Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington

Fishing with Milton Fisher
on the North Fork Nehalem

Jennie Logo

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

A journal of my adventures.

December 2nd 1999

Time for a total revamp on ifish. Lots and lots of work. I'll be here all day, should anyone want to visit, e mail, etc. Hey..... I'll do anything to get out of this! No, it will be pretty neat when I am done, should it all go well. HTML go smoothly? HAH!
I'm getting ready to drive down to the park on the Kilchis. There was a tree cutting loose from the bank yesterday. I mean a monster. And if you were worried about the last tree on the Kilchis, that would be nothing! This tree is a monster! I just bet with the rising river, and the wind last night it went in. Oh mercy me.....Add yet another challenge to the fishing this year!
There was a nice 45 lb. Chinook taken out of the Kilchis yesterday.. Oh me oh my was I envious. I mean, after all of the plunking hours I have put in with no luck... I was upstairs getting ready to take a shower and I looked out to see a bankful of fishermen playing a fish that obviously had my name engraved on it. The fish was shouting.."No! Jennie's Fish!!!!" as it reluctantly came to shore for a stranger. Jennie's fish.... Jennie's fish...I couldn't even take a shower.. I was down to the tackle room in a flash, trying desperately to rig up with my hands shaking, my hair all a mess from a long winter slumber.... my shoes barely tied.... I ran out to the bank and the fish and lucky fisherman gone.... I plunked, I bobbed, I drifted... for hours in the pouring down rain. I wish I liked sewing, or shopping, or another girl like activity, because I was miserable, yet hopelessly addicted, hopelessly challenged by hooking something. I was sopping wet, cold, yet I remained still...never did catch a fish. Never in my life of fishing have I gone a whole month without a fish. Till now. It is frustrating.
Steelhead..... Time to rig up for steelhead and give up on the Chinook. Who knows, on rivers like the Kilchis you can still hook either this time of year. But I am going to shoot for steelhead.
Stan Fagerstrom wrote a new article on bait casting reels. Very good for the beginner, and a good refresher for the experienced caster. Wish I had had it handy last year when I finally committed myself to learning the skill. I am fairly used to them now, although the main skill I have developed is picking out backlashes! I am really good at that!
Off to the park, kids..... I will be online today fixing up a good directory for accessing new and old articles written by Stan, my fishing life entries for end of year, and a place for 2000 entries. (My y2K challenge.......) Plus a new design. I like this design, so it will stay the same for the most part. I am just trying to clean things up a bit.
Hang in there, dry weather is on the way. Fishing should be great next week!

December 2nd 1999 later...

It has been brought to my attention that I have forgotten about the contest! We just picked the winner! It is posted here! Congratulations and I can't wait to go fishing!

December 3rd

The Kilchis is still pouring yellow, silty mud out of the creek below the park. The tree I mentioned is still hanging in there, held up by another smaller tree. Who knows if it will give, but we drove up this morning and it was still standing. The earth around it is all cracked with deep crevices in the earth. When it goes, I don't want to be near. The river above the creek almost looks fishable. Dang those slides and clear cutting!
Looks like better fishing next week. I really can't wait. I am getting all of my steelhead gear ready in this time of patient waiting. Plug rods, drift rods, and of course, my plunking rod..... Yes,..... I plunk!
Want to read what is on my mind lately? It was very difficult for me to write this.....I hope that I get some answers from all of you! read here.

December 4th

"Out of the hearts are the issues of life."

A combination of things have changed my thinking in the last 24 hours. Last night I lazily sat in the tub and read some material a very dear friend sent me. It all really hit home. It was a pamphlet written by Norman Vincent Peale that has me expecting miracles. What a great way to live!!! Duh.... why didn't I think of that? Talk about lifting problems from your life! I am going to deliberately chase away any negative thinking and go back to my child like way of expecting good of every one and every thing! I always had a little bit of that in me, but it gets lost somewhere sometimes...
I am going to fish today expecting a fish! I am going to quit worrying about finances and expect and KNOW that everything will always be O.K.!
Funny thing, and small world! I went up to the park yesterday afternoon to check on the river clarity and that old tree leaning over the river. There was a gentlemen fishing and I got out of my car chatting about how pretty the water was there. (I do that.... I'm very unafraid of strange fishermen.....I have never been sorry either.... Fishermen are a different and trusted breed.. always family like...) It was Bill Madden! He said....."You wouldn't happen to be Jennie would you?" I was! I is! Small world! He won the contest on Ifish! Neat! Glad to meet you Bill, and can't wait to catch fish with you! (small miracles.....:) )
Bill (Hedlund, my fiancee'..... for those of you who thought it was Madden!) and I shopped this morning through catalogues for a Davis weather station. Someday soon we will have the Kilchis Canyon weather station! Cool! A Christmas present from both of us, to both of us!
Thanks to all of you who have written to support ifish and to thank me, and thank you Stan Fagerstrom, for the articles that you sent me that inspired me to rise smiling this morning. The kind of support from ifish that finances can't touch.... Expecting miracles... And as I stood outside this morning, still dark...the sky clear as a bell and crisp... I received a miracle.... Stars shining so brightly in the sky that you felt as if you could touch them. I had to stop and stare, and smile yet again...

December 6th

I guess my "miracles" don't come in the way of fish lately. The Kilchis was red hot yesterday....while I was at work. How does that make a girl feel anyhow? FRUSTRATED!
It is blown out today. I am going to drive up to the tree to see how it is. Oops.... Bill just did, and the tree is still standing. The water is back to milk chocolate.... I can see now. However, "I cannot see clearly now....."
My miracles came in the way of seeing a spotted owl up close. The boys and I drove up the South side of the river to take a picture of the house for Christmas cards, and there it was! It was so cool! Ten feet away!
My miracles also came in the way the letters poured in supporting Ifish. It made me smile every time I read one.
Frankly, I don't want to charge for ifish. The appreciation I receive in many ways is more important to me than the money. The friends I have gained doing ifish are worth something that can't be measured in dollars. Maybe someday... I will have the financial resources to do greater things. Like those afternoon reports!
where you can be listed as a supporter. That way, those that want to support it, can, and those who don't can still read for free. Although many thought that the detailed pay site was a good deal, I just am not set up for it yet. Maybe someday....!
Anyway, I didn't sleep all night expecting to fish, so I can't do anything that brainy today.
Expect miracles..... expect miracles... expect miracles.....EXPECT FISH!
Guess what? Bill just ordered the Davis Weather Station! Oh No! A technological nightmare coming soon!

December 8th

I sure would appreciate any opinions on the river bank access going on in the discussion board. I have been asked to, (and have) notified some of the powers that be, and perhaps some of them will take some action? We'll see....I personally don't know a heck of alot about it... but I am learning, and the internet can be a powerful source for all of us to do something about issues we believe in.
The Wilson is still muddy because of the slides, etc. The Kilchis is greening, and looking rather fishable.... That is because I have to work today. It's the law, you know. Go ahead guys! Catch all of my fish! (just leave me some eggs, would you? I am really low.....!!!)
Too bad about the muddy, silt filled, mocha colored creek that flows into the Kilchis below the park.. It will challenge us all year, I believe. Then there are the 'trees down' issue, although I believe the big one is still holding steady.
The kids and I have seen the neatest things lately... A herd of Elk, There is a little creek flowing next to Kilchis river road... a tiny thing..... The kids and I stopped yesterday to find 5 or 6 chums, spawners... laying in the riffles.. Another spotted owl flying high over the fields.... These are my miracles! Thank you!
Bill has taught me to see things that I have never seen before. Odd thing when you have poor eyesight, and learn to grow up that way.. I can learn to see things.... He has taught me to spot little song sparrows darting in and out of bushes along our road. Fun! I see them now! Took me a while to teach my brain to watch for them, and it is frustrating for Bill to try and show me things...BILL! I see them!
We have worked very hard to get birds to our place, and are finally succeeding! We have tons of resident Juncos now....a couple Towhees, lots and lots of Jays....(oh well.) We have seen a Spotted Owl, a few Song Sparrows, a pair of Northern Flickers, a Varied Thrush, Red-breasted Sap Sucker, Pine Siskin....and a partridge in a pear tree!!!!! (NOT!)
Anyway, off to upload this report, and then to Astoria.... See ya on the banks....! What if the Necanicum looks really good on my way to the meeting? Do you think I should take my hip boots?

December 9th

The Discussion board took on a new twist that I never even dreamed of. I won't be updating ifish for a while.

December 9th

O.K., I lied!!! I'm back!
Only to let those who care know that the Kilchis is beautiful! Go fishing!
Undoubtedly, the Necanicum is in prime condition also.. Unusually, there are many coho running in the Necanicum right now, so please carefully release these precious babes!
Past 36 hours we have registered 1.25 inches of rain.
That's it, thats all she wrote.... she is working on building her self esteem today...... swallow..... gulp.

December 11th

Stan wrote a very interesting column on Boating the Columbia. Thanks, Stan! I really enjoy reading Stans column, and I really hope you have the time to check it out!
Tis the season... I am very busy playing gigs and traveling. I may be back on Monday, but perhaps Tuesday is more likely.
I plunked for a little while today. It was a joke! Although it was kind of spooky and fun out there, sitting on a rainy, windy, river bank with the water lapping at my boots. Someone mentioned on the board that I can't catch fish! No lie! I can't seem to! But I will never give up trying, and loving trying! I have had the worst Fall fishing that I can remember, and I have fished just as much, if not more. Certainly my location should benefit me, but it hasn't this year!
Talked with Jim Erickson this morning and he was talking about people putting in in the high water anyhow, and actually catching fish plunking for steelhead with some success.. With Chartreuse and orange spin glows and a gob of eggs. They anchor in the bend of the river where the water is not to fast. He says this is where the fish go to get out of all of the current. Certainly worth a try!
Snow? Did someone say snow? The weather is calling for low elevation snow. I love snow!!! I know, I hear the groans of those who don't, but I just do, O.K.?
Anyway, off to throw a pizza in. My tree is up, it is so gorgeous! Trying to talk Bill into being Christmassy is a challenge... I'll get him yet!
The Kilchis is muddy and high. The Trask and the Wilson deserve even a more disgusted shake of the head.
We had quite a bit of steady rain last 24 hours.... Oh well...... Here Steeeeeeelhead! The rivers WILL clear! They must!

December 13th

Argh..... I think I'm getting a cold. Yuck!
I had to cancel going North to play on Sunday, due to it being too dark for me to drive at 7:00, add to that the fact that David was very sick on Saturday night. I just couldn't leave him home, 2 hours away from me while he was sick. But I sure did the guilt all day Sunday. I can't stand missing work, financially or otherwise.
Today, I do have to travel North and play for a Dentist friends caroling party. Their daughter was a student of mine, and I miss her dearly. Should be fun.
(By the way, I am just blowing steam, if you are looking for a fishing report, I don't have one!)
The river was way blown out yesterday, and is still that way today. I was up all night last night listening to the thunder and lightning, and the river rushing by. The tree is still standing, and after the wind storm yesterday, I would think that it is stable for a while. I hope!
I have one day to fish this week. ONE! On Thursday. So the rivers need to be back in shape then... Just a small request on my Christmas wish list......
I made so much candy to give away as presents yesterday, (Hand dipped chocolates... Fun!) that I rightly feel like Martha Stewart. Now I will just box them up, and make people fat for the holidays... Isn't that thoughtful of me?
Off to the races....
Hey, if anyone knows where I can find a F6 yellow with red spots flatfish, could you e mail me?

December 15th

I'm supposed to drive North again today. I doubt it. I doubt I even could, if I were stupid enough!
This morning a sadness washes over me as the rivers rise, yet again to damaging flood levels. There are already places and people here who I have come to know, and feel for that are predicted to be devastated again. IF anyone knows where the boys and I can go to help someone, please let me know.
I am also very sad that the high waters will damage the spawning redds. They just can't take another flood like this!
As long as I am remarking about things that dishearten me, I would like to mention that some of the posts on the Discussion board are just plain mean spirited. Why do people feel the need to bash one another? I sincerely do not want this site to become a bashing area. I think it is great to have all kinds of discussion, even controversy, but name calling, etc, gets no one any where.
On the lighter side, I am still breathing heavy from what Bill and I did this morning.... He knows how to push my buttons like no other! I had my favorite rod out in the living room, playing with casting, etc... he would grab the tip and pull on it like a fish...First a light pull, then down.... down.....whammo!! He has this touch that is indescribable... My knees got weak, my heart pounded....I screamed in anticipation!! Nice to know that I'm still alive!

December 16th

I spoke with Jeff Lee at Ultimateangler yesterday, and he has been kind enough to donate a Tackle Jacket that has won awards at many outdoors shows. What I wouldn't do for one! What a great Christmas idea also..
May the best man/woman win....
Well, I would be willing to bet that if we get NO rain, the Kilchis may fish Saturday, and the Necanicum would fish for sure. However, posted on the net under current warnings, is a storm warning, and big winds. Wah!
Fun on the Discussion Board! There is someone.... (a mystery soul...) who comes to us with the name of "The REEL Truth" Let's test him! Does he know his stuff? Is he a REAL guide? If so, is he a successful Guide? Seems so far that he knows his stuff. I had Bill read one of his posts and he was inclined to believe in his ideas. It pleases me greatly to have something fun and positive on the board! YAY! I know, bashing me is fun, but if you aren't nice to me I will put fish off in your Christmas stocking. Really.... I will!
December 19th

On your mark, get set, GO!!!! Its steelhead time, ladies and gentlemen, we have been waiting, wading..... through high water, and we are finally here? COULD IT BE???? I think so!
Took the long way home from Astoria today... The raft that was across from the Relief Pitcher tavern in Seaside on the Necanicum is gone! That made me so sad. I have heard stories and fished with fishermen that have fished there for the longest time. At one time, there was a covered area on the raft with an old wood stove on it. The guys put so much love and care into that raft.. and now it is gone. If only someone took enough interest in maintaining it. (Guilty myself....) I guess someone cut the main cable, and then the two smaller ones gave way with the floods. Over the years, what once was a well maintained group effort has declined and weathered with age and abuse. I have fished there so many days.. with so many people.. met so many wonderful people on that raft.. Heard storied that I'll never forget.. Fished with some people that actually created it, and now some of those old timers are gone... and so is their fishing shack. I learned to cast off that raft nearly blindfolded down to exactly the right place. I laid in the sun on long summer days waiting for cutthroats. I would wear shorts on some days and wade through the water looking for lures that I had lost the previous steelhead season... Ah shoot.. I'll sure miss that raft... wahhhhhh.
Bill and I went on a river scouting tour on the way home.. For that I will hand you over to Bill.......
and herrrrrrrre it is.
The Necanicum is running strong but with perfect color. Monday and Tuesday should be ideal and fish should be present in fair numbers. These are the same hatchery fish as are pouring into the North Fork Nehalem hatchery. Over 80 fish have been handled at the North Fork Hatchery as of today with fish coming in all the time. The North Fork is colored but fishable and also running strong. The Mainstem Nehalem is just plain "out" and will be indefinitely. The Miami is beautiful this afternoon and the Kilchis will fish tomorrow, but woe is the angler who favors the Wilson as it is running strong with thick milk chocolate that is a long ways from letting its last few bright Chinooks and (hopefully) many steelhead see a bait or lure. We didn't review the Trask but it's likely still suffering badly from chocolate flood poisoning. Ifish's pick for Monday & Tuesday is the NECANICUM.
So, there you have it, I would personally, (this is Jennie again) want to fish the Necanicum if only I were up to driving North once again.... Hey, I live on a river.... Im gonna stay home and fish!
So, let me in how our predictions pan out!! Byeeeeeee!

December 20th

Mrs. "Can't catch fish" caught one...(Click Here) HA HA!! 26 inches--first steelhead this winter. Took me a whole half hour to get into one. Going back out to catch his sister after French toast and bacon.
Tell your boss you are sick, and take off for the rivers!!!
Thank you Stan, and G Loomis for my new lucky hat!!! BTW, hooked him on pink pearl corkey and shrimp tail.

December 22nd

Hmmmmm... I fished today first light, and the river is getting almost too low! That is my sorry excuse for not catching a fish
It was absolutely a beautiful, winter steelhead kind of day. The kind of day that all of the memories of drifting down rivers come burning down on you with the slight warmth of the distant sun. Your hands freeze, your neoprenes are wet and clumsy, but nothing matters but the feel of that lure bumping across the rocks on the bottom of the clear, glacial river that you become a part of.
I would say that your best bet is on the Nehalem. Things are going real well there. I have had many e mails reporting success.
My Christmas list, however, is beginning to resemble a flow chart! When will I be done, AND keep up with work? ARGH! Ho Ho Ho?
Bill is fishing the Wilson with "the guys" tomorrow. Thats O.K., Bill, really. I'll be fine. I didn't want to go, anyway! (Yeah..... right!) No, he has been so helpful in my Christmas endeavors that he deserves to catch the biggest brightest steelhead in the river! BTW, he did have a fish on this morning.
Yesterday on the Kilchis was like a White water parade. With the Wilson and the Trask out, as it was yesterday, The Kilchis was one busy little river. A friend stopped by and had two on for a bit. One jumped around wildly, and so close we could tell it was fin clipped and how big it was, etc. But that little devil got away! Guess he left it out there for me to catch!
Tomorrow heading to Astoria. Busy time, this time of year. It's hard.... this is awful to say.. and I am embarrassed about it, but it is hard for me to do Christmas during steelhead season! (Oh, did I say that???)
Anyway, Merry Merry to all, and I'll give you a report on the Wilson tomorrow eve! Catch lots!

December 23nd

The first words out of Bill's mouth was...."Today was probably the best day all season to be on the Wilson..." I am having a pity party, a hissy fit.
No, Really...I am!!!!! I even got home early and decided to try the Kilchis, but the bait was with him on the Wilson. Oh well.....priorities.
Lots and lots of fish caught today! Yay!
The first honest to goodness real good steelhead fishing today on the Wilson. It was crowded, but almost every boat down had fish. Bill saw a 17 pounder landed in Terry Mulkeys boat. (Wahhhhh). I can write about this, honestly, I can. (WHIMPER). Well, they took the eggs that I had, and did give me the eggs from the hen they caught. That was awfully sweet of them!
Do I sound difficult to get along with? Do I sound petty?
When Bill got home I did run out to the river and throw some tackle around. Literally. I mean the Kilchis is very low, and I learned the true meaning of tackle grabbers. I lost three rigs.
Tomorrow it is Christmas Eve day, and though it may cause me much guilt, I am going fishing on the Wilson. That's all there is to it.
The Whiny Brat

December 25th
Merry Christmas!

It is Christmas morning, and the kids have received their bunnies! They got fuzzy lop bunnies and Bill built a neato Rabbit hutch for them. All these days I have been telling them that it was a chicken coop for baby chicks! HAH!
My stocking was filled to the brim with swivels, jigs, pliers, scissors, spin glos, all the things that most women dream of!
The Wilson was absolutely packed yesterday and fishing was good.
The Kilchis is pretty low. I still may go out and catch a Christmas fish before leaving for dinner.
Have a very Merry Christmas!!!

December 27th

Whew! I survived Christmas and all of the emotions that come with it!
I stayed home today to get things done around the house. Put away Christmas things, work on installing the weather station. Anyone like to climb steep roofs to install anemometers? Yikes!
I caught a beauty of a cutthroat last night by sneaking up on a hole and slowly drifting it to the tailout of a shallow riffle. It was most exciting. I successfully released him.
I was going to fish the Wilson today, but thought, geez, everyone will be on the river cuz of Christmas break, and the wind is howling. I think I'll wait till the rain this weekend and the lesser crowds of next week.
New guides coming soon to ifish. Can't wait, and they all promise reports! YAY! Reports and recent pictures!
One is Dennis Stewart, who fishes the Columbia and the Nehalem, and the other is Marty Peterson, a local guide recommended by Tim Juarez.
Anyway, off to take down some of the Christmas stuff, and to answer 87 e mails!!! I love my mail!!! Bye!!

December 28th

Off to fish the Lower Nehalem today. Jim Erickson did really well yesterday with light tackle, so I have to go change my line on my other reel before Bill gets after me. I wish I had the time to be better about my tackle. Sometimes I think Bill is shocked! But he STILL loves me!
Thing is, now all my stuff is in HIS garage, as all his stuff is in MY kitchen! He feels the same way now about my kitchen as I do about his garage. Hands off space! Someday soon I am going to write a column or something about what it is like to have a fishing team for a marriage. It isn't always the best thing! Seems neat, but.. there are drawbacks!
I can't connect to the internet this morning! How frustrating. Have to log on to my long distance account.
Well, I'll try that, and see ya later.

December 29th

Well, what do you know? I am still smiling! I caught a beautiful big wild fish! The biggest steelhead I have ever caught! Can you believe I didn't have a camera? I borrowed my ISP's older digital, and forgot it!!!
Anyway..... it was 36 inches long, and over 18 around the girth. Bill used some kind of scientific fish calculation and came up with 16 Lbs! WOW! I decided that I was going to have fun with this fish! I was going to let him play and fight for a long time. Good thing, because Bill reminded me.... "Uh.. dear.... you have 6 lb. test on!!!" Oh thanks! No stress here! YIKES!
So, I took it easy on him, and got him up to the boat for measurement and release. What a beauty!
We fished with Bobbers and shrimp tails. Those little black bottomed bobbers for clear water... and boy WAS it clear yesterday. Want to have a bumpy day, take your drift boat down the lower North Fork Nehalem. Very low and clear conditions, and very hard to navigate. Can you say..."Get out and walk?" or "Let's spin around on this rock for a while???"
We used 6 lb. test and bobbers, with #1 hooks. It was a very enjoyable day, even with the challenge of the low water. I do love the Nehalem. I love the feel of wading in the water with your hip boots squeezing you with the pressure of the water. I love watching for steelhead darting above the beautiful rocked bottom. I love how cold it is, and the wonderful feeling of sunshine in the slots that allow it to seep through and warm you. Most of all.... I love......"FISH ON!"
To top off a good thing, Bill and I went over to Norm and Jolie Richie's house, member of the Northwest Steelheaders Sandy Chapter, with Don Watson, and ex Pres., Larry Palmers for a neat dinner. We sat around and talked for the longest time about fishing issues, and I learned so much! I felt like a sponge absorbing (some) of the complex issues they face... Don Watson, and all of them are very bright and interesting fellows, committed to saving the sport and the fisheries. I am truly impressed with their dedication and knowledge. Sometimes I felt like my brain was getting too full, and had to leave to go talk 'dessert and coffee talk' in the kitchen.... But I did learn a lot. It makes me want to get involved. It makes me want to get mad and do something. I'd go into detail, but I am not knowledgeable enough to do that just yet. What I would like to do, however, is to recommend you get involved. If you are not a member of the NW Steelheaders, why not join? (Wow! I just put up there web page for them! Like it?) Call Don at the office at (503) 653-4176. I for one, would like to see my kids catch fish.... and their kids too!
Have a great day....Think BIG FISH!!

December 29th later

Just got the Salmon Master page up! Welcome to Ifish, Dennis Stewart, who specializes in two rivers.... the Columbia, and the Nehalem. I am really looking forward to his reports! He is also going to be offering a free trip in the Contest soon! YAY!

December 31st 1999
Happy New Year!!!

I don't know what to think of the New Year. But one thing I do know.What if it were the end of the world? I would treat everyone nicer today. I would appreciate things that I don't usually put much notice to.. I would play more games with the kids. I would fish like it were my last chance, and by golly I'm going to do that today! I know, the rivers are low and clear, but the fish are still there somewhere and I'm going to hunt till I find um!
I think with the rain tonight a whole mass of fish will file into the river in four lanes! Since these fish are Y2K compliant, I am going to catch them all!
Everyone else might want to lay around tomorrow nursing their hangovers, but not me! I'v never been a late night partier, in fact, I can't remember the last time I even stayed up for the bell to fall on New Years, and I'm going to take advantage of all those that are too ill to fish tomorrow!
I may stay up late tonight, just out of curiosity... I hope and pray no one does anything stupid, but already someone has fooled around with some power thing in The Dalles to make it look like a power outage. My oh My... the fun people find.. Sick!
Well..... it's six in the morning, and I am going to go take a shower, stack some wood we got yesterday, and then eat disgustingly fat filled treats, in between casting all day.
I wish you all the happiest New Year and please be careful out there!!! It's a big, crazy, mixed up population out there, with not enough fishing types!
got your new license yet????