Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington
JANUARY 2003

Jennie's Fishing Life

FISHING THE COAST

A journal of my adventures.


 

January 1st, 2003

I have a new weather station software, and I'm giving it a trial run this week. You can view it by clicking here. It does some really neat things, but it also is foreign to me, and I'm not up to snuff on running it yet. Please be patient! Feels strange to pay money for something that frustrates me so much! I have spent probably 15 solid hours hunched over my computer in frustration! Argh!
I spent the night up coughing. I got up at 3:00 and the boys were still up! Geesh! What stamina! I bet I'll be a lonely girl today, and they'll wake about noon.
I got up this morning with the grand idea to go fishing. Uh oh! After all the preaching I do to remind people to buy their licenses, guess who has none? Yip, Jennie has no fishing license! So, gotta take a shower and go get one before first light. Sick or not, I want a New Years Fish! I just know that the magic of the new year will be good to me! I know I'm sick, but a "fish on" helps that, right?
I just realized that the weather station did not clear the yearly rainfall. Why? I guess I need to put in more hours on the weather station.
I will get well, you know. I will! I don't handle being sick very well. I wish I would allow myself to lounge around all day long and just be sick, but that drives me batty!
Well, lots to do! I need to start a new year of Jennie's archives. Can you believe this is the 5th year of archives for me? Will I ever tire of it? We just never know these things.
I read with interest, for years, Jennicam.com. She used to write nearly every day. Now, it can be up to two months between entries.
I'm still at it for 2003. Just too many fish to write about!
Off I go, have a Happy New Year, everyone!

January 2nd

Whoa! 50 MPH winds!
The people from American Profile have hired a photographer from Portland to come do a photo shoot. We had planned to put the drift boat in the back yard for some photos, but.... with this wind, I doubt it!
I wonder if he'll call and cancel, or we'll go ahead? I don't like not knowing whether to be nervous or not. Whether to get in the shower and get ready, or not? Whether to worry about what to wear, or stay in my pjs!
I put up Stan's new column last night, and today would be the perfect day to follow his suggestion! Click here to read Stan's contribution to ifish.
You know... I really need to catch a steelhead. It's getting ridiculous. Yesterday I went out and tried a new side planer, called the Side Winder. I've only used a planer once, and it was the Luhr Jensen planer. I find them both frustrating, although I think it is only due to the current of the river in the back. It just wants to suck everything into the wrong place. I can't get to that sweet water where those imaginary steelies hold!
The Holidays are over. Do I take down my tree, and when? It's always such a tough decision. This year, I'm going to put my tree out in the field and cover it with bird treats for a while. Popcorn, peanut butter. I'll lay some apples around it. Check it every day to see if the elk are nibbling on it. I want the creatures to enjoy it for a while. :) Christmas for all!
I better upload this, before our power goes out. It's awfully windy. Have a great day... I'm just going to plan on the photo shoot until I hear otherwise.
Off to the shower...

January 3rd

I knew it would happen sooner or later. I thought it would happen on a fly. The back casts are just more precarious, and cover a greater distance.
When my hook dug in, though, it was a hook that had a pink worm and a corkie on it.
I heard a "yipe!" Steelhead don't make that noise. I turned around as quickly as I could.
At the time, I was visiting with a fisherman on the bank. He was casting in the spot where, in years past, I had nearly always caught my first morning fish. I was desperate to get my lure in the slot first.
But no! When I turned around to look, I immediately released my thumb off the spool. A backlash ensued like you have never seen, and on the end of my line was a large brown dog, with a pink worm in his backside. "Kilchis! Stay!"
He stopped at my command. Good thing! Otherwise, with my spool backlashed, he'd have had me running over boulder and log after him, so as not to dig the hook deeper!
I walked over to him, unable to reel in the slack line, tripping over perhaps 30 yards of mono, to release the largest critter I'd ever hooked. 60 pounds of lab mix!
Luckily, the hook popped out as easily as it had sunk in.
The rest of the morning was spent sitting on the river's edge, picking out the grandaddy of backlashes, while my fellow angler continued to cast with glee, into the very slot where I had risen early to get the first cast.
I love dogs. Don't you?
Yesterday the photographer,(Click here for David Falconer, photographer) and I had a few early conversations over the phone. We were deciding about the weather, and the effects on his work. Finally, we decided to give it a go, regardless.
David worked for the The Daily Oregonian for 22 years, and now is working for himself. At first, a guy from American Profile called me, and he was going to fly down from back East. He canceled due to weather, or something. It turned out great! David was extremely interesting to work with, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to meet him, after seeing his name in print, so many times in our newspapers.
He showed up at 11:00 AM or so, and down to the river beach we went, to try and capture a few good shots for an article in American Profile.
Man, I got tired of holding my fly rod up! Roll after roll after roll, trying to get good light, while it drizzled. My hair, which I had neatly blow dried and curled, just a bit, was soaking! The few times I take time to do my hair and of course it's flat as a pancake in 15 minutes!
It was a fun day, though... Very busy, but I can't wait to see the results. When you work with larger mags, though, you know it's going to be a couple months.
I can't believe ifish! Sheesh! I keep thinking it's going to slow down and level off. NOPE! Look at these hits!
I've dreamed of getting more than 5000 unique visitors in a day, and we are darn close!
The only problem, is that every time I open my e mail I have another fresh 200 e mails to answer. Things like, "I can't log on to the discussion board!", and "How do I upload a picture?" and my all time favorite.... "Jennie, how come you haven't answered my e mails?"
Bill is probably going down the North Fork with Jim today, but I've been up since 2, coughing. I think I'm going to go to the doctor to get some cough medicine.
Then, take down the tree, and finish up on some ifish work. I'm also out of milk. Do you know how much milk two teenage boys drink? You'd think it was bottled water! Those "five for ten" deals at Fred Meyers come in handy! I never thought I'd buy 5 gallons of milk!
Seems we have one high wind warning after another these days.
Last evening, the winds gusted to 55 mph. Bill went out to check things, and found that the tarp over our wood had flown off, and landed, like a sail, in our beautiful flowering cherry tree. Twenty feet up, it was putting so much stress on the dear tree, that we had to get it down, and relieve the tree. That was scary! Those boat hooks, that you use to get your anchor rope came in handy. What are those called?
Anyway, it's off to a land of Christmas boxes for me.
I wish you happiness in your day, and good health.

January 4th

I do believe in love at first sight.
I do believe, with all my heart, in a match made in heaven.
Every time I walk down to the river, whether with rod in hand, or with a dog by my side, I experience it.
Somehow, I won. Big time!
It never ceases to amaze me! When things like this happen in your life, you don't forget to be appreciative and thankful! It's so awesome and magical, that the surprise never goes away. It's a love that lasts a lifetime.
Last night, I took the dogs for a walk on the river, just before dinner time. The rivers are high, and not fishable, so it was just Dee Dee, Kilchis and I, alone in the winter's dusky, evening light.
Leaving my rod at home forces me to explore the river beach. Usually I become intimate with the depths of the water body itself. I tickle the rocks and sand flats with a slinky, or lead weight.
It changes face after every rain storm and river rise. The gravel that lies on the bottom of the river, under the weight of the water, sneaks from hole to hole, trying to fool me, changing the depth, changing the feel of it's hidden underground. With every cast, the tap, tap, tap of the weight shows me where a steelhead might lie.
But today, the water's ferocity and power holds me back. It won't allow me to get near the bottom of the river, so I'm forced to be content to explore the newly uncovered rocks and shiny agates laying on the bank.
As I walk near the blackberry bushes, I notice the few dried up berries on the branches. Visions of last summer's crop came to me. Then, they hung heavy on the vine, green and lush. Now, as I stare through the winter skeleton of brambles, that crop provides me with a whole freezer rack of berries, in neat little vac packs, waiting to be made into pies! Today I will make one of those pies, and I think how odd it is, that I can revisit summer in this fashion. Perhaps I'll also pull a summer steelhead from the freezer rack, put on my swim suit and bbq? Nah...
Underneath the vines, lay a pool of still water, two feet deep, and four feet around. A neat little pocket of water that had been dug out and filled by a previous high water. Now, this pool lies isolated, a football field away from the main body of water.
My boots splash in the puddles between rocks, as I make my way around it. Suddenly, the image of a silver salmon comes to me, and I have to look twice to know that it is really there! It is oddly preserved, entombed in it's little showcase aquarium. I bend over to stare. I've never liked open casket services, but there it lie, adding nutrient to the soil, giving life, after death.
All around me, the stench of dead salmon carcasses fills the air, and delight the dogs with new "treasures' every 10 feet or so.
I have to keep shouting, "No! Yuck!" to the dogs. They look at me in puzzled faces. To them, it's a magical land of Hors d'oeuvers, and delightful deposits to stand over, stare for a while, and then throw their shoulders into, with all their might. They roll gleefully in the stench.
As I bent over to pick up one last, shiny agate, I realize my pockets are again, full, wet, and heavy. What do I do with all of these gifts from the shore?
My bathroom shelves are weighted, three agate deep, with shiny treasures. They are separated into types. Over here I put the glittery ones, over here the deep purple, and here the crystal clear agates.
Who, of all people in true love, wouldn't keep reminders of that magic, wherever they go?
...And it is true, as I glance around me. I do bring the river indoors.
Beaver bones on my porch, an agate out of place, lies now, besides my coffee cup. Wading sticks that I have picked up off the beach, and had Bill wrap with rope. They hang on my coat rack. I remember the days that I leaned upon them, as they helped balance my body as I crossed my beloved river's riffles.
And now, as the rain comes pouring down in buckets, on this Saturday morning, I know that the river is building with weight and fury.
It will cover the very area I walked last night, and come closer, closer, until it laps up against the blackberry vines of summer.
There isn't a season or a stage of this river, and river bank that I don't love, or hold in awe.
And that, my friends, is why I truly believe in love at first sight, and matches made in heaven.
I knew it, the first time I glanced at the stretch of river, that exists behind this home.
The Kilchis river lives within my heart.

January 6th

Lots going on at ifish.net.
We may be down sometime today, as the board is getting updated.
Don't forget about the Eggscar Contest, as it will be closed for judging as of January 15th.
I am also putting together the 2003 Spring Chinook Contest, so be on the lookout!
I am still feeling kinda cruddy, but I just got an invitation to float the North Fork. I can't fish tomorrow, so.... Do I do it? I guess you'll find out what I decide later... I mean, how many times do you get to float the North Fork??? Decisions, decisions.....

January 7th

Jim Erickson
Jim Erickson
Master of the North Fork Nehalem.

"Toot Toot!" We heard from Jim, and I know, from fishing with Jim, that this means get in the dang boat, and get in, in a hurry!
The throat of the North Fork Nehalem river looked a little daunting, but mysteriously beautiful and inviting. If you have ever been on the ride, "Pirates of the Caribbean", at Disney Land, it's kind of like that!
With all of the river's danger and excitement, it's also holds a peace and tranquility unmatched by other river systems. Perhaps it's because of the extreme opposites of its character. One minute it's smooth and flat. You have to push the raft to get through, at other places, it's a mountain of white water, descending way, way too steep!
The sign at the put in says, "Expert boaters only, Extremely dangerous drift". OKAY! I have an expert boater behind the oars. Let's go!

Trouble awaits you...... BOO!

Right after the put in, the traditional "tackle grab" takes place. A wire that crosses the river holds many lures, spinners, corkies of every color, and.... HOOKS! It's not recommended to be so foolish, but Bill and I grab for a couple loose slinkies and a bobber. Who really needs these? We don't, but something about escaping the danger of hooking ourselves, coupled with retrieving what other bank anglers have no access to... well, we couldn't resist!
Off we went, new slinkies in pocket, and down past the falls.
Now, imagine this... A small raft, three people, and two rods each. Youza, we have a recipe for disaster! But no, we manage to keep them all separate. In fact, I'd rather have three rods! We left our plug rods in the car, since we all really know how to drift, and jig fish. It's much more interesting.
We stopped at a very beautiful and calm place in the river, just around the falls, and placed a couple casts. No luck, but the deep current, and the sun glistening on the water was too much to pass up.

Bill casting into heaven

"Toot Toot!" and off we went.
Right before Milton's house, we were running a narrow shoot. Bill cast his jig in the precise place he had seen Milton Fisher hook a big steelie on a fly.
"Oh no!" He thought he had snagged up. "Oh yes! It's a fish!" Excitement and a bit of panic ensued as we realized we had no where to bank the raft! The current poured through this narrow canyon and Bill and the fish were on their own! We managed to turn the boat, go down backwards, and finally land the raft, and the fish in a quiet backwater eddy.

The fish wasn't table fare, but quite a large steelhead that had been in the system for probably 3 or 4 weeks. We carefully released the jig from his upper lip.
We stuck there for a while, as Jim hooked yet another steelhead at Milton's place, and then "Toot Toot!" We are off!
Sometimes I wonder if it's only me.
The knowledge that the Tank hole, the Jack, the Queen and the King lie downstream, and that we must navigate it sooner or later, rushes me through the trip.
I sound like a child as I repeatedly ask, "How close are we?" The thing is, I know it as well as they do! I think I ask merely because I want to check Jim's mood about navigating these holes. Does he sound more nervous at these higher river levels, or less?
As many years as Jim has run this piece of water, the respect for the dangers of this river are clear by the seriousness in his voice.
To hear Jim tell us to put on our life jackets half makes us giggle, and half prepares us for what we know can be a life threatening event.
Jim says to wear our life jackets? Wha???
"Yip, put em on!"
Yikes! It's time!
As we slide over the tank hole, I get a taste for what the water to come will be like. Water rushing over our laps, we stare down into the frothy, white water that could easily engulf the raft, if not maneuvered exactly on target.
Here comes the jack. As we pause ever so slightly, I glance down to see the toilet bowl from hell. It seems the raft pauses too long. I don't want to look any longer, but I'm forced to gaze. In slow motion, we fall, for what seems like an eternity, and then it's over.
Or is it? NO! The Queen... the King! Oh my!
Bill predicts the Queen to be the worst at this water level, and Jim, the King. I'm repeatedly asking Bill, "When? When? When?"
He's gripping the bottom of the seat and I decide to follow suit.
"Don't move an inch" Jim warns.
"Don't worry! I'm frozen, stiff, Jim!"
Bill did move an inch, against Jim's advice, and braces his foot at the bow of the raft. I decide that's a good idea too, when I see the drop. We moved! We moved an inch! Will this kill us?
Jim began singing, "Oh, I wish I were in the land of Dixie!" I took up the tune at three octaves higher, as a wave of water washed over our laps, and sang, "Look away! Look away!"
And with that, we were back on flat water.
"What a rush!" I screamed.
Bill looked at me, and told me he found it annoying, and that he wasn't much into rushes anymore.
I am!
I'm glad I went. As I left yesterday, to go fishing, I knew I had a cold. I knew I had tons to do, errands to run, and business to tend to.
Instead, I ran away to the North Fork with Jim Erickson, and I am glad I did.
Life is too short to be sick.
Life is too short to do business.
Life is too short to run errands.

January 9th

I was determined, yesterday, to prove that there were, indeed, steelhead behind the house.
After talking Bill into driving David to school, I bundled up in warm clothes that hung on the mud room wall. I grabbed 5 fresh prawns out of the pound that I had purchased for dinner, and carelessly stuffed them in my pocket.
Standing by the door, I tried to make my way around two excited, wiggling dogs who knew what I was up to.
As I opened the door to the cold morning, they rushed past me. With my jig rod strung with one of the finest First Cast Jigs, pliers in one pocket, and fresh prawns in the other, I followed their trail of breath out to the river.
It was eerily quiet and cold. The ground was frozen, and my boots slipped on the rocks as I made my way.
The water was clearing, nearing conditions that would stop a drift boat from coming down from the park. I knew I had the stretch to myself.
I held back from the water, as not to spook any fish, and cast long and effortlessly through the still, cold air.
Everything was perfect!
My line: Not to heavy!
My jig: Shiny and new!
My bait: Not to bulky!
My presence: Stealthy!
My cast: Right in the honey hole!
...So why did it float through the entire drift unnoticed? Untouched? Uninterrupted?
I didn't give up, I worked my way upriver, downriver, and all by standing way back from the water, sneaky, stealthy and wise!
...and soon, it happened...
My hands began to sting every time I cast my spinning rod. My gloves had gotten wet from the prawns, and my fingers were paralyzed from the cold.
It was time to go in. I simply couldn't get my fingers to cooperate any longer.
...and so, the winter steelhead season of 2002/2003 continues to frustrate me in all of my efforts. I think this is the poorest I have ever done!
Where, oh where are the steelies? Is it only me?
As I neared the house, I heard Bill stacking wood. I would help. Really I would, if my fingers allowed! They didn't. They were useless, ice cube replicas of fingers on hands! I snuck past him, embarrassed, and without fish.
Later, I drove into town. It was sunny, and warm. The ice had melted from the lawns, and people were out walking, enjoying the warmth. I felt that familiar sun on my shoulders, as I made my way into the post office.
On the way home, I drove slowly, noticing my truck hadn't had a bath since late Fall.
"Ah! I'll wash the truck in the sunshine when I get home!"
I had forgotten. As I circled down the country road towards home, I noticed the shadows growing longer, the dazzling sunlight grown dim, until the house, in the canyon where I live came into sight.
Ice covered the lawn and the parking area, just as it had 7 hours before.
There it stood, in all of it's shaded darkness and glory. The house by the river where the steelhead lay hiding from me... all covered in one mountainside shadow, still encased in ice.
I unraveled the hose, and washed my truck, until my fingers became numb, and forced me inside, once again.
I haven't given up, and dang, sometimes I wish I just would!!! All night long last night, I lay awake dreaming of tactics. What I can do differently, and where.
I am determined, today, to prove that there are, indeed, steelhead behind the house. What once came so easily for me, is frustratingly difficult. Are the steelhead here, or is it me?
I wonder if Bill could take David to school...

January 10th

I managed to stay away from the river almost all day yesterday. At noon, or so, the temptation was overwhelming, so I gathered up my waggly tailed fishing dogs and headed out.
We made a b-line for the lower hole, where the riffles run 2 to 3 feet deep for 30 to 40 feet, then deepen to 5 to 6 feet, and slow.
This, is where the imaginary steelhead hold. This is where there is life. At least, this is where they would hold, if they were in the system. I'm starting to doubt.
I fought patience, as I repeatedly ran my jig through the hole. I used a low water jig, made absolutely sure there was no drag on it, as it dead floated through all the seams, and then straight down the middle. Perhaps my depth was wrong, so I adjusted it several times. Shallow, medium, and nearly dragging the bottom.
Kilchis, bored at staying in one place, dug holes 2 feet deep all around me. Dog mines. It's a dangerous world out there now. Step carefully!
I bought fresh shrimp, tried the jig with a shrimp tail, and without.
No way they could resist either.
I'm feeling sad, and empty, thinking that no steelhead are in the rivers in January. This is just not right. The water appears so alive, like in years past. When you see water this level, this color, you think life!
We have become spoiled from the last two years of abundant steelhead runs!
I've decided to enjoy the challenge, and appreciate what I might catch, all the more! When I see pictures of fish caught on the discussion board, they are all the more special!
When that day comes... the day my bobber and jig really do go down.... my heart will skip a beat, my breathing will become rapid and shallow, and I'm going to yell "FISH ON!" so that it resounds throughout the entire canyon!
In 2003, if you catch a chrome winter steelhead, stand proud! You have beaten the odds!

January 11th

I'm going to get a fishing guides license. I'm going to take up guiding European clients down the Willamette and the Columbia. I know some secret zipper lip holes, that only I know, and I will get them into some huge carp.
That's what I'm going to do.
Actually, I could probably make a mint, and so could you!
Why is it that our sports fishers ignore those beautiful big gold fish? They fight heavy, and they are a blast to tangle with!
I used to take my kids "goldfishing" in some very secret zipperlip holes on the Columbia sloughs. We had a blast, and sometimes caught and released fish up to 20 pounds!!
They are certainly worth a giggle, if nothing else!
We'd pack a big picnic lunch, sit on the grassy slopes with rod holders and simple rig ups that even the kids could put together. Cast out our lines, dig into the food and wait. We wouldn't have to wait long before our rods were dancing in the holders and the kids were fighting over whose turn it was to reel in.
We discovered this sport accidentally, while trying to find perch. We never did land a perch, but we returned with frequency to participate in what turned into a springtime tradition.
You can target carp by either using Wheaties soaked in water, and made into balls, or like we did, with plain white fresh bread. A size 4 hook works well, with a weight that is sufficient to hold you to the bottom. The less lead you use the better. Carp have a tendency to pick up the hook, and if they feel resistance at all, they will drop the hook.
If you go, just keep it a secret! It's an embarrassment to people here, I guess. I see no reason it should be. Catching carp is a fantastically fun way to spend the day, and if you travel abroad, the attitude changes drastically. In Europe, it is prestigious to land a large carp, and a delicacy to eat!
Click here to view a catch submitted to carp.net!
To learn more about carp fishing, please feel free to click to one of the most popular carp fishing sites, located here, at carp.net!
... and happy secret carp fishing to you!

January 13th

After nearly two weeks of wheezing and sneezing and coughing all night, Bill finally talked me into going to the urgent care clinic yesterday.
Now I'm confused. I feel better this morning. Is it the strong antibiotics he gave me, or the echinasia treatment I started two days ago, that is working? I dislike taking antibiotics. I wish I knew!
Either way, it's a rush to feel a little better. I had been reduced to plunking myself on my fishing bucket and throwing out 3 ounce weights, a gob of eggs, and a spin glo into the water. There I'd sit, without any energy, ear muffs and a coat and hat, with a low grade fever. I was a very patient plunker! I couldn't get up!
So, I just sat there and waited. ...and waited ....and waited. Morning would turn to noon. Seagulls and eagles tracked up and down the river. I counted their flights. I memorized the rocks at my feet. Kilchis dug holes all around me, and I pretended I was a queen in a castle, surrounded by a moat.
Evening light would fall. "Do I have to get up?" I'd whine... Wrapped up in the warmest clothes, I'd gather my bucket, my rod holder, and my rod, and trudge methodically back into the warm house to put something on the table for dinner.
"Cheerios, anyone?"
You know, you'd think that at least a cutthroat would nibble at my bait, but in all these plunking sick days, I've had nary a touch. Nuttin!
I was using prime, "candy" looking steelhead eggs, and a beautiful little pink pearl, low water spin glo. No one was interested but myself.
Today boldly starts a new day.
I'm going to go get my hair done!. This, along with whatever is making me feel well, will convert me into a super steelhead catching woman-machine.
Jim is taking Bill down the North Fork again today. (That, I know, does not make sick people well! I have experience there, and after that trip, my illness got way worse! )
Although I am a tad bit envious, I am taking the day off to become well, both physically, and mentally. It's girls get well day!
After the hair, I'm going to have to test my new wellness out, on the water, drift fishing!
How many steelhead can resist a new doo? --and this time, I'm not plunking either. A new doo, and a pink pearl corkie, that's the trick!
You gotta give me credit. I've never in my life gone this far into a steelhead season without a fish. I'm still trying, and I will not be defeated! Who knows? The hair just might do the trick!
Then there is always the trick to finding just the right shade of lipstick....

January 14th

They have called it "The Coastal Crud" for as long as I can remember. That generalized aching, sniffling, sneezing, and gagging cough that hangs on for months afterwards.
I have it.
Until this morning, I was convinced that I would have that cruddy cough for months to come.
Today, ladies and gentlemen, I have been sent the secret cure for the coastal crud! I'm going to share it with you, right here on ifish.net!
Zipperlip rivers may forever remain a secret for expert fishing guide, Marty Peterson, but not so the method of which to be well and successful on these rivers.
Marty has seen that I am suffering from a very dangerous disease, along with the coastal crud. This normal coastal crud has spawned a secondary infection, which is called "Lackasteelheadbiting".
Marty has read about my illness nearly every day, since the steelhead season hit. He knows I haven't touched one of those silver sided beauties all season.
I am ill. Very, very, ill.
I have heard tell that it is better to teach a man to fish, than to give him a fish.
Jennie isn't feeling well. If Jennie felt well, Jennie would catch fish, right? Or so, Marty Peterson thinks!
Yesterday I felt so poorly that I didn't even go get my mail. I didn't even listen to my answering machine messages!
This morning, Bill came down from getting the newspaper with a package in hand. It was from Marty Peterson. I love packages!!!
I noticed the answering machine blinking, and it too, was Marty, making sure that we had checked our mail.
I slowly unwrapped the package. The note explained that he was tired of me being sick, so he had brought me soup. "Oh no!" I thought... I hope it isn't spoiled!
As I unwrapped the paper, I realized! This fishing soup will never spoil!


Marty Peterson's Fishin' Soup

Marty Peterson could easily take me fishing, and get me into a fish, but no! He has gone to the root of the cause! He has given me the key to the cure! The sting of the steel! A gob of bobbers of hope!
What a very wise gentleman, indeed!
This Fishin' Soup, is chock full of pink pearl corkies, red and white corkies, sparkling gems of assorted colors, and birdies too!
I'M HEALED! I'M HEALED!
The note attached said that if Bill is sick, he may share them too! Bill! We have the cure!
I immediately sat down to partake of the remedy.

Not one bite went to Kilchis! Kilchis sat begging next to me, smelling the heavenly aroma of the surrounding rivers from where these beautiful corkies were extracted.
It takes a physician of the river to heal the wounds of the untouched hook. It takes a doctor of enormous skill to turn the attitude of a Doubting Thomas into a hopeful soul!
Thanks to Dr. Marty Peterson for the medicine that will fill my tag with excited scribbles, fill my freezer to shelves of vac packed fish, and my glum expression to glee!
No more coughing, I'm off to set the hook!

January 16th

No more cough syrup for me! It's been two solid nights of sleep! Thank you, Marty!
I have a list 2 columns long of things to do, so if you are waiting for me to do something, please be patient! I'm trying to get to all of them! I have the contests going, columns of Stan's to put up, a new trip giveaway, First Cast Jigs to join the Top Bait and Tackle category, a new product, Line Keepers to introduce, and a ready set contest for a funny book I am reading, on the main board! That is just some of the internet stuff to do! Yikes!
I have a shuttle to do this morning for a couple of guys who insist they want to go down from the park! Wow! That is brave! The river is so low! If I came down from the park, I'd prefer taking a four wheel drive truck!
Lesseee.... Mark Anderson, of First Cast Jigs came over yesterday and fished with me for a bit. We used his jigs, exclusively. I bought a new float setup from him. It's slick, and I'll share that with you later.
I woke up this morning, to a beeping alarm. Bill was in Portland last night, so I was all alone. When Bill leaves, I always grab an extra blanket. He doesn't like the extra blanket thing, so it's a treat for me to get all wrapped up, like I like.
What could that bright light be? I looked out the window, and the moon was high in the sky, just peeking out behind some light cloud cover. It was beautiful! I rose from the bed to gaze outside. Long shadows from the trees along the river stretched out over the frozen meadow, and the river reflected the twinkling moonlight, as it burst out from behind the clouds. I ran to the bathroom window for a better look!
I opened the window and took in a gulp of fresh air. Everything was silent and still, until... I heard the sound of footsteps breaking up the frozen grass! What could it be? I searched the meadow... Nothing! Soon, I heard those very same footsteps crackle through the brush, click across the rocks on the river beach, and finally enter the water, disrupting the river's rhythmic and steady song.
It had to be an elk, or a deer. I'm not sure. I never did see it, except in my mind's eye.
What a way to wake up! Ta da!
I sat at that window for a very long time, thanking The Good Lord for all that I have been blessed with.
I still am "without" steelhead. But, how can I complain? Magic lay all around me, here on the Kilchis river, in Tillamook County.
But still...God? I'd sure like a steelhead, too!

January 18th

Please DO read what happened yesterday! I was SO thrilled! All hope is restored, and I can't wait to get out there today! Come on, LIGHT!
It's been so beautiful at night! I can stroll the river beach at 9:00 PM, and see everything! The moonlight is so vivid and bright! There is nothing more gorgeous than a stroll on the river, as the moon shimmers on the surface... You can even see fish, and they don't spook! The temptation to take a rod down there with me is all but too tempting!
I have to be on the radio this morning. Lance will call me really soon! Gulp! I do not do well on the radio! The Northwest Outdoor Show can be heard Saturday mornings from 6-8 on Sportsradio 910 The Fan. I will be on at 6:15. COFFEE!!!!!
Then, off to my zipper lip.
Oh! And I do have the winners of the Eggscar contest, and I will post it here as soon as I assemble the page!

January 19th

So, I caught one steelhead. Can I catch two? Yes. Yesterday, I went out to the same hole and satisfied that curiosity with another steelhead. This time a 7 pound buck. I bonked him, and "Ye of much doubt Bill" was stunned as I came up the back steps, rod in one hand, buck in other, as he enjoyed a leisurely cup of morning joe.
"You did catch a fish!" Bill exclaimed, as if the day before I was stretching the truth.
Today I have to go north to play for church. I'm longing to stay home, go back out to the river and satisfy my other curiosities. Can I catch a steelhead on a corkie? On a fly?
Being steelhead crazed can drive a girl over the edge. You'd think I'd be basking in the glory of having finally cured the skunk. Nope. The drive, the challenge, the never ending bug forever nags at me, bounces off the wall of my brains, and won't leave me alone. I need more, better, bigger, and more difficult methods in which to capture the elusive steelhead.
Give me a break! I caught one, didn't I? But yet, still.... I crave.
The native I caught must have been 13 or 14 pounds. I want 20.
The buck I bonked was fairly bright, but I want chrome.
I caught two on jigs, but I want corkies.
Pink pearl corkies! There is nothing like the take on corkies... as they bump bump, bump, along the rocks and then come alive!
Of course, after that, I'm going to want to experience the fly caught steelhead. Now that one... that one is a lifetime dream! It may just take me a lifetime to figure that out.
I guess that's a good thing. I can just plan on nurturing this craving, this addiction, this craziness of mine, for the rest of my life, and let me tell you, I'm enjoying the trip.
I'll never be satisfied with any steelhead. Although each wiggle of the line brings me happiness and joy that I think I can't top, I know there is more to it.
I may smile, but I want to scream!
I may scream, but I want to spin in ecstasy!
...and you thought you knew what it took to make a woman happy!

January 21st

Bill did rather well on the Wilson two days ago, with his step son and grand step son.
They landed a 38 inch native hen, and promptly released it back to the water. They also landed two chrome hatchery fish, and long line released another.
You know what I'm doing today?
I'm abandoning ifish to do some field testing and reporting! It's my job, you know, I just have to go!
High wind warning is out for tomorrow, so it must be done today. There will be no putting it off.
I'm off to string my jig rod with some new 20 pound Power Pro, and fill my tackle bag with First Cast Jigs. That's my job, too. I have to use ifish Sponsor's equipment, now don't I?
Yip. Grab my new Lami, my tackle bag, and jump in the boat.
Toot toot! Life is great, isn't it?

January 22nd


Our new friend, Phoebe!

Phoebe, Andrew's sugar glider, is the latest addition to our household friends. Being a nocturnal marsupial, she stays up most of the night. When I get up in the morning, she barks at me for attention. It's so cute!
If she gets scared, she makes a noise, that is somewhat like an electric pencil sharpener. They call it crabbing.
Anyway, we all love her. She's so cuddly and cute! We "wear" her in a little pouch that goes around your neck, and hangs on our stomach. She loves the warmth. We've had her since last summer, and I was very nervous about having her join the family. She seems so tiny, and easy to lose. We had one scary couple of hours where she was "lost" in the linen closet, but we found her. What a relief! Andrew was an emotional mess while she was "missing in action."
We fished yesterday on the Wilson. But did we stand a chance? I don't think so! Gary Hilton, Tim Juarez and Tim Marshall were all ahead of us! They pretty much snuck any fish out of any holes from Donaldson down! By the time we got there, all that was left was clean, low water!
Had a relaxing, peaceful day on the river, and let me tell you, that wasn't what I was after!
Oh! I announced the winners of the Annual Eggscar Awards, and they are posted here! Brad Damm came in first prize in the member's category with this photo. Congrats to all!


Eggscar Winner Brad Damm!

January 23rd

Marty Peterson lost his "Lucky" dog last night. I wrote this little letter, having lost dogs myself, and knowing how it feels. I can't believe that I have found myself weeping throughout the day. :(

Dear Marty, and my dear family,
It breaks my little canine heart to see you all so sad.
Remember when you took me in your boat, how happy you made me? When my muscles got sore, and you stood at your truck and helped me in? How I wish I could wag my tail for you the way I did that day! How special I felt that you chose to take me with you, as we sped across the water in your sled!
I want to see you smile again, as you come home from a hard day's work, or my kids come home from school. Every day when you came home smiling, you made my day!!
I can still see you, from way up here in heaven, and I am sad that you are so sad. I want to tell you, right now, how happy you've made me, and what a lucky dog I am! I want to look down right now, and see that smile again.. and always!!
I want you to think of me with loving and cheerful thoughts. I want to watch you come home and be happy. (And please hug Mom for me!!)
Yes, I miss you all, but I've lived the most wonderful dog life a dog could live, and it's all because of all of you!
All I want, right now, is for you to know that I will be here waiting. When it is your time to come home, oh will my tail wag and my body wiggle when I see you all!!!
Until then, please keep smiling. I need to see that, because I miss you so much.
The place where I am is so beautiful! Rivers and streams and open beaches, as far as I can see, and I am not held back. I can run, and my body feels like a pup!!
I could run faster, play harder, and explore further, if I could just look down and get that old energy that you always gave me when I saw your smile.
Make my tail wag like you always did!!!
Take your jet sled out on the water, and know that I will always be with you, my dear family. Just look around! You'll see! I will always be with you because of the solid love you gave me.
You know how I know that I'll always be with you?
I had a little talk with God Himself, just this morning. He said that until you and I meet again, that he'd let me share a little corner in His place, in all of your hearts.
I've already moved in.
Put your hand to your heart.
Feel that?
That's my tail wagging, just for you.
Love, always and forever,
Your "Lucky" dog.

January 26th

I've been a working fool! Ifish has consumed me lately!
Time to take a deep breath, and jot down what's happening before I delve into my next project, this morning!
We have a First Springer Winner! His name is Talons, and the post to proof is right here! Talons wins a beautiful TH rod of his choice! This guy took the cake in the steelhead challenge we had a few weeks ago, and now this! He is certainly on a winning streak! I guess he knows how to make those herring roll, after all!
Win a Trip with Terry Mulkey will be drawn in what... 6 days? Man this season is flying! We have daffodils blooming in the back yard!
Bill and I took our chances on a trip to a Washington river, that had reports of good smelt runs. The rocky and steep bank access prohibited me from joining him, but Bill got some!


Bill and company dipping smelt.


Drift boats getting in on the action!

Pretty cool to drift fish for steelhead and take a dip occasionally! They were doing much better than we feeble bank smelters! It was a nice day to take a drive, and see some new country, and heaven knows, I needed a break from the keyboard!
We have a new Alaska destination! Welcome to ifish, Jon Peterson! I've yet to meet him, but I hope to do so, at the Sportsmen Show! I'm going to be there all week, are you?
Mark Charlton, of Charlton Charters called me a couple days ago, and then sent me some pictures. He's really into halibut these days, so I have to let The Salty Dogs on ifish know about that. Maybe they can all go out with him. I'll work on that. Maybe get a good deal on a whole boat purchase. Just leave me at home! I'm not much for loving it way out in the big blue. I like a little bank close by!
I do like to support our sponsors, so please, if you book a trip with Mark, him know that Jennie sent you! I have fished with Mark a couple of times, and I had the time of my life! It's great fun for families! Click here to see our trip with Mark!


WHY GO TO ALASKA?

Limits daily!
Last year we landed 70 to 80 pound halibut! On quota, get reservations in now!
Opens May 1, 2003!!!
So, I guess if you are into Halibut, Mark knows a secret spot!
By the way, if you are experiencing problems trying to register on the bulletin board, please be patient, as we are experiencing SMTP problems. We'll fix it ASAP! I'm working on that, right now!
Well, off we go... Onto another day of stormy rain. I woke up to 2.05 inches on the rain gage, and now it's up to 2.35! Whatdya think? The river is totally blown out! I mean, I can't believe there are no flood warnings out! The river is in the back yard. It's the highest it's been all year! YIKES!
Oh well, I need to get some work done! Have a great day!

January 28th

After the highest water of the year, the river is rushed clean of spawning salmon. The rocks are so vigorously scrubbed that balancing on them is not the problem it once was, in the summer's sun.
New treasures glisten in the early morning sun. Agates of every shape, color and opacity! Some with little sparkling flakes!
I have become more picky when searching for agates now. I have a shelf in the bathroom, reserved only for the sparkling and special agates.
You might call me a bit of a spoiled connoisseur. I used to thrill over the purple ones. Of course, that's when I couldn't see as well. Now I sort all of the agates that hang heavy and wet, in my pocket, after a day on the river. I stand at the entrance of the boat ramp, and throw the "not so perfect" agates on the drive. Soon, I will have a whole driveway of agates! The more beautiful ones follow me into the house.
As for fishing... The Kilchis is a beautiful steelhead green, running strong. I had to get out there, this morning, just to cast for myself.
I fished eggs and corkies, and then finished by running a jig through the shallower areas. A bit too strong for my perfect longings, but tomorrow... tomorrow is something I am looking forward to!
You know, it is a surprise and joy, all of it's own! Living on a river brings so many, many pleasures. I can't predict the day, nor the time, when the water will be perfect, and full of fish. It's the luck of the draw to wake up and see it. I reach out to shut off my alarm, rush down to grab a cup of coffee and wait. I wait for the sun to come up and show me what the day's water brings!
Will it rain, and ruin my expectations for tomorrow? Will it drop too far today, and I will miss that perfect moment? Will the fish be in, at that precise time and level?
The last two years have been a steelheaders dream, in which many novice fishermen learned to feel "the bite". These last seasons were awesome for teaching, and out of those years were born, I'm sure, many new steelhead addicts.
However, this year it's back to the game, the sport, the talent, and the real feel!
When I hear people whine, "Where are the steelies?" It makes me wonder if they only began their steelhead career at the height of the last two years runs.
The steelhead are there. It's just a normal year, where you really have to work, and know your stuff, to find them.
Whether you are searching for agates, or fishing for steelhead, you just have to put in your time.

January 30th

...and the beat goes on...
The rain falls steady on the roof.
(No, that doesn't work...)
The rivers rise, and reflect the color of the muddy banks of Tillamook County.
(Uh, no, start again, Jennie!)
My favorite rod hangs still and untouched on the garage wall.
(Nah, toss that out...)
My cat sleeps lazily by my computer, discouraged by the wet, cold outdoors.
(Nahhhhhhh)
How bout this? It's raining, and the rivers are blown!
I'm getting a touch of cabin fever. Time to put my rain boots on and enjoy the winter weather for what it is! Splash around in puddles, search for agates and listen to the powerful water move the rocks on the river bottom. It's amazing to hear!
Perhaps get out the smoker and smoke up some frozen fish? Yeah!
Man, I can't believe some of the mail I get! I wake up in the morning to about 200 e mails.
Breakdown:
10 percent spam, thanks to a new e mail filter at Harborside. Thing is, you still have to go check that, too, so that you don't miss anything important! Oh well! I have missed a couple, and for that, I apologize!
50 percent, members needing help, either to change their user name, upload a picture, or having log in or registration problems. This usually takes up most of my morning hours. It's fun to be helpful, and most people are so appreciative that I get right back to them, that it's a feel good thing for me! This is why I do ifish!
10 percent friends sending me cute little images, or stories, or inspirational messages. Those are nice, although I'm guilty in putting off reading them until my spare time. What if spare time? (There is a lesson here. I'm going to read those first thing tomorrow!)
10 percent important fishery news and such that I need to put on ifish. This is reserved for later in the day, usually, unless it is urgent, such as the meeting you simply MUST attend on Tuesday. Read about it here! If you are a fisher of Tillamook Streams, please attend! If you aren't, and you care about our hatcheries, please attend!
10 percent work to do for other websites, client questions, and inquiries about advertising opportunities.
8 percent nice little notes of praise from people who enjoy the resource. I file those in a folder that I read when I'm feeling blue. They are wonderful! Thank you!
1 percent members e mailing me with things that I don't have anything to do with. I am my kids Mom. But I only had two of them, not 4000, and thank God! -- and God? Give me the strength to not get involved!
1 percent opinions from ifishers that I won't even take the time to acknowledge. Unreasonable requests, etc.
So, back to sorting and filing... Then, off to play on the river beach with Kilchis! I love my fishing life, and all that it brings me. Thank you, God!

January 31st

Oh myyyyyyy 2.19 MORE inches of rain since 6:00 last night, and we had over 2.00 inches yesterday. We got trouble, right here in river city. And, our town will be river city, real soon.
I'm pretty used to this, growing up on the coast, you know. I had fun with it, as a young adult.
It was a dark, and stormy day, back in the early 1980s....
The "girls" and I liked to drive to Seaside, go to clothing shops, and then stop at a local Mexican restaurant for dinner.
This particular occasion, it had been raining for days on end, and we just had to get out.
Once we got to Peterson Point, in Seaside, we noticed the Necanicum river, swollen and overflowing it's banks. UH OH! Fun is to be had!
I knew I still had my steelhead rod, broken down in two pieces, neatly folded in my trunk.
(Oh, the memories! Of getting worms, early in the morning at a house at the junction, and then driving off to fish!)
We rounded the corner, and sure enough, a blanket of water stretched across the road! What to do?
Cars were slowly making their way through. I could too! Yes! My Toyota sedan could make it through anything!
I mean, in wind storms, for kicks, we'd drive back and fourth over the bridge in Astoria, just to see my wind shield wipers attempt flight!
What fun!
So, I pulled over to the side, assembled my rod, stuck it out of the window with a wobbler on it, and we girls giggled, and "trolled" down the highway! After seeing several people gather to watch, and nearly making some vehicles veer off the road to see what we were up to, we did it again, and again, and again!
To heck with shopping! Let's fish!
I don't think I've laughed harder since!
Well, that is, until the water got really, really deep. On the last pass, (and Thank you Lord, it was headed home), we were driving through... we had pavement contact at 5 mph, and drive, drive, drive, FLOAT! UH OH!
We finally hit pavement again, and off we sped, done with our fishing and flood fun!
Oh, those were the days! If it wasn't silly enough to fish there, we were also known to fish high from the span of Youngs Bay Bridge while waiting for the bridge to open and close! From the top of the span, I'd quickly assemble my salmon rod, and drop my line over!! Now, that got some funny looks!!! (Talk about being spooled! I didn't know it was that high up!)
Anyway, David has an honor band trip today, (He was selected as top sax in the school district! Insert proud Mom here! ) and Andrew was supposed to go to Astoria to the orthodontist. I seriously question whether either will happen.
So, I'll just sit here and monitor the news, and the latest flood reports and see what happens next.
Hold onto your seat cushions! Get out the life jackets and sit down to breakfast! Assemble your rods and get in my Ford Explorer boat! The water's a risin'!

 


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