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John Childs

John is a full time fishing guide in Oregon, guiding from the Columbia to the Oregon Coast. John also is a writer and photographer about all things to do with fishing.

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March 19, 2012

What To Do When There's Water Everywhere....

by John Childs

What To Do When There's Water Everywhere???

Report for Week Ending 3-18-12


Well, with the crazy amounts of rain we've received lately, there's really not much to report. It's a bummer too, because I've really been looking forward to getting back out on the water after a long 12-day work stretch without any days off. Last week I had to fly down to Las Angeles for meetings, and then stayed to help work the Fred Hall Show. I didn't return until Monday morning (the day we had 40-50 mph gusts!), right when all this wonderful rain was getting started. And let me tell you, the plane ride back to Portland on Monday the 12th might have ended with the bumpiest 20 minutes I've ever spent on a plane. It was an adventure.

I was really looking forward (NEEDING) to getting back on the water, but as soon as I got home I had to prepare for meetings mid week in Seattle. I drove North on Thursday morning and it rained, and it rained, and it rained some more. I guess it shouldn't be a surprise for rain in March, but this wasn't your normal Northwest rain where you could have an all day outdoor barbecue and end up with just a damp sweatshirt. This was rain like I used to experience growing up in South Texas, where when you ran from your house to your car (and I do mean RUN!), you get completely soaked. All the way to the skin wet. When I drove back down I-5 on Thursday afternoon, Chehalis looked like it was getting ready to be underwater again. The river was within a couple of feet of cresting it's banks, and the fields looked more like lakes than anything. It was pretty crazy!

So much for being a good guy; working hard, all the while using the promise of a couple days of fishing once I managed to get through this long work stretch to help get myself through it all. A lot of times, it's the hope and the promise of an upcoming day on the water that gets me through these long work stints. Sadly for this weekend, fishing just wasn't going to be in the cards.

I could have headed out in our wonderful weekend weather to drown some herring on the Columbia. (Now what do you think about the combined conditions of sun, rain, snow, hail and sleet we had the last couple of days? Pretty crazy huh?) The water clarity looked pretty decent above the Willie, but my big motor is down right now, and even though I've been getting pretty jacked up for springer fishing, I usually don't start fishing until April 1st, or later. I've actually been twice this year so far (driven to it by all you overanxious ifishers!!!!), but historically it's always too iffy this early for any consistent action.

Well, there's my story of late. Not much of a first-hand fishing report, but here are a couple of tidbits. These little projects are how I manage to get myself through the long work days/stretches with some semblance of sanity. It's working with my gear, and dreaming about the promise of great days soon to come that help me keep going, and its days like this last weekend that are tailor made for getting organized.

I love having everything in its place on the boat, and I also love having all the gear pre-tied and ready to deploy. When the water looks the way it has lately I spend time tying up side drifting leaders, making slinkies, tying herring rigs, prawn spinners, back bouncing leaders, and doing all those other rigging chores that need to be done at some point. I found out a long time ago, when I can't fish, rigging fishing gear is almost as enjoyable as actually being out on the water. True, it's not the same, but it sure makes it more bearable!!

When you're fishing, keeping your gear in the water is the quickest way to ultimately increase the number of fish you hook. One way to keep yourself fishing when on the water is to have all your leaders pre-tied. If you end up with a tangle, or you land a fish and have to replace something, it's just a matter of cutting the old leader off, and clipping a new one on. I started using a modular system a few years ago, where there are duo-clips on the ends of all my leaders, so I just clip them right to the swivel at the bottom of my flashers, or the end of my lead sliders. I don't need to re-rig anything when on the water, just cut the old leader off (or unclip if its not tangled) and clip a new one on. It keeps me fishing instead of fixing issues. This also works when fishing flashers, because I can clip one or two flashers right in line, clip a leader to the bottom, and I'm fishing. It's fast, simple, and really helps to maximize my fishing time.

This is also a great time to go back and re-organize your tackle boxes. I carry way too much tackle, so traditional tackle boxes quit working for me a long time ago. I usually carry a tackle bag (or three) on the boat, with more tackle stored under the seats. I've been accused once or twice of being a bit of a tackle ho! Anyway, with all the tackle, but more so, with each fishery having certain gear requirements, the clear tackle trays really make my life much simpler. I carry one of these boxes on every single trip, regardless of where I'm fishing. The rigging box! And by the end of each season, it needs a little TLC. Even though I love the clear tackle trays, the small terminal gear like duo-clips, barrel swivels, bead chain swivels, weed protectors, rigging beads and the like, have a tendency to migrate from one compartment to another. Especially when bouncing around in a boat bag, or under a boat seat all year long! Weekends like this provide the downtime needed to empty the tackle trays, clean them up, get everything back in the right compartments, and finally, to restock the gear that's low.

It might not be an earth shattering set of tips, but taking the time to sit down and clean, organize, and pre-rig your fishing gear for the upcoming season will reap rewards later this year by keeping your downtime on the water to a minimum. As I always say, "you can't catch em if your hooks ain't in the water!"

March 01, 2012

Winter Steelhead Update

by John Childs

River Report 3-1-12


Just a quick fishing update. Managed to get a few hours on the water again this morning on one of our Coastal streams. The snow made hiking down to the river pretty exciting in most places! I definitely had to pay attention to where I was putting my feet, and I also had to be ready for the slip and slide which was due to happen at any moment. Not if, but when!

We fished several spots, starting up high, and moving downstream as we fished. We each managed to hook a fish on a jig and bobber. They seemed pretty lock jawed through the first part of the morning. We fished some great water, and because of the snow, I know we were the first to fish each spot. We didn't hook either fish till after 12:00 p.m..

I hooked a bright hatchery fish which came unpinned in some fast water about 10 feet from the bank, and my friend Rob landed a colored up wild buck around 8-9 pounds.

The fish are still out there for the taking, you just have to go find them! Good Luck!
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