Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington
DECEMBER 2001



I bet this is my last nook for the year!

 

Jennie's Fishing Life

FISHING THE COAST

A journal of my adventures.


December 1st

December? Ohmygosh! How did that occur? Yesterday was T shirts and July!
When I am tired, late at night, sometimes I begin to think negatively. Then an alarm goes off. "Oh! I'm tired! This means I need to shut everything down and go to bed!"
Sure enough, I wake in the morning and anything that looked dire and hopeless seems ridiculously fine!
Last night I stayed up past a positive outlook.
I lay in bed and heard the rain pounding. I heard the river roaring. My mind raced... I have no control over the weather, or the river, or the lightning... and the river could come up over night and swallow us all up! The hills could come crashing down and cause a huge landslide, and the thunder and lightning could strike us... and...and...Lions and tigers and landslides, OH MY! Bill is not here! I am in charge of two children! YIKES!
Tossing and turning, I finally drifted off.
This morning, the wind is blowing, the river is flooding, the lightning is flashing, the thunder is crashing.... and I couldn't be happier or more at peace. I can't wait to look at the river! I bet it's bursting at the seams!
Strange what a good night's sleep will get you!
Stan Fagerstrom wrote a new column, and I put it up here, for all of you color coding, lure changing, fish attracting anglers! It's a great piece adaptive for all anglers!
The new Decals are in, and they have been flying out the door! I have been packing envelopes full of them, licking stamps and writing addresses. Little does the postal lady know, next come my Christmas cards! She will be busier than this!
My pup Kilchis is doing better! He has something called puppy strangles, and is on quite a bit of medication. My free-mutt-pup so far has cost me 149.00 in vet bills and worth every cent! Oh wait a minute, add 40.00 for two pairs of Andrew's head phones that he destroyed.
He really likes my computer cables too. Someday the pup may go snap, crackle, Kilchis, and so may ifish! I bought some non-chew spray, but it doesn't do much. I'll figure that problem out today. Tie them up? I tried putting a rug over them. He redecorated the house, pulling it, growling and happy, into another room.
Grant Scheele sent me some winning photos, and I added them here.
The rivers are blown out, my tackle needs cleaning, and the civil war is today.
Recipe? Watch game while reloading reels with fresh new steelhead line! Clean corks, make rods shine! Polish my Calcutta and hold it like a precious jewel. It'll be a fine day! (Go beavs!!!)
Here Steelies..... Come to Jennie!
(Note to Jennie: When all looks grim, go to bed!)

 

December 2nd

It's 4:30 in the morning. Have you gotten up with your puppy yet? :)
Trying to figure out whether I can drive to Astoria to church this morning. Nehalem was flooded last night. It says not right now, but there is an 8.6 high tide around noon. I could probably go... but will I get home? Who knows?

December 5th

Know who Rick Bozman is? Read Stan Fagerstrom to find out about Rick and jig fishing for bass!
The hunting board on ifish is really picking up. In fact, it may just outdo the fishing board someday! I had no idea! Too bad ihunt.net is taken, or I'd have to snag it!
...I have heard that in boot camp, they break you down, and then start building you up.
That is what is happening with me 'n' Kilchis, my new AKC Springador, as we like to call him. He is half lab, and half springer. Springador, or splab? Not sure.. Kilchis has kept me from nearly three weeks of solid sleep.
During that time, I spent the days and nights half asleep, half awake, giving medicine, picking up cute little messes, keeping him from chewing cords, chairs, carpet, wood paneling... taking cat naps in between.
In a conversation with a friend...
"When do puppies sleep?"
"Every nine minutes..." He said.
"How often do puppies poop?"
"Every thirteen minutes." He said.
"How often do they potty?"
"Every eleven minutes." He said.
"When do I sleep?"
"Every nine minutes"....
He was cute, but he was getting annoying. I was losing my patience. I didn't really want a puppy. What was I thinking? I was tired of experimenting with sleep deprivation, and I realized the reason no one had given me a puppy. They liked me! They were my friends! They knew!!!
Then the little miracles started to occur.
"Look, Andrew!" Look outside! Kilchis is going to the bathroom! Isn't he cute?"
I'd open the door. "Oh! Kilchis! Good poo poo! What a grand dog you are! Good poo-poo Kilch!!"
The puppy, of course, is puzzled. He sits and cocks his head as puppies are known to do. He's even cuter yet!
Of course he can go poo poo! He has done it right in front of me many times before! You know, on the lamp post, the heater vent, the kitchen floor. At the bottom of the stairs. Me, in my half sleep, unknowingly kicking it across the room in the dark. I finally mashed it with my slippers on the wood floor and slipped to my near death. Gotta love that puppy.
I sat, crying on the kitchen floor, pajamas covered with puppy doo doo. "Yuck! Bad poo poo Kilchis!"
"Ohhhhh, but watch this, Bill!" I say, as I reach for a treat in the fridge. "Speak, Kilchis, speak!" Woof! Woof! Kilch can speak!
Now he speaks almost constantly. (ugh) Bill asks if that was such a good thing to teach. I wonder now, too.
Kilchis can sit, stay, and come.
Kilchis can sleep through the night in the kennel! Two nights in a row now! No complaints! "Oh good, Kilchis!"
Kilchis is a doll! Kilchis is smart! Thank you for sleep, Kilchis!
As I sit here with cold, bare feet, both slippers growled and chewed and taken from me, I am thankful! Of all things, thankful?
Am I nuts?
I woke this morning from a full nights sleep! 10 until 5! I woke him up, took him outside, fed him, took him outside again, gave him a chew toy, gave him another chew toy, and have repeated "Kilchis, no chew!" 16 times! But I slept!
And by golly, there is no poop on the floor, and did I tell you I slept a full night?!?
We are getting places, Kilchis and I!
I still wonder who is training who around here. Boot camp, him or me?
It's been nine minutes, and my puppy is ready for a nap.
My feet are now warmed by his soft fur cuddled up next to my feet. I need more coffee, but I mustn't move the rolling chair or I'll wake him, or roll over those soft ears.
I have a friend here. The best of friends. It pulls at my heart strings to think of the many days we will have together out on the river. We are bonding, putting my heart in danger. I love this pup already... way too much.
I know it's worth every darned minute of frustration I've encountered through the worst of puppyhood.
I have much training still to come. With every new command learned, comes a building of trust, and a bond of love.
I don't know what they do in boot camp, but I think I know what they should do.
Start them out, raising a puppy.
I'm ready for active duty now.

 

December 7th

In a hurry to go fishing, but the IFISH HATS have arrived! Please feel free to download the form to order off of this page! Just in time for Christmas!

 

December 8th

It's time to make that phone call to the eye surgeon.
People have asked me, "So, Jennie? When are you having eye surgery?" ARGH!
"When?" Bill asked me this in the car yesterday. It took me an hour to explain to him why I am tortured over this decision. The multiple risks. When he first asked, I returned his inquiry with a quick, "So, are we going to Marie's to get sand shrimp?"
That deterred him for a minute, but it got me no where. He repeated his question. I wanted to scream, "QUIT BUGGING ME ABOUT IT!"
An event a couple nights ago at dinner is what is finally pushing me to call. It was very plain to me. As plain as the mashed potatoes on my plate, that is. Now let me tell you, this story is about dealing with health issues with a touch of humor.
I was finishing dinner. I wasn't really that hungry, so I still had food on my plate. I needed my napkin to wipe my hands, after eating fried chicken. I reached toward my plate to what I thought was my wadded up napkin. I met with a handful of leftover mashed potatoes. My first reaction made me feel stupid.
At least I had Braille abilities!
My brain told me that no... this was not my napkin!
Ish! They looked like my napkin!
My next reaction was frustration. In order to break that, I looked up at Andrew and I wanted so badly to fling them at him. I stifled that urge with giggles. I quickly located my napkin in my lap and wiped them off. Nothing said. No one noticed. A good fling of mashed potatoes across the table though, would have been a good deal for me! I would have felt all better really quickly!! I still wish I would have.
Andrew is the king of Marfan humor. He would have liked it.
I'll never forget when someone sat next to him in the school cafeteria. I'm not sure if he knew the guy, if he was a friend, or what.
Andrew said to him...
"Hi there. I notice you have a white shirt on. You know, I have Marfan Syndrome, and my aorta could dissect and burst at any time. Are you sure you want to sit next to me? Sure hate to mess up that pretty shirt with all that blood."
It is that sick humor that urged me to fling those potatoes.
So, with all of the challenges, with knowing that it will take my brain a while to use my eye sight, if it is successful... knowing that they might not get the placement of the lens just right... knowing that I have a doubled chance of retinal detachment with Marfan, and a cumulative doubled chance of retinal detachment with the surgery... Remembering the pain of a shot right by my eye, remembering the frustration of not knowing where the ground is... knowing that one eye will be for distance and the other for close up... knowing that even the best make up cannot hide the after surgery bruises.... I am going to do it!
I'm calling on Monday! What do I have to lose? I mean, if it doesn't work, I can fling those mashed potatoes any time I want. I have an excuse.
Sorry about the no fish report. I know these things: The Nestucca is high and muddy, the Kilchis strong, but green, the Wilson high, but lowering. I saw one fish taken at Three Rivers.
I spent the afternoon yesterday decking the halls with Christmas decorations. This is what Bill calls, "Chriss mess". Hey! I like bells and glitter, and nativity scenes on every surface! Even the bathrooms have holly and berries and pine cones!
Let heaven and nature sing!
If Jim Erickson doesn't call me to go on the North Fork today, I'm going up the Trask to get a Christmas Tree.
Ho ho ho!
I still have an urge to fling mashed potatoes.

 

December 9th

"Toot toot!" resonates through the canyon. This is Jim's way of saying, "We're off!" On to the next hole...
Everything that comes from the back of Jim Erickson's boat makes me giggle and smile! He is a positive and confident angler and teacher.
The North Fork Nehalem hatchery area was elbow to elbow with weekend anglers.
"Just more people to watch me catch fish!" He jokes.
It's no joke! Soon, my soaking wading shoes struggled to find room to stand. The rubber floor was filled with sloshing water and fresh steelhead.
We were guests on Jim's home river. He's fished, and resided on the North Fork Nehalem since 1964. He and his wife, Loretta, had a fishing school on this river from 1983 until 1991. Jim and Loretta introduced hundreds of people to the joy of their first steelhead, and the beauty of their home land, on the North Coast of Oregon.
The rain poured, the river was full of fresh fish. I nearly forgot we were in a world full of worry over fish habitat. The hatchery area was producing heavily, and nearly every bank angler had a catch at his feet.
It was a perfect angler's dream.
"Toss one out there!-- You'll get one chance at this!"
Bill and I were ready. We jitter, as we follow his instructions to a tee. It can get frustrating. "Put on another slinky!" He yells, maneuvering the boat in between riffles. Bill and I wrestle with tackle bags, throwing around plugs, tying up, elbowing each other in the cramped raft. He settles us between two raging channels, and sets us into a pillow of flat water. This floats us slowly enough to hurry, rig up the slinky and ready ourselves for further instruction.
"Throw 'em out under those alder branches". Zip, zip, zip! All three rods scream into the combat zone. It's a wonder they don't tangle, but we all get our shot.
Every hole, every canyon, every riffle has a story. Stories of films made with TV personalities, or government officials. He knows where the fish will be. He tells us how they travel. "Up through the hole on the right, they move across this apron here, and follow the riffle on the left." We work the apron of water clear across.
"There he is!" Bill sets the first hook.
After four fish in one hole, Jim notes, "Do you know how many anglers zipped through this hole in anticipation of the next? They miss it every time, in a hurry to beat you out to next hole."
Mr. Erickson is a true believer in letting the race horses go down first. "Sleep in, let them miss the fish in their race, then we'll go clean up." And clean up we did. Putting in at 10 in the morning has it's benefits!
The river was fairly high, making some of the more dangerous rapids a breeze, some more dangerous. The approaching roar of the water increases to an ear pounding level.
"Don't move an inch!" He shouts at us, dead serious. We are facing an angry, churning, standing wave at the Queen.
There is a series of drops midway through this challenging drift. It starts with the Tank hole, on to the stair steps, and dead on to the Jack, the Queen and the King.
I froze as we stared straight down into a suck hole. Past that I saw nothing but a wall of water. As we descended into it's mouth I closed my eyes. I felt water. Cold, winter, river water everywhere! Half of the river went in my hair, half up my sleeves and down my back.
Soon the world came back to me, and I could see a flat road of water ahead. "WHOOO HOOO! Jim! Row up river!!! Let's do that again!!!"
"We did, once for TV!", he said, nonchalantly. I looked behind me in disbelief.
Adrenaline was pulsing through my veins. I had faced death and lived through it! (Well... not quite, but it's that kind of rush!)
It was a cold, rainy, dreary day on the North Fork, but I was doing fine until I got drenched.
When the adrenaline wore off, I was faced with the aching, bone chilling cold that disables your fingers, and throws your muscles into spontaneous spasms. I needed a fish to refuel my personal heater. I worked as hard as I could at it, but could not produce. I was just too cold and awkward at that point. No matter how graceful the rod, how smooth my Calcutta reel, my casts ended up jerky. I snagged up, lost lead, dropped shrimp, smashed eggs, couldn't tie on another rig.
I was done.
What a grand site it was, to see Jim's house around the last bend. My frozen bones slowly made it up to the house. I was greeted by Loretta, who was pleased as punch with our catch.
I was pleased as punch with her wood stove and gracious offer of hot coffee and food!
I thawed out as the guys cleaned fish. (Aren't guys grand?)
Life is good, Jim. Your river is good.
Thanks so much... and until next time....
Toot, toot!

December 11th

Off to fish with Marty P., Thumper, and Bill! :)

December 11th (later)

My two favorite things of the day.


Kilchis is darling!


And...
Gone Fishin's Marty Peterson is my Steelhead hero!

December 13th

A whole new look for ifish!
I have been working for days, trying to figure out what new to do. I was bored with the old... on with the new!
Let me know if it takes too long to load. That is my worst fear!
Next story: Fishing with Marty Peterson, of Gone Fishin!
For now... off to the dentist! :)

Just had to share this! I got 4 inches from this pine siskin!

December 14th

It's really good to get the old feeling again. I am fishing till I drop!-- Or until the rivers flood! Looks like today it is Christmas shopping for me!
Once a pattern develops on the coast, it doesn't stop. Wind storm after wind storm slams onto the coast. Rain, falling in sheets, one system after another.
The kids trampoline is missing, and I didn't even see it fly away. It's too dark to even KNOW where it is. When David got home from basketball, late, the first thing he said was, "Is the tramp OK?" We took the spot light out to check. We checked the river, the yard.... I think it got swallowed up. :( David is worried. He loves that thing!
Tuesday finally came! I waited through three storm-related cancellations to fish with Marty Peterson.
(Three storms, two years, and 5 fishing seasons!) It made the anticipation unbearable!
I've always wanted to fish with Thumper, off of the board, too!
Lucky me! Tuesday came, the river levels, which looked doubtful the night before, were fishable! It was the grand steelhead slam!
Bill, Thumper, Marty and I met at The Guide Shop for shuttles, and off we went! (Toot Toot!)
Sometimes I fish seriously, sometimes I enjoy the company, sometimes the beauty of my surroundings.
This trip I enjoyed all three!
We all got to play fish! We all ate chocolate cake, laughed and talked too much, but we never missed a bite! O.K.! Once, we missed a bite due to having too much fun! Is that so bad?
Bill, the master of being calm and patient at the sight of a pulsing fishing rod, proved to be a little too calm and patient. He is known to be very casual about a kicking rod. He wanders over in no hurry, picks it up, and fights his fish to the boat. Me? "Pant pant, GIVE ME THAT ROD!" Often, I lose it by grabbing it too soon. This time, I might have done well by doing just that! The line went slack. His calm tactics paid off on the next fish! You just never know!
I had to just about force Marty to take some cake, as he obviously had his job in mind... To get us into some fish.
He was able to do both!
We all got to play fish AND eat chocolate cake!!
Despite the constant rain, his heater kept me warm, and everyone had perma-grins affixed to their faces.
With the high water levels, we found fish in some odd places. We fished some rather soft water and succeeded.
I leave every guided trip with one or more notable impressions left on me. For Marty Peterson, of Gone Fishin' Guide Service, I drove home thinking about serious angler ethics. This guide has them. He cares deeply about our fisheries, and this has been proven not only on the river, but in the amount of fish you see in our rivers. We all have people like Marty to thank every time you pull a fish out of Tillamook area rivers.
You'll see Marty helping with the broodstock program, you'll find him at Tillamook Anglers meetings. You'll hear him give speeches at The Northwest Steelheader meetings, and see him lobby at hearings. Marty is active, Marty cares.
Most notably, however, was the obvious feeling of deep concern he held, when we hooked a native steelhead. No more diver and bait for him this year! The natives have arrived! He encouraged all of us to follow suit.
Marty Peterson is a wonderful, pleasant, and knowledgeable guide. An experienced angler that can teach you a river, get you into fish, and leave you with a deep concern and motivation for getting involved with our fishing future.
An example we all should follow.
Another dream continues to recur. Ever since I read an article by Pat Hogan about fishing the Nestucca from 6th down, I've dreamt of going there with him guiding.
This day will come! Sign us up, Marty! It may take three more storms, and 5 more fishing seasons, but if we start planning now, this unpredictable Oregon weather will clear for the opportunity!
Besides, I love having something to look forward to!
The Nestuc, Marty, the Nestuc! Bill, you, me, Thumper... Let's go!

December 15th

More rain? More wind? More water in the river? Oh! Aren't we lucky! Is the drought over now?
I had to put this up again! I love it, and besides, Stan is in Mexico and can't write me a new Christmas story yet!
Our trampoline is really gone this time. An apparent victim of high winds that hit 64 mph the other day. The storm and the river must have carried it far from home.
The trampoline must have exploded on impact, with the strong current of the flooded river.
It seemed to sit more vacant, this fall. It used to get used year round. Now the boys have basketball, phone calls from girls, rock bands...
What little river bank there was left, was littered with springs that had broken free from it. I put them all in one spot. My collection spot. As if someday I will collect all the pieces...
I see no trace of it as the water recedes. I went for a hike, just as it was getting dark last night. I searched for any trace of it. I hoped to see the legs of it sticking out in the shallows.
"Herrrrrrrrrrrrrrre Trampoline....!"
I wonder who on the Kilchis river has a new trampoline? Did it float? Did some river front owner having coffee in the morning, gaze out at the river and see our trampoline drifting by? Will we find it's remains hung up at the high water mark, along with some dead salmon carcass? If it is at the mean high water mark, does that mean all anglers have public access? Anyone can jump there?
Do I put up an ad at the local grocery?
"Lost in storm: Children's dearest friend. Trampoline, gray with blue pads. Comes to the name of "Tramp". If seen in whole, or in part, please call...."
I have lost 4 pets out here in the Kilchis Canyon. It is a wild, uncontrolled place.
I have walked the river bank many times calling out their names. Searching, head down, for bits of fur to give me a hint of what might have occurred. I have never found a clue. Things just get eaten.
That river swallowed up our tramp! This wasn't a bear, a cougar, or coyote. This was the river, in all it's rage. Dang thing swallered it up.
Gulp
.
I didn't even notice it gone. I wish I'd have caught it on video. At least that way, I could sell it to a video show and have the money to replace it. It would have been a great video, I'm sure! I couldn't bear to watch it.
Every time I think of it, I think of long summer days, my kids laying side by side, staring up into the blue sky and talking.
"Hey! Mom! An eagle just flew over head!"
Mornings I woke to take in the view. Green everywhere, birds, natural beauty. I scan the perimeter... and then I'd see that trampoline, in all it's metallic beauty. "The big toilet seat" Bill unkindly referred to it as. Piled high with blankets and stuffed toys. Tucked in between, two boys sleeping soundly. They slept past the sunrise, through the roosters crowing, and well into the late, dew covered mornings.
Many nights I'd go out on the upper deck to remind them to quit giggling, "I'm trying to sleep!"
They told stories of shooting stars, and elk moving at night. A whole world, and a whole lifetime of memories were wrapped up in blankets on that trampoline. It was their safe haven. Their outside bedroom, their rec room. It converted from a bed, into a jumping, flailing blanket gym!
Now, a dead circle of grass is all that is left of the memories.
Oh, come on! It's just a mass of metal, Jennie! Get over it!!!
I want the river to go down. I want to fish, sure... But most of all, I want to find our trampoline. I have about as much hope for this, as I did finding my animals. Still, I have to look.
It's terrible to contribute to trash in the river. Will I be arrested? I feel awful that something of ours could be obstructing the river, looking like garbage, bent and sticking out of the river.
But, like Humpty Dumpty, I also have a dream that we will somehow be able to collect all the pieces and put it all back together again.
And Ginger the kitty will come home.
And Simba the big male cat.
And Hershey will rise from his grave.
And....
I suggested to Bill that we float the river, just to look for it. He laughed.
O.K., I can save my money and buy another one. I worry though, that now they are now too old for it.
I want that trampoline back.
As I shop for Christmas, and try to recreate the joy of youth that my boys found as little ones, I ask myself,
Am I searching desperately for the trampoline, or their youth?
I should put an ad in the local grocery store after all.
"Lost: Children's youth. If found, please put in Christmas stocking, and deliver to Andrew and David."

December 17th

Wow! The ifish server has been without power all night.
I am supposed to go to the doc in Seaside. My question... Can I make it across 101 at The Necanicum river? We'll see!

December 19th

I have been disrupted now, 16 times, as I write this. I have one slipper on, one off, as is par. Growling, wagging his tail, Kilchis rips it from my foot, and waggly taggly runs into the living room to fight it. I know it's not right, but he's too darn cute!
I bolt-charge into every morning.
I get up at 5-ish. I trip over various chew toys to try and sneak to the sink.
Kilchis sleeps in his kennel by my bed.
Tip toe....quiet!
I turn on the water, very slightly, a slow stream. SH! I grab my tooth brush.
"Whimper!"
He's up! All alarms ring in my head! Quick! Brush your teeth, Jennie! Go use the facilities, all this water running everywhere! Kilchis has to get out of that crate, Jennie, RUN!
The whimpering grows to a mournful, pitiful, bladder-busting sigh. He has held out now for a full 9 hours. How could I possibly make him suffer through this terror? The water in the sink for my teeth, the water in the sink for my contact? The toilet flushing. It's a puppy nightmare! His mourning yipe and whimper convinces me he is near to death!
I have never in my life gotten up and ready faster in my life. It is a race from bed to door.
I can't see without my contacts to get downstairs and out to relieve himself!
OK, Kilch, out of the kennel, don't trip me on the way downstairs, you can make it! Whew! He's out.
Now... for a cup of coffee.
NOT! He pokes his head through the cat door and yipes to get in.
He's in need again, needs to be fed, needs a chew toy, needs, needs, needs!
Kilchis is a real doll, he really is! He's smarter than a whip, and trains easily. At 11 weeks, he is now doing hand commands without vocal commands of any kind. Hand up: sit, stay, hand down: come.
Hand up to my mouth: quiet.
It works, almost every time!
He knows my words and I am working hard most every day on repeating this work.
I can't think of a command yet to stay out of the Christmas tree, but I have decided to skip the candy canes this year. No gummy bears either.
The tree sits atop a table, so that he is not tempted. I have never had such a wimpy tree. It stands a mere 6 foot tall. O.K., it's taller when it is on the table. It's still wimpy.
My Mother, always proud of her tall, beautifully decorated nobles, would be appalled. It's the smallest tree I have ever owned.
Andrew came home from school and eyed it cautiously. "Mom, how we going to fit our ornaments on this??? It's... a Charlie Brown tree!"
With our vaulted ceilings, this house is perfect for the 20 foot tree. "Bring the forest indoors!"
Not this year! It's more like a bonsai.
If Kilchis decides to knock this one over, it wouldn't be a crisis.
Ah shoot, I can't write this. Kilchis needs to go out. He's sitting next to me, with his head cocked, in that cute puppy way.
"Need to go outside?" He wags his tail.
"Go fetch my slipper!" I encourage him.
"Go fetch my slipper!"
He doesn't know that one yet.
He will.

 

December 22nd

I spent two days "malling" at Washington Square, Clackamas Town Center, and various stores throughout the area. I went to four tackle shops to find something for Bill. Still no luck. The best I could do at each store, was to get one out of two of the items I was in search of.
The minute I got home, I walked, zombie-like to the rod rack, grabbed my rod and headed out to the river. The kids said, "Hi Mom!" I didn't hear them. I kept going...
To the river.
To the river.
To the river.
It was quiet. It was peaceful, winter, yes!
The thought came to me.
"Now this is Christmas! David! Andrew! Christmas is out here! Come join me!!!"
I can do Portland in short bursts.
Although I love the lights, the festivities, and the excitement of it all, the crowds get to me after a while. And the traffic!
One night my sisters and I got together at a restaurant in Lake Oswego.
I was riding with my Dad, and we got in a parking crunch with an elderly couple. We were both stuck. We couldn't back out, because of traffic, and they couldn't maneuver very well. The lady, who was a passenger, must have been 75 or 80. She began frantically waving us to move. She wore a bitter expression on her face. We couldn't! My Dad and I started giggling at her anger. I waved at her and smiled.
She flipped me off!
An 80 year old woman flipped me off! It was so classic! I'd pay to have had a camera! It was a magazine cover!
I couldn't believe it! It had all of us giggling all night!
It brought back stereotypical memories of childhood that have stuck with me. When I was very young, I saw an elderly red and silver haired lady smoking a cigarette. A small child called to her... "Grandma?"
I remember so clearly thinking, "That couldn't be a Grandma! Grandma's don't smoke!" :)
To say that I am all ready for Christmas would be far from the truth.
Bill is fishing with Jim Martin of Pure Fishing today. I really like Jim! If you ever get a chance to listen to him speak publicly, don't miss it! He is awesome! I wanted to go, and I had first dibs on the other seat. I forfeited to Dudley Nelson. I had too. I have too much to wrap-plan-cook-list-Santa!
In between tasks, I'll find time to cast a few out into that oh-so perfect color of the Kilchis River today.
It's nice to be back in the canyon.
Please, stay away from those malls and restaurants.. and have yourself a steelhead Christmas!
Oh-- from what I've heard, The North Fork was putting out several fish for the hatchery bank anglers. The boat hatch was amazing from the hatchery down. Jim Erickson reports never seeing that many go down before! Heavy pressure all around. The Wilson was busy too, but the reports I heard did not reveal the super catches that we had been seeing at these levels.

December 23rd

Finally!
Two days before Christmas and it's here! That icy, cold morning freeze. The season that is known to be dormant. Dead, cold, December winter.
The storms, the rain, the high water all remind me of Fall Chinook. Away with that, already! Down with the rivers and down with the temperatures!
Out with the neoprene gloves and neoprene waders! Out with the turtlenecks and long undies!
The river fall Chinook migration is short, fast, busy and wet. Calendar days and water levels limit my opportunity. I have to quit everything to be there when it's time. I fish long days, from sun up to sun down. Wet isn't painful. Wet is preventable.
The steelhead season is long, cold, frozen, and can be painful! I fish however long I can stand my frozen fingers! The winter usually provides long dry spells, where I can try out my low water gear.
This is when I work at the computer for a while, take a fishing break, come back and work, fish, all day long. It's a dream job! It's my fishing aerobics breaks, type a little, hook a little, type a little hook a little, cast, cast, cast!
I walked my puppy Kilchis along the river yesterday. I watched the seagulls, and an occasional Bald Eagle feed on the dead salmon carcasses. This is their last feast for a while. Where do they go? What do they eat, in the long, cold dormant season?
I've always wondered if they know this season of plenty is coming. Are they genetically programmed to travel upstream for this annual feast? Is it a seagull Thanksgiving? :)
I see them, early in the Chinook season, waiting... patrolling up and down river. They are absent most of the summer, but come upstream in the early fall to feed. I always giggle to myself, in the early part of the run, knowing that spawning is still some time off. Kind of like kids waiting for the holidays. Is it time yet?
It is time. The birds feed. The Chinook die. The steelhead are coming!
The Kilchis riverbank looks healthier than I have seen it since I have moved here. Dead salmon litter the banks, and keep me busy trying to keep Kilchis away from them. I am armed with antibiotics for him, should he miss one meal, or strike a fever.
Soon the bank will be clean, the seagull will be forced to hunt elsewhere, and I will be left, standing alone, my rod in hand, on the icy rocks of the Kilchis River.
The overhanging branches, leafless and still, hold tiny dewdrops that sparkle against the cold blue sky.
My line flashes, as it catches the sun against the water, and tediously bumps against the gravel, downstream.
All is calm, all is bright.
And then it happens. My line stops.
My frozen fingers bent painfully and semi permanently into the shape of the reel detects a change. Life! There is life here, in the dead cold of winter!
My heart pumps, my breath catches as I lunge backwards with the body warming adrenaline of a super hook set.
"Fish on!" I scream, to no one at all. My enthusiasm echoes back to me. Bouncing against the canyon walls, it cheers me on.
My fingers thaw as my rod pulses to an arc. My thumb burns as she turns, to use the current against me.
I wait for this season, sleepless, and excited, like a child on Christmas Eve.
I am genetically programmed, called to the river.
Finally, it has arrived; The season of life and stillness.
Christmas and New Years are my Holidays.
The presence of the migratory steelhead is my gift, waiting to be opened.
Winter shouts out with cold and chrome,
"Joy to the World!"

December 24th


Peace on Earth, good will to men!
(and women!)(and puppies!)
(and fishes!)
Merry Christmas!
Jen

December 27th

Guess it's time to start writing those Christmas cards! I got SOME cards out! Just not all that I had planned on. So, I am dedicating this day to writing many, many Christmas (HOLIDAY?) cards! Did you get more cards than normal this year? Is it because of our world troubles? Man, I got a lot of Christmas cards!
I like to write them late, though. I am more relaxed, and more likely to be chatty!
I have so many fishing trips coming up! I am so revved!
Friday I am fishing with Pete Morris on the Nestuc, Saturday with Lee Darby on the Wilson, and contest winner Pat.
January 1st, off to the Lewis, with Thumper (off the board) and Bruce Gipple! I've heard Bruce is awesome! I have to bring a chocolate cake -- now what kind of deal is that? Do you know what my cake's are worth??? :)
The other day I was fishing out back. I welcomed a boat to pull plugs through the hole I was drifting. As I left, I casually mentioned, "If you see a trampoline, please stop by and let me know."
The look on their faces was priceless!
"A trampoline?" Three heads in a driftboat swiveled towards me.
"Yes, the boys trampoline. It blew away in the wind storm!"
Sure enough, that evening a truck pulled up, and the fishermen got out to reveal it's location.
The Kilchis River is now very low and clear. I think the boys and I will be trying to get the trampoline out of the lower hole. They keep begging me to let them go swimming lately. Now is my turn to say yes! Just take this anchor with you, and hook it onto that tramp! Then we have to drag it to the opposite side, dismantle it, put it in the drift boat and make trip, after trip, after trip!
Wonder if I caught any good lures on it? :)
Three out of four legs are gone, so if you go down the Kilchis and find any trampoline legs or springs, pick them up for us! We will collect the whole darn thing sooner or later! I've got 6 springs in the garage, I'm waiting for the rest of it!
Meanwhile, don't use your favorite plugs in the drift directly below our house!
I fished yesterday with jigs for a bit, with no luck. I also waded out above a good sneak hole and let my favorite low water hot shot out. No luck there, either. Maybe this morning... Perhaps I'll do the belly crawl out there, so they won't see me!
Anyway, lots to do. Bill's off with some clients on the Wilson. It's been very windy and miserable on the drifts. Come on warm rain! Go away, East wind!!!

December 28th

Had the good old, "Can't sleep because I'm going fishing tomorrow morning" syndrome.
Every two hours I woke, "Is it time now? Or now? Now?" Finally at 5 it's time!!!
I'm headed to the Nestucca with Pete Morris, in his fine Willie boat. I'm bringing three rods: jig, plug and drift. There should be a song! I love being able to use my beautiful TH! I finally got a Shimano Stradic for it, and now I'm fishing!
Jigs! I love them! With a Silent Approach, I make my First Cast...
I have a collection of both of these companies jigs. I like them both so well, I can't decide which to use first! What happens if I get a fish on the first cast with Silent Approach jig?
Or...
What happens if I silently approach a hole and catch one on a first cast jig? What then???
All I can say is that you can't go wrong with either one of these companies... but, I prefer to have some of both! So should you!
One slipper has left my foot as I write this. It's become an every morning tradition. Puppies, like children, love a predictable schedule. As soon as he is done with his breakfast, he comes in to steal my slipper. Oh, the comfort of knowing what to expect.
I have had so much trouble trying to decide on which waist high waders will work for me. I have finally decided on Redington. They make a waist high with good long inseams, which I need, yet the foot isn't huge and the girth, although bigger than I need, can be cinched up nice and tight. Orvis was my other choice, but I had a Redington catalogue handy, and I really like the material of the Redingtons.
I can't WAIT until they are delivered. I rarely wade more than thigh high, and they are so comfortable! Imagine that! Full length neoprenes are so heavy. They are warm, no doubt, so I'll just wait and see how I do with these breathables. Redington makes some nice warm under wader clothes. I might give them a whirl too.
I've got to get up and moving. Today the Nestuc, tomorrow, the Willie, and Tuesday, The North Fork Lewis!
Ready... set..... Fish!
At least by the time I fish the Lewis I won't have to worry about my old tag! I'll have a fresh new Washington tag, AND a fresh new Oregon tag!
Mission: Fill 'em up!
Off to find my slipper.
As I look behind me I see my Christmas cards, laying on the floor. Kilchis is chewing the box. He looks up to me like, "Aren't I cute? Aren't I adorable? Shouldn't you have written Christmas cards yesterday?"

December 29th

Have Travel, Will Fish!

Don't let any water pass you by during these low water conditions!
While traveling from one hole to another, or pushing on to the take out ramp, I often witness people sitting back, enjoying the ride, but letting some really good water pass them by. What a pity!
I can't stand it!
For these occasions, I always have to have my TH 1143 bobber rod along. Add to that a couple pink and white jigs, a small, natural cork bobber, and perhaps a shrimp tail. (Very optional).
It drives me crazy to hear people say, "There are very few fishable pockets from here on down."
"Oh yeah?"
Oh, wise words from the age old drift fisherman!
Grab your jiggin rod, babe! Show 'em a fish trick or two!
Stand in the bow of the boat, and keep a keen eye out for those overhanging branches. Watch for bends, where the current cuts a deep, swift channel. Cast at the head of these faster running currents! Watch for those seams!
Ever driven a bobber?
Use your hand to pull your line back and away from those dipping branches to steer your bobber clear of snags. It's a thrill to see.... just how close you can get! Let the line back out, once past the danger. The current will magically sweep your jig right into the steelies nose!
In those frog water sections of the river, listen! Listen for the current, for water rushing. It's there! You can't see the fish, but you can feel them there. They are there!
I often feel my heart lurch forward when I see the right water. The beat quickens as I realize I have one chance to cast to hit this drift just right. The boat is traveling fast, and I have seconds to decide. My knees grip into the braces on the boat for the cast.
There! The line sweeps off my Stradic and lands, and hits it's mark, inches from shore. The current sweeps it just fast enough to keep time with the boat.
While traveling, I have to make allowances for the person on the oars. She wants to travel, to hurry to the next drift. I want to cover the most water with my jig without interrupting the process.
If you use this method, you will slow her down, eventually, if only to net the catch!
Rarely can you cast straight left or right to the boat. It's a juggling game. Sometimes the boat will be traveling faster than the water in which you want to fish. Sometimes the pocket you throw to runs faster. I find it a fun challenge to adjust accordingly.
Calculate before you cast!
If the oarsmen is pushing through some slow, tidal frog water, yet there is a fast flowing pocket to your left, you may need to cast upstream a bit.
I find a bit of persuading, "Over there, bobber!" an perhaps a slight tug on the mono, will line it up just perfectly for those fish producing seams.
Sometimes I can get two, and even three casts in before my time is up. Other times, I get one chance, and it's over.
I most often set my depth no more than three feet (often two) for this type of angling, as there is nothing more embarrassing than snagging your jig. [Someone else] shakes their head in frustration, in a hurry to get where they are convinced the catching shall be done!
I'm all for pulling plugs.
I'm all for hooking it up with corkie and eggs.
Nothing is more exciting and gratifying, however, than knowing that there beside you, not 10 feet from the boat, lies a chrome steelhead.
With quick, agile casts, you can pluck a hatchery brat out of unimaginable places!
All the while, the rhythmic music of the oars propel you, as you travel down stream to yet more fishy water!
There is a thrill to reading the water! Don't miss this dynamite chance at a hookup!

 

December 31st

Last year it seems like I got through the whole year without a cold. This year, I'm on round two for a major cold.

I have been invited, along with Bill, to fish with Jack Mattice, (Thumper), his lady friend, and Bruce Gipple tomorrow. This, on the Lewis River, with a planned stop for lunch at the Golf Course... What a treat!!!
Will it fly? Will Jennie feel better by a deadline of 8 P.M. tonight??? The suspense is killing me! To be continued...
I have a bottle of something called "Wellness Formula" that I have always sworn by. It has echanacea, goldenseal, red pepper, and all kinds of herbal magic in it! You can get it at Fred Meyers. I think I'll eat the whole bottle!
Trampoline update:
We loaded up the drift boat with every kind of anchor we could think of, and drifted downstream to try and snag it. It rests in our favorite plugging hole, 7 to 8 foot deep.
I've heard enough jokes about putting bedsprings in the river to collect plugs to last me a lifetime!
As we approached the trampoline hole, it was clearly apparent that we had waited a bit too long. It was sanded in on the edges. It's going to be heavy!
The boys walked down the river bank to assist in the pulling party. The dogs had a blast, running at their sides.
It was pouring down rain, and the boys both were dressed in T shirts. Why? We don't know.
Andrew finally asked if he could go back and get his rain coat. (Duh!)
The work began. Bill on the oars, me throwing the anchor, trying to snag it. Then, me on the oars, and Bill trying to snag it. Frustrated words were shouted in the falling rain. Why did I think this would be fun, rewarding?
David began to get restless. Andrew had disappeared for a bit too long. I had visions of him sipping hot cocoa and watching TV
Exhausted, cold and wet, I finally snagged it.
"O.K., Bill! Row to shore!"
I held the rope while we rowed to shore to get David to help pull.
"One, two, three... HEAVE!"

"One, two, three... HEAVE!"
We moved it about 4 feet until it hit a sand bar.
"Where is Andrew???"
"One, two, three... HEAVE!"
We huffed, and we puffed, and we blew my back out!
A tiny red Helly Hanson coat made it's appearance down the home trail, and began slowly making it's way towards us. Andrew was in no hurry.
What is it about a Mother that thinks that they want this thing back? Thoughts that they would be overjoyed to be involved in this process gratified in a job well done, began to deteriorate.
Andrew carried with him a garbage sack.
"What's that for Andrew?"
He lay it on the ground, and began making his way to the sitting position.
"Spectator sport". He replied dryly.
Alrighty, then. This is Mom's activity.
Let's move to another angle.
"One, two, three... HEAVE!"
Nothing. The trampoline wasn't going to budge.
Before we could get back to the warmth and comfort of the house to strategize our next effort, the drift boat had to be pulled up through the fast flowing riffles.
"It isn't very far!" I enthusiastically informed Bill. He wasn't so sure.
One hundred yards can seem like miles, pulling a drift boat upstream. It took us nearly an hour.
Be careful if you pull plugs in the hole directly downstream of our home. There is a plug eating trampoline there. I think it's there to stay.

 

December 29th

Have Travel, Will Fish!

Don't let any water pass you by during these low water conditions!
While traveling from one hole to another, or pushing on to the take out ramp, I often witness people sitting back, enjoying the ride, but letting some really good water pass them by. What a pity!
I can't stand it!
For these occasions, I always have to have my TH 1143 bobber rod along. Add to that a couple pink and white jigs, a small, natural cork bobber, and perhaps a shrimp tail. (Very optional).
It drives me crazy to hear people say, "There are very few fishable pockets from here on down."
"Oh yeah?"
Oh, wise words from the age old drift fisherman!
Grab your jiggin rod, babe! Show 'em a fish trick or two!
Stand in the bow of the boat, and keep a keen eye out for those overhanging branches. Watch for bends, where the current cuts a deep, swift channel. Cast at the head of these faster running currents! Watch for those seams!
Ever driven a bobber?
Use your hand to pull your line back and away from those dipping branches to steer your bobber clear of snags. It's a thrill to see.... just how close you can get! Let the line back out, once past the danger. The current will magically sweep your jig right into the steelies nose!
In those frog water sections of the river, listen! Listen for the current, for water rushing. It's there! You can't see the fish, but you can feel them there. They are there!
I often feel my heart lurch forward when I see the right water. The beat quickens as I realize I have one chance to cast to hit this drift just right. The boat is traveling fast, and I have seconds to decide. My knees grip into the braces on the boat for the cast.
There! The line sweeps off my Stradic and lands, and hits it's mark, inches from shore. The current sweeps it just fast enough to keep time with the boat.
While traveling, I have to make allowances for the person on the oars. She wants to travel, to hurry to the next drift. I want to cover the most water with my jig without interrupting the process.
If you use this method, you will slow her down, eventually, if only to net the catch!
Rarely can you cast straight left or right to the boat. It's a juggling game. Sometimes the boat will be traveling faster than the water in which you want to fish. Sometimes the pocket you throw to runs faster. I find it a fun challenge to adjust accordingly.
Calculate before you cast!
If the oarsmen is pushing through some slow, tidal frog water, yet there is a fast flowing pocket to your left, you may need to cast upstream a bit.
I find a bit of persuading, "Over there, bobber!" an perhaps a slight tug on the mono, will line it up just perfectly for those fish producing seams.
Sometimes I can get two, and even three casts in before my time is up. Other times, I get one chance, and it's over.
I most often set my depth no more than three feet (often two) for this type of angling, as there is nothing more embarrassing than snagging your jig. [Someone else] shakes their head in frustration, in a hurry to get where they are convinced the catching shall be done!
I'm all for pulling plugs.
I'm all for hooking it up with corkie and eggs.
Nothing is more exciting and gratifying, however, than knowing that there beside you, not 10 feet from the boat, lies a chrome steelhead.
With quick, agile casts, you can pluck a hatchery brat out of unimaginable places!
All the while, the rhythmic music of the oars propel you, as you travel down stream to yet more fishy water!
There is a thrill to reading the water! Don't miss this dynamite chance at a hookup!

December 31st

Last year it seems like I got through the whole year without a cold. This year, I'm on round two for a major cold.
I have been invited, along with Bill, to fish with Jack Mattice, (Thumper), his lady friend, and Bruce Gipple tomorrow. This, on the Lewis River, with a planned stop for lunch at the Golf Course... What a treat!!!
Will it fly? Will Jennie feel better by a deadline of 8 P.M. tonight??? The suspense is killing me! To be continued...
I have a bottle of something called "Wellness Formula" that I have always sworn by. It has echanacea, goldenseal, red pepper, and all kinds of herbal magic in it! Those close to me, call it a placebo. I don't care. It works. They get sick, I don't.... usually!
You can get it at Fred Meyers. I think I'll eat the whole bottle!
As the days of our trampoline turns...
We loaded up the drift boat with assorted pronged anchors, and drifted downstream to try and snag it. It rests in our favorite plugging hole, 7 to 8 feet deep.
I've heard enough jokes about putting bedsprings in the river to collect plugs to last me a lifetime!
As we approached the trampoline hole, it was clearly apparent that we had waited a bit too long. It was sanded in on the edges.
It's going to be heavy!
The boys walked down the river bank to assist in the pulling party. The dogs had a blast, running wildly at their sides.
I seemed to be the only one matching their enthusiasm.
It was pouring down rain, and the boys both were dressed in T shirts. Why? We don't know. Because they are teenage boys, I guess.
Andrew finally asked if he could go back and get his rain coat. (Duh!)
The work began. Bill on the oars, me throwing the anchor, trying to snag it. Then, me on the oars, and Bill trying to snag it. Frustrated words were shouted in the falling rain. Why did I think this would be fun, rewarding?
David began to get restless. Andrew had disappeared for a bit too long. I had visions of him sipping hot cocoa and watching T.V.
Exhausted, cold and wet, I finally snagged it.
"O.K., Bill, to shore!"
I held the rope while we rowed to shore to get David to help pull.
"One, two, three... HEAVE!"
"One, two, three... HEAVE!"
We moved it about 4 feet until it hit a sand bar, and stuck hard.
"Where is Andrew???"
"One, two, three... HEAVE!"
We huffed, and we puffed, and we blew my back out!
A tiny red Helly Hanson coat made it's appearance down the home trail, and began slowly making it's way towards us. Andrew was in no hurry.
What is it about a Mother that thinks that they want this thing back? Thoughts that they would be overjoyed to be involved in this process, gratified in a job well done, began to deteriorate.
Andrew carried with him a garbage sack.
"What's that for Andrew?"
He lay it on the ground, and began making his way to the sitting position.
"Spectator sport". He replied dryly.
Alrighty, then. This is Mom's activity.
Let's move to another angle.
"One, two, three... HEAVE!"
Nothing. The trampoline wasn't going to budge.
Before we could get back to the warmth and comfort of the house to strategize our next effort, the drift boat had to be pulled up through the fast flowing riffles.
"It isn't very far!" I enthusiastically informed Bill. He wasn't so sure.
One hundred yards turns into miles, pulling a drift boat upstream. It took us nearly an hour.
Be careful if you pull plugs in the hole directly downstream of our home. There is a plug eating trampoline there. I think it's there to stay. Wonder what we'll catch?
Will Jennie ever get the trampoline out of the river?
Will Andrew and David ever care?
Will Bill finally say "no" to excavation?
Will Jennie get well in time for her fishing adventure?
Will Bill go on the fishing trip without Jennie?
Will she throw a tantrum?
Who is Will?
Stay tuned!



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