anglers report a good panfish bite of bluegill and crappie continues. Use small jigs tipped with waxworms in the weed lines.  Lake Pahoja
      Bluegill - Good: Recent surveys show good numbers of large angler size fish in the lake.  Lost Island Lake
      Walleye - Good: Walleye action has improved; reports of the best action in areas with flow. Yellow Bass - Good: Reports of yellow bass being caught. Use small lures such as a twister tail or hair jigs. Channel Catfish - Good: Numbers of fish were caught over the weekend, contact the local bait shop for more information.   Spirit Lake
      Walleye - Good: Troll live bait or crankbaits. Yellow Perch - Good: Report of yellow perch action "picking up" on the lake with good numbers of angler acceptable size fish being caught. Northern Pike - Good: Look for areas with flow for the best action. West Okoboji Lake
      Bluegill - Good: Rock piles in deeper water with stands of aquatic growth will produce good numbers of angler acceptable sized fish.  For more information throughout the week, contact the Spirit Lake Fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.    NORTHEAST Cedar River (above Nashua)
      Water levels are stabilizing, but flows remain high. Visibility has improved. Visit the USGS Current Water Data website for current water level information. Walleye - Good: Use a jig tipped with a crawler, minnow or twister tail. Look for fish near deep water drop offs. Channel Catfish - Slow: Target snags for catfish using stink baits or chicken liver fished on bottom. Smallmouth Bass - Good: Use a variety of jigs or spinners near brush piles. Black Crappie - Fai: Crappie are keying into shallow rocky shorelines. Use small jigs tipped with twister tail or minnow.  Decorah District Streams
      Yellow wild parsnip is blooming. Wear long sleeved clothing when walking through it to prevent skin contact. Flows remain high, but most can be fished. Catchable trout are stocked weekly as weather and water conditions permit. Listen to the trout stocking hotline (563-927-5736) for daily information. Brook Trout - Good: A variety of aquatic and terrestrial insects, like ants and beetles, are more numerous. Use care not to spook a feeding fish. Brown Trout - Good: Hendrickson, caddis, and cranefly hatches are occurring. Crickets are common along streams now. Use hendrickson, gnat or beadhead nymph patterns. Pale yellow, black, brown, and grey colors work best. Try using terrestrial patterns for crickets and ants. Rainbow Trout - Good: Try a piece of worm or small cheese chunk on a hook under a bobber in the deeper holes or floated past an undercut bank. A variety of small spinnerbaits also work. Lake Hendricks
      Water is stained green; limited visibility.  Best bite is in the evening and early morning. Black Crappie - Fair: Use small jigs in shallow areas. Anglers are finding large numbers of small fish. Largemouth Bass - Good: Use spinnerbaits and soft plastics along edges of vegetation. Bluegill - Fair: Try a small jig tipped with small piece of worm along the shoreline.  Lake Meyer
      Green algae bloom continues. Water clarity is good. Water temperatures are in the mid 80's. Bluegill - Fair: Use a hook tipped with a worm in shallow water along vegetated edges. Black Crappie - Slow: Try a hook tipped with a worm or small spinner bait along a rocky shoreline. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use topwater baits  along weed edges.  Upper Iowa River (above Decorah)
      Water clarity is much improved. Water levels are stabilizing, but flows remain high. Be aware of river conditions ahead of you; snags and log jams may have moved or trees may be blocking the river corridor.  Walleye - Fair: Bring an assortment of tackle to find what works best for your location and time of day. Smallmouth Bass - Fair: Use feathered spinnerbaits or crankbaits near rocky ledges.  Upper Iowa River (below Decorah)
      Water levels are stabilizing with much improved clarity. Trees and other debris may be blocking the main channel. Visit the USGS Current Water Data website for more information. Walleye - Fair: Cast bright colored jigs and twister tails over deep water drop offs. Smallmouth Bass - Good: Use spinnerbaits and crankbaits near rock ledges and undercut banks.  Volga Lake
      Algae bloom continues with warm water temperatures. Fish activity is better toward evening. Black Crappie - Good: Find fish near submersed structure or in open water. Use a light colored jig with twistertail. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use topwater lures around structure. Channel Catfish - Fair: Find catfish shallow in early morning or late night. Use worm, chicken liver, or cut bait fished on the bottom. Bluegill - Good: Use small jigs tipped with a small piece of worm along shallow rocky areas. Common Carp - Fair: Use bright lights and bows in the shallow bays at night .  Rain Thursday and Friday; breezy. Temperatures will be in the 80's. Rivers and streams with better watersheds will clear faster .For current fishing information, please call the Decorah Fish Hatchery at 563-382-8324.   Big Woods Lake
      Largemouth Bass – Fair. Bluegill – Fair. Black Crappie – Fair. Casey Lake (aka Hickory Hills Lake)
      Vegetation has become abundant around lake edges, so adjust strategies to fish over or through plants. Catfish anglers are fishing deep water with frogs, shrimp or stink baits. 
       Largemouth Bass – Fair: Size has been good. Bluegill – Fair. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Catfish are biting on a variety of baits. Best bite is early morning and late evening. Catfish size has been excellent.  Cedar River (Nashua to La Porte City)
      The Cedar River is running at 5100 CFS as of July 19 in Waterloo or about 2 times above median flow. Smallmouth Bass – Fair. Walleye – Fair. Channel Catfish – Good: Use stinkbaits or fresh baits. George Wyth Lake
      Bluegill - Fair. Largemouth Bass – Fair.  Manchester District Streams
      Trout streams in Delaware, Dubuque, and Jackson Counties are in good condition. Trout stocking was completed as scheduled during the week of July 16-20. Try caddis in the late evening and hoppers during midday. Stocked fish are biting on a variety of presentations. Brown Trout – Fair. Brook Trout – Good. Rainbow Trout – Good. Maquoketa River (above Monticello)
      The Maquoketa River at Manchester is flowing at about 136 CFS as of July 19; this is near average for median flows on this date. Smallmouth Bass – Fair. Walleye – Fair. Channel Catfish – Fair.  Maquoketa River (below Monticello)
      White Sucker – Fair. Walleye - Fair: Use crankbaits or live bait. Smallmouth Bass – Slow.  Martens Lake
      Expect to fish through and around vegetation. Adjust tactics as needed, including heavy baits or topwater options. Largemouth Bass – Good. Plainfield
      Bluegill – Fair. Largemouth Bass – Fair. South Prairie Lake
      Vegetation has become abundant; adjust strategies accordingly, including topwater baits and weedless baits. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use topwater baits. Wapsipinicon River (Tripoli to Troy Mills)
      The Wapsipinicon River at Independence has a flow of about 675 CFS as of July 19; this water discharge rate is about 2 times above median levels for this time of year. Fishing has been improving with better water conditions . Northern Pike – Slow. Smallmouth Bass – Fair. Channel Catfish – Fair. Water flows in east-central Iowa rivers have improved greatly since last week, but are still high in the Cedar, Shell Rock, and Wapsipinicon. Lakes are generally providing some fair bass fishing. Trout streams are providing excellent fishing opportunity. Call the N.E. Iowa district office at 563-927-3276 for more information.   MISSISSIPPI RIVER Mississippi River Pool 9
      River level at Lansing is 11.7 feet with a very gradual fall. Water temperature is near 81 degrees. New Albin ramp road is closed due to water over the road. The Lansing Village Creek ramp and parking lot construction is expected to start July 30 and the ramp will be closed through October. For more updates, call the Guttenberg Fisheries Management office at 563-252-1156. Walleye - Fair: Fishing has been tough with high water. Some walleye are being picked up bottom bouncing crawlers on side channel and bottom structure. Yellow Perch - No Report: Still a few perch biting along the rocky shorelines and tailwater areas. Sauger - Slow: Try a lightweight jig tipped with minnow fished on the bottom along main channel edges and wing dams. Northern Pike - Fair: Northern are feeding in the vegetation along main channel borders. Cast spinners or a minnow along edges of debris piles. Flathead Catfish - Fair: Use a large shiner or sunfish in deeper holes. Channel Catfish - Good: Channel cats should be spawning. Use a crawler fished on the bottom in current eddies. Largemouth Bass - Good: Bass are biting along the vegetation in backwater lakes and areas protected from the current. Smallmouth Bass - Good: Fishing has been difficult with floating flood debris and weeds. Find smallmouth along shorelines in slight current off rocky points. White Bass - Fair: Cast flashy spinners or crankbaits along the rocks in main channel current for big white bass. Bluegill - Fair: Try fishing for bluegills in the flooded trees; use a surface lure or poppers to imitate the mayflies. Freshwater Drum - Good: Freshwater drum are actively biting in areas of current. Drop a heavily weighted worm rig into the current for some big fish action.  Mississippi River Pool 10
      River level is 620.5 feet at Lynxville and is slowly receding. Water temperature is 81 degrees at the Lock and Dam 9. Sny Magill ramp still has water over the road. Walleye- Fair: Fishing has been tough with high water. Some walleyes are being picked up bottom bouncing crawlers on side channel and bottom structure. Yellow Perch - No Report: Still a few perch biting along the rocky shorelines and tailwater areas. Sauger - Slow: Try a lightweight jig tipped with minnow fished on the bottom along main channel edges and wing dams. Northern Pike - Fair: Northern are feeding in the vegetation along main channel borders. Cast spinners or a minnow along edges of debris piles. Flathead Catfish - Fair: Use a large shiner or sunfish in deeper holes. Channel Catfish - Good: Channel cats should be spawning. Use a crawler fished on the bottom in current eddies. Bluegill - Good: Panfish bite is picking up this week. Try a small piece of garden worm on small tackle under a bobber. Common Carp - Good: Carp are on the move with the high water. To hook into a big one, try fishing the warm shallow backwaters where carp are staging for the spawn. Largemouth Bass - Good: Bass are biting along the vegetation in backwater lakes and areas protected from the current. Smallmouth Bass - Good: Fishing has been difficult with floating flood debris and weeds. Find smallmouth along shorelines in slight current off rocky points. White Bass - Fair: Cast flashy spinners or crankbaits along the rocks in main channel current for big white bass. Bluegill - Fair: Try fishing for bluegills in the flooded trees using a surface lure or poppers to imitate the mayflies. Freshwater Drum - Good: Freshwater drum are actively biting in areas of current. Drop a heavily weighted worm rig into the current for some big fish action.  Mississippi River Pool 11
      River level is 11.4 feet at Guttenberg and is slowly receding. Water temperature is 75 degrees at Lock and Dam 10. Guttenberg south ramp is now open. Walleye - Fair: Fishing has been tough with high water. Some walleyes are being picked up bottom bouncing crawlers on side channel and bottom structure. Yellow Perch - No Report: Still a few perch biting along the rocky shorelines and tailwater areas. Sauger - Slow: Try a lightweight jig tipped with minnow fished on the bottom along main channel edges and wing dams. Northern Pike - Fair: Northern are feeding along main channel borders. Cast spinners or a minnow along edges of debris piles. Flathead Catfish - Fair: Use a large shiner or sunfish in deeper holes. Channel Catfish - Good: Channel cats should be spawning.Use a crawler fished on the bottom in current eddies. Largemouth Bass - Good: Bass are biting along the vegetation in backwater lakes and areas protected from the current. Smallmouth Bass - Good: Fishing has been difficult with floating flood debris and weeds. Find smallmouth along shorelines in slight current off rocky points. White Bass - Fair: Cast flashy spinners or crankbaits along the rocks in main channel current for big white bass. Bluegill - Fair: Try fishing for bluegills in the flooded trees using a surface lure or poppers to imitate the mayflies. Freshwater Drum - Good: Freshwater drum are actively biting in areas of current. Drop a heavily weighted worm rig into the current for some big fish action.  Upper Mississippi River levels remain high with only a slight downward trend. Many ramps have reopened. Be aware of floating flood debris. Water temperature is in the upper 70's to 80's. Fish have been elusive in the high water, but clarity has improved this week.    Mississippi River Pool 12
      Water levels are near 11 feet at the Dubuque Lock and Dam and near 13 feet at the RR bridge. Expect water to drop slowly this upcoming week. Water clarity is improving. The water temperature is around 81 degrees. Channel Catfish - Excellent: In flooding conditions, most fish hang around near bank using food washing into the system. Try stinkbait or worms near shore. Freshwater Drum - Excellent: Most anglers use a simple egg sinker and worm rig. Drum will be hanging out relatively near shore in moderate current areas. Largemouth Bass - Good: Largemouth bass are being caught along the edge of flooding water. White Bass - Good: Looks for schools of white bass feeding on the surface in the morning and evening hours. Bluegill - Fair: Some bluegill have finally returned to angler creels. Try bobber and worms in clearer backwater areas.  Mississippi River Pool 13
      Water level is 12.5 feet at Bellevue and is receding. Expect a small drop in levels this upcoming week. Smaller boat ramps still have water and debris on them. The north ramp at Sabula is not in use this year due to bridge construction. The water is turbid, but is clearing up. The channel water temperature is around 81 degrees. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Especially in flooding conditions, most fish hang around near bank using food washing into the system. Try stinkbait or worms near shore. Freshwater Drum - Excellent: The drum bite is on. Fish worms with an egg sinker in moderate current areas. Fish near the shorelines if possible. Largemouth Bass - Good: Both largemouth and smallmouth are being caught. Most are feeding along the flooding edge. Use a bright colored spinner in the turbid water. White Bass - Good: Look for feeding schools of white bass in the morning and evenings. Small spinners and white jigs work best.  Mississippi River Pool 14
      Water levels are receding throughout Pool 14; expect it to continue to continue to recede. Presently levels are near 12 feet near Fulton, 14.2 feet at Camanche and 8.4 feet at LeClaire. The water temperature is around 82 degrees. Water clarity is poor, but is improving. Channel Catfish - Excellent: Especially in flooding conditions, most fish hang around near bank using food washing into the system. Try stinkbait or worms near shore. Freshwater Drum - Good: Use a simple egg sinker/worm rig in moderate current areas. Find fish near the shoreline in flooded conditions. Largemouth Bass - Good: Bright colored spinners fished along flooded shorelines are picking up some bass.  Mississippi River Pool 15
      Water levels are receding in Pool 15. Most smaller boat ramps have debris on them, but most are useable. Presently the water is 12 feet at Rock Island. Water clarity is poor, but is improving. The water temperature is near 82 degrees. Channel Catfish - Good: Especially in flooding conditions, most fish hang around near bank using food washing into the system. Try stinkbait or worms near shore. Freshwater Drum - Good: Use an egg sinker and worm rig fished near shore in flooded conditions. Drum will use freshly washed in food in newly flooded habitats.  Water levels are high, but are receding slowly; we are out of flood stages throughout the district. Boat ramps are getting back in working order, but some are still under water. Water clarity is fair. If you have any angling questions, please contact the Bellevue Fisheries Station 563-872-4976.    Mississippi River Pool 16
      Tailwater stage is 11.38 feet at Lock and Dam 15 in Davenport and is falling. Flood stage is 15 feet. The docks are being reported as in at the Marquette St. ramp in Davenport. The Fairport Recreation Area has a dock in at the upper ramp. Channel Catfish - Fair: Some channel catfish are being caught in Sunset Marina on stinkbait. Try also above brush piles and snags in the back channels. Walleye - Fair: Reports of some walleyes being caught trolling between the mouth of the Rock River and Sunset Marina. Try fishing on the wingdams along Credit Island with crankbaits or three-way rigs with crawlers. Mississippi River Pool 17
      Tailwater stage is 10.48 feet at Lock and Dam 16 in Muscatine and is falling. Big Timber is closed due to high water. Fishing has been slow with the high water. Fishing has been slow with the high water conditions. Channel Catfish - No Report: Try fishing above snag piles along the side channels and main channel with stinkbait or shad. Walleye - No Report: Look for walleyes on the wing dams; use crankbaits or three-way rigs with crawlers. Trolling crankbaits by GPC can work, too. Bluegill - No Report: Look for bluegills in the backwaters around brush piles. Try fishing with pieces of worms under a bobber.  Mississippi River Pool 18
      Tailwater stage is 11.87 feet at Lock and Dam 17 above New Boston and is falling. The gates are still out of the water at the dam. Flood stage is 15 feet. Fishing has been slow with the high water conditions. Channel Catfish - No Report: Try fishing above brush piles and snags along side channels and the main channel for catfish; use stinkbait or shad. Bluegill - No Report: Look for bluegills in the backwaters around brush piles. Try fishing with worms under a bobber.  Mississippi River Pool 19
      Tailwater stage is 8.22 feet at Lock and Dam 18 above Burlington and is falling. Flood stage is 10 feet. River level is 13.34 feet at Burlington and is falling. Flood stage is 15 feet. River level at Fort Madison is 527.02 feet and flood stage is 528 feet. Fishing has been slow with the high and muddy water conditions. Channel Catfish - No Report: Try fishing above brush piles and snags along the side channels and main channel; use stinkbait or shad. Bluegill - No Report: Look for bluegills in the backwaters around brush piles. Try fishing with worms under a bobber.  River stages are still high, but have been falling. Fishing is being reported as slow. Main channel water temperature is around 82 degrees. If you have questions on fishing Pools 16-19, contact the Fairport Fish Hatchery at 563-263-5062. SOUTHEAST Central Park Lake
      The lake is currently drained as a renovation project is finishing up.  Coralville Reservoir
      The lake is at normal summer pool. Channel Catfish - Fair: Best action is drifting or trolling cut bait in the channel. Black Crappie – Slow: Fish steep rock banks for suspended fish.  Diamond Lake
      No minnows are allowed here. The fish cleaning station is open. Black Crappie - Fair: Try small jigs fished around the brush piles or drift the basin. Most fish are 7-9 inches. Bluegill - Fair: Use small jigs or worms around shallow rock or brush. Many fish are around 6-7 inches. Channel Catfish - Good: Catfishing has picked up over the past week.  Iowa Lake (Iowa County)
      Largemouth Bass - Fair. Bluegill - Good. Black Crappie - Good. Channel Catfish - Good.  Kent Park Lake
      The lake is drained for a lake renovation project currently underway. It is scheduled to be completed next spring.  Lake Macbride
      Only motors under 10hp may be used at no-wake speed. Water temperatures are in the 80's. Black Crappie - Slow: Fish deeper brush or look for suspended fish off breaks. Walleye - Fair: Troll crankbaits or jig live bait. Most fish are in 8-13 inches. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Some fish are still shallow while other fish have pulled off to deeper rock for the summer. Best bite is early in the day. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) – Slow: Look for schools roaming over deep water feeding on juvenile shad. Early and late in the day are best. Bluegill - Fair: Some are shallow in pockets while others have moved to deeper rock. Size is marginal at best. Channel Catfish - Fair: Evenings are best.  Pleasant Creek Lake
      The lake is still 5 feet low from the restoration project. The main ramp is usable, but it is shallow; use caution. There is a boat dock in on the east lane. Be cautious when boating as new structures have started to be submerged. Check your boat and trailer for the invasive plant, Brittle Naiad; it is abundant here. White Bass – Fair: Fish windblown shores or look for schools in open water.  Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) – Fair: These are mixed in with the white bass. Mornings and evenings are best. Bluegill – Slow: Fish weed edges. Channel Catfish – Fair: Use chicken liver or shrimp. Walleye - Slow.   Rodgers Park Lake
      Largemouth Bass – Fair.  Wapsipinicon River (Troy Mills to Oxford Junction)
      River levels are finally receding. Bluegill - Fair: Use small jigs or worms in the backwaters. Black Crappie - Fair: Try jigs or minnows around brush in the backwaters.  For more information, contact the Lake Macbride Fisheries Station at 319-624-3615.   Des Moines River (Ottumwa to Farmington)
      Channel Catfish - Fair: Target log jams and rocked shorelines. Watch for water levels to change with the recent rains. Hawthorn Lake
      Largemouth Bass - Fair: Use spinnerbaits along the rocky shorelines and rubber worms around the deeper structure. Bluegill - Fair: Try small jigs tipped with live bait along the rocky shorelines and the weed line. Channel Catfish - Fair: Use chicken liver or stinkbait in areas with 4-6 feet of water.  Lake Keomah
      Bluegill - Fair: Use small jigs tipped with live bait near shoreline and around the fishing jetties. Black Crappie - Fair: Try fishing deep structure with a jig and minnow. Channel Catfish - Fair: Use stinkbait or chicken liver. Largemouth Bass - Fair: Cast spinnerbaits or crankbaits around the fishing jetties and along the dam. Switch to rubber worms and deeper structure as the day heats up.  Lake Sugema
      Largemouth Bass - Fair: Target deeper structure with rubber worms or jig-n-pig combos. Black Crappie - Slow: Use tube jigs or jig and minnows in deeper water structure. Bluegill - Fair: Try small jigs tipped with live bait around the shorelines and fishing jetties. Channel Catfish - Fair: Use dead chubs or stinkbait along the dam or around the fishing jetties.  Lake Wapello
      Channel Catfish - Fair: Use chicken liver or stinkbait around areas with rip-rapped shorelines or rock piles. Largemouth Bass - Good: Fish deeper structure with rubber worms or crawdad imitations. Bluegill - Fair: Use small jigs tipped with a chunk of night crawler in areas around aquatic vegetation or near the fishing jetties. White Crappie - Slow: Try minnows or jig and minnows in deeper structure and the outer edge of the weed line.  Rathbun Reservoir
      The current lake level is 905.02 msl. Normal operating elevation is 904.0 msl. Lake Rathbun has zebra mussels, so make sure to properly drain, clean, and dry equipment before transporting to another water body. Channel Catfish - Good: Use stinkbait or chicken liver in areas with water running into the lake. White Crappie - Fair: Use minnows around deeper structure. Trolling small crankbaits can also catch suspended crappies. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) - Fair: Troll crankbaits along rocky shorelines and around rock piles. Try also vertical jigging in the same areas . Walleye - Fair: Walleye bite has slowed from earlier in the year. Use night crawler rigs or troll crankbaits around rock piles and submerged points.Leeches can also be productive this time of year.  Red Haw Lake
      Largemouth Bass - Good: Cast the shorelines in the early part of the day and then fish deeper structure as the day warms up. Black Crappie - Fair: Try tube jigs along the shorelines. Bluegill - Fair: Use small jigs tipped with live bait around the shorelines and fishing jetties. Channel Catfish - Fair: Try night crawlers around the fishing jetties or along the dam.  The district includes Mahaska, Lucas, Wayne, Monroe, Appanoose, Wapello, Davis and Van Buren counties. Contact the Rathbun Fish Hatchery at 641-647-2406 with questions about fishing in south central Iowa.   SOUTHWEST Big Creek Lake
      Walleye - Slow: The walleye bite has become tough since the shad spawn created abundant small forage. Target the upper end of the lake in shallow water, preferably by any vegetation. Cast or troll shallow diving shad imitating crankbaits or troll spinner rigs with night crawlers with little weight to fish 3-10 feet deep. Wiper (Hybrid Striped Bass) - Good: Troll and cast crankbaits, spoons or in-line spinners in the main lake. Look for schools of fish busting shad on the surface.  Hooper Area Pond
      Black Crappie - Fair: Anglers drifting and trolling jigs mid-lake are picking up some nice 10-12 inch crappies. Keep your baits in the top 6 feet of water.  Lake Ahquabi
      Largemouth Bass - Good: Cast crankbaits in 4 to 8 feet of water in the evenings.  Red Rock Reservoir
      White Bass - Fair: High water levels are spreading fish out, but it is still the best time of year to target aggressive white bass and hybrid striped bass. Look for shad schools breaking the surface of the water and troll shad imitating spoons and shallow diving crankbaits.  Rock Creek Lake
      White Crappie - Good: Drift or slowly troll jigs or minnows in the lower half of the lake in the mornings to just after noon.  For more information on Central Iowa lakes and rivers, call Ben Dodd at 641-891-3795 or Andy Otting at 515-204-5885.   Cold Springs District Farm Ponds
      Water clarity in most ponds have recovered from heavy rains in July. Always get permission to fish privately-owned ponds. Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills are in their summer pattern in ponds. Concentrate on suspended fish and along weed lines during the summer months.  Black Crappie - Fair: Find crappies suspended and around structure. Largemouth Bass - Good: Largemouth bass are very active and can be caught with a variety of lures and plugs. Fish shallow early and late and go deeper during the middle of the day. Channel Catfish - Fair: Try along weed edges and around structure.  Farm Creek Lake
      Farm creek will offer good fishing this year. Black Crappie - No Report: Black crappie in Farm Creek are quality size fish. Concentrate fishing the channel during the summer. Bluegill - Fair: Find bluegills in the open water portion of the lake and close to the channel.  Lake Anita
      Anglers report catching bluegills drifting. Find crappies around brush piles and suspended over the roadbeds. Black Crappie - Fair: Vertical jig deeper tree piles or troll twister tails to catch black crappie averaging 9 inches. Bluegill - Slow: Drift small jigs tipped with crawler. Fish will average 8.5 inches. Largemouth Bass - Good: Cast to structure to catch bass of all sizes.  Lake Manawa
      Lake Manawa is a good destination for summer catfishing. Channel Catfish - Good: Use shrimp and bubble gum bait on the south and west shore. Fish in the 2 to 5 pound range were reported. Orient Lake
      Channel Catfish - Fair: Catch 18-20 inch channel catfish with cut bait or shrimp below the sediment structure where water is running into the lake and along the dam.  Prairie Rose Lake
      Prairie Rose will offer good panfishing. The lake has quality sized bluegills and acceptable size crappies. Bluegill - Fair: Bluegills are done spawning and have moved into a summer pattern. Look for fish around underwater reefs and drift/troll open water areas. Bluegills in Prairie Rose are quality size fish. Black Crappie - Slow: Look for crappies along the dam and around tree piles. Fish will average 9 inches. Largemouth Bass - Good: There is a large population of 12 inch bass in the lake that offers fun catch and release fishing.  Viking Lake
      Find crappies and largemouth bass on deeper brush piles. Channel catfish have moved in around jetties and rocky shorelines. Black Crappie - Fair: Crappies are being caught in the deeper tree piles. Sorting is needed for larger fish. Channel Catfish - Good: Cast cut bait or liver close to rocky shorelines for catfish up to 10 pounds. Late afternoon bite is best. Largemouth Bass - Good: Jig plastics in deeper brush piles during the day and cast shallow structure early morning for largemouth bass of all sizes.  Panfish have moved into their summer pattern. Target open water and deep structure. Catfishing has been good around the district.  For more information, contact the Cold Springs office at 712-769-2587.   Green Valley Lake
      Largemouth Bass - Good: Catch largemouth bass up to 18 inches with crankbaits or finesse plastics fished along cedar tree brush piles. Bluegill - Good: Catch bluegill up to 8 inches using worms fished along the fishing jetties. Black Crappie - Good: Catch crappie up to 9 inches with minnows or jigs fished along rocky areas.  Lake Icaria
      Channel Catfish - Good: Channel catfish of all sizes have been caught using night crawlers fished along rocky shoreline areas.  Little River Watershed Lake
      Largemouth Bass - Good: Catch largemouth bass up to 18 inches using finesse plastics fished near cedar tree brush piles or rock reefs. Bluegill - Fair: Catch bluegills up to 9 inches with worms fished along the fishing jetties. Channel Catfish - Good: Catch channel catfish up to 10 pounds with night crawlers fished along rocky shoreline areas.  Three Mile Lake
      Bluegill - Fair: Catch bluegill up to 7 inches with worms fished along the fishing jetties or cedar tree brush piles. Walleye - Good: Catch walleye up to 18 inches using crankbaits or live bait fished along the roadbed or main lake points. Black Crappie - Fair: Catch crappie up to 9 inches with jigs or minnows fished along the fishing jetties or cedar tree brush piles.  Twelve Mile Creek Lake
      Largemouth Bass - Good: Largemouth bass of all sizes have been caught with crankbaits or finesse plastics fished along cedar tree brush piles. Bluegill - Good: Catch bluegill up to 8 inches with worms fished near cedar tree brush piles or shallow bays. Walleye - Fair: Catch walleyes of all sizes using minnows or leeches fished in 8-10 feet of water. Black Crappie - Good: Catch crappie up to 9 inches with minnows or worms fished along cedar tree brush piles or in the flooded timber.  Water temperature in most district lakes is in the low to mid 80's. The district includes Page, Taylor, Adams, Union, Ringgold, Decatur, Clarke and Madison counties. For more information, please call the Mount Ayr Fisheries office at 641-464-3108.   MISSOURI RIVER Missouri River (Sioux City to Little Sioux)
      Channel Catfish - Fair: During high water levels, try close to the bank or slower flooded areas from shore. Smaller tributaries should also be good, where channel catfish will find refuge from faster currents. Freshwater Drum - Fair: Try using live bait rigs or jigs tipped with worms along the bank and around tributary stream or rivers where they join the Missouri River. Blue Catfish - Fair: Anglers report catching a few blue catfish on rod and reel and trotlines. Use live bait or fresh cut bait with live bait rigs along wing dam tips or in or close to the main channel of the Missouri River. Flathead Catfish - Good: Flathead catfish are being caught on trotlines and rod and reel using live baits (chubs, bullheads, green sunfish). Fish below wing dam tip, near rock structures, logs and along the bank with deeper water nearby.  Missouri River (Little Sioux to Council Bluffs)
      Channel Catfish - Fair: During high water levels, try close to the bank or slower flooded areas from shore. Smaller tributaries should also be good, where channel catfish will find refuge from faster currents. Freshwater Drum - Fair: Try using live bait rigs or jigs tipped with worms along the bank and around tributary stream or rivers where they join the Missouri River. Blue Catfish - Fair: Anglers report catching a few blue catfish on rod and reel and trotlines. Use live bait or fresh cut bait with live bait rigs along wing dam tips or in or close to the main channel of the Missouri River. Flathead Catfish - Good: Flathead catfish are being caught on trotlines and rod and reel using live baits (chubs, bullheads, green sunfish). Fish below wing dam tip, near rock structures, logs and along the bank with deeper water nearby.  Missouri River (Council Bluffs to Missouri State Line)
      Channel Catfish - Fair: During high water levels, try close to the bank or slower flooded areas from shore. Smaller tributaries should also be good, where channel catfish will find refuge from faster currents. Freshwater Drum - Fair: Try using live bait rigs or jigs tipped with worms along the bank and around tributary stream or rivers where they join the Missouri River. Blue Catfish - Fair: Anglers are catching a few blue catfish on rod and reel and trotlines with fresh cut bait or live bait. Try by the wing dam tips, close to or in the main channel of the Missouri River for your best chance at getting bigger blue catfish. Flathead Catfish - Good: Flathead catfish are being caught on trotlines and rod and reel using live baits (chubs, bullheads, green sunfish). Fish below wing dam tip, near rock structures, logs and along the bank with deeper water nearby.  The Missouri River at Decatur, Nebraska is at 29.06 ft. /68,500 cfs./80 degrees Fahrenheit. Missouri River water temperaturess are down one degree from last week and water levels are up 0.17 feet. Water levels are up due to recent rains in the Missouri River watershed and release of water from reservoirs. Anglers and boaters are advised to use caution going on the Missouri River.
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