Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington
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August 2004


Jennie's
Fishing Life


August 2nd, 2004

Oh! I get it! Finally, I know what you all were talking about regarding teenagers!
I have spent an entire weekend worrying about mine truly, Andrew. Krazzy Joe, that is, or that's what his friends call him.
I have spent 72 hours worrying, when the scheduled event was to leave me home alone, while they were with their Father for his visitation. I really enjoy my time alone.
It didn't happen that way.
What do you say when the girls call, and say, "Is K. J. there?"
WHO?

I doubt they even know he has a real name!



A little arts and crafts for the summer. This is a painted vinyl floor mat that I did for our kitchen. I just love the colors and the playfullness of it!

"K. J." is crazy about this band called Rasputina. All play cello, and they are pretty darn good. I enjoy them, also.
So, Andrew is scheming this summer, on how to get enough money to pay for the concert, at Horning's Hideout in North Plains. He is unemployed this summer. You know, that disappoints me, but it is very, very hard to get a teenager employed around here.
I worked summers from the age of 7 on, in the berry fields of Canby. Sure, it was awful, but I always had summer money no matter how slowly I picked. I have good memories of it, even as I look back at how horrid it was. Ugh. Hot bologna sandwich lunches. sitting in the sun in the dirt!
Today the scene is much different, and even the jobs at McDonalds are taken by adults needing extra income.
Anyhow, scheming he was, both on how to get to the concert, and how to pay for it.
He has a very dear friend, Leah. A fellow senior, and a really nice gal. She is a good student, a responsible sort, with a great sense of humor. I enjoy her company, and am pleased to call her my son's friend. She is 17, I believe, and has come to the point where legally, she can drive friends around.
It was a very long and difficult decision for me to agree to let her drive. First, Andrew said her parents would drive. Then, that they would drive behind, and that they would drive home, alone. Several options were thrown out, daily, as the concert approached, and I was mostly lost on the plan of the day.
The day before the concert, Andrew and I got into an argument, in which he was very disrespectful. (Teenagers, disrespectful? Andrew? I mean, "K. J."?)
We resolved our issues, somewhat, and the plan was that Leah would drive. The times he gave me were scattered and unsure. The whole plan seemed dicey and careless, and not at all how I like to plan my life.
I was so unsure!
At the end of the evening, I asked Andrew, "What about your Dad's plans to come pick you up?"
"Oh! I cancelled that. We have been e mailing."
WHAT?
I hadn't heard of this plan! So, no free time for Jennie? David would be home. My plan to fish all day with Bill, and sleep soundly the night before, instead of answering assorted calls for teenagers was gone? I would instead, be up worrying about his safe travel.
I gulped back my frustration. I called their Dad. He said that he had told Andrew to tell me, numerous times.
I stayed up late, trying to come to an answer. I fretted, I paced, I bickered with Andrew. I wrote to friends. "What would you do?" I called my sisters. "Would you allow this?" I searched around for answers, and finally, the "softy" in me handed him 25.00 and an I.OU, and gave him permission to drive with Leah.
I spoke with Leah's parents, and was assured she was a safe driver. We went through times, and phone numbers to call, and plans for them to call home, both before they left the concert, and when they arrived at the Guide Shop. That's the first place a cell phone works.
They were to arrive home by 10:00 P.M. That is also when I began my planned worries. That meant I should get a phone call by 9:45.
9:45 PM was also when I began to count the minutes, while I lay in bed.
9:45... 9:46...9:47....
What seemed like hours, (no, days!) later, it was 10:19... 10:20...10:40... ARGH! I was a mess!
I actually went downstairs, and half joking, half serious tied a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree. I really did! Half to make them laugh, and half to convince me that they would come home!
Well, I received a frustrated and "sorry" phone call at 10:50. They had arrived at Leah's home. Not at all their plan, but they were alive.
Upon arrival, Andrew had all kinds of reasonable excuses and verbal apologies. I didn't feel he, however, was remorseful. My time filled with worry made me angry, and un accepting of his ramblings. I was exhausted, and felt his plans were poorly thought out, and poorly executed. They had changed cars, so that they could drive a more reliable car of their parents. That car had no cell phone charger, and their cell phone ran out of batteries. The band broke a string, and were late... on and on.
Well, I thank God that they are safe, and I'm proud of me for letting go this little bit, and allowing him a little freedom. After all, he is nearly 17.
Still, I miss the little boy who used to care about my feelings and worry, more than he did his own independence. He can argue a good defense, (Wonder where he got that?) with the best of them, and I'm just not up to the challenge.
By the way, I did fish the Nehalem yesterday, all day long. There was a bite in the afternoon high tide, but Bill and I did not catch anything. It was one of those days for us... However, when I first put my line out, in the morning, I did get a screaming take like you would not believe! I watched the salmon go off sideways about 300 feet. I picked up my rod, felt the weight of the fish do a swirl, and it was gone! DARN!
Dennis Stewart looked over having watched the event, and shouted, "Good mornin' Jen!"
But you know... Today is a new day. In the end, having "K. J." home and safe is better than the biggest salmon I could ever land.
... and let me tell you, teenagers put up a heck of a fight.

August 4th, 2004

Yesterday, having thought I had fulfilled my most important obligations, I spent much of the day sitting beside the river, watching for leaves to fall. The wind blew fairly strong, and occasionally, a single leaf would fall from a tree. I'd count the seconds of it's journey, as it was swept, fluttering in the wind, upstream. Some traveled a far distance, some floated zig zag, and then straight down, into the water.
I was at peace.
I adore the coming of Fall. As I walked the stretch of the river, single maple leaves clung to the bottom of the river, and caught my attention and caused me to pause.
As I returned to the house, I drove up to get my mail. it was then, that I opened a letter to more work.
Sigh.
It was as if God had prepared me, with a last moment of rest, before I dig in, once again. What is frustrating is that this work is redundant and cumbersome. Might I even suggest, mostly unnecessary. However, it is an obligation that I must fulfill.
I began digging out papers that were stored underneath the back stairs in the garage, sorting spiders from web, and assorted mouse tails that cats had left. Oh! A bunny's ear! What a dirty place!
It's a new day. It's not Monday, but it sure feels like it! Thanks be to God, that I saved these papers, and that everything is in proper order. I recall the urge that led me to record and to save everything, and I am, indeed, thankful!
It is time to head off to the copy store, and begin to copy, sort, file, and assemble. Ah... how much I'd like to spend the day by the river, again! Today, there is rain, and wind, and how much like Fall it feels!
I guess life has it's balance, and we'd not know the restful moments in life, if we didn't experience the opposite.

August 5th, 2004

A couple people asked if I got audited. Heavens, no! Thank God for that, too! What a hassle that would be!
I've got to get out and fish! The natives are getting restless on the bulletin boards, and I just want to run, run, run for the river!
My doctor who asked me to go to Physical Therapy, said that do my Jane Fonda exercise tape, instead. Well, guess what? Jane is killing me! I can't move! I think Physical Therapy might be needed for sure, after this! Make it burn, Jane! Yeowch!

August 6th, 2004

Woke up to a solid, heavy rain this morning. Still, decided to proceed as planned and take the day off to fish the Nehalem. Loaded the boat, got everything ready and kissed Kilchis goodbye.
Hit Garibaldi and got hit by a swift steady wind. Turn around.... go home. Think we will hit the river later. The gust we felt was reported at 48 mph on the data chart here. This is located off of our data page here. It's very handy and we should have checked it before departing.
I cannot express strongly enough the importance of this data page. The message here is "know before you go."
The data page is full of river levels, weather forecasts, buoy reports, wind records, and things every boater should be aware of before launching. This is especially important and handy for the ocean fisherman.
If there are links that you think might be handy for ifish to add to this page, please let me know!
The data page is probably the most accessed page at ifish. Still, I think it bears repeating.
Know, before you go!
Sure wish we had checked. But you know, now I get to look forward to this afternoon! I think I'll wander out to the river with my fly rod and see if any cutts are feeling the need to move into the upper Kilchis. You never know! The blackberries are hanging on the vines, and if history repeats itself, now is the time! This year has been rather slow for cutts. More so than I can ever recall! On trips when we usually get 20 or 30, we've been skunked twice, and got one fish once. We had a couple good days earlier in the season, and that is very backwards. Wonder what is up? I hope that the ODFW realizes the lack of fish on their dives, and reconsiders their recommendation to open the cutthroat trout on the North Coast for retention. I really do notice a decrease.
Last year at this time, I nailed a 22 inch cutt, right in my backyard. I think I got him on a spruce fly. I'll have to look that up.
I have a lesser, and two goldfinch staring at me, from two feet out my window. The birds are leaving us for Fall, but ever so slowly. I'm still enjoying their presence. We have five hummingbirds left, and probably 5 pair of goldfinch. The grosbeak are nearly gone, although I do note a couple females, still hanging around. I think they are this years babies.
Well, it's a rainy, very Fall like afternoon, and I'm purring along. I feel good today, except for the occasional twang of muscle pains from yours truly, Ms. Fonda.
Three weeks till school starts.... The kids don't want to hear that, as usual. This is Andrew's last summer before he is a free roaming adult. Now, that is a scary thought! What is equally scary is how old I am getting! But you know that's what I prayed for! I'm old! I'm old!
Couple of announcements that cry out for your involvement:
Volunteers needed!
Trout event, volunteers needed! Tomorrow!

August 7th, 2004

It stings! All day yesterday, I kept my eyes glued to my anemometer, and to the Garibaldi wind chart. Sheesh! 30-50 mph winds, all day long!
At 2:00 PM, I took a nap, in hopes of waking up to calm weather. Nope!
I made a winter type dinner, and watched some more. Maybe some late evening king fishing?
Nope!
After a nice dinner, I gathered the dogs about me, and headed out with my fly rod. The river had raised a bit, and I was sure the cutts were at least stirred up.
Nope!
However, the clouds in the sky were simply amazing! I could barely watch the action of my fly as I sat gazing into the heavens! Huge, towering 30-D (not a typo!) cumulonimbus monsters, moving very slowly and race car stratus clouds, beneath! It was the neatest sky effect I'd ever seen! I was breathless watching them! The edges of the cumulous clouds were extremely sharp and white against the backdrop of the evening blue sky. Talk about color! Blue, pink, purple, grays and stark whites!
As I stumbled, 'eyes to the heavens' back to the house, I couldn't help but call my boys out from their rooms. "Look! Look at this sky!" Somehow, they just didn't catch the excitement, or feel the amazement that I was feeling. Was I crazy? Perhaps! But, I felt like fish, or no fish, I caught the big one!
Today? Today I could fish. However, I committed to helping Jerry Dove with the kid's free fishing day at the Whiskey Creek Hatchery. I'm feeling a little pressed to do this, and wishing that I were fighting a Nehalem king, instead.
However, I'm sure that at the end of the day when all is said and done, I will be glad for the experience I am about to have.
There are plenty of fish in the sea. There are plenty of trout in the holds of the hatchery, and they both need to be relieved of their freedom!
Tomorrow? Tomorrow a King for Jen? Perhaps! Maybe even this afternoon!
At night, I've been dreaming of the perfect roll on a herring. I have an idea, and I can't wait to try it!

August 8th, 2004

Well, we fished late yesterday, after attending the trout event at the Whiskey Creek Hatchery. The digital camera is out in the boat, but I have some great pictures of kids with big trout to post! I'm just too lazy, yet, to go get it!
Everyone was taking out, as we put in.
It was not a good day on the bay for us!
Bill and I have a good trailering team going on, as far as loading and unloading. We pride ourselves on getting in and getting out quickly, as others often struggle with their business at the ramp.
Not so, yesterday.
We waited, hands on hips, as a guy used the entire ramp for a small drift boat. We kind of laughed, feeling a bit superior. Finally, I quickly backed Bill and the sled down the ramp, next to another patiently waiting fellow. This is why the ramp is double, folks. Two people can use it simultaneously. in theory, anyway!
Well, Bill was afloat in the jet sled, and I noticed a lack of engine noise. He floated sideways. Uh oh! He began to float into the other guys trailer, waiting to load his sled for takeout.
Bill couldn't start the jet pump.
So, he reached back for the trolling motor.
Double uh oh! It wouldn't start, either!
I had no option, other than to leave the ramp. There were people waiting. I just had to hope, as I parked the rig that he was getting one or the other of the engines started!
Having parked in the busy lot, I peered over the side of the rail, into the water. There was Bill, still trying to get one or the other motors started. He was adrift, looking very frustrated. I didn't want to hear any of what he was muttering.
At this point, I didn't know whether to hop in someone else's boat and tell them to hit it, or to wait and try to help! Running seemed good! :) I doubted anything Bill would have to say would be happy!
I parked my backside on the rocks that led down to the water, and watched Bill struggle. I did not say word one. I just waited.
Finally! He got the trolling motor started! Whoo hoo!
All he could say, as I crawled into the boat, was "Embarrassing! Totally embarrassing!"
Well, those were better words than I imagined!
It was embarrassing, but we were off for the day. We couldn't run up, or down, so we just trolled in the Nehalem area, and did not see one fish caught.
There are, however, fish being taken. We were just too late, and too immobile to go find them. We did clock our speed, however, attempting to get somewhere. According to the GPS, our trolling motor goes 4.6 mph! That doesn't get you far very fast, and it certainly did not take us to the fish.
Oh well, it was a pleasant day on the river. The weather was beautiful, warm, and windless.
As we silently trolled back and fourth, I had to say to myself. "It's not all about the fish, anyway."
Right?

August 9th, 2004

Sometimes I don't know what I'd do without Bill shipping me off to the waters. He insists I go fishing, whether I feel like it sometimes or not!
It's no fun living with what the doctors call "chronic pain." It's difficult to explain to someone, and it's more difficult for people to understand than you would believe.
One very repetitive question I get, is, "Why don't you like to fish in the ocean?" Even Bill asks, or subtly hints at it. He'll say, "I sure wish you liked the ocean!"
Oh! I do! I love it!
Let me try, just once again, to explain it.
When you have a connective tissue disorder like marfan syndrome, things in your body act differently. My cardiologist explained it like this. "It is more difficult for someone with marfan to walk across the room, than it is for someone without marfan."
Although I have learned to do it quite regularly, and I do not think about it, it's probably true. My connective tissue is constantly breaking down and rebuilding. Iit is very loose, so I have to constantly "grip" to stay horizontal.
When a wake hits the boat, if I were not to totally grip my muscles, I would be soup on the floor! You can only imagine what that would be like, in five foot swells, after even four hours. It's kind of like doing constant isometric exercises. You would be exhausted and sore, too! Some people tell me, "Relax!" I laugh at the thought. If I really did relax, I'd be looking up at you, from the floor!
So, see guys? I'm actually tougher than all of you Salty Dogs! (laugh)
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
The extreme joy of my being on a boat in the ocean swells for many hours causes and equal and opposite reaction that none of you would forget, I promise! The reaction is "worth it" to me, only very occasionally!
Yesterday I spent the morning in the duck boat cruising the coastal tidewaters for cutthroat. It was Sunday, and we wanted to avoid the heavily packed boat ramps of salmon fisheries.
There was no wake to deal with, or to grip against. The water was thick like syrup as the tide poured in, and the surface had an appearance of wrinkled cellulite. Isn't it funny how the surface of water so much matches the air around you? It was nearing 90 on the coast, windless, and calm. The morning was absolutely gorgeous, but the fish? Well, we saw them in the crystal clear depths, but they were incredibly spooked, and not in the mood to play.
Once home, I had to deal with a prankster on ifish, and by the time dinner hit, I was... well, "soup on the floor!"
It was deathly hot in the house. At the coast, not many people have air conditioning. It's just not needed much! When we do need it, we just venture out of doors.
First, I joined Kilchis, ankle deep in the Kilchis river. It was wonderful to feel that cool water after being in the over heated house at a computer. I searched for agates, in an attempt to calm my nerves and forget about the problems on the net. Just then, I found an agate the size of my fist! A real treasure!
Sometimes I think that these things are subtle gifts and little life surprises from God. Instantly, I looked towards the heavens and said "Thanks! Cool!"
Later, we all pulled out the air mattresses, set up sleeping bags, and pulled the television so that we could all see it, from our camping spots. It was wonderful! We watched a movie, and during the commercials, turned off the TV so that we could stare into the sky, and watch the stars.
The sky was simply amazing! At the coast, it's rarely that clear at night! Without city lights, every single star shown brilliantly!
If you'll remember, last year I set about to see my first ever shooting star. I had recently had an eye surgery that I thought would help me. I tried, so hard! Waking in the middle of the night on nights they expected we'd have a meteor shower, I'd gaze for as long as I could. I had no luck. Not knowing what it took, I even tried binoculars!
I had never seen one. Ever!
Well, last night, during a commercial, I gazed into the heavens, and mentioned again, "I've never seen a shooting star."
Not five seconds passed, and a brilliant shooting star shot through the night sky! I sucked in an enormously huge breath. "DID YOU SEE THAT?"
Yes! Everyone saw it!
I saw a shooting star for the very first time in my life!
It doesn't take much to make a big impression on me. I'm still way back here, getting big rushes off of simple pleasures that many seem to take for granted.
I know what I'm doing tonight. I'm putting the TV back where it belongs. I can't wait for the night sky! The movie was quite nice, but that shooting star left an impression on me that I'll not soon forget!

 

August 10th, 2004

Just copied a post I made last night on the board, for today. It's really all I have to say!

I've been a stress bucket most of the day, worrying about not being at my son's doctor's appointment. I have never not gone to one, until today!
Andrew had an eye appointment where they were going to try contacts on him, for the first time.
With our eyes, which have lens implants, sometimes glasses just don't do it. Andrew just finally came to me and said that he would like to try contacts. He has had a phobia about anything in his eyes for a long time, after having so many eye procedures and such. He hated people touching his eye. He got over it!
So, today his Dad had him and I couldn't go along. They just got home and I have a 17 year old kid that has NEVER seen out of one eye, and now can see out of BOTH!!!
Not only that, but it's a miracle, because since Andrew didn't use that eye, it was lazy and would wander all over and, according to Roo, it looked "freaky". Andrew often joked about it. Now he says he's sad cuz he can't joke about it any more!
Anyhow, with these contacts in just ONE DAY, his eye is tracking!!! I just can't believe this! He even looks different, talking to him!
He is wandering around telling me everything he can see, and I can SO relate to all of his feelings, having been through similar events.
He was more than legally blind in his left, and 20/80 in his right. Now he is 20/50 and 20/25!!! Can you believe that? Although it is still "telescopic" without retracting lenses, it is still a big WOW! He still cannot see depth, but this is awesome!
The biggest "wow" is that they were really worried that he would see double vision, like I do. He doesn't! Did you hear that? He doesn't!!!
He says he can read sub titles in movies, and road signs, and sees "holes in cement" when he walks!
He also had NO interest in driving... Now he says he likes it! I guess it was no wonder he didn't like it before, huh?
Whooo hoooo! I am SO excited for my 6 foot 4, 17 year old "SEEING" baby! :)
It's a whole new world for him!
GOoooooooooooooooooooooooo God!
I'm just pickled tink!
-----------------------
Remember, this is the kid that was blind at birth, until the age of six, when he had a surgery in one eye. He's seen out of that eye, since.
The only thing that is a bummer, is that he can't see near, to read or compute, now. I am taking the day off, to go get him some reading glasses to see if that helps him. I am so hopeful. I thought that Andrew might end up being on disability, due to his multiple health problems. This gives me one leg up, thinking maybe he could still do a desk job, now? I know he can't do anything physical, but... dang! He can see!
With my eyes, I see close up with one, and long distance with another. I guess this isn't possible for him. It works OK for me, but I sure had to get used to it. Anyway, off we go!
I have to tell you later about a new book I'm reading, that I can't put down. It's called "Salmon on my Mind" by Francis Caldwell. It's a jewel!

 

August 11th, 2004

Ever been afraid to finish a book? To know that when you put it down for the last time, that's it?
For now, it sits on my night stand, threatening me. It's like the last swallow of hot coffee in your thermos, on a cold day on the river. You know it's there, but when to use it up?
All I want to do, lately, is get lost in the book, "Salmon on My Mind" by Francis Caldwell.
Since entering Mr. Caldwell's world of living in Alaska in pursuit of salmon, I have found myself relating many of his experiences to mine.
Everything from how to rig a herring to get that perfect spin, to the amazing similarities of the way he describes his reaction to facing a bear, and my reaction to facing a cougar! Right down to wearing hip boots, and tripping on a log!
It's so funny! I had also read that the worst thing you could do is to run. Mr. Caldwell writes that he also knew that, but when you are faced with that kind of fear and shock... well, you just run!
I'll never forget the feeling after I fell over that fallen log. I waited, face down and heart pounding, expecting that cougar to leap upon my back seconds after my fall. Luckily, it never happened. That cougar ran the opposite direction, just as fast as I had. However, I don't think the cougar was wearing hip boots, and I don't think the cougar was as clumsy as I.
"Pacific Troller," was captivating for me, and the first book I read by this author. I couldn't put it down! Well, now there is more. Much more! This book is longer, more detailed, and more personal.
To heck with the T. V.! I'm hooked!
I've been lost in the world that the author lived, before the days of "Pacific Troller". The first pages detail his decision to become a salmon fisherman. Then, onto the beginning of sports fishing with light line, and the trials and errors of what works, and what does not work!
And yes, mono line color does matter! And if yours isn't the right color, by golly, just dunk it in a bucket of colored water until it matches the current ocean color!
I don't know how many times I've stopped reading, and with emotions ranging from amazement to laughter, shared excerpts from the story to whomever was around me.
When I'm not reading it, Bill grabs it up. He knows now, that he'd better put it back on my nightstand, when he stops!
From grounding vessels that tip over, to historical accounts of fish traps and the thieves that raided them. It's full of thoughts and experiences that we all can relate to, as people who live their lives with that undying passion for fishing.
This is the story of one man who time after time, walked away from it all to live that wonderful dream in pursuit of salmon.
"Salmon on My Mind." Yep. That's me!
I've learned, I've loved, I've lived!
It's all about Alaska, and it's all about fish, and I only have two chapters left. What in the world will I do for a fix, after this?
God help me not to run away to Alaska and collect material to write a book like this on my own. It's so tempting!

Available through
Anchor Publishing
1335 West Eleventh Street
Port Angeles, Washington 98363
(360) 457 3009
Email

August 12th, 2004


What a great pic! This is DiveR's son, and he helped net fish all day at the Whiskey Creek Hatchery kids fishing day! For more pictures, please click here!

 

Andrew's Birthday! Now, I have always been against giving cash for Birthday's, but Andrew has the gleam in his eye for a new bass guitar, and is saving his money up. Mom helped out, with a money tree for his Birthday!

After that, it was off to the Nehalem! It's about time! Man, it's been two months since I've laid into some REAL fish!

So, now it's off to bbq a big salmon dinner for Andrew's Birthday. That, and cheesecake. Yip, it's a good day in the Kilchis River canyon!

 

August 12th, 2004... later

You know, there are times that I get really down about things on the internet, things in the world, and things that affect my life, and my family. It is those times that I take a deep breath, and try to seek out and to highlight the good things in life.
This afternoon, I opened a folder of "feel good" letters that I have received, regarding ifish.net.
It has been nearly a year since I've updated the "nibbles" page. That's the page at ifish of nice things people have sent me, over the years.
Well, I tried to take the time to do that, today. I got half way through my file, before I could do no more!
You know, I am so blessed, and when I read these things, I think, "How could I ever feel the least bit sad or frustrated over things?"
The demons are silenced, just as I was sinking into despair! I recall the bible story and the words I now have learned to repeat, when attacked by those negative feelings:
"Get behind me, Satan"

That'll teach him not to mess with my life!
Matthew 16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

August 14th, 2004

Well, it started out as fishing. It turned into an experience that I'll add to my most fascinating "close encounters of the fish" kind.
The river is so low right now! It is the very heart of the pinch period. There is very little flow. The rocks are covered by dried out moss and crunch when I walk on them. Assorted crawdad pinchers poke out from between the rocks. They are victims of an early June high water where they became stranded and died.
I can now cross the river just about anywhere I please. It depends on whether I choose wading sandals and shorts, hip boots with felt, or to heck with it all and just jump in with tennis shoes and jeans. I never intend that when I grab my gear and go, but the pull to enter the river is often to much to resist.
Lately, I've noted a huge number of baby coho in the river.
My eyes glazed over as I began to tell Bill about my "friends". I think he thought I was finally losing it.
"Bill!" I breathlessly started.
"I was fishing the lower hole with a spruce fly. It was so slow that I was bent over studying the bottom of the river for agates. As I crossed the river, head down, my line and fly dangled with abandon in the little current that was left. Little fish were banging against my legs!
I finally reached a clearing in the river's flow, and I was able to see everything! Hundreds of four inch coho were thick on the bottom of the river!
I reached down to try and pick up an agate, fully expecting the fish to scatter. They didn't! They were somehow attracted to my hands, and came right up and nibbled on them! Pheromones? I don't know, but I stood bent over, mesmerized by their attraction to me!"
Bill laughed.
Easily, I could have closed my hands around them! I had no intent on doing that however, and just mused over their little cuiously spotted fish bodies.
"WOW!"
I have my own little hatchery in my back yard! A coho nursery! Since then, I've gone out to visit many times! I know where they live. Although they are scattered all about, they love the warmth of the water where it is two feet deep, or so, and lays still. Each time they are drawn to me! They nose up to my legs, and nibble on my fingers! I am so tempted to bring them food, but I know better! What fun that would be, though!
My passion for fish grows more intense with each close encounter I have! From the awesome experience of a spawning salmon rolling lazily, and rubbing against my hip boots, to these tiny delicate babies.
I stand in awe!
These coho fascinate me to the point of wanting to learn everything about them, and everything about the river that they live in.
Are they all coho? What are they attracted to on my fingers? How long will they spend here before going out to sea? Oh! I want to tag one, to see if I can catch it, later! Just to track the events, the time line, the travel! Would it be attracted to my scent, years later upon it's return?
More and more, I think I catch fish just for the pleasure of touching them. For the experience of getting up close and personal.
I hate to admit it, but bonking is becoming less and less a need. Bill feels it too! (Don't tell anyone!)
Somehow, it is incredibly gratifying to catch a beautiful chinook salmon on a crowded river, and have people watch us release it!
"What are you doing?" The look on their faces say! We don't need the meat! Our freezers are full! Why not let them journey up the Nehalem river to help re establish the population?
Oh! How I wish I would have chosen to study fisheries science in college! Is it too late? Although Bill explains things to me and spends hours doing it, I can't get enough!
The river's heartbeat is so slow right now that a doctor might suggest life support.
But on closer investigation, it carries life enough to sustain this large school of fish! How deceiving it's sloggy banks appear, and the river's slow, syrup like flow!
The exchange that is soon to happen is miraculous to me. It's my favorite time of year. Fall! Just as the river appears to be nearly lifeless, it's heartbeat will increase and the banks will become full and wild and out of control, and the life it holds will be full grown salmon, and coho, and steelhead!
Blows me away. I can't get close enough to it... even though I have front row seats.
I guess that's why every single pair of my shoes are soaking wet, and drying on the back deck.

August 15th, 2004

For all of you bass fishermen out there, it's not often that people give away their top secrets. See Stan's new column for some really great tricks!

August 18th, 2004

How refreshing! I put a dime in the parking meter in Tillamook yesterday. One hour! Try to do that, in Portland!
I've nearly given up on fishing the Kilchis. It's just so low, and all that seems to live there is my coho "friends."
The boys have been swimming each day! I can't believe it! I thought they had outgrown that folly. Yesterday they took off, and went way upriver with Kilchis, their dog.
I put on a pair of old tennis shoes, and headed off after them. I took Dee Dee, the big black lab, and tried to get her to accompany me. She's now twelve and moves about as slow as I do. Or, so I thought. I couldn't get her to budge! Half way to the river, she wanted to stop and smell the roses. After that, I yelled and yelled for her, but she wouldn't follow. I was on my own. She headed back to the house, and I headed in search of the boys.
It's sad to think of the days she swam with the boys, every day. Chasing sticks, leaping into the water with all fours.
Around three bends, I finally spotted two heads poking out of the water. Wow! It's that deep, there? Sure enough! They had found a hole, nearly 9 feet deep! The first thing I thought was that it would be a great holding spot for any springers that may have wandered up this way. I wonder!
Anyhow, we had a great time in the sun.
I have to look back on past Augusts, and see if I did more fishing this time of the year in previous years. It seems like my life is extremely fishless, as of late!
Today, we are going to go... somewhere fishing! I just haven't been excited about it. All I can think of is Fall, Fall, Fall! Not so much for the fishing alone, but because the river comes alive! It looks so wimpy out there!
I want water! Rain water! Full banks! Current!
I said to Andrew, just yesterday, "I'm ready for a solid week of rain. I'm tired of summer." He and I have that in common. He agreed.
Summer is nice, but it's just so... the same all of the time! I like change in my world. Winds! Rains! Sun! A mix of things! I'd love to wear a sweat suit for once, or my Exotherms!
My garden is producing tons of good food. We have everything from plums and pears to squashes of all kinds, and cucumbers.. carrots and leaks! Lettuce and anise! Have you ever had baked anise root? It is so yummy with a freshly killed and prepared duck! Oh! And you can't forget Chanterelles!
Alright! Now I'm all excited for Fall again!
Check on the weather forecast! It's going to be another beautiful day...

August 21st, 2004

Help me Rhonda, yeah, too much to do in my life!
Da da da da da da daaaaa....
Ninety six e mails in my in box, and they all need answering. Remember, you guys, I can only do 40 things at once!
Yes! There is a front approaching, and I can just feel those cutthroat longing to come visit Jennie's house!
The river has been so quiet, lately. It's almost spooky to go down there. Kilchis has come to expect his nightly after dinner excursion, so I am forced to go. The otters weren't there. There aren't many blackberries. Piles of deer scat in the rocks by the ones that I could have reached, but they have of course, been eaten by the deer.
Even with two pound test, and the tiniest nymph, I can't seem to stir up a decent sized cutt. I simply don't think they are up river, yet. Too afraid of harming the steelhead smolt, I'm deciding not to fish until the rain hits.
Rain. It's coming! Rhonda said so, on the news!
Last night I actually grabbed a magazine, and tried to find a comfortable rock to sit on by the still and quiet water. Kilchis did his racing up and down river, searching for the dippers. I almost think the dippers enjoy this game, actually. Who is 'tease and tormenting' whom? Kilchis certainly doesn't stand a chance.
However, last night there were no dippers to chase.
Molly the river cat came to join me, and worked her way to a full spread across the magazine that lay in my lap. There will be no page turning, now!
I was forced to simply gaze into the water, while I pet the cat. Molly purred in response.
Nothing happened. Not a breath of wind. Not a single leaf floating from a tree. Nothing being carried down river in the current. No current! Not a smolt to watch, leaping in the shallows. Not a heron squawk, not a dipper, dipping.
Indeed, there is a front coming, and every creature can feel it!
I can feel moisture in the air. The fog in the sky is growing thicker, and coming down lower. There is an odd darkness in the sky that threatens rain.
There isn't a breath of wind, but I can feel it coming. I love early rains! I remember back years ago, when it rained early in the fall, and people actually were fishing for salmon in the rivers, by September 1st! Could it happen again, this year???

August 22nd, 2004

It's raining cats and dogs! 1.02, since last night! I can't wait till it gets light enough to see the river! I'm going fly fishing, soon!
I'm also cleaning up my bobber rods. YUCK! I can't believe I put it away last year, dirty. The egg goo is thick! I've been wondering why my rod gets heavier and heavier, each year! By the time I clean it, it's going to feel as light as my 3 w. fly rod! I'm going to have to hire a dump truck to come take away all of the Amerman dried up cure!
Speaking of Amerman cure, have you tried it? I have to buy more. I'm nearly out! All I have is frozen eggs, though. Maybe I'll buy a bottle of eggs, and some cure?
I'm just so excited over this rain that I can barely hang on. In fact, I can't. I'm going to shower, now, and get out on the river. No... forget the shower, I'm going in my pajamas, NOW!

August 23rd, 2004

The quiet hush of a windless rainstorm against the heavy canopy of trees in the forest is truly one of my favorite things.
You can hear it from a distance. It calls me. A constant "hushhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..." It's a steady noise, but quiet, all at the same time.
I have a special place in the forest between our meadow and the river. When it's windless and raining, temptation to stay there is great.

But onward we must go. Fly rod in hand, I break out into the steady downpour. Low clouds and fog hover above me. The music of the river has picked up both volume and tempo. The current, so unlike last week, has momentum.
Here, it's sloppy and wet. Huge raindrops make their way past the edge of my Filson rain hat, and drip down my neck.
I'm wearing felts on my boots. Optimism that the fresh rush of current has scoured the mossy rocks clean almost kept me without. Doubt, and the fear of falling pushed me to wear them. I am glad I did. The rocks are as slippery as glass. I hold my walking stick firmly and wobble from rock, to rock.
Finally in place, with the current pushing at my knees, I rolled a spruce fly out into the river.
Assorted debris that had dried on the receding summer river banks passed me as I gazed at my fly. I have been known to look behind me several times during a wading trip. I've seen large logs float down the river in a rising river, and I'd hate to have one hit me.
In between glances, I felt it. With a sharp intake of breath, my knees buckled with the weight. Sure enough, a four foot dead head hit me with amazing force, and just about pushed me into the rushing river! I had thrown my wading stick aside, and struggled back to shore to regain my composure.
With great optimism that the cutthroat were somewhere (!), I continued to fish every single likely spot.
It was no more alive with fish than it had been, when the river was low, the day before.
Where (when?) are the cutthroat this year?
This morning, as the rain falls from the windless sky once again, I'm drawn away from my computer, and into the mud room. Through the canopy of trees for a short rest, and out onto the river, for a complete repeat of trial and mostly error.
(Minus the log incident, please.)
Oh! Eternal optimism!
I'll not give up hope. Fishing, indeed, is not just catching. It's the eternal hunt for me, and the sometimes very occasional reward.
Somehow, the satisfaction of just one brilliantly painted and orange gilled (not grilled!) cutthroat out of an otherwise vacant summer of fly fishing, means more to me than a limit of fall salmon on the bay.
Even as I release that one lone beautiful creature, to return on its way.

August 24th, 2004

Tee hee! Read this!
It's Fall, and they are here!!!!
Oh! I forgot! This is really neat, and it works! Do you have trouble sleeping? Try this!
In the morning before getting out of bed, commit to doing five nice things for people.
While laying in bed before sleep, go through them. List them in your head, and smile. I promise, in the middle of going through them and smiling to yourself, you will doze off!
If you are taking sleeping pills, try this, instead! If you are not, try it anyway!

August 26th, 2004

Look! I'm proud of my nephew, Eric Logsdon!

For the last two days straight, I have been promising myself a day time nap. I am able to rest, but I can't seem to sleep? I think I'm nervous because of the upcoming ifishstock party. I can think of no other reason.
All night long, I play musical beds... Two AM? Toss, turn, go out to the loft.
Three AM? Toss turn, down to the couch.
Four AM? Listen to the rain, doze off...
Five? GET UP!
Phooey with the sleep thing!
The river is everything you would think it would be in late November. Full to the banks with churning mud. It clears, and then becomes muddy again.
I used to figure that at a good river level, we needed an inch of rain a night to make it stay that way. Well, the river is too high, and we are getting an inch a night. It's staying that way!
I was all excited to get up this morning, but all night last night, I listened to the constant roar of rain on the thick canopy of summer trees. It was so noisy!
Last night we recorded .48 of rain. That means probably no fishing today, either!
Also, I'm a bit bummed by a very large alder that fell in the middle of the night, night before last. Read about that, here.
I tried fishing last evening with a spinner. My spinner just skated on top of the surface, popping out at every riffle of current. Impossible! The wind blew my casts sideways. I told myself I was mostly out there to capture the vision of a salmon rolling. I didn't see one! I did, the day before, though. I know there is at least one Mr. Salmon in the river!
This whole week of rain in August is something I have never experienced before. It's like I've been transported two months ahead, into winter. I read about Alaska storms in August, in "Salmon on My Mind" by Francis Caldwell. It seems exactly like the one he experienced, and nearly died in! Did I tell you how much I adored that book?!? How I wish I had some unexplored pages in that book to enjoy, during this storm!
Yesterday, the kids were lounging in their rooms. I kept fighting the urge to think they were home sick from school or something!
On top of that, Bill is more ill than I've ever seen him. He has genuine flu symptoms, and of course fights my orders to go see a doctor. Two more days still ifishstock! I hope he can help me to haul the needed items North with me! If not, I'll need some help from someone else. We had planned to take two cars full, and he'd pull a trailer with the remaining goods. All I can do is pray! Pray both that I don't catch it, and that he gets well enough, soon!
Anyhow, the light is coming on, and I'm anxious to see if my prediction that the river is still high, is in fact reality.
I have so much to do today, but you know what I am promising myself... a nap. I will take a nap today! You know, judging from the way I feel, I will have no choice! ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

August 26th, 2004 later...

...and before we get lost in ifishstock, let's share the wealth! Join the efforts in the "IFISH FOR FOOD" project, coming up this Labor Day weekend! I love it! What a grand idea! Now, this kind of thing is why we ifish.net!!!

August 28th, 2004

Today is the day I've been preparing for, for what seems like months! Ifishstock 2004!
We are even closing the board, for the first time in a long, long, time! There will be no moderators or admins around, because we'll all be partying! I was going to make it read only, so you could at least read it, but the guy who was going to help me do that, seems to have fallen asleep, or something! (LOL) When he wakes up, then I will have him turn it on at read only.
I'd love to take Kilchis with me, but I just can't imagine trying to handle that dipper chasing fury while also spending time with my ifish friends!
The river is in absolutely beautiful shape! It's dropping and clearing faster than a winter drop.
Bill finally went to the doctor and they gave him antibiotics. Talk about a miraculous recovery! He thanks you for your prayers.
He's back, and he's fishing!
Fishing... I said. Catching? Well?
We went down night before last, and I had four cutts released before I ran for my life. I didn't dare catch another! I just don't get it, because he was fishing the same way I was. Just one of those things that rarely happen, but when it does happen, it makes me feel unsettled. It's not that he cares, either. It's just that I really felt after his sickness, that he deserved the feel of a cutthroat on his line!
Yesterday, however, I fished three or four times in short visits, and caught nothing. If Bill had gone, it probably would have been his day.
Well, I have a lot of packing still to do, and then off to the races.
Remember, Ifishstock is today, Saturday, from 3 till 9, at KOA campground in Warrenton. It is a bring your own bbq. Salads, starches and sweets are welcome! Please join us!
After this, I think I'll sleep for a solid month!

August 29th, 2004

Recovering... :)

August 30th, 2004

August 31st, 2004


Do you remember the last time you moved households? That perpetual motion? That crazed fourty things to do at once, feeling?


Look, Mom! Not enough hands!!

Well, that's how I felt the entire weekend of the party. I way overdid it, to say the least! The last time I felt that way, was my last "moving" day.
So, on Sunday, I came home and I could not move a muscle. I was so incredibly sore! Despite feeling much the same way Monday morning, the rumor of chanterelles available in the forests was too much for me to resist. Chanterelles don't wait until you feel all better.
So, with the company of Pete, he walked, and I limped through the woods. We were looking for those buttery delights that peek out at you in all of their orange and frilly capped splendor. I'll never forget the way a friend explained it. She said, "Chanterelles are like little fairies hiding all around you. You can't see them until one pokes his head up. Then, once you see one, they all come out and giggle at you!"
Giggle they did. Last night, I ate fresh silver from the ocean, and pasta with wild chanterelles, olive oil, and garlic. YUM!
Last night I slept a solid 11 hours. I woke, feeling a little better, yet my body is obviously not happy with my decision to wander in the woods. I will recover. I will! It's just that I get so darn excited about mushroom hunting! I knew I should have rested! I made my choice, and now I have to live with it.
I'm excited about life for a couple reasons, lately. One, there is an eye doctor in Baltimore that I'd love to see. Her name is Dr. Maumanee and she is at Johns Hopkins in Balitmore, MD. She's a marfan expert, and I'd love her opinion on what to do about the last mishap surgery on my eye, or if there is any hope for it. Traveling to MD, however, is not really a feasable option.
Until....
Andrew and I got invited to particpate in a study there, for marfan syndrome! Not only are they considering having us, but they'd like to cover our flight with something called "Angel Flight." I'm to call today to find out more. I'm so excited! Both to have Andrew and I seen by the top marfan people, but the chance to finally see Dr. Maumanee! Maybe someday I will not see so many duplicates out of this eye!?!?! I mean, sure, it's fun to catch one fish and see five, but I get confused. Should I tag one fish, or five?
Then, although my schedule, nor my aching muscles will have it quite yet, Water Ready Rapid Cats has asked Bill to try out this two seat pontoon boat for a while! Bill is testing it, and is quite excited about it!


The highlight of the party, for Bill!

We'll "get on" that, this week, sometime!
I've finally come to the conclusion that I should just not row. I can do fine on mild current, but there are places on the Kilchis where you really need to put more energy into the rowing than is reccomended for my heart. My doc just says no. With this two seat option, I can still go! North fork of the Nehalem, here we come! Can you imagine? FUN!
Oh! By the way, you know the books I've raved about by Francis Caldwell? He is giving ifish people a great deal. Click here to see or find it on the books section, till October 1st.
Don't forget about this weekend's "Ifish for food" program. I haven't decided where I'm going to fish, or if I'm just going to help out at the stations, but regardless, it's a great program, and I can't wait!
As I walked through the woods, yesterday, I kept stopping to rest, and giggling to myself . I was incredulous at my decision to go mushroom hunting, despite the pain I felt, in every muscle.
I can somewhat relate to my children's childhood experiences. Their zest for life as small children was so great that they found it difficult to take time away from life and all of it's excitement, to go to the bathroom.
Now don't get me wrong.
I don't forget to use the ladie's room.
However,I sure can relate to the zest for life, thing!

Can't move... still... but I'm getting better by the hour!

 

FISHING THE COAST
A journal of my life on the Kilchis river.

HOME | JENNIE