Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington

Jennie Logo

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

A journal of my adventures.
Jennie's Fishing Life past entries
December 1998

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

Bill Hedlund's Steelhead

January 1st 1999
Happy New Year, and welcome to fishing 1999! Doesn't that sound weird? The closer I get to the Millennium the weirder it is. Oh well. Forget that, the fish are all the same, except this may be a real good year for Steelhead!
Yesterday I drove to Portland, like I said, and no, I didn't fish in hip boots and a skirt. The river was real high, but desperation peeked through, as I drove past all the usual holes, and they were all, and I mean ALL plugged out! There were fishermen and fisherwomen everywhere, so let me tell you, if you want to fish, you need to be a racehorse and get your line in early. Either that, or do like I often do, let the racehorses have their chance, and then go fishing in the afternoon, and catch all they lacked the skill to hook! HEE HEE! Works for me!
Anyway, I stopped and chatted at the first hole, with a couple of guys that I know, and they were all casting there bait and plunking, about all you can do in high water like that. They had a couple bites, but still, I was glad that I had to go to Portland on that particular day. It wasn't that hot, and I wanted to use my time well.. If I had to go to Portland, it was a good time to go. Just out of Seaside, by the way, as it was just getting light, I saw a huge herd of elk just starting to cross the road. They were in a place I'd never seen them. Just RIGHT out of town. Kind of spooked me, but they sure are beautiful. So, I headed out of town, after stopping at the raft and like I mentioned earlier, every single good fishing hole was plugged, clear up to Black Bridge (On the Necanicum). Of course, I have a few friends who live along the Necanicum and they let me fish there, so if I had wanted to fish, I can always fish, but the fact that it was so busy was encouraging to me.
I flew to Portland, went to the eye doc, ( and by the way, my shoes were all muddy from the tromp to the fishing hole! How embarrassing!) and on my way back, same story, still plugged. My curiosity got the best of me, and when I happened upon the two gentlemen I had spoken with earlier, at a different spot now, I had to stop. They had a 5 LB chrome buck, and one lost.
I don't really know what to think, because the river conditions were not super. I bet it will be really good today, the 1st.
I bet also, that there will be allot of folks out there who feel the same!
I, personally, am going to be very patient, and take down the tree tomorrow with the kids, and hang with them till they are back in school. Monday, I am going to give it all I've got!!!! I have plans to drift it with Bill Hedlund, if he is back in town, or just work my way up and down the river. I have always loved to work this one stretch up with a flatfish, and back down drifting eggs and a corky or a shrimp and a corky. How can I miss? These are my plans as of right now. Patience. But if I get the chance, and the kids want to go to the movies, or to a friends.... I may just sneak out there for one cast!!!

January 2nd 1999

Ladies and Gentlemen, you are about to see a girl absolutely go nuts because she hasn't fished.
I have just about had enough of kids, and piano performances. I had a party for 10-ten year olds New Years Eve, that was fun, but, well, you know... This morning I have to play a full Latin Mass for a wedding, complete with Gregorian chants in 6 mode. now I don't know if you know anything about music, but it's like playing a full classical concert, and I am stressed. Then tomorrow, I have to play at church with a new Minister who is changing the whole order of service. All I want to do is escape and sit on a river bank and sing my own Gregorian chants!
The Nehalem is still too high to drift, but is clearing, and the Necanicum is in top shape. Starting Monday, I have three days off in a row. The kids Dad is finally going to take them to his house for a couple nights, and I am going to fish non stop!
Its six in the morning this beautiful Saturday morning, and the sunrise is exquisite... One of those mornings, you can just imagine getting your gear together, and getting in a warm truck to go fishing. But I... I, will be playing Mozart. Oh well... Go out there and catch a couple for me! I may be able to hit it this afternoon.

January 2nd 1999
(later at night)

I did it! I had to go fishing, and when a girl has to go fishing she does. It was an absolutely gorgeous day on the river, and I was obviously not alone in the idea. The parking lot at the raft was packed, like 12 rigs! But some nice gentlemen made room for my son and I, and we fished! We didn't catch anything, we only had a couple hours, and it was just plunking, but nonetheless, it helped my stress!
I saw 3 fish caught, and one of them was a beautiful 7 or 8 pound, probably 2 salt buck.. Very chrome, and of course, hatchery. There were several boats drifting and I was very envious. What a day for drifting the river, it felt like about 60 out, and very sunny. I actually was out there in a sleeveless shirt. Some of the boats didn't do as well as I had thought. I mean conditions seemed about as prime as they can get, and some boats said they had none. Hmmmm Anyway, I will fish tomorrow, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday! My life is good!

January 3rd 1999

Ho hum. Fishing on the river on a nice sunny day... I'm yawning. no action, just relaxation. A little bit of an east wind, maybe that's what keeps them away. I have no other ideas, but they weren't biting and the river was lower and clear.
Ran into someone who highly objects to me posting these reports. Saying the river is to crowded already. I knew I would run into this opinion, and I want to keep everyone happy, but wait a minute! Doesn't everyone have a right to fish? I don't really know how I feel about this, but I knew I would run into this opinion, and I did today. Kind of ruined my fishing day, fishing with the
opinionated. And every opinion he voiced was negative. How boring.

January 4th 1999

All night long I have been singing (to the tune of "I'm gettin Married in the Morning") I'm going fishin in the Morning....! You know, at 3 am. 4 am 5 am. That, "Is it time yet-fishing insomnia" Ever done that? zzzz I'm tired!
I have chicken salad sandwiches to make, and kids to get off to school.
The river may be low, yesterday the boaters reported lots of times having to get out and push the boat off of sand and gravel bars. Guess lots of fishermen took their boats down to the kilchis, and turned around and went home. The Wilson is too high, may be good by Wednesday.
I'm fishing the Necanicum. Going to use plugs, and shrimp, off and on. I'v only plugged once, and didn't know what kind of rod to use, and one of my readers was so kind as to help me with that information. THANKS!
Anyway,I also wanted to thank the many of you who responded to the below column about the opinions of those who don't want me to write this column, due to overfishing. I understand his point, I HATE it when I can't fish at my favorite hole, but then again, I love to talk, write and communicate with fishermen and women! I Love it and won't stop! YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!
Happy Fishing!

January 4th 1999
(post fishing)

On the river by, oh.... 9 or so. Kind of late comers, but we were the second boat on the river. The water was a little low, but a beautiful green color, overcast skies, light winds... Perfect for fishing.
There was one boat before us plugging, and one boat behind us fly fishing, so we decided to backslide bait and drift.
The river is in horrendous shape as far as the way it has changed since the flood. A little tricky here and there, and it has totally changed channels in places, so beware if you drift it. The trees are down everywhere. As far as fish, none! Caught a couple cutthroat and that was it! Not one Steelhead on. Go figure. I can't! It was ridiculous, and very frustrating to see the river so good in January and not catch fish. Oh well, I'll try the North Fork Nehalem tomorrow. Will report. Right now I'm so tired all I want is a hot bath!

By the way. Could not upload this last night. The server was down, so here it is this morning. I'm on my way to the Nehalem. see ya! Oh, also, in the N.F.Nehalem they recycled 264 fish, and should be in the lower river today, January 5th.

January 5th 1999

Well, I got my fish finally! A nice 9 LB buck, not very bright, but he was fun to catch. Still good to eat! Had a great trip down the lower North Fork of the Nehalem. The weather was perfect, the water a nice green, about 4 foot deep visibility, a little high, but not to bad.
It's a lesson in itself to fish 3 people in a raft and try to all get along. 3 rods plugging can be kinda fun, but casting in small places is a challenge. We'd anchor the boat and get out and work the riffles, and that is where I caught mine. Ahhhhh room to play!
We had 3 people, three fish. Not bad, but not great. If we had time, we would have fished from the hatchery down, but had to be out by 2:30 so we did what we could. I guess there is allot of changes in between the queen and the king on the upper drift. Erosion, big rocks in the water, etc. Rocks the size of a Volkswagen, actually!
So the river was fair, but not good by any means. Most had fish. I had a wonderful time though. Lots of good friends, and good fish.
Right as we left, the hatchery dumped a bunch of recycled fish back in, and it was kind of fun to watch these fine big fish in the shallows. We had to move them out of the way to bring the boat up! It was like a petting zoo! Heck with fishing, just grab one! I'm kidding of course, but you could have! So there will be plenty of fish in the lower river again.
The necanicum is real low, and I saw one boat put in. Probably a raft though. Didn't see too many anglers on the road parked.

January 6th 1999

I had a web biz meeting this morning at a restaurant in Seaside, but I drove right on past it, in my nice clothes. (I couldn't help myself!) and drove to the raft hole on the Necanicum. Outside it was a complete mudhole so I crawled in the backseat, reached in the back for my boots, changed into them, slipped on my rainjacket, and splashed down to get my report from the guys. 3 Fish caught already at 9 AM! WAHH! I want to fish! I don't want to talk business! I want to fish! Anyway, obviously, the river is NOT to low on the Necanicum, and yesterday I heard of two fish caught there over 14 lbs! I'm going tomorrow! Got back in my car and was a good girl. Went to the meeting just ten minutes late. That's all the news I have!
Oh, except I bought a rain gauge for the lawn, and now I can report recent rainfalls in Astoria!

January 7th 1999

Wow! Is is January 7th already? I spent the morning at a girlfriends house who has a nice location on the Necanicum to fish. However, the river was just to low here. I caught several, like maybe 6 or 7 cutthroat and put them back in the water gently as to not hurt them. They were really pretty fish, a little skinny this time of year though. I kind of wonder if I caught the same one over and over! Haven't heard anything else new, but plan to talk to some folks tonight, and I'll let you in on what I have learned.

January 8th 1999

Ok, it's a beautiful day, so I can't complain, but the rivers are pretty low.
I'l just complain a little.
I wanted to fish today, but instead just went to breakfast and talked fish. You know, alot of the fun I have fishing is talking about it, meeting people at the river, and talking, sharing stories, just getting to know people. There are so many different types of fishing people, the meat fishermen, the hunters, the plunkers, the serious gear and tackle collectors, the people who more than anything just like to sit and stare at the water. I'm a little of all of these things.
Have you ever gone through a period in your life where you didn't fish? I did. and I couldn't figure out why. I just didn't go. I think I was going through a difficult time in my life. This year I am so involved with fishing, and I'v never been happier. The grass is greener, the smiles come easier, and life seems to just breeze by. Even my son said to me the other day, "I'm glad you are fishing again!" This made me happy also. I just can't figure out if I fish only when I'm at peace, or if fishing makes me at peace! I don't know, and it doesn't matter. For the status quo, I will remain a happy fishing girl. A patient one... Come on rain!

January 8th 1999
Quick update for the weekend

I just heard a report from the Nehalem, actually two of them! So here goes. Six fish from one guide and party, from the handicap down. One fish, 12 to 14 LB, beautiful, from Ray, a friend from the web. He saw some others caught, like 5 at the handicap ramp, and some others I think. I haven't heard if they have recycled any more, but I would imagine they have. The water is probably still good. Rain! Rain! I want RAIN ! I have the week to fish again next week. Tomorrow I get to go down to the Nehalem and pick up my smoked steelhead I caught the other day! YUM. So I'l stop by and see how they are doing. Good luck this weekend everyone~!

January 9th 1999

Saturday.....I just got back from the Nehalem. My main objective being to pick up some smoked steelhead from a friend. But of course, the river was right there... right before me. what do you expect?
So, on the way up I counted angler's rigs on the Necanicum. Not many, say about 10 to 15. The Necanicum is real low. One boat put in somewhere. I bet they are pushing it thru!
It's nice to be a girl. I feel lucky, because I drove down a lane on the nehalem and asked this lady at a farmhouse could I please fish on her property. "No, we don't let people fish here" came the sad words... Oh. OK, and then we began to talk, and soon she was showing me the new lambs that were born today, and the calves, and we talked, and soon I was casting happily on the river. People are so nice! This often happens to me. Maybe because there are so many fisherMEN and not so many women, plus I had my son with me. We didn't catch a thing, but watched drift boat after drift boat go down, and they were having limited luck also, so I didn't feel so bad. As I left she invited me back! Oh boy! Another fishing spot! I love to collect them! I gave her a piece of the smoked steelhead as an offering and I will be back! It's a great spot!
The handicap ramp had one, and a nasty looking one at that! The river is just too low and clear.. But it is raining!!!! YES! a couple days wait and watch out!

January 10th 1999

Its Sunny! Isn't that disgusting? I mean the rivers are so low and clear. The fish are there, if you want to use 4 lb test!
I think I might take some flounder gear and go check out the estuary behind the Seaside High school. Either that, or maybe curl up with some blankets in front of the tv. I haven't done that in ages.
Another thing that is fun on these nice winter days is to go out to a lake and catch planted steelhead or holdover trout. I might go to Coffenbury and do that. Or I could go to Cullaby and go catch some panfish. Sometimes it is suprisingly good this time of year, and there is nothing more fun than giggling while those little fish wiggle around on your line! I have sat out there on the docks and giggled for hours, one bite after the next and no one has a clue that they are there but me! Sometimes for perch I take a bobber and throw it out with a little mealie worm on and slowly bring it back in, and whammo! It's down and the fight is on.. over and over.... Ok, nada with the blankets, I'm going to the lakes.

January 11th 1999

River levels are down even more. What can I say? And I have a stupid cold. No wonder I wanted to wrap up in blankets yesterday. And by the way, I did! I didn't fish, and today stayed home with my youngest who is also sick.
The rain is supposed to return later in the week. I guess now is a good time to clean tackle, to arrange all of your gear in different boxes for different uses. However, this has never worked for me for long! I always end up borrowing from one box and pretty soon it's a mass entanglement.
I'm going to get some odds and ends done around the house. Get totally geared up so that I'm ready when the time comes. May sit on a quiet lake and play with the small fish. It's actually been very pretty out, with beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
A low river trip comes to mind when it was snowing out and I was fishing on the Lewis and Clark with a good friend who is twice my age, but out fished and out hiked me every time! We would work the river up with bait and come down with a flat fish with real light line. I finally said, "Ben, I'm tired.. I'm going to sit right down here, and throw my eggs in this deep pool while I have my lunch."
"BAH... You'll never catch anything there." and his 70 some year old body continued easily up the steep incline to the other access upstream.
Five minutes later he heard me scream "BEN BEN BEN BEN!!!!!!" I had the most beautiful hen on I had ever caught. Just so happens it was laying right there waiting for me! He came running back, and netted my fish for me!
This man taught me most of what I know about fishing. He also taught me things I'll never forget about life, and patience, and gentleness. Especially when concerned with wildlife. I still fish with him now and then, but not as much. He is getting older. But I can tell you one thing. When I am alone on the river I always hear him giving me advice. I hear him tell me fishing stories... And I know I always will.

January 12th 1999
Updated 9:16 P.M

From reading below I don't know when the rivers will be fishable, but I will let you know when I go, and how the rivers are. I will be fishing off and on from now through Sunday.Below is a the weather forecast, and I am thrilled! Looks like fishing may be good for a brief time before the rivers are too high again. Come on rain!

Special Weather Statement

A series wet Pacific storms will bring significant rises to northwest Oregon and southwest Washington
rivers late Thursday. Rain will
develop Wednesday night when the first in a series of Pacific storms makes landfall. Heavy rain is expected along the north Oregon coast into southwest Washington. Rain will ease a bit Thursday but increase again Friday night and Saturday when a stronger storm impacts the coast. Strong winds will also accompany these storms.

January 13th 1999

Looks like there is alot of fish in the Nehalem, (North Fork), but they aren't biting. Bobber and eggs wouldn't even get them. Jim Erickson took some magazine people down yesterday and it was a real rainy day, and the water kind of greened up, but didn't rise any. Well, it did, but it went down again last night. Its HOPELESS! Lots of fish this year, but not any good water.
Eensy Weensy little rain drops in my rain gauge. Grrreat. Looks like we are going to get it all at once. Wind, rain, and no window for fishing.
I'm busy doing another fish related hobby, and that is painting fish on furniture. My arm is so sore from refinishing this table that I can barely type let alone cast. Big storm coming in tonight. I hope there is a calm in the morning, so I can try it out. I really don't think the rivers are up enough now though.

January 14th 1999

Yawn. Wind. Rain. All to much at a time. I guess the Nehalem is too high. Spewing mud, as one person put it!
Above soapstone is OK for those who fish it.
I myself am back in the non fishing depressed mode!
Oh well, I think maybe tomorrow, if it doesn't rain I may plunk a little. I have to take my son to a Dr. Appt in the morning, then after I will dash to the river! Now that thought does make me smile! Stop raining! Dang, I wish I could control these things!

January 15th 1999

I took Andrew to his Dr. apt this morning, and I guess I am a terrible parent. I took him fishing afterwards instead of back to school. I just thought it would be an excellent time for him to catch a steelhead, and it seemed prime time. The weather was clear and calm, the water was beautiful, a little low even. The shrimp were fresh, the eggs looked good, and I had a great supply of plugs and flatfish!
So, off we went, and everything was perfect... EXCEPT we didn't even get a bite! I don't understand!
It is true that you can either go fishing or take your kids fishing but you can't do both at the same time.
You know, I had two boys, I wanted a girl, but I thought at least they will be my fishing buddies. HA! Nature is cruel! They may be a little young, I keep saying, but they just don't get it! He says he loves to fish, but people who love to fish stare at the tip of their rods! Isn't that true? My neck is sore from staring! He played with the dog, threw rocks in the river (grrrr). Went from the hole to the car, got the radio. (grrr). And we didn't catch a fish. You know, it was nice to work two rods, but still! I want him to fish! To tie knots! To rig up and learn to cast! (But please not over my line!) The truth may be that I am not ready for him to screw me up that badly learning. Ouch, that hurt!
Anyway, the river was in prime condition as far as I could tell. I tried every trick I know, and no bites, not one. Two rigs on the river, about 6 anglers parked. I didn't hear of any caught either.
Tonight comes storm number two, so the rivers will be out again for a bit.
It was so beautiful out there though. and I really am glad I didn't take Andrew to school, and I hope he remembers these things, as I remember fishing with my Dad when I was as little as 4. On his shoulders wading across the Sandy, playing in the rocks on the bank,sitting for hours in hog lines on the Willamette. These are some of the things, those great memories, that keep me fishing today.

January 16th 1999

It's Saturday, I took the day off. I mean from fishing. I have been working on my table that I painted the salmon on, and I can barely move my hand again! Not good for someone who has to play the piano tomorrow. Only got about a half inch of rain yesterday through today, so I should have fished, darnit.
This morning I was bolted awake,(pardon the pun) by the most extreme thunder storm I had ever witnessed in Oregon. The house was lit up for about 5 seconds, like an atomic bomb went off, and this extremely loud thunder that set all the house and car alarms off. My windows sounded like they were going to break. So that set the kids off, and I was out to breakfast with them by 6 A.M. Long day. Tomorrow after church, I will go fishing unless weather is to awful, which it sounds like it may be.
My table is beautiful, I will have to post a picture of it when I am done!

January 17th 1999

I don't care. Its pouring down rain. I mean really pouring. I am going fishing. I will wear three coats if I have to. I have to catch a fish. One of those days when I think I will go out of my mind if I can't hunt for fish. I really don't even care if I catch one, really, I just need the hunt. I need the outdoors. I need to watch a storm in full bloom. I need to experience nature at it's fullest! First I have to play at church. One of those days when I feel like calling in fish sick. I will let you know what the rivers are like. Probably not good, and if it's too muddy I will have to sadly turn around and come home. But I have to try.

January 17th 1999
Post fishing

We went fishing. Was supposed to be "I" went fishing, but at the last moment my 11 year old wanted to go. I told him, "Now Andrew, this will not be fun. This will be wet and uncomfortable, and we have one objective, to fish!" He said "yeah, OK."
So we bundled up and lasted about 20 minutes until he was soaked through.I didn't have a pair of hip boots his size. He is eleven and wears a size 13 mens shoe. wow.
I was very dissapointed. The water was a bit muddy but not too high. It was real windy. The only luck I have had fishing in water like this is plunking. So I put on a little spin glow, and I wished I had a big gob of eggs, but I only had live sandshrimp, so I used one set up with one hook and a shrimp, and one set up with a double hook, like for herring, and two shrimp. There was about one foot visability in the water still. Kind of this color. Maybe a bit browner.
Like I said, we didn't give it much time, and we didn't get a bite. It was very windy, and it was uncomfortable, but he went to the car, and I fished guiltily another 15 minutes.
Tomorrow I was going to fish all day, but I just rememberred the kids have the day off.
Well, I am again taught a lesson in kids and fishing. I should have left him home. Everyone is a bit grouchy around here, and I think we all have cabin fever. Guess I'l take them swimming or something to ease the tension and get some of that boy energy out.
This week I will have time to fish, just not tomorrow. boo hoo.

January 19th 1999

Three inches of rain yesterday, one last night. The rivers are all out of shape. I really don't think that there will be any good fishing this week.Maybe small windows of opportunity here and there.
Personally, I am going to Coffenbury lake, with some real tiny sand shrimp to see if I can catch a couple holdovers, or play with the planted steelhead in the lake. Part of me wants to jump in the car and drive to places far away. Down the coast, up the coast, anywhere... just for a change of scenery, and stop at fishing holes, and tackle shops to talk and see what is happening. Take my dog, walk on the beach, collect some thoughts.
What I SHOULD do is work.
But then again, life is short, and I'm not!

January 20th 1999

All of you guys are going to scoff at this, but LOOK OUT!
I think I am going to start a women's fishing association! The only problem is that I don't know any more! So, calling all Pacific Northwest women, who are interested in fishing! We can have little fishing tournaments, and do some environmental things, and learn what we are too embarrassed to ask men about! Like "scuze me sir, but how do I tie this knot?" Don't get me wrong, I love to fish with men as well as women, and truthfully, I wouldn't be where I am today, without humbly asking advice, and eagerly using it! I just think it would be a blast to go on a fishing trip with some women, like to ALASKA! O.K., Girls, there must be at least one or two of you out there!
The rivers are out of shape, by the way. (so are the lakes!) So, I am getting some work done, so that when the time comes, I can get out there and spike my steelhead count up! I mean I hear from readers they have 9 or ten so far! And me? A humble one! Ouch! That hurts too!
Keep your eye on the river!

January 21st 1999

I was So excited! We only got a little bit of rain and it was reported to me that the water was not bad last night. So what would you conclude? Even better today? YES! So I got Andrew off to a school ski trip, and David off to school, jumped in the car, turned the stereo way up, sang all the way to Seaside, got my bait, and, and, and.... oh nooooooo..... the water was up to the road! I couldn't believe it! It was up a foot and a half from yesterday! I don't understand! I guess the only explanation is that the coast range must have gotten heavier rain than we did. I was so disappointed.
But not for long. I went over to Bill Hedlund's house to see the most beautiful hand wrapped rod Iv ever seen and it's MINE! I had an old Harnel, (is that how you spell it?) and he thought it worthy of redoing. What an art! A very tedious job, I might add. Hand wrapping, the under wrap and then the top wrap, in a different color, and then two coats of epoxy over the top. It's really interesting to see it all happen. It is so beautiful. In appreciation, I helped him get reacquainted with the Internet, and his computer, and pretty soon, maybe we will have some hot fishing advice from the master himself. I try to gain all the information I can just by being around him!
So, the day turned out delightful anyway, fish or no fish. If fishing isn't an option, just try and include some fish related activity, and life will be good!

January 22nd 1999

River update:
If you wade into the Necanicum with your waders, you can see your feet, so about 2 foot visibility. Still real high. Good for plunking, too high to drift. I volunteered in the schools computer lab today where my son goes to school, so I couldn't fish, but I got a report from my friend. They went out, and didn't catch anything, but like I said, the river is improving.
The Nehalem is at 65" and greening up. No fishermen, still too high. They had 200 fish in the trap. 105 went to Sunset Lake in between Seaside and Warrenton, and the rest were recycled today. With the cool dryer air mass coming in, I think the water will be really nice this weekend into early next week. I can't wait!

January 23rd 1999
To fish or not to fish...

Brr! it's cold this morning. But that brings to mind.... hmmmm Steelhead fishing! I have the boys home though, and I am wondering if I should drag them out there. I think perhaps I should wait until Monday and go alone, because I don't want to discourage them from fishing. Steelhead fishing can be a very frustrating thing for young boys unless it is red hot. Can I wait till Monday?
Things however, are looking up. It is a beautiful crisp January day. I bet there will be a lot of fishermen and women out today. Weekend fishing is something I used to try and stay away from. We'll just have to wait and see what Jennie will do today!

January 23rd 1999
Post (kind of) fishing

I decided to be a good Mom today, and do something worth while and fun with the kids. It took me a while to come up with just what to do, but finally decided that I would take the boys and their friends out to Coffenbury lake to play laser tag. "Perfect!" I thought! "They can play laser tag, and I will fish!" Life is just too good! So all five of us loaded in the car, complete with laser gear and fishing gear, and headed out. First a stop at Costco for the many batteries their sport requires. I'm so glad fishing does not require batteries! Anyway, got to the destination, installed batteries, only to discover we were missing one gun. Great. Four boys, and three guns. Step one to a bad time. But wait! I have an extra pole! The odd person out can fish! I knew it wouldn't be perfect, but I thought it would do. With a couple moans and groans the boys complied. So, we went out to the dock, the odd man out, and I, and rigged up. Needless to say, I didn't get to fish. But you know what? I had a great time! I taught this boy, who had never fished before, to love this! We had casting contests, we had rigging contests, we had hook tying lessons! I was so shocked, that after about a half hour, I had all four boys gathering on the dock, begging to cast! Then we had REAL casting contests! THEY LOVED IT! The electronic toys lost out to my hobby! I was having so much fun, giving tips and shouting orders, like, "Pole tip up! Follow through with that cast and let go of the line here! GOOD!!!" It was the most gratifying day I have had in a long time. Here they were, my own kids, and two others who were discovering that fishing is really pretty neat. Even if there were no fish biting today! I felt like I was adding a sort of richness to their otherwise electronic lives. These opportunities of learning fishing while young, and having good memories of it, can last a lifetime. I know they did with me, and how sad to think they may have grown up not knowing the joy of fishing! I laughed, they laughed. It was like being with real people, these boys that I had once gotten so tired of staying up nights with as babies.
OK, enough, I'm sure you've got the point. But I wouldn't have given up today for the largest steelhead in the river.

January 24th 1999

Today would be a wonderful day to be on the river, and I can't, so you'd better get out there and fish, and let me know how it goes! I am going to spend the day with my oldest son, because my younger son was invited on an overnight fun trip to the mountains. I have several friends out fishing right now, so I will just take a deep breath, and stay away from the rivers and cater to my son. As soon as I hear how everyone did, I will let you know!
There is an interesting column in the Sunday Oregonian Sports section, about fishing by Bill Monroe. A couple highlights for those interested in 1999 spring fishing regulations....The commissioners will decide Spring Sport fishing seasons on Feb. 19th in Portland. There are public comment meetings at 7 PM at Clackamas Community College at Gregory Forum Room 108 and at St. Helens hi in the loo-Wit room. Try to make one. Let's show them that there are people who care.

January 24th 1999

So this is what I hear, quoted from Bill Hedlund: (What a sweetie.)
"The water was perfect today!!!! Only about 6 boats on the river --a few but not too many. It was OK as most of them just buzzed through to go down to the Relief Pitcher boat ramp. However-----, there aren't any fish in the river!!! With my new Polaroid's I saw NONE. We only heard of ONE other verified fish caught today besides the two_wild_ fish WE caught. Mine was about 11-12# and Dick's was about 7#----brand new bright ones and both out of the same hole about 5-10 minutes apart. I called Jim Erickson and he didn't fish today but said there were only a few caught in the NF. except --- as usual -at the hatchery!! (handicapped ramp)."
So it looks like I didn't miss much, just a boat ride on a beautiful day.. I think I will try drifting a bit tomorrow, at a friends hole up the river near milepost 4 on the Necanicum. Hope the planters haven't all gone through, but it does look that way. It seems early for the wild fish to making their run, but it just may be a good wild run year, due to the changing ocean conditions. That would be a plus, but still!

January 25th 1999

I have the most beautiful spinning rod on the face of the earth! It is so gorgeous!
It has all hand wrapped guides, and I can't help just staring at it with my new eye! ( I lost my vision in one eye, and had a lens implanted, and it makes things look so bright and pretty!) but now I have to buy a new reel to go with it! Isn't it always that way? My old beat up Mitchell 300 just won't look right, or fish right!
I didn't fish today, I had a boy home sick. You all know what that means, I will soon be sick also! NOT! I am taking all kinds of super woman herbs and if any germs get close to me, they will run screaming!
I am going to check out all of the rivers tomorrow, maybe drive up to the Nehalem, and visit my new fishing spot that I was granted permission to fish on a month ago, and have not returned. Great place to fish! I will check out the handicapped ramp as I drive up. Chances are my son will still be sick, but I am praying for a miracle cure!
It is so cold, that I personally think it will snow. I am really curious about the rivers, because from the reports yesterday, the water was great, but the catching was not!
Do I have to resort to flounder soon?
Well, if worse comes to worse, I can tie a ball of yarn on the end of my rod, and tease the cat through the window with it. Just cast in the window, and the cat goes wild! OK, now you think I am really twisted! I AM!

January 26th 1999

Let's see, what do I know?
I know that today I drifted from the hatchery down, on the Nehalem, and it was about 6 inches to high. I know we didn't get any fish! They were catching them at the hatchery however. A few at the falls below the handicap ramp also. It was a beautiful drift though, and I saw a few fish. We drifted and used plugs in the usual plug holes. We back slided and back bounced. I can never get the hang of back sliding, but then it is kind of difficult. I always imagine my line hung up as I believe I am still going down stream, and often that is the case. Oh well! I use a brand new beautiful casting reel that has no magnet, and once you get used to that, trying to use one with a magnet will drive you nuts! I tried today and what a backlash mess! Back to my reel I went! I love it, it's an ambassadeur 9-10000. So pretty and shiny, I want to wear it as a necklace!
We did have one on, nearing the Erickson household, but only briefly. Oh, by the way, Jim Erickson loves to talk about his river. He has lived there for a long time, had a fishing school on the Nehalem, and is a retired guide. He will soon be naming all the holes on the river for Hunting and Fishing Magazine. His number is (503) 368-5365.(Call after 7 to 8:30 or so, but don't tie up the line, because I need to call him!) Anyway, give him a call sometime, and talk the Nehalem. No one knows this river better, and he is a really nice guy. He also shuttles rigs. You can put in at the hatchery, and take out at his place for the upper river, or put in at his house, and take out on the lower river. I love to fish with him, because he knows all of the good spots, what fish are where, and when to plug, when to drift, when to sit back and eat your apple and enjoy the ride!
Also learned today that the sturgeon are in Tillamook bay. Don't know all the details, but I am trying to find out. I love the sturgeon in the shallow waters, and I love the fact there aren't so many shakers.
Time for me to get back to work! I have been fishing too much, and working to little! Is this possible? Well, when it comes to paying bills, yes!

January 27th 1999

I feel so much better now. I got some of my tax prep done, and taught a full studio of piano lessons, cleaned the house, and did some grocery
Now time to talk fish. I heard from a reader, Richard, that the Nestucca is a little milky, but up by Elk Creek, (the deadline) the water looks better. He didn't catch anything, and I have the feeling if they were there to catch he would have done just that! He said he would go back in a couple of days to see if he could catch one, but by the looks of the weather report, I think the rivers will be really out here on the coast for a while. High tides combined with a high wind warning will really keep things up, and flooded. We are expecting better than 9 foot high water anyway, and then when the wind comes, it tends to hold it in longer and higher. To quote the current warnings for Oregon, it says


So, that will pretty much make up my mind for fishing or not in the next couple of days. Darn, I get sad at the end of Steelhead season, and I think it is coming soon. I know... I know..., there are lots of fish in the river. There are salmon, there are flounder, and there is always next year. But as I sit here and stare out the window at the rain and the wind, my mind starts to leap forward to spring, and sunshine, and it just doesn't make my heart sing! I like the rain and the wind, and the cold that brings steelhead to my dinner table. I like being out there freezing like yesterday when the only time I could find relief from the cold, frozen fingers I had was to stick them under my shirt! And that is not easy with neoprene's, three shirts and a coat! Yesterday I was SO cold! But I love it all the same! I loved drifting over the Jack and the Queen and the King on the Nehalem, while water splashed up and soaked me. They are just category 3 rapids, but they are just as wet! Every time I get wet, I get cold. So? It's what I love!
What am I doing? It is not over yet! I will catch more than just one measly steelhead this year! I WILL!
Yeah, I'm feeling a little melancholy today. I don't see fish in the near future, but I just got some mail from a reader, and it sure made me smile. Just fishing news, and a high five. I just appreciate all who write, so much!

January 28th 1999
Report from Ray Yesterday:

I don't know what to tell you. The water was just perfect, but no fish. I heard of one fish at the falls below the hatchery. I
fished the whole area without a strike. It was as cold as the temperature.
I then went to the Miami and fished a couple of hold before the wind blew me off the river. On the way home, I looked at the
Wilson River which was running off color (like glacial run-off) Where it was coming from I don't know. However, above
Cedar Creek, (about milepost 22 or 23) the river was very clear. That's it.

January 29th 1999

Scary! I went to Portland today to take my son to the doctor, and when I went through the Sunset tunnel, it was like a waterfall coming over the east end. Really weird, I mentioned to Andrew. Well, the doc apt. went fine, and I headed out, and got a cell call from a friend that 26 was closed due to the tunnel collapsing! Sadly, one ODOT man was killed. Another friend of mine went through the tunnel at 12:05 and the collapse happened at 12:20. Even more scary! I'm now kissing the ground! Steelhead or not, life is good!
The rivers are way up and over the roadways. The wind is howling. I'm all warm and cozy by the fire. Tomorrow I think I will go through all the mess of tackle I make when I get too excited and just throw stuff in a bucket. I have time. Time to clean, rerig, put new hooks on lures, replace worn line, BUY A NEW REEL!
But for now.... off to a hot bubble bath with candles, and the sound of the wind dancing through the trees. I do love the coast.

January 30th 1999

The rivers are just so out of shape, that I didn't even write yesterday! Went for a drive, and the Necanicum had been over the bank. Looked like there was one guy out there that had more dedication than I know of! Trying to catch a fish! Who knows? And I do understand the addiction, so I'm not poking fun!
A friend went out to Coffenbury Lake today, and no one there was having any luck. Two guys out since dawn, and a guy in a canoe, both no luck.
Personally, I am getting excited about the Springers in the Willamette, but do you realize that the odds of catching one, is one in 12 1/2 days? OUCH! Last year, what was it? I heard it was two days out of the week you could fish, and they closed it, and then reopened it? Well, they are having a public meeting, like I mentioned earlier, at Clackamas Community College on Tuesday evening, and I wish you'd all get out there and tell them what a backup that caused at the boat ramps. I guess it was really bad. Not a good social situation! You have there attention when you are there, so this is the time to voice opinions! I can't personally make it, because I can't drive at night or I'd be there!
Anyway, a friend wrote in about all of the rivers being out of shape, and I'll quote a bit from his letter as of last Friday:
From Peter Morris
"I was out yesterday. What a mess. All the guides were having coffee at
Nestucca Valley Sporting Goods. The Wilson was opaque. The Kilchis was chocolate. The docks at Garibaldi were level with the pier! The ocean was over the jetty. The Nehalem was full. Even the Salmonberry was running muddy, very unusual. I was going to head home along the Nehalem river road, but got almost to 26 before a slide turned me around, so I had to go all the way back almost to Wheeler. I headed up 53 to 26 and got to the tunnel just after the accident. After about 30 minutes waiting for the flagger (no one knew what had happened yet) cars from the front of the line started turning around and leaving to the west. A nice old man, risking pneumonia in the cold and wet, was going car to car to let people know the tunnel wouldn't be open and making sure everyone knew how to get around the tunnel. I don't think Timber has ever had so much traffic!
It was a rotten day all around, but I enjoyed the chance to check out all
my favorite boat ramps and old fishing holes."
Just heard on the radio that 101 collapsed near Pacific City. Sheesh.
Things are drying out a bit, but I'd like to hear current reports if you have any!

January 31st 1999

Tomorrow I am going to run away from home! I can't wait! I am just going to pack my bags and see where my car leads me! I may go horseback riding with a friend. Of course I will pack all of my assorted fishing gear. I love to just stroll around the country and look at bodies of water! One day while I was doing this, (I remember being around 18), I ended up on the Wilson river. I saw a bunch of guys fishing, and I elbowed in next to them, and threw out my line. They were not friendly! They didn't like me there! So, I said phooey with this, I'll just go find my own spot! So I wandered around the Trask and the Wilson until I found this gorgeous deep hole, with fish jumping, and wow! I felt lucky... It was fall, and all the leaves were a beautiful yellow and orange.( Just the color of government fishing regulation signs...) I felt so confident, I hiked down there, threw out my line, and occasionally people would stop, park there cars and stare curiously at me. Hmm... I have my license, I KNOW how to fish. I'm fine.. right? Pretty soon a white truck pulled up. I am still confident.. I have my license! The game warden came down and asked me for that license. I gave it to him. Then he asked me to please reel in. ( I was still happily fishing!) But when he asked me to pull in, I immediately knew something was wrong, and tears began streaming down my face. I'm like that with authority. Scared to death! He said I was fishing in what was called the Dam hole, and it was closed, Didn't I see the signs? Well, I have terrible eye site, and the signs, like I said, blurred in with the fall colored leaves! He didn't ticket me. He could have. He could have taken all my gear, and my money! But instead he escorted me down to a very nice fishing hole, and wished me luck. I am a lucky girl!
I am looking forward to my trip. I have worked hard this week, and haven't fished since Tuesday. I deserve this, and the kids will be away at their Dad's. YES! I'm running away from home!

Here are some pics of my friends at the handicap ramp. I made this page a long time ago, but still...