Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington

January 2006
Jennie's Fishing Life
January 1st, 2006

Happy New Years to you!
What did you do? I slept through it as always! I don't remember staying up for New Year's in a long, long time. Nothing much happens on the Kilchis River at New Years!
New Years Day, however... Oh! I can tell you some wild New Year's Day stories! Some that would knock your socks off! Stories filled with mystery, suspense, intrigue, and drama! Stories about those chrome, silver, beautiful cartwheeling steelhead!
Who need champagne when you can get higher than a kite, giggling while fighting one of those? Or, if you can't fish, today, just talk about it! Click here, and start talking! The hangover is just as good as the high!


My favorite agates found on the Kilchis River Beach

Every day someone new "finds a new drug!" in my favorite sport: fishing. There is simply nothing that compare to that rush! And talk about the "sweetest hangover, I don't want to get over!" Who hoooo! I'm still "suffering"! Some, after 20 years!
OK, the rivers are flooded, so it looks like hangovers will be all I have to play with, today. Oh, it's not that bad out there. Maybe I'll plunk near shore. Who knows? The river is green! If the high wind doesn't come till later, surprises may lurk in the depths!
----
I was out walking the river, yesterday with Kilchis. The river was mostly blown out, so I was scanning the river bed for agates. I have a thing for agates, you know. They are everywhere in my house, or they were. I finally cleaned up, thinking surely my house will sink in the mud if I weighted it down, any more. I mean, I had agates and rocks and smoothed glass on every shelf, every windowsill, every corner and basket, and tray! One day, after much ridicule from those I live with, I finally took them all down, washed them, and picked out my very favorites. The rest, I placed in a tall glass cylinder which sits in the corner of my laundry room. I hold my agates near and dear to me!
I also have a rule, when you go down to the river. Every person on the river bank, MUST find an agate. Until you do, you may not leave the beach. When coming up from the river beach, you have to deposit your fishing fee (at least one agate) on the driveway down. That driveway down to the river beach is now mostly covered in multi colored, sparkling agates. It's beautiful! Even I have to pay the fee! You can see by the white and purple sparkling drive, that I have been down to the river beach many times over!


See the little bumpy one?
That's my absolute favorite agate.
The picture doesn't do it justice!
It sparkles like all get out!

As I wandered the river beach, I began to think about my methods in picking and sorting agates. Often times, I'll pass over an ordinary looking rock that may just have a glint of sparkle or something. Thinking it isn't all that special, I pass it by.
However, if I take the time to bend over, (ouch!) pick it up and inspect it, I am often surprised by it's awesome beauty! The other side of the agate, perhaps, sparkles in the sun and dazzles and delights me to no end!
We are like that as people. We ignore or pass people by that we meet, thinking one thing, or thinking that we have nothing in common with them.
What a wasted opportunity!
You know how when you meet someone, and you are likely to stereotype them? Often times, I find that if I do that, I miss out on a golden opportunity to meet someone that is different, or more special than I first thought.
One day, I picked up the most ordinary of old, gray rocks. I don't know what on earth possessed me to do so. It was a black and gray and green just awful looking thing. However, I turned it over, and was completely dazzled! It was fractured, and inside it was the most brightly lit crystal that I had ever found on the Kilchis river bank!
I hope this lesson forces me to look at people much more carefully. If I take a little time, look into their eyes, and listen to them carefully, I might find a new best friend, someone to love, or someone who simply lights up my life like a brightly sparkling crystal who shines in my sunshine!
I hope you have a stunning New Year and I hope you find the most beautiful agate on the beach-- and may it light up your life with dazzling new friendship and love!

January 3rd, 2006

The smell was awful. I found a stick, clumsily stabbed the large rotting thing in the gills and dragged it across the sand to the water. There! It's less noxious, there! Chinook smell so badly by this time of year. The high waters have deposited all kinds of river treasures up in the bushes for the critters to feast on. This particular chinook was so very close to where I bank fish, that I simply had to relocate it!
The water level on the Kilchis is enticing. There is just no way a person can feasibly work around here, having that beautiful steelhead green beaming up at you, whenever you glance out the window.
I rearranged my computer, so that it faces the field for a while. I did that because I have things to do!
What's worse than the river, however, is the drift boats that tantalize us. Some enter the landscape and anchor in the most beautiful of locations. They block my view. Then, with all the nerve (but only occasionally, so far)-- their rods bend doubled over, and the tips point towards a cart wheeling steelhead in the water.
"They have a fish on! (cough, cough) Bill! That boat has a fish on!" How cruel! And I'm supposed to WORK? I don't think so!
I have been ill with a kind of coastal crud for the last week, so my torture has been even further exaggerated. When I would ordinarily have the energy to walk out there, I don't. Instead, I sit at my desk, or lay on my bed and gaze towards the water, longingly.
I did actually walk out there, yesterday morning.
Sorry for the interruption, but do you know what? I actually saw advertised gloves for women with "a soft flannel backing, because in the winter, it is indeed the time for sniffling." It said that! Are they actually admitting that women wipe their noses on the backs of their gloves? I thought that was a secret! I'm still not going to admit that one!
Still, my Glacier gloves are really, really soft! :)
Anyhow, I slung the duck chair over my shoulder, and coughing, Kleenex at the ready, I made it out to the river. I sat for a while, several boats drifting by greeting me with New Year's cheer. I'm sure they wondered why I wasn't fishing. I'm sure they rowed towards me with panic, thinking they wouldn't be able to fish that hole. Imagine their surprise as I just waved, sitting there, without rod. I smiled, casually. I was there simply to watch, to let Kilchis dig in the sand, and to live vicariously through them, as their boats passed, or fished through the perfect current.
My afternoon's visit had fulfilled me enough. I'll fish again, soon enough!
As I got up to leave, I called Kilchis. And that's when I smelled it, again. That rotten, ugly chinook that I had so painstakingly removed from the bank had resurfaced, with the help of my dog. I peered over to the water on the left, and there was Kilchis, standing two feet deep, using both front paws like a human. He was laboriously bringing in his own salmon! Yes, he was fishing, and he caught a big one! Oh, was he proud!
"Oh, icky, Kilchis!" I scolded as I wrinkled my nose.
His tail stopped wagging as his head cocked to one side, looking hurt and confused. He surely expected praise. This is what his Mom does, all the time, isn't it? Brings in these large swimming things?
I convinced him to let it go free, and promised him that in the very near future I'd catch a fresh steelhead just for us, and show him that it doesn't smell at all the same.

Kilchis the bird dog
Ducks!

He left it to sink to bottom, and quickly refocused his attention on a couple merganzers, teasingly upriver. He took off in a shot. They, were fresh, and a heck of a lot more challenging, after all.

January 6th, 2006

I got up at 4:20 to try to make it to the springer meeting, today. I feel awful! Chest cold, yuck, yuck, yuck. (Cough, cough.)
Will I make it? Stay tuned...
LATER... Nope, didn't make it! I hit the road, and it was dark, gloomy, foggy, and really really wet! I thought about it not being light for an hour or more... My fever felt awful. I turned around and headed home and took a nap.
Now, I feel better! Can I go now? It's light out, and I took two aspirin. Huh? Can I go now?
My milk froze in my refrigerator last night. This morning, I went to pour it and it came out in ice sickles! Ever had "Ice" Krispies for breakfast? :) Funny, because when milk freezes, the fat in it freezes first. So, it's skimmer than skimmed! It was blue!

January 7th, 2006

Well, here I am on a Saturday morning in January. The wind is blowing sideways, the water is high and strong, and there are quite a few boats fishing the Kilchis. Somehow, I don't feel like I'm missing much.
I can't imagine being out there on a day like this, sitting in a boat, trying to maneuver down the river against stiff winds. I certainly can't imagine rowing! What's odd, also, is that it is already January, and I have yet to catch a hatchery brat, despite my pitiful, but consistent attempts. What is even more odd, is that not one boat that has gone down has been able to show me one that they have caught!
You know how sometimes you go down a coastal river after a big blow, and there is plastic in the trees? I half expect to go down, today and see drift boats in the trees!
I'll never forget the day a few kids pulled up on our bank, begging for rescue. The winds had blown all morning, and they had simply had enough. The powerful gusts, nearly 50 mph took a toll on their enthusiasm. I can relate to that! So, we let them take out, here, and shuttled them to their car. The poor fellow attempting to hold the boat down on the river beach was in for a surprise! A strong gust picked his drift boat up, and sent it toppling, end over end while he waited for the trailer to arrive! Yikes! I'm so glad he wasn't hurt!
Years ago, the previous owner of this house had an experience that (thank God) we haven't had. His drift boat was in the yard, on it's trailer when a very large sustained wind hit, that actually picked up his boat, a football field or more away from the river, sent it dancing, end over end through the yard towards the river! Talk about a self motivated craft! How it missed the house and all other obstructions, I'll never know, but that boat wanted to go fishing so badly, it made it, on it's own, to the river! Down the river it went, with it's owner chasing it!
I guess they finally caught up with it at the logging bridge, rescued it, tied it up and took it home. It was none worse for the wear! So, a bit of advice, if you will. If your boat wants to fish just as badly as you do, always keep it on a leash, and tie it down properly!
I almost feel like the guys on the river today are more obeying their boats, rather then going on their own will. I mean, who in their right mind would fish, on a day like this?
Alright. I have to go, now. My hip boots are headed out to the river, and I have to catch up with them.

January 8th, 2006

The neatest things just "happen" on ifish! Well, they don't just happen, but sometimes I'm so proud of the ifish members, I just can't believe it! Look what moderator and ifish member "Skein" is putting on!
Wow! The coyote clinic!
I knew that they were trying to get it going, but I had no idea it was done! I can't keep up! What a great deal for families, next Saturday, January 14th!
Sign-in time is 8:30, and they'll have some refreshments to get you going. The clinic will start at 9:00am and they'll try to wrap up by 1:00 so everyone can go hunting!
I wish I could go! I'm trying to figure that out!
It's at The Albany Rifle and Pistol Club. Be there!
Way to go, Skein! This is what ifish is all about, and it's awesome, thanks to members like you!

January 9th, 2006

I wanted to take a minute to let you know that I am saying prayers of thanks, this morning! I haven't had a migraine in four days!!! I never thought I'd say a prayer of thanks like that, but I am!
I also want to tell you about a brain aneurysm that I don't have.
I went to a neurologist last week, and he has surmised that I might have a brain aneurysm. Oh brother! Just what I need! However, since he thinks this, I have to play along and have a test done just to prove him wrong. Now, this seems unfair, doesn't it? Isn't it suppose to be innocent, until proven guilty?
Healthy until proven ill? :laugh:
I can't believe this. I just can't really believe this!
A testing we will go, a testing we will go, hi- ho- the brain we go, a testing we will go!
You just wait. I'll prove him wrong!
Sometimes I think that doctors just want to poke and prod me just because I have marfan syndrome. I'll never forget the lines of residents, lined up in the halls at OHSU to see "the little girl with marfan syndrome" when I was very young. It has never really changed. "Oh! What a classic case! Look at her fingers, her eyes, her feet! Oh my!"
I learned this in a two hour office visit with a neurologist last week. I haven't talked about it, because I'm in a sort of denial over it. But, this week, I'm dealing with the gossip, the rumors, the threat, the drama, the fear, (yes, a bit of fear!) of having another aneurysm. Give me a break! (but not an aneurysm break, please!)
Just cuz I had one on my aorta, and one on my leg, what do they think? I am just popping out all over?
We'll see, but I'll tell you one thing. When I prove that I don't have a brain aneurysm, I'm having a party. What better excuse to celebrate? I try to celebrate each day, and I love grand excuses!
So, if you'd like to attend my anti brain aneurysm party, just let me know!
Oh! I gotta tell you part of "why" I am suspected of having an aneurysm! I have these visual auras like people have before migraines... about 3 times a week. They are usually in the morning. The doc asked, "What color are they?" I said, "Black and white, I think." He said "Aha! That is usually indicative of brain aneurysms!
Huh? I should have said, "Oh, no... come to think of it, they are in color... brilliant blues! Reds! Purple! Beautiful dazzling color!"
Instead, I just sat there, defeated. What a dummy!
Wrong answer, and now I'm convicted, hung... until the jury is in, later this week. Stay tuned!
I am part of the committee, elected to pay for the cool new machines at the hospital.
I have to go to the school now, with my son. See ya!

January 10th, 2006

Shiver me timbers! We had 2.17 inches of rain last night, from 6 PM, to 6 AM. This is on top of a river, that right before dusk was up to the lawn! Also, we had a 63 MPH gust last night.
I sat up in bed, last night, listening to the howling and the snapping of large trees. It's still howling now, actually.
I have to take a "silly" pill that they gave me, and head to the hospital. Of course, I can't drive. But, can anyone drive through this? Look at the seaside web cam!
The Wilson is currently almost 15 feet. That's well over flood stage.
I'm worried. I don't want to go to the hospital, and with these waters, I may not have to!

January 10th, 2006

Shiver me timbers! We had 2.17 inches of rain last night, from 6 PM, to 6 AM. This is on top of a river, that right before dusk was up to the lawn! Also, we had a 63 MPH gust last night.
I sat up in bed, last night, listening to the howling and the snapping of large trees. It's still howling now, actually.
I have to take a "silly" pill that they gave me, and head to the hospital. Of course, I can't drive. But, can anyone drive through this? Look at the seaside web cam!
The Wilson is currently almost 15 feet. That's well over flood stage.
I'm worried. I don't want to go to the hospital, and with these waters, I may not have to!

January 11th, 2006

Once upon a time I had a scary experience in an MRI machine. It was a long test. I did fine at first, and then, all of the sudden, panic set in. So, I asked to take a break. Anyhow, the whole test got frustrating, both for me, and for the techs.
I told my doctor about it, and he said, "Oh! I have the perfect answer, because we need this test."
So, he gave me a little bottle of prescribed pills to take before my test.
Man, oh man! I'm never taking those again! I have no recollection of anything, yesterday! And, I slept after the test for two hours, got up, folded the whites in the laundry, went back to bed, and slept until I was woken to see if I was still alive, at 6!
Come to find out, and I have no memory of folding laundry at all, that those 'whites' I folded were our dirty clothes waiting to be washed! (tee hee!)
I guess Bill bought me some aspirin at some little store, because the floods prevented us from going to Safeway or Fred Meyers. I don't remember that. Also, I called my brother. I don't remember that. And, my doctor called to tell me all was well. I don't remember that, either! I don't remember anything about yesterday! I remember having to be in a wheelchair. What wheelchair? Huh? Sheesh! Stay away from those pills, whatever they were!!! I guess I was loopy, but was conversing just fine, whatever I said! The test? What test?
Anyhow, I know that I think they forgot to give me the dye I was supposed to have with the test. I don't know if I'll have to retake it, or not. But, I think all went well!
In fact, to this very moment, I still feel sluggish and not quite myself! I slept all day yesterday, went to bed at 8, and slept until 5 this morning! Whoo hooo, that's alot of snoozing!
I should feel great, new, and refreshed, but I'm groggy! Think I may go back to bed! (LOL!)
I totally missed the excitement of the flooded Kilchis. I wonder what it looks like, today?
I'm going to call my doctor to see what's up, this morning. Someone must have taken a test, yesterday, but as far as I can remember, it wasn't me!!!! I was sleeping!
I have to check my "out" box in my e mail. I'm almost afraid to. I know I answered some e mails. I just have no clue what I said or did! Yikes!

 

January 13th, 2006

I took a walk on the river, yesterday. A real walk with some distance involved! For the last week, my jaunts have been short, due to the small bank area that was left exposed. The water rages all around; to my left, to my right, and even trickling between the rocks under my feet. After five minutes, I'd get discouraged, and slosh in my wet tennies back to the house. But yesterday, I actually made it from my usual starting point, to my usual ending point and back, with dry feet!
My, how things change after a high water! Usually, the dead salmon left from a flood are down towards the shore, getting pulled, inched back out, as the water recedes. Not this time! The salmon are high in the trees, and in odd, contorted twists and tangles in the brambles. This time, they are mostly silvers.
It's been so long since we've had a steady, high water that I was surprised at the total rearrangement of furniture. I have a new log to sit on near where I fish! My old resting place is gone. I wonder which river neighbor received it? It was a wonderful, smooth log, where I could hop up and dangle my legs, year 'round. The bend in the wood made a perfect seat. I'll miss my log!
As I slowly climbed a banked slope at the end of my walk, I noticed that the entire river bank was sanded, unlike before. It was thick with debris, like you'd find on the Columbia beaches. I stepped over and in between piles of barkless sticks that beavers had discarded. Beaver bones, as we call them. I use them for garden stakes in the spring. I collected a pile of them that all matched nicely and put them aside.
On the uphill side of the slope, it was all perfectly even gravel, all the same size! There were no agates, either. Before, this area had been a variety of sized rocks, difficult to navigate without twisting an ankle. Now, it was flat-smooth, all of the rocks the same size, the same color. How did it do that? Who is sorting rocks, out here?
Back to the start on my usual path, right alongside the river, I noticed that this had changed, too. The bank was a different angle down to the water, and it was difficult to navigate. Left ragged from the tumbling, churning high waters were rocks of all sizes, slippery and wet, still. I found the most beautiful agate I think I'd ever found. It was large, with Oregon Jade, crystal, and looked like a thunder egg, inside!
As I made my way back to the house, I picked up a perfect hiking stick. I've giggled in the past that someone should pave this path for me, I've walked it so often! Of course, that wouldn't be good, but if you walked with me, you'd see how one could wish for that! Of course, everyone wants to walk right by the water, so we just put up with it. Usually I am treated by a long expanse of sand, once I get nearly home, but that is gone now, too. Now, the entire length of the riverside is rocky and treacherous. I wonder if when the river recedes yet more, if my sand will reappear.
Kilchis is delighted that in the one place we are nearly guaranteed a sandy beach, it is still in tact. In fact, it is a slate wiped clean for his favorite hobby. Digging! As I struggle to get comfortable on my new resting log, Kilchis went at it with full fury. Nose down, sand flying behind him, I giggled and praised him, which served to make the sand fly faster and further. Ducks flew behind him, and he didn't even notice. He had Mom's praise! He's like a little boy with his enthusiasm for praise. I'm certain he really thinks he's doing something helpful for all involved. Next time someone trips and falls in his holes, he'll see just how helpful he is. (!)
Finally settling in on my new log, I leaned back a little, and rested my head against a standing tree. Here I am, in my newly created space in the woods. I breathed deeply and took it all in. I kind of get the feeling that someone is edging me to move on, to get to know new places, study new plants, stare into different amazing growths.
Sometimes we all just get too comfortable in the same old situation and we miss out on so much new life!!
.Staring across the still wild and furious expanse of river to the opposite shore, studying the mossy growths on my newly uncovered landscape, I'm already discovering new miracles that I'd never seen before.
It's a start. And oh, the amazing growth that surrounds me! Since then, I can't get this song out of my head. It came to me then, and still echoes:

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought...

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

I hope you have a wonderful day and I hope you, too, discover something new!

 

January 15th, 2006

The month is flying by. I can't believe it's mid January, and I have yet to hook into some steel! That's really strange! Only one other year that I can remember without many steelhead, and that year I was really ill. Even then, I still caught some late steelhead!
I'm waiting for the light, right now. I'm going to make it happen, today.
The river, though, is pretty darn fast. I need to work the side channels, I guess. It's a really pretty color, though. At least it was last evening.
When I walked down there, mysteriously, there were three agates on the log where I rest. Three beautiful, gifts from upriver! I wonder who left them there? I picked one out, put it in my pocket, and it's sitting by my desk, now. It's perfect!
The other two remain where someone left them. I'll go admire them, when I go out, this morning!
It's hailing, right now. I really thought that today would be dry. Last night, my son and I drove to town, and it was the first time in forever, that I can remember seeing the blue of the sky. It was really beautiful. Big, puffy clouds against a deep blue sky. It was one of those evenings when the sun bursts through the clouds and leaves those awesome rays that touch the earth. Another day when you the beauty of the earth takes my breath away.
I don't know when it started, but somewhere along the way, when my kids were young, we decided that when those rays appear, they shout, "There is Grandma!" Grandma, up in heaven, shining down on us. So, of course, when we saw that, I had to say, "Oh! There is Grandma!"

Well, looks like it's time to go. A boat and trailer just headed up to the park. And me in my pajamas!
Off I go!

January 15th, 2006 later... Brrr! (And no fish, yet!)

It's really not fair, and I really don't get it.
Why was I born with these wishes to fish?
Standing in ice falling, wind driving snow
I'm a girl for gosh sakes!
You'd think better, I'd know!

Things frilly and fluffy I love, that's for sure!
Things pink colored, shiny, but pink shiny lures?
Yes! I collect them and keep them and fish them each day!
It's a rather odd way for a female to play.

So standing by water, you'll find me each day.
I'm not happy unless there is water my way.
I'm miserable, yes, as I stand in the cold.
But, "It's the way to catch fish" repeatedly I'm told.

There's no greater rush,
and I've no greater passion
and oddly enough, I catch fish while in fashion!
I've pink colored warmies! They suit me just fine.
I've pink colored flies on my pink sink tip line!

Scoot over, you guys! Let me into that boat!
I'll elbow you over on the bank, don't you know!
I'm one less a husband because of this craze,
but I'm also content how I spend all my days!

I'm female it's true, but I'll fish if I please.
In the warmth of the sunshine or a cold winter's freeze.
Fishing is usually what guys like to do,
And although I don't get it,
I want to fish, too.

Jennie

 

January 18th, 2006

As long as there is the river, and enough bank to walk on, I'll be sane. No, really! The river is my medicine for pain, my peace when things are hectic, my joy when I'm pensive, my activity when I'm bored, and my encouragement when I'm feeling hopeless.
It proved true, yesterday. Twice!
Ever had one of those days when just everything goes wrong? All in a row? Thing after thing?
It wasn't like awful things... just 'wrong' things!
It started off with no power, and no internet connection. I spent all night, night before last, listening to the wind roar. I believe we had a gust to 55 mph. And those gusts were sustained. Talk about rock 'n rolling! All night long!
Finally, the power came on, but the internet, not. So, I spent some time working on an excel spread sheet for taxes. Those decals are tiny, and counting them for my tax inventory is uh, taxing!
Then came the internet, but oh my was it slow! I could plug directly into the cable modem and my connection was dashingly fast. But, hook to the router, and all things came to a near halt.
I spent two hours on various tech supports doing speed tests, router settings, port settings, argh! I changed routers, router settings, and firmware! During the middle of one phone call, as I sat in my jammies, frustrated to no end, I remembered. I had missed my accountant appointment! I called, profusely apologized, and went to the shower to meet a later appointment. While in the shower, I had a dashing thought. What if... what if Andrew, my beloved son was on the internet, instead of sleeping, and was downloading something? Nah....
As I opened his door, I heard his computer humming, yet he was fast asleep. "Roo? You aren't...."
He was! He was downloading something! Ach! The minute he disconnected, it was fixed!
Off to the accountant I flew. I didn't want to stay home, for fear of what I might do to my darling downloading child.
Anyhow, it was the river, later, that brought me all peace. Then, later, when I didn't feel good, it was the river, that brought my pain relief. That darn river is magic! -- even without a fishing rod! Imagine what it could do for me, if only the rain would stop and there was an actual steelhead season, this year? Wow! The thought is tantalizing!
But, alas, as I look at the weather forecast, I am met with forever pictures of rain clouds. I'm about ready to build an ark!
The river is brown, muddy, and high. It's forever this way, this season! The river bank keeps changing form. If there is one thing it's good for, it's agate hunting! The rocks have churned upward a thousand times and each day, the ground is new.
My voice filled with joy and hope as I asked Bill if it ever sunshines to the point of wearing a t-shirt, this time of year. I'd forgotten. He had, too, but he, with hope in his voice and dreams in his eyes, whispered that he would be willing to try to imagine it!
Sunshine... Can you imagine? Sitting on the back deck feeling the warmth on your back, sipping a cup of morning coffee, dreaming about the day to come?
There is one single daffodil in the yard, in full bloom. I can't decide if it is mocking the season, or trying to bring hope. It's getting battered by the pouring rain, day by day, and yet it still stands. It represents hope, I've decided, and one day, we will all feel the sunshine, again!
I'm going to the library this morning to rent a travel film from some sunny-beachy location. I'm going to sprinkle river sand on a blanket, and turn the heat up real high. Maybe blow up an old beach ball.
I'm going to shave my legs, and put my swim suit on. Slather tanning oil all over. I'll open the doors so that I can hear the sound of the river, and pretend it's the ocean. (Close the doors! Br!)
Soon, spring chinook will enter the rivers. Not really soon, but I can make it, by dreaming. It'll be then, that I'll feel one of those wonderfully warm t-shirt spring days. I can make it. I've made it this far!
Today is going to be a good day. I can just feel it. I'm giggling, as I note where I've detached Andrew's cat 5 cable from the router. It dangles, helplessly from the connection. The lights on the router dance to life in the dim pre morning light. The connection is mine, all mine!
Oh... it's going to be a good day.. for me!

 

January 21st, 2006

I know what's missing!!!!
"Expect a Fish with Every Cast!"
Stan Fagerstrom said that once, and it rings in my ears throughout my fishing life. Stan, why can't I keep that with me? Why does it come and go?
After close to two full months of not catching a fish, the statement has faded from my confidence! I guess the good thing about remembering, is that I have a license to start fresh with the confidence that this statement of affirmation can bring me.
Expect a fish, with every cast. With that in mind, I will go catch a fish, this morning!
I have to practice, because "JustcallmeDave" is coming over tomorrow to do just the same thing! I have to show him how it's done! I have to show him that it's this positive approach to the riverbank that fills the Traeger barbecue with dinner!
I'm tired of ribs and burgers, chicken and white fish from the fish market. I'm tired of cutting open frozen slabs of springers! It's time for some steel on my stovetop!
I have to tell you! I received the most helpful laminated chart from Eldon Ladd!
Mr. Ladd is the author of the handy spiral bound "Steelheader's Reference Guide". You can obtain a copy, by clicking on Amato Books, here. Bill spends alot of time pouring over this data for different projects, and also for his fishing success. It's fun for me to sit next to him, and go over the data. Combining our knowledge with what is printed in the books, we come to some pretty handy conclusions that adds to our fish catching success! You can, too! It really pays to have an all around knowledge of the rivers that you fish.
Well, wait till you see what I received in the mail! Talk about handy! It's cumulative information, all put into one slick page, that is laminated for weather proof 'on the river' use! I'm going to keep mine at the ready in my tackle bag! I have a couple to give out to friends, too!
Listen to a little of what Eldon has to say about what he does, to improve his catches, and what he does in his "spare" time! I find him fascinating!
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I started doing this in the early 1990's, as I was frustrated that I was fishing various rivers when the fish were jumping, but the fish were not biting. I found on many rivers that the fish would migrate to their home rivers and spawning grounds, but the water was too hot for the fish to bite.
The main stem Columbia below my house has a peak steelhead passage in September at McNary Dam, but the fish don't bite until mid to late October
when the water temperature drops below 60 degrees. So, I learned to go to other places in September where the catching was best.
I wrote the Steelheader's Reference Guide and had it published in the late 1990's to show fishermen when and where to steelhead fish various rivers in Oregon and Washington. I have compiled the punch card data for 7 more years since the SRG was published and the peak catch months have not changed!
Steelhead and salmon are genetically coded to return to their home rivers at the same time each year. The number of fish caught may vary due to water flow, water color, drought, floods, too much wind to fish, etc. But, the fish are there year in and year out at the same time.
An exception to this rule may occur when the fish and game department starts changing the release date of steelhead smolts, or they change the strain of
fish from say Skamania to Wells (as happened here on the mid Columbia at Ringold). Some tribal biologists are attempting to get both summer run and
winter run steelhead in some streams. It is my observation that the tribes can do a lot more in a shorter time than the fish and game departments.
Also, the tribes seem to get what they ask for when they ask for it. The tribes have really made a tremendous impact on the Umatilla River, Yakima
River, and the Klickitat River to mention a few of their success stories for both steelhead and salmon. I can show you some numbers on the Umatilla and
Yakima which validates their accomplishments.
The reference charts which I have compiled are meant to help the fishermen, but they have a real benefit to the biologist also! I will try to explain a
few different applications for their use to fishermen as follows:
1. Pick a river which you would like to fish and see when the "catching" is
best. Then fish it at that time.
2. Perhaps a buddy calls and says he or she will be in town on a certain month and wants to go steelheading.
Look at the chart and find the rivers which are shaded in that month and decide what river(s) to fish.
3. If you drive a considerable distance, say to the Olympic Peninsula, and the rivers are blown out due to rain, look on the chart and start driving towards some other river(s) which have the same peak catch months.
Don't turn around and go home!
4. Several steelhead guides I know used to fish the coastal rivers for winter steelhead. Sure the fish are really primo, but these rivers get blown out and are unfishable during much of the season. Several of these guides are now fishing the Snake River, Grande Ronde and other areas East of the Cascades, as the weather has a lot less impact on these rivers. Most guides want to make money and you can't generate any income when you can't fish.
I am sure there are a number of other applications for these charts, but I think you get the picture. Remember, my HPF! I like action!
Jen, I hope your web visitors will benefit from some free charts. If people want charts, I can arrange to fill orders at a cost of $3 plus postage and
handling.
If you are interested, my contact information is below.
Eldon Ladd
2341 Snohomish Avenue
Richland, WA 99354
(509) 375-6054
[email protected]

January 22nd, 2006

Quick! Button up your pajama top!
The river is green!
No time to shower, or put on my jeans!!
The weather is delightful and the strong flow is slowing!
My urge to get steelhead is growing and growing!
It's perfect! It's perfect!!! There's no time to wait!
Just kick off your slippers and get out the bait!
No need for makeup or to brush through my hair!
The steelhead don't notice, they really don't care!
No time to write this morning, for sure!
I gotta get out my fishing rod and lures!
Goodbye all you readers, good bye to the board!
Before I go to church, I will fish with the Lord!

 

January 25th, 2006

Twenty years ago, I lived in the Astoria area, and I was smitten by the salt, and bitten by the fish bug. I had no close friends to fish with me, so I set off, by myself. It was a retreat for me, from the every day chore of taking care of small children. When my husband came home from work, I, almost simultaneously left for the water, wherever it might be, for the day.
I cannot tell you the number of times I needed tackle. My nickname with the guys who fished around me, was "Mrs. Borrowitz". Yes, I was always a bait late, and tackle short.
Where on earth did those guys get all of that stuff? I'd gaze into the backs of their trucks, or deep into their tackle bags. Wow! Tons of assorted weights! From tiny split shot, to 14 ounce pyramids! Giant hooks and floats of orange and white reflected off of large metal attractors with flashing tapes! I had no idea at that time what the names of all these things were, but over the years, I learned.
Finally, on one day when the rain came down sideways and the wind blew so strong that I couldn't fish, I decided to surprise everyone. No longer would I be Mrs. Borrowitz. I was growing up in the fishing world! I actually started to catch fish! Sometimes, more then the guys! It was about time I learned the name of some of that tackle, and be able to actually loan something myself, for once! It was time!
So, I looked through the phone book, and found the store of what I thought my dreams were made of. There it was, tucked back in the corner on a pier, in Astoria. I threaded through traffic, and pulled in the lot. The Englund's Marine sign hovered over me, and seemed so huge and I felt so insignificant!
It didn't stop in the lot, either! As I walked into the store, I never felt so lost, or so small!
What I really needed that day, was a net. I was tired of asking all the guys to net my fish for me off of the jetty, and I needed one with a long, long handle, so that I didn't need to get so close to those scary man eating waves, myself.
As I browsed through the store, I was met by sales people who were ever so helpful to me. They showed me so many things, and offered such educational help! I left the store that day with a huge net, duct taped to the side of my car, and my front passenger seat filled with tackle! I was in heaven! My net became fondly known as my "jetty netty", and you have no idea how many men borrowed that net to net their own fish. I was so proud!
Later, I came to know the Englund's, and actually played for a wedding for their children, one year. What nice people! I was proud to know them. I bought more tackle from them, during my stay in the Astoria area. More, and more, and more! I knew that store like the back of my hand. Boxes and boxes of hooks came home with me! Lines of all strengths! And beautiful reels that I nearly strung on a gold chain and wore to church!
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It saddens me to no end to hear the struggles that are happening in the tackle industry, today. I am speechless. I suppose I'll have something to say, later. I have very strong feelings about things, but they sway in both directions, and I'm afraid that I don't know how to put them into words, yet. All I know, is that we are playing with people's lives, not just playing with politics. I guess it's always that way, but I've never been so closed to politics, that I could see the devastating results of such strong emotion and passion. I can say that most sincerely, I do not like seeing what I am seeing.
It was hard for me to even write the headlines on the front page, here. Whenever there is a news event being discussed on ifish, I always put a pointer at the header. This, because I get so many e mails asking where on ifish is the talk about this, or that? This way, people can find it just one click away.
So, for those of you who have made it this far, you can discuss the current story of the day, here.
But please, be respectful, and remember, there is a family behind this story. There is a family that took a young girl by the hand and helped her pick out tackle until she was armed enough to be a sports fishing fool that actually brought fish home to her family!
I don't think I ever knew, when I started ifish.net, that people would write words that would affect so many of my friends in both good ways, and bad.
I know that I have been hurt by written words, and likewise, many of the strongest players in the fishing world. As the owner of ifish, I feel responsible for that, in a way, and it causes me great stress.
Please, as you type your feelings, realize just how much impact that they might have on a family and their employees that may not even be responsible for any of this political mess.
Above all, I believe it is a strategic and tragic mistake on the part of the sports fishers to personalize this, or any battle.
Englund's, the business, isn't on the Commission. Englund's, the business, is people who are trying to make a living just like the rest of us.

January 27th, 2006

Ach! Woke up and the board had been down all night. I'm stressed, and it's not even 6 in the morning!
Then, as if by magic, as if by divine intervention, it started working again! Amen!
----------------------------------
OK, I'm back now! All is well in board land. I hope!
Last evening: Per chance, one last half hearted attempt for the day, to land a steelhead. I wandered nearly blindly out to the river.
The light was falling from the sky, and the rocks under my feet took on a kind of unreal feel and color. They were wet and glistening, but they mirrored the skies eerie and uneasy glow. There was a storm brewing, and you could tell that soon a hail storm, or perhaps a lightning storm would erupt. The vision of the sky lighting up, chalk white, was only a cast away. It only served to quicken my step and my heartbeat.
How many casts would I get in, before my time was up? Would my hands freeze out first, or the storm hit? Would a strike of lightning send me rushing back to safety?
My legs had a momentum of their own, and it was like my body couldn't keep up with them. I was nearly walking on my ankles, due to the slippery rocks. The pain shooting up my calves didn't register in my brain. I don't know how on earth I kept from falling.
There is an odd essence to the sky right before a lightning storm. An eerie cast of color, a glow of golden hue that lights upon everything, and gives one the feeling of walking in a small enclosed space. My world was small, and my goal was narrowed down to one simple wish. To tie into a steelhead.
I was being lead by anticipation. Excitement that my shiny lure might finally find a silver slab of steel hiding behind a rock kept all cautions to the wind.
As I unfastened my lure from my guide, the hook stuck me in the palm. I didn't feel that, either. I do, this morning!
I cast out and totally lost my depth perception. I had no idea in the fading light how far, or in which riffle my lure landed. I knew from the wobble that it wasn't in a tree! I retrieved my cast by braille. Wobbler lures are wonderful that way. You can feel the right tension, the right throb as you bring it towards you. I knew right where it was despite the gathering gloom! Nearing the swirl, ten feet from the rocks, now slack in the backwater, and finally pulling through the riffle near my feet. While all of that was interesting, it was also uneventful and uninterrupted. Not at all what I had hoped for. I longed for interruption, for that harsh, shocking pull that would startle me like a boogie man in a dimly lit back alley!
With each cast, I worked my way towards the closest hole before I called it a night. With each cast, my anticipation grew, and the darkness followed suit. It was yet more eerie, but at the same time, more and more desperate. I must! I must hook into a fish!
One last cast, my feet in the briars at the bottom of the path towards home. My legs finally feeling the torture I had just put them through.
No fish, again. No boogie men in the night.
I walked up the path, toward the smoke billowing out of the chimney and the golden lights of a house, warm with the glow of a fire, and the smells of dinner in the kitchen. The dogs knew it to be dinner time, and their tails wagged as they danced and circled me as we approached our home. My heavy hip boots slowed me like a rudder in the wet grasses.
Finally, up the stairs, the rush of warm and delicious things hit me strong in the face.
No fish, again. But, always home. Home on the river, where the possibility of fish always exists, and the stresses of everyday life are erased with the falling light.

January 30th, 2006

I put Stan's new column for February up, today. It's right here. I'm a little shy in introducing it, as the topic is... well, you go look. :)
The ifish busies have kept me from updating the front page. I can't remember ifish ever being so busy. On top of that, we've had bandwidth problems and Mysql errors, due to that. We may have part of that figured out, but I still need to upgrade servers, soon. Thanks be to God that I think an angel from another web site, larger than ifish, has offered us a "herd" of servers to use in a master/slave configuration. That will allow us to keep our searches to slaves, and our master for our main data base. I don't know how it all works, but that is what I hire techs for! They know all of that server speak and server work!
Last night I had a record 3 hours of sleep, and I will be most probably laying in bed most of the day, trying to recoup. Man, what a storm! It's the closest I can remember to the Columbus Day storm. Before the power went out, we had a gust of 74. I hear a recorded gust of 91 was recorded in Tillamook. I wouldn't doubt it! I couldn't sleep through it, and I swear it was pushing my bed around, despite the walls of the house, acting as a wind barrier!
Man, the noise! 'How Great Thou Art' is right! That song just kept playing through my head!
With the lights out, and sleep evading me, I lay in bed with a flashlight balanced on my shoulder reading a great book by William McKloskey, entitled, "Breakers". It's in a series. The first book I read by him kept me glued to the pages. It was called "Highliners" and was the story of a young man who decided to spend his summer in Alaska, fishing. This turned into a 10 year stay of adventures on the high seas. I adored it! Already, I can tell that this sequel will be equally entertaining and exciting!
Reading about a ship at sea in a fierce storm, the sounds affects around me only added to the drama! I thought I was there! Yikes!
I have a doctor's appointment in Hillsboro, today, and I really doubt I'll be successful in arriving there. Not only are the roads in poor condition, and the town of Tillamook under water, but my health is poor, having had so little sleep. I would think the drive would be dangerous, and I don't know anyone that can drive me. I'll have to call in and let them know.
Today, as I said before, will probably be spent looking around at the damage, and oohing and ahing and picture taking around town. I don't even know if I can make it off of Kilchis River Road. At this time, I've yet to see a car drive past our home, and the Newspaper is absent from the box.
It's never a dull moment around here, during the winter storms on the coast. As I lean over and smell the sweet aroma of blooms on my winter daphne, I am anxious for spring, which is obviously right around the corner.
I long for summer mornings, drinking coffee on the back porch, and basking in the warm, still sunshine in my robe. Oh! What a wonderful, warming thought!
Oh, darn. No newspaper, and in a call to the dealer, they report a tree down on Kilchis River Road, blocking the last four houses, including ours. That means we are stuck here. I wonder how bad it is. I'd like to see. Think I'll go on a disaster drive!
If it's bad, please put your jet sled in at 101, and zoom up and deliver one, OK? And while you are at it, stop at the bakery and bring me some goodies!

FISHING THE COAST
A journal of my adventures.

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