Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington
December

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"I fish! Fishing is my life! I fish for something every month of the year. "
FISHING THE COAST

A journal of my adventures.

December 30th 1998

Here is the pic I chose to show you out of
Bill Hedlund's album of treasured fish. This is a bright 17 LB steelhead caught out of the Necanicum.. I think it is absolutely gorgeous!!!! It drives me nuts to look at that and not be able to fish!!!!!!!

Bill Hedlund's Steelhead


Spent part of the day learning to tie a really cool eggloop knot that will never let go, and looks really neat. Its a little more time consuming than the other, but I learned it from Bill Hedlund, and he was very patient with my feeble attempts, but I think I have it down now!
The river is looking like it is getting into good shape for this weekend! I cant wait! I HAVE TO FISH!
Had a great time looking through a photo album of all of Bill's past fishing trips, (borrowed and posted one on Jennies fishing life) and wow, what allot of nice fish! It was finally a nice day today, but the rivers are not fishable yet. I have to go to Portland tomorrow anyway, and I will be all dressed up, but I'll tell you one thing, high heels or no, if the river is fishable, I will have to stop and cast a few! Ever seen a girl in a skirt an hip boots?

December 29th, 1998


High Pressure is building over the area starting in a couple days. That means better river conditions, and I bet by this weekend things will be looking very good. I am going to start tying up some rigs in my spare time, because it will be kind of cold, and I hate to tie hooks in the cold! I can't wait! Hope to see you all out there... ITS TIME~!

December 28th, 1998


Might be a good idea to rig up my Subaru station wagon with fishing rigs out the window, Maybe troll a little down hiway 101. In other words, the rivers are mighty flooded. I actually did this once, just for kicks, and it was kind of fun! The State police didn't see the humor OH WELL...
The Wilson River crested at 19.6 feet around midnight and continues to fall. The crest of the February 1996 flood was 18.4 feet.

December 27th, 1998


Give it up. High winds, and unrelenting downpours. I have been talking on the phone to fishing friends all day, and you know, things still look good this year, last count we heard at the Nehalem hatchery was 300 a week ago or so, whereas last year at this time it was like 6. So don't give up hope.( I think I am talking to myself here.) The waters clear quickly. Sometimes there is a 3 or 4 hour window when the rivers clear for a bit, enough to drift a while, not enough to float down the river though. Anyway, I am keeping chin up and my fingers crossed for later in the week.
Bought my new license today, it is made differently, with only one tag for sturgeon, steelhead and halibut.


December 26th, 1998
Hope you all had a nice Christmas!
I just drove back from Portland to have Christmas with my family in Wilsonville.
Stayed in a hotel and had a friend/guide come visit me in the evening. He fished the Sandy Christmas morning, but it was a bad deal, still iced in, and mud and parts of the bank falling into the river. The bank was extremely slippery. Still a few fishermen though.
Well, I thought sure this would be the week that Jennie gets to go fishing, after waiting nearly a week. But on my way back today, I took a look at the river, and although the Necanicum is not to muddy, it is real high.. Got home and read the weather report, and it is calling for high winds and heavy rain tomorrow night. I thought I could at least plunk with some eggs but it is just too high. So now I am shooting for about Wednesday. The river drops pretty fast here, so maybe even Tuesday, except I have to play a gig on Tuesday.
The Nehalem is reported high, about 2 inches from the handicappers ramp. Either way, sometime this week, the Nehalem or the Necanicum, I will be fishing. Iv had enough of waiting around and not enough of wading around.
There are fish out there, lots of fish.. Reported to be a record year, with hundreds of fish already at the Nehalem hatchery. It's just the water conditions! Bow with me as we say a small prayer for the unfortunate water conditions that have been bestowed upon us.


December 21st 1998
Looks like a white Christmas!
But since steelhead usually kind of hibernate when the temp goes 38ish and below, looks like I'm grounded. I'll be out sledding with the kids. One thing after another. Flood, freezing temps, windstorms... when can I fish?

December 19th 1998
I want to Fish! This is December, though, and I am a pianist, and so I am booked almost solid lately with Christmas parties. Tomorrow I have three gigs in one day.
Monday.... Monday I fish! I did talk to a friend though, that drifted down the Nehalem and said he saw a couple but no catch. And this from a seasoned steelheader. So... I'll let you know Monday what's up, but the river should be real low and clear.. get out the light line!
I may drift down the Nehalem myself, on Tuesday, depending on river levels, and the temperature outside! I love fishing when its really cold for two reasons..The first is I get a big kick out of ice on my line. I get a big kick out of it at first anyway.... The second thing I love is that ride home in a nice warm truck! Truly, I grew up with memories of these things with my dad, and warm trucks after you are freezing is a very comforting, lasting memory.. But regardless.........IT IS COLD!


December 17th, 1988
I can never sleep the night before I fish. If I know I am going to fish, I wake up all night. (1 o 'clock.. is it time yet?
3 o' clock....now?) So, by the time 6 drags around, I am tired, but still hop out of bed with NO problem!
I remembered this time, to grab my eggs out of the freezer, just in case sand shrimp are hard to find again. I just have a feeling those steelhead really prefer shrimp! Tied up a bunch of egg loop hooks with my morning coffee, did little things around the house, so I wouldn't feel to guilty... and in the car I go!
By the way, I didn't get to fish the Nehalem the other day, it was flooded pretty badly during the weekend deluge of rain, and was still up by Tuesday.
I called Trucke's, the little store I get bait from and reserved one out of a few containers of shrimp they had left. He said he had heard of 17 fish caught already. I think I will do an interview with this man. Bait retailers always have great stories!
I need a professional netter!
Darned if I was there for a little more than a half hour and my rod started dancing around. I had a shrimp on with a little spin glow, and about 3 ounces of weight. The water was a beautiful green, it wasn't high, and everything looked to me like a river full of fish. I was right!
My dog thought it a good idea to wrap his leash around my feet and see how good I was at playing a fish with a handicap. I survived his malice. I played the fish for 5 minutes or so, and decided he was ready to come in. He wasn't nearly as big as my first fish on, a couple days back, but a beautiful color, and plenty lively. So, with net in the left and rod in the right, I began the awkward task of capture. I wanted this fish for dinner. I have really long arms, mind you, but not long enough to accomplish this task! I don't know how you guys do this! I had him....SO CLOSE! He was ready! He was played out! So, guys, shake your head and feel sorry for this girl... I lost it. I need netting lessons! I am so afraid to tell my guide friends I go with. I like to think of myself as pretty seasoned at this. People go years before catching their first steelhead. Well, I have no trouble catching, I have trouble netting! Guess we can chalk it up to catch and release. Yeah, that's what I did.
Not a half hour later, I got another one. He was a bit dark, but definitely a male. He danced around the top of the water and gave me a good show. I love to be alone on the river bank shrieking, and wowing, and giggling with a fish on. I thought, OK, I will practice netting him, and then release him. Show myself how nicely I'v learned to release a fish unharmed. No need. He did it himself. Got him 4 inches from the net and Whooooosh. gone.
Well, I sat there, fishing the exact way I did earlier for four more hours. Not a hit. So I tried eggs. So I tried a hot shot... So I tried a flat fish. So I ate lunch (which consisted of crumbly old fig neutons....ISH).
My dog, Hershey, (click on the word to get the picture) a 13 year old chocolate lab mix, decided it was cold out. Poor thing started shivering. This is the dog who if he hears the word "fishing", gets so excited he barks and jumps around till you let him go. So I let him go. But he told me it was time for his geriatric nap by a warm fire, so we went home.
I had a good time. I hooked and played some fish. I love to fish alone, but I think perhaps its time to invest in a paid net professional! I need practice at this! I need something. I have a feeling though, that this is going to be one heck of a steelie year.


December 15th, 1998
The sun is shining, the grass is green. The alder and pine trees sway. There has never been such a day.... To go fishing!
I started out with a huge shopping list, and the crowds at Costco were amazing. I got through about three of my needed items, and thought, heck with this!
Loaded up my gear, and decided I'll just give away steelhead for Christmas!
The water was a little high, so I used some bait with a spin glow, and needed about 4 ounces of weight to keep it down.
Took my dog, and we just sat in a nice spot and stared at the tip of my rod.
I didn't catch a steelhead.
The water was too high and a bit murky. But it was absolutely gorgeous out there, and soul restoring! I could gaze at the tip of my rod working furiously with the rip. You know when a lure is tuned just perfectly, and it wobbles and you think.... "oh my, if I were a fish, I would take that!" ? So, its anticipation at it's best, even if you don't catch one.
It was a heck of allot better than shopping, I'll tell you that, and I did my shopping last night, when the crowds were at home eating dinner.
The problem I am finding this year, is that ghost shrimp are really hard to find, so I guess it is time to get out my pump gun and get some myself. Go to the back of the Seaside High School, at the estuary, and I'll find my own!
Yesterday I bought some awful preserved shrimp that kind of crumpled up and fell off with the current. What a waste of money at 2.99 for about 10 measly dried out shrimp. Oh well, I was desperate and unprepared. I thought I was Christmas shopping, and then I was led away!
I also forgot to bring my eggs I put up from a silver this summer.
Today, I will be more prepared. I could go to Portland, and get some shopping done, but most likely, I will drive past the Necanicum and say...... "oh my.... the water is so nice......" .and swiftly pull off of the road and get out my gear!
Yes.... Portland can wait.
I have a list of about 6 people left for Christmas, so I better get fishing!
Ho Ho Ho Fishing!


December 11th, 1998

Well, I told you I would let you know what is up on the Necanicum, but I didn't end up drifting it. The weather was just to bad, and going down the Necanicum in the wind and rain, with all those alder trees shooting spears at you is too scary for me!
I did, however, go to a friend's house on the river there, and plunked with shrimp and a corky, just working in the ripples, and low and behold, a nice 1 fresh, 2 salt steelhead took it and gave me a really sore shoulder. Probably about 10 lb.. Nice, bright fish.
I lost him. I don't want to talk about that part, or as Forest Gump says..
" That's all I have to say bout that."

All in all, I was glad I went though, The river level raised about a foot while I was fishing, and became pretty muddy. I felt pretty darn lucky to even have that one on. Going to drift the Nehalem on Tuesday. Will report.


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