Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington
Jennie's Fishing Life
A journal of my adventures.
I wake up to two or three Goldfinch at my feeders still, but otherwise,
the morning is calm and lifeless. Even the Goldfinch seem less enthusiastic.
It's late summer. No wind, no flurries of busy birds. The hummingbirds are fewer.
They too, seem to be in less of a hurry. Is it possible that the beat of their
wings has also slowed?
As the sun creeps over the canyon walls, it lights selective treetops with golden hues; a hint of Fall.
The thousands of colors of green that my eyes have become accustomed to are giving way to the shortage of water in the soil.
I drove over to the lower Trask river area yesterday. The vast open fields in the plains were windswept, dead and dry. It looked like a different land, far from the lush forest that I wake to every morning, yet only 5 miles away.
Fall is coming.
Though the season reflects a touch of sadness; of death, my heart quickens with the thought of the mighty Pacific Salmon. They are called home when the colors of the forest begin to fade.
From the deep blue green of the sea, to the mix of fresh and salt in the bay, and on to the pure fresh waters of the upper rivers.
I catch my first glimpse, as I sit on the ocean jetty, perched on the rocks, waiting. I look down and see whole schools of them, just below the surface.
They are headed home!
Years ago, I caught two off the jetty, and tossed them down to my kids, who were playing in the sand. I then bundled up some line I found in the rocks and added a couple fresh crab to our feast. Those were the days...
The entire hillside is now lit with sunlight. The trees that line the field are still a deceiving deep spring green. Fed by the Kilchis river, they will be the last to lose their color. As my eyes travel upward, there is no mistake. Dark greens and golds intermingle.
I'm filled with wonder.
How do the salmon know that it is time?
Do they smell it in the air, as we do, on an early brisk morning? Does the sea offer the same changes? Some sort of different morning temperature? Do the creatures that live in the sea slow down their feeding as my birds are? What changes take place, deep in the sea that signals their upriver travel?
Add it to the book of wonder, I decide, and plan my near future.
Long Indian summer days, bouncing in the wind chop on the Columbia. Hair blowing in the wind, yelling greetings to people I haven't seen since last season.
A harvest moon will rise, as salmon filets smoke on the barbecue, laughter fills the air. Good food, good friends, and good harvest.
Good fortune: The salmon are home.
Off to fish Nehalem today. We were going to cross the bar and
go out for salmon, but news is that the salmon are way out. Don't know that
we want to go way out!
So, we are going to try and hit both tides more inland. There was a bite yesterday at both low and high tides. Not a great bite, but hey... better than it has been.
The more I think about Nehalem fishing this year, the more I think about a bunch of older people at a bingo game.
You come. You buy your bingo card, (license, herring, bait, etc.) you set your cards out, (put your boat in, rig up rigs), and begin to troll.
The lady calls the numbers while you bounce bottom with your 4 ounce weight.
Pretty soon, as if by luck, someone's number is called. Bingo! Fish on!
Don't get me wrong, I like to play bingo... occasionally.
I'd just like my numbers to be called someday. In fact, I'd like a total blackout on my tag!
Instead, as I study my tag this year, it looks sparse.
You see, those ladies at bingo games go every Tuesday night, and they play with 10 cards laid out. They know their stuff, they concentrate, they don't miss a chance.
I haven't played enough. I've been too busy to be totally dialed in.
If I win, it's going to be that luck thing. Today I have one card. One rod. One day to listen for my numbers to be called.
You just wait. Jennie's going to call "Bingo" on the river today!
And should I ever really play bingo again, and if I should ever win, I think I'll yell, "fish on!"
Fished the Nehalem:
Fished the jaws off Garibaldi: Slow.
You hear me say,
"Expect a fish with every cast"
This may prove tiring after 3000 casts....
Andrew came rushing into the house. "Where's the camera?
There is a deer out in the river!"
"Well, it's on the shelf, but won't it be gone by the time we get out there again?"
It wasn't. It lazed in the river and gazed at us. No big. Just people taking pictures of my beautiful self. :)
As I sat, holding Kilchis back, I let Andrew proceed to get closer. Finally, the buck decided to go up river. I grabbed the camera, and Andrew let me take over. He was barefoot, and didn't care to follow.
He was SO gorgeous and stately! And so unafraid! I thought...
As I moved with the buck, upriver, he'd stop, never bolting into the woods, as I would have thought. He would just... look!
Then, Kilchis got loose from David's grasp. He barked and chased at the buck, who in turn, still stood his ground, unaffected.
Without a water buffer between the deer and I, or the deer and
Kilchis, I think I wouldn't have let the space between the wild animal become
so short. This was EXCITING!!!
Tense moments. You could tell the buck was getting annoyed. Yip! Two front hooves come straight out of the water, and plan to land on Kilchis, narrowly missing his back. Kilchis decides the buck is no fun to play with.
On the way back to the house, Kilchis told me he had never seen
such a large dog... And why did the dog have those sticks on his head?
Funny, I got back to the house, alerted Bill to the situation, and we walked down to the river. The buck was still there!
This doesn't seem normal to me. I'm still left wondering if the buck was frightened, or ill, or? Usually 200 yards, and they are spooked into the woods.
I'll never forget this encounter!
For larger pictures, please access the buck page, here.
The joke was that I had lost my eye surgeon's phone number. If
you recall, or perhaps you don't, I was supposed to have my eye surgery done
in June, when fishing is at it's slowest.
I didn't. "I lost my surgeon's phone number..." Yeah, funny.
Now, I'll probably have it done in the next two weeks and I'll miss Buoy 10 fishing.
I'm headed to Portland this morning to go talk to my surgeon about it. Oh, dread.
The Ifishstock 2002 party has been figured out for September 14th, and as someone else put it, "Everyone is invited. All that is required is a passion for fishing". Click here for details.
I am really excited about it! Neato door prizes, lots of food, but most of all, a bunch of neat people from the discussion board that you have come to know by moniker. Who are they? Come put a face with a name! :)
New folks on ifish:
I would like to introduce Paul Woodrum to ifish. He is hosting the bass board.
Originally from Burlington, Vermont, Paul grew up fishing on Lake Champlain, one of the nation's top bass fisheries.
Paul has seven years experience fishing competitively on national and local B.A.S.S. Tournament trails. Along with 14 years angling and boat handling experience, Paul has fished from coast-to-coast. This diversity of experience allows Wildlife Fishing the capability of putting their clients where the fish are.
For a change of pace, or for those of you who have recently moved to Oregon and want to find out where the bass are, contact Paul. He's found them!
Got a Penn reel that needs help? Browse through Pennparts.com! Pennparts is hosting the Salty Dogs Forum, and they bring a wealth of information and parts to ifish.
The Salty Dogs are a group of ifishers who prefer the big blue ocean. If that's your gig, click here! Not only are they wild about catching halibut, rockfish, salmon and whatever else might lurk in the depths, they formed a political group focused on saving our sportfishery. Way to go guys! Click here to join Pilar and Pilar's mate as they join forces in making a huge impact! They are setting a fine example of what needs to be done. My heartfelt thanks go out to you and your team.
Local ifisher Fishbait has joined ifish in helping to support our banter on all major ifish forums. How can he help you? Click here.
Soon to be joining ifish is Fins, Feathers and Furs. Ifish Guide, Marty Peterson joined them on the Nushagak River in Alaska this summer and came back with raving reviews. I'm meeting with them soon. They will be featured in the Alaska Adventures section on ifish.
Whew! Lots to do... I am working on an ifish business directory for ifish, The Tackle Box, which is a listing of small businesses in a forum, and have in my mind one big project that will take a while. This one is a secret. :)
My time will be spent in the next month working on the ifishstock 2002 party.
For right now, however, I need to jump in the shower and hit the road on the way to my surgeons.
I think I have forgotten how to get there. :)
Where is his phone number? I lost it again.
August 9th 7:41 P.M.
"Do I need wading shoes?" Nah, I'm lazy. These casual
sandals that I wore to Portland will do just fine.
"Do I need to retie this tippet?"
Nah, won't catch anything anyway...
Kilchis sits by me after dinner, back erect, head up, in wait.
He knows what happens next.
"It's time to go to the river, Mom."
One paw comes up to lay on my thigh.
I didn't really want to go anywhere. I'm tired. The doc said my eye is legally blind, or slightly worse. (How can it be worse than blind?)
At first, I told him, "No, Kilchis, down!"
He persisted. He knows what is best for me. He knows to draw me away from the computer when my face looks sullen. He begs me to quit typing, to stop cleaning the kitchen. He tells me those clothes don't need to be folded right now.
"It's time to greet nature with a splash!" He seems to say. It's time to listen, to watch... to be out of doors, to be free!
I give in.
I'm still in a skirt and tank top, but I'll only be out a little bit. Kilchis just needs to run. I take my rod down from it's place, slip my fly vest over my shoulder, and drag myself one foot after the other, out to the river.
I am not matching Kilchis' enthusiasm.
The sandals I am wearing are not made for rocks, and my ankles tip and tweak as I nearly fall to the river's edge.
Kilchis knows best. My mood lifts by the time I am paying out line. My feet feel better too, planted safely in the sand.
He's already off, chasing a flock of fowl that we spooked, splashing through the riffles, and barking frustration at the top of his lungs. This is dog's work, and he craves it.
The wind is blowing strong, straight in my face, and I look longingly to the other side of the river. I have a skirt on... I could wade across, then I could work with the wind. I'd have to take off my sandals though, and wade barefoot. The rocks look uncomfortable, the river cold. My shoes are leather, and I like these shoes.
"I'm staying here." I decided to rough it, and cast right into the wind.
Three inches of tippet, and a borden's special, whip into the wind and land, curled, 20 feet from where I wished it had gone. I start to bring my line in rapidly, to attempt a more accurate cast.
JERK! Fish on! I brought in an 11 inch cutt!
I released the fish, and tried again.
My line swirled and fought against the wind, dancing in resistance, it landed, curled again, in mid current.
JERK! FISH ON!!!
I couldn't believe it! These fish were taking right at the point where I usually stand, when I do cross the river!
Twenty minutes, and six fish later, I met up with Kilchis.
Soaking wet, filthy, and wagging his tail, he looked up at me and smiled that special dog smile that always melts my heart.
"Told you so, Mom... Feelin' better?"
It's Andrew's 15th birthday today! It just keeps getting harder
and harder to figure out what to buy for a teen birthday!
Yesterday Bill and I fished tidewater for cutts. What a beautiful coastal day! It's very rare to be able to wear shorts and a tee shirt fishing on any river at the coast. Although the temperatures are occasionally warm enough, the wind usually picks up enough to send a shiver down your spine.
Yesterday's breeze was tolerable.
We took Andrew to work, boat in tow, put in at the muddy boat launch, and off we went! (Toot toot! As Jim Erickson likes to say!)
Sitting in the small duck boat, I stretched my legs across the side, and lazily commenced to fish.
We trolled up river, watching a beaver cut a vee across the water ahead, identifying birds, releasing an occasional cutt.
Noticing our depths go from 6 feet to two, I gazed down, watching for snags that could come into contact with the propeller.
I bent over to release a dandy fresh searun cutt, and witnessed the transformation of the river as the tide changed. A warm wind picked up. The smooth and lazy slate of river, which had reflected long beams of sunlight, transformed into a shimmering sheet of diamonds. Each tiny riffle sparkled so bright I had to squint my eyes.
I was dazzled! The gift of sight is precious, and yes! I want to have my other eye fixed! Imagine all this, times two! Two cutthroat! Two salmon! Two rivers! :)
So, as soon as 8:00 comes round, I will be calling my surgeon to make an appointment. "Doc? I want a double!"
I'm a bit sunkissed, and at peace with my decision this morning.
Ifishstock: Been getting some serious complaints about the day that I chose. Please vote here for the day of choice. It was Sept 14th, but we may now boost it up to the 21st. I wish this weren't so difficult to pick a date. (Grumble grumble.)
September 21st really has better fishing tides, and the day does not conflict with the Tillamook Angler's disabled children's fishing day.
Off the the races...
Off to B 10!!!
Oh, what a mellow trip this will be! NOT!
On the way, we'll pass through Nehalem, and I'm sure I'll get pulled to the dock there, but Bill has his heart set on bouncing around in the grand Columbia. We'll get fish! Right? :)
Surgeon has no time in the immediate future to do my surgery. Bummer. It'll prob happen after ifishstock 2002. Smack in the middle of fall salmon.
I told Bill he can play my fish, but I'm going to be there to hook them, eye bandages and all.
Bill's got the boat hooked up, and is doing that motor revving thing. It's the male way to say, "Hurry the heck up!!!"
Got my fish! Nice 15 or 16 pound buck, above. What a day!
It's rarely 100 degrees at the coast, but the Columbia was flat calm, not a cloud in the sky, and really warm! I was stripping off my layers by 9:00 in the morning.
By 11:00 I was wondering if my underclothes looked enough like a swim suit to strip down further. Bill assured me that no, they did not! So, I rolled up my jeans, took off my tennis shoes, and dangled my feet in the water.
We fished the Washington side, around the church hole. From the bridge to Illwaco, race back, and do it again!
The fish are just starting to come in. Finally, around low slack, we were turned sideways trying to figure out the current, and "Bingo!" Fish on!
It was a strange fish, with no fight to him at all. I lifted my rod and had to patiently wait while Bill assembled the net. I kept half expecting the fish to take a run as we attempted to net him. Nope! Scoop him up, Bill! Was he also suffering from heat exhaustion?
Interesting note on temperatures: On the way home, the temperature gage inside the car read Gearhart at 101 degrees. Traveling through Seaside, the temp dipped to 75! Twenty Six degrees difference in 3 miles!
The rest of the drive home was spent betting what the temperature in the next town would be. It varied so widely that we were seldom on the mark.
By the time we got home, we greeted two sullen and immobile boys at the house.
"It's too hot!" Andrew whined, laying on the couch.
It was. We had a high of 100 at the house, I think. Maybe 101.
After dinner, I started to make my way upstairs. I had pulled a mattress off of the spare bed and onto our bedroom deck, outside.
Kilchis stopped me mid stairs.
"Uh... The river, Mom?"
Oh. Back down the stairs I went, with a sigh. I grabbed my fly rod and headed out to the river for Kilchis.
The moon was up. Ever fly fished at dusk, with the moon overhead? Beautiful! (Thanks again, Kilch!)
Once upstairs, I slipped my sunburned body under a down comforter, and gazed at the blanket of stars overhead.
Bill kept saying, "Did you see that?"
I have never in my life been able to see a meteor shower. Not even one shooting star. If my surgery allowed me to be able to see that, I would be thrilled!
I woke up this morning, feeling very warm against the cool morning air. Kilchis was under the covers. He was on his back, sprawled out against me, with his nose poking out of the covers, and his head tucked into my neck. Bill was nearly off the other edge, and I was squashed in the middle.
I think he must have fallen asleep watching the meteor showers.
It's a dog's life.
Yes, I was frustrated last night. I had to simply walk away from
the PC. I called Kilchis, slipped on my rubber boots, and waded across the river
without felts... It was slippery, and took forever. Ever tried to walk on glass?
Finally got to the other side, laid out my fly, began casting. The dinner bell
rang at the house. Andrew yelled, "MOMMMMMM! David needs a ride home!"
Argh. Waded back across, sputtering not very nice words, got in the truck and headed to town. I then marched upstairs and watched ICU, which featured Marfan Syndrome.
That was depressing...
There are so many GOOD things that we can do with our community at ifish. So many that I have to pick and choose how much effort that I can put into any one thing.
Out of the ifish/computer realm, there are life things to deal with. School money shortages, and fundraisers, Doctors appointments, fishing... I've been asked to fill out a form for STAC (Salmon Trout Advisory Committee) ... where did that form go?
I'm a 'feel good' junky. I like to do things that help others, or make a difference in their lives. I also, however, get disgusted, and would like to see some laws changed here and there.
On the computer, people write to me, occasionally, about someone who broke their rod, and could we please help them raise money for another?
... Or the most recent battle for our sports fishery... we need letters, and campaigns and...
This little girl needs surgery, and she loves fishing, and...
My heart goes out to all of them, and I can only find 35 hours in one day to help. It's frustrating!
I'm finding myself knee deep in projects. My 'to do' list is now written on a cashier's tape, rolled up two inches thick, and dangling to the ground.
We need a form to have people sign to get clamming laws changed. I'm going to do that soon.
Ifishstock needs organizing and the park permit paid for. I'll do that today.
I have four or five products I want to share with you from ICAST.
Stan Fagerstrom's new column is in my in box, and needs to be updated.
There are two new ifish clients that need to be welcomed and pages and links for them made.
Ifish community members want a business directory, and I haven't even decided on the software I'll use, or how it will work, or the user rules, or...
There is a thread or two on the discussion board that bother me and need watching.
My bank account? Balance that? Ha ha! Right!
Gary Krum is getting a very special mention on ifish. I'm building a web page for him to help direct people to where they can help cover financial needs for medical treatment. I'll post that later today.
What do you mean, we are out of milk again? The cat needs food? What cat?
I turned the pig roasting idea over to Kiwanda Kid. Bill asked me questions about it. I told him, "I have no clue! I'll give you the pigmittees phone number!" :)
Most importantly, I scheduled my eye surgery for September 18th. They will figure out what artificial lens to put in on the 10th. So cool! More monofilament in my eye. What pound test? :)
What do I do first? Where do I start?
Coffee. I'll be right back.
Jennie's in the office today. All 35 hours of it.
Nothing like 3 snickerdoodle cookies and a potsticker for breakfast!
I was in a cooking/homey mode yesterday. I made two batches of cookies and a deluxe Chinese dinner. Moo goo gai pan (Except not gai, shrimp instead...), fried rice, and potstickers. (O.K., the potstickers were from Costco!)
Buoy 10 is in full swing, after a fairly slow start. The phone is ringing off the hook and the first bit of conversation always includes a report on the Columbia. Everyone has the bug!
The Nehalem is heating up a bit too.
Usually Bill and I rise slowly, do the coffee, newspaper and internet thing, and then decide to hit the Nehalem rather casually.
We fish for an hour or so, and about the time I need to go visit the ladies room, midmorning, I notice the old timers leaving.
"The bite's over!" They say, as I head down the ramp to go out fishing again. "You are wasting your time!" Usually they are correct.
There is an early morning bite! I "witnessed" it yesterday!
We set the alarms for 4:30, staggered out to the car and put in by 6:00. It was an aluminum hatch out there! But... there were fish caught! The Nehalem Fish Checker reports 13 caught, and we must have witnessed half of those in the very early morning hours around deer island.
We can never seem to get it completely dialed in though, as the only herring we owned were old, refrozen green labels. Yuck!
On the way home, we stopped and got four packages of new ones. Next time we will probably get there late, but we'll have our herring! :)
One out of two isn't bad, but it doesn't add up to fish. I think it's partly the fact that our freezer is full of fish. What might we do with more? :)
I woke up to beautiful pink clouds this morning, but now the canyon is completely fogged in and chilly.
I'm sitting here in soggy slippers, because I went out to water all my plants. My begonias and fuchsias got awfully sunburned on those 100° days, so now that it's chilly and overcast, I have them hanging under the apple trees, nicely protected from the.... clouds?
Kind of the same maligned thinking as our Nehalem fishing techniques.
Some day I'll put it all together!
Things are going well with the fund raiser for Gary Krum, and I know that God's hand is in this.
I have got to think that that is more important than getting my fishing sync down, or my flowers protected from the sun.
Soon, we'll turn over a new leaf, and bobber season will be upon us!
Rod tips go nowhere but up from here on in!
While cutthroat fishing last week, I passed a spot in the river that made me pause to think. Last fall, we rounded this same corner to find Gary Krum, alone in his boat, bobber fishing for chinook.
We pulled up along side and set anchor next to him. We talked, laughed, and caught fish.
We'll see you there again, this fall, Gary!
It's 5:00 in the morning, and I've done my dog routine.
I stagger down the stairs, dodging the wagging tailed, dog parade. We all head to the laundry room where they wait for their expected cookie. Outside they go, dog biscuit in tow, to bark at the creatures of the night.
I grab my coffee, take my vitamins, and turn on the computer to warm it up.
The dogs soon bark to get in, and are given a pigs ear to pacify them, while my coffee goes to work on me.
It's time to answer e mails, sort them into folders, figure out if I have the wits about me to write back yet, or save it for later, when my brain is more caffeinated.
I check the stats, make sure the weather station didn't blurb overnight, do a quick review of the board for inappropriate posts, and plan a "ready, set" contest for the week.
Mondays and Tuesdays decide my budget for the week. It's when the hub of activity on ifish needs care.
New advertisers? New clients? -- Or, will it be a true budget week? New software updates to purchase? Web bills to pay? In this weeks case, a pig to buy for ifishstock!
E mail decides my fate, and my diet.
I'll tell ya, sometimes it's very comforting to know that I could live for two weeks as long as my freezer is working, and I have three shelves of vac packed salmon and clams!
Yesterday I fished Nehalem. John, the fish checker reported bobber caught salmon at deer island.
Bill and I lazily put in around noon, the boat filled with trolling rods, bobber rods, and if things really got boring, rods to play with the cutthroat.
Let's just say that all rods came in handy. :)
Salmon were splashing all around us, including one that came right at the boat. "Resident Chinook" I giggled, as it's gray faced, black body arched out of the water, landing with a lazy spaloosh!
"Yuck! I don't want to catch that!"
At home, tired, I put together a meal of leftover Chinese food, and collapsed on the couch.
"Not so quick!"
Kilchis reminded me that he had been housebound all day, and it was his turn to play river.
He sat, erect, waiting for my bones to move. "Mommmmmmm!"
All right! On with the tennis shoes... One foot in front of the other... I'm tired!
I didn't take my fly rod. The river is too low, and the current? Well, there is none.
The wide expanse of river out back lays quiet and still. The algae doesn't sway in the current, it curls up towards the sun and freezes like a stalagmite.
I leaned over to stare.
This eye, or this eye? Which sees it better? Reaching up to cover one eye with my hand, I stared.
The eye that needs surgery has depth perception, unlike the eye that I have had surgery in. That's a nice feature, depth perception, but the focus was blurry and cloudy. I couldn't make out the details.
Still hunched over, I then covered my bad eye, and took inventory on what I could see with it. Detail! More detail! I reached over to see if I could touch it. I missed by about 6 inches.
Depth perception is a nice feature. I'll miss that.
I remember, after my last eye surgery, it took weeks to learn to walk again. I could see things, but I couldn't tell how far away they were. Walking on slopes or rocks was a real challenge. I fell often. I looked like I had been through world war II. Bumps and bruises everywhere.
After September 18th, will I have two eyes without depth perception? Or will the combination of two eyes that see create perception?
Still covering the bad eye, I went for a test walk down the river. I tripped on some rocks, but I could see!
When will Kilchis realize he'll never catch a dipper? It's almost like the dippers know Kilchis is coming, and they come out to tease and play with him. They dart across the river, with Kilchis fast behind. I've never heard a dog with more frustration in his voice!
His nails are worn to the nub, from racing on rocks. I tracked him with my good eye, splashing across the shallows, then unexpectedly hitting a deep spot, his momentum burying him up to his ears in water.
I stopped then, to cover my surgery eye.
He vanished. Kilchis was gone!
Quickly, I changed eyes again, and he reappeared.
I need surgery. Yip. I do.
My doctor knows that, but I need to know that as well.
Last year, after the busy hectic planning for the party, I remember feeling let down. All the excitement of planning, preparation, and the final "hoopla" left me with nothing to look forward to.
How do you avoid that? Plan surgery four days post party!
Still, I worry. Will I be able to cast accurately? Will I be able to step out of the boat, without landing in the water, instead?
An image fills my mind.
It's five in the morning, and I'm ready to make my way downstairs with the wagging dog parade.
Those are tough stairs, and I suddenly see myself, missing a step and catapulting down the stairs, head over heels, dog tails and bodies landing on top of me.
Depth perception is a nice feature.
Do I really need surgery, Doc?
The river is so low, that I rarely take my fly rod out anymore.
Maybe I'll do that this morning, when the light first hits the tops of the hills.
I'll have to tie a new tippet.
Two days ago, I packed up my fly rod, filled a bottle of water, put on my breathable waders and decided to find out just how far I could hike up the Kilchis river canyon from my back yard.
I was running away.
Exhausted from modern communications, techno tools, and mind labor, I wanted to sweat, to tire my muscles, to have no contact with anyone.
The phone rang, and I closed the door behind it.
For all Kilchis and Dee Dee know, it is 1920. All they see is the river, tall trees, and forest. No people, no dogs, no boats, and no civilization.
In the past, I have had two boyfriends who had stated that they had been born in the wrong century. They believed they should have been born earlier, when things were wild, less crowded, and uncivilized.
They would like it here.
The river lured me further and further from home. Not one piece of trash did I find, not one reminder that it is 2002.
I know this river well, in the winter, but the low summer river levels make it all new. Rocks were unveiled that had been hidden from me. Long winter rains and storms held them six feet under, the current tumbling them to a shiny opaque purple. Little purple jewels, against the bleached white rocks.
There were places I walked that I believe no one has walked all summer.
Never satisfied with what I found around the next turn in the river, I kept on. What is around this corner? Oh! Look ahead! The next corner is where I'm headed!
I was lured on.
I only had to wade up near my waist to make a crossing once. Otherwise, it was multiple crossings in the riffles up to my knees.
There were very few fishable areas. I bent down to let my fly swirl in a current, tucked under a shady ledge. There had to be a big cutthroat in there! The water flowed deep and clear here. I had to bend down on my knees in the riffles above it to properly place my fly. The overhanging trees broke off my tippet.
I never did retie that tippet. There was too much else to do.
I spent the day deciphering animals footprints, looking for agates, and following whatever it was that called me, deep into the forest.
I marked places that might hide chanterelles in the fall. I noted channels that had changed, rocks that were placed that will hold steelhead in the winter.
The call to go further only grew stronger.
Dee Dee, Kilchis and I, probably traveled two miles upriver, and south, deep into the forest. We were looking for places that animals bed down. The dogs found droppings, and led the way, noses down, tails wagging.
We followed a trickling stream, that in the winter, had carved a deep V into the mountains.
"Mom! Look at this poop! What is this poop?"
Next to the dropping, was a print that could have been nothing but a cougar.
Suddenly, fear took hold. Is this a cougar dropping? Is it fresh? I had heard rumors of "Cougar Creek". Was this Cougar Creek? Where the sightings were reported?
Oddly, it was a good feeling, if only for a moment. Part of it real fright, part fantasy. I knew where the river was, I could still hear it, faintly, and knew to just follow it downstream. I knew a cougar wouldn't attack with dogs around me. I knew, deep down, that a road was directly above me, well traveled, and a park was downriver, and to the North.
Still, I chose to believe I was lost, being tracked by a cougar just waiting to pounce on me.
I turned and ran, tripping over the brambles, my chest pounding, my legs, wobbly and tired.
Kilchis and Dee Dee chased after me. They sensed danger, but glancing up at me and seeing fear, and hearing giggles, knew that this was all a game.
I made it to the main river and sighed, as I rested on a log, half in, and half out of the stream.
Dee Dee sat down next to me, as I reached for my water bottle.
Kilchis, was still tireless, wildly chasing after dippers, chasing from one side of the stream to the other.
I finally opened the door to the house. Bill was watching TV, the computers hummed, the telephone rang, and the mail sat stacked on the kitchen table.
2002 welcomed me.
I smiled. I can take this now.
O.K., I came back to 2002, but now I am retreating to the forest
I am stressed. Too much work to do in too many directions.
Moving to Montana is starting to sound rather inviting. Alaska? Under a bridge with a good fishing hole?
My bobber rod is coming with me this time... I want to find something 40 plus pounds on this adventure.
I'll be back and cheery later-- Fish or no fish! I just need a little time to meditate on a bobber.
Early morning... I have to go fishing again. Not quite done with
escaping. Then, back home today to work and try to catch up.
I barbecued fresh "bobber" chinook last night! :) Finally! A limit of chinook!
Greedy me! I have to go do it again!
As Jim and I motored the boat slowly through the no wake zone,
I noticed a new chill in the air. I found a dry, clean, rag and used it to cover
my head and ears.
He called me "mop head".
"It's fall!" I grinned. The Fall salmon that we were after, the occasional leaf that blew down from the surrounding trees, the dead grasses that waved on the banks... They all shouted the season.
"I love fall! It exhilarates me!"
Jim turned to me, with a totally opposite reaction.
"Loretta and I always get sad this time of year. Everything is dying, a whole year has cycled by..."
I know people think that way. I realize everything is dying. I see it around me, everywhere I go, but I don't match his melancholy.
Fall is my favorite season!
I walked the banks of the Kilchis river last night. The only noise was the crunching of dead orange leaves scattered within the rocks, and a single bird singing across the river. Gazing into the still, algae covered rocks of the river, it occurred to me.
This is called the pinch period of the river. It's the period of the annual cycle when the factors necessary for fish are least favorable. I noted less baby steelhead darting in the riffles.
There were no more pretty purple flowers across the river, nestled deep green, in the understory of the forest bank's fauna.
Even in the deepest pools, I could see clear through to the benthic region of the Kilchis River.
A crawdad disturbed the stillness. Macrobenthic organisms, count them... at every depth.
"Oh! But Jim!" I thought as I walked... Your river! Soon the the river will burst into full bloom!"
I wanted to call him with the news!
The plants, the trees, the vegetation, they may be fading, but the land and the sky, the ocean and the rivers! They are about to be christened with life!
The land will bloom with brilliant colors, from the deep orange of falling leaves, to the lacy filigree of ice crystals outlining every intricate detail!
Chanterelle mushrooms will wait to be found!
The sky will turn 5 shades in one day! Pale blue skies will draw black awesome clouds from the ocean. The land will darken. Rain will blow sideways. Rain, sleet, and snow! How can that be death?
One morning you will wake up, the lawn covered with icy snow, and the sun will shine brilliantly down on you, crisp and clear, filtering through the baron trees as you slide down the North Fork Nehalem in your raft!
Steelhead, Jim! Steelhead!!!
The rivers will have exploded into action! This tiny, trickle of a stream, seemingly on it's last leg, will grow larger and larger, until it covers, and quenches these dry, thirsty rocks.
It's time to rearrange the furniture of dead logs and branches. riverside, that have come to think they are here to stay.
No reason to be sad, Jim! This! This is Fall! This is the season where anadromous fish are lured upstream! How can that ever be sad?
I always get excited this time of year. Everything is living, and a whole new year has begun!
Read about the ocean bound elk here!
Drama on the Kilchis:
Twas the night before church and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for my spouse.
3:49 A.M., the dogs are barking. I yawn, tell them to hush, and roll over.
Must be coyotes.
Wait! There are people yelling, and a car horn intermittently honking. What's happening out there? Bill got up, checked it out, and went back to bed. Then, I got up.
...And out from the window there came such a clatter, I rose from my bed to see what was the matter!
Standing under the moonlit sky, (Man, it was beautiful last night!) I half wanted to break out into The Sound Of Music, "The hills are alive...." but I thought it inappropriate...
I listened as two men, (?) argued, fought, and yelled, from across the river on the logging road. Strings of profanity rang clear as a bell, from the hills.
...when what to my wondering ears should appear, but a mean old drunk spouting filth in my ear ...
I called to Bill. "Come listen to this!"
Just as Bill came out to the deck, one guy said, (deleting expletive) "I'm going to go to ******** jail for this, but I don't ******* care!!!" His shouts were followed by crashing trees and brush.
Pushing the car over the cliff? Oh my Gosh! Bill stumbled to the phone, and dialed 911.
Funny, my immediate reaction was to yell over, "Do you need help?" (and I think I did, at one point.) and Bill's was... "Get the gun!"
After the sound of brush breaking, we heard the guy(s) walking up river. We called 911 back and told them the direction they were headed.
So up to the Kilchis, the police, they flew, With a car full of spot lights, and detectives, too.
Soon, one emergency vehicle came driving up the logging road and skidded to a stop in front of the scene in question. Then another emergency vehicle, then another, then another... Lots of activity over there!
I'm not sure what happened, and it's still too dark for me to tell. All I know, is that this girl has been up since 3:49, and I have to go to Astoria to church this morning. I am beat!
I just hope that no gas and oil end up in the Kilchis River. I hope no one was hurt.
Merry Christmas. :(
Haven't slept well for two nights now... zzzzzzz
Found out, yes, the guys had stolen a car, and yes, they were pushing it into the river.
My Mom used to save those little hotel shampoos and conditioners
and soaps, unused, and give them to the Women's Crisis Center.
They appreciated them so much, as sometimes women have to leave the house in a hurry, in a bad situation, and don't have the luxury of personal items.
I had saved up a whole zip lock bag of them, and I was driving around Tillamook trying to find the Women's Crisis Center.
Now... before I go on, let me tell you that my Mother always told me that if you are feeling down in the dumps, do something for someone else. Actually, I don't know if she actually ever told me this, but I got this concept, perhaps, from her example. I'd notice an upturn of mood after she would donate her time to play the piano at a nursing home, bring cut flowers to church events, or make a complete dinner, for a family in need. She was always busy giving, and not often enough, doing something for herself.
So, I drove around, in search. I stopped at the local Good Will, and they told me there were better places to donate this type of thing.
Where? They didn't know.
IDEA!!! I drove by a counseling center. They MUST know people who are in need, right? Women in trouble get counseling, right?
So, I parked the car outside, and got out. Kilchis was in the car, and started barking and whining at my departure. It sounded as if he were dying. I snuck quietly in. No one at the reception desk, so I grabbed a notepad to leave a note with the shampoos.
Kilchis sang out his heart breaking song. "Where is my Mom??? Woo woo woooooooooooo..."
In a flash, the counseling door opened, and counselor lady flew out, and opened the door to see what the racket was.
She closed the door, turned to me and said, in an angry disturbed tone, "I am in session! What do you need?" Her face contorted into an angry glow.
"I'm sorry, I just wanted to..."
She interrupted me, "Leave your name and phone number and I'll get back to you!"
I was crushed.
I left a note with the donation and crawled sheepishly back in my car.
It's not the 'feel good' feeling I was after. She never did call back.
The experience reminded me instantly of May Day, when I was a little girl. Tradition had it that we would assemble flower boxes with colored construction paper, and fill them with freshly cut flowers. It was exciting to place them on neighbors doorsteps, ring the doorbell, and run to hide in their bushes to see their excited and surprised reaction.
The last time I did this, the lady came screaming to the door, opened it, and yelled cantankerously, "I saw you little brats out there!"
She didn't look down to see the flowers.
"Get out of my bushes you little menaces!"
As we crawled out of the bushes, she noticed the flowers, and softened her approach, but the tears were already streaming down our frightened faces, and nothing she could say afterward could reverse the fear and trembling!
It seems for days now, I have attempted acts of kindness in trade for a 'feel good' feeling, and I have failed.
It wasn't only the shampoo, it has been several attempts of things I thought were kind, and somehow they have backfired.
I have totally redone papers and put them on the web for people, who have not so much as uttered a thank you.
I have baked the kids a wild blackberry pie, and received only a complaint that there wasn't enough ice cream to go with it.
Then, I created a flower and bath item gift box for a lady at church who has been kind to me. It was beautiful! Got to church and she wasn't there...
Try, try again...
I need a 'feel good' fix!
So, today, contrary to my Mother's compulsive giving, I am going to reverse tradition and give to myself. She never did that, my Mother.
I'm going to do it. Today is mine.
I have two little bottles upstairs, one of shampoo, one of conditioner, unopened, from a fancy hotel. I am going to climb in a steaming hot shower, open them carefully and use them alllllllllllllllllllllll up.
Then, I'm going to come downstairs and take the last big slice of blackberry pie and eat it for breakfast, in front of everybody.
I feel better already.
Days and days and days without a fishing trip. This is getting
Tomorrow! Tomorrow I fish!
Oh! Guess what? Yesterday, in the mail, I got a thank you note for the toiletries I brought to the counseling center. They took them over to the Women's Crisis Center themselves. That was nice. I feel a bit softened now. However, this is a warning. Do not go to a counseling center unless you have an appointment! Yikes! :)
How am I doing this? How am I running this web site that has so many facets, and reaches thousands of people a day? How did it happen?
I created a monster!
I started a fishing journal online. I bought software for a weather station. I got some letters in response. People wanted to talk. So, I added a free chat program. We had about 10 people.
I remember being thrilled that ifish.net got 100 hits!
I am marketing, I am bookkeeper, I am html girl, I am moderator, I am admin, I am secretary and I am writer. The Daily Oregonian bought some of my photographs. Am I now photographer too? I'd like to think so!
I am also Mother, cook, chief head of laundry, entertainment director, taxi, and disciplinarian.
The kids and I have a new deal. I give them $5.00 at the beginning of the week to be paid at the end of the week. For every dish I find out of place, I subtract .50 cents. So far, so good!
...I am pianist, 'wanna be' artist, and gardener.
Today I play taxi for Andrew, as we travel to doctors afar.
I am medical consultant.
Sometimes.... sometimes I wanna just live under a bridge somewhere and fish all day. (It would have to be a bridge with a deep hole, where salmon hold up.)
OK! Enough of this overload!
The lights of my office equipment blink in a dizzying array. How many computers in here? Three? ..and scanners, and printers, and faxes and weather stations... It looks like Christmas in here at 5:00 in the morning, with the lights still off. I call it my electric fireplace.
Throw a log on! Let's heat this place up with some fish talk!
On web stats, on e mail, on discussion and banter!
On software, on keyboards, on computers and scanners!
Ladies and Gentlemen, please start your computers...
I do love my monster. :)
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