Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington

Fishing with Milton Fisher
on the North Fork Nehalem

Jennie Logo

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

A journal of my adventures.

July 1st, 1999

Ifish would like to congratulate Stephen Kue from Gresham Oregon for winning the Ifish fishing trip contest with ****!Wow! Way to go Stephen! Plucked freshly from the pile of entries by my dear son, Andrew!
I received some really wonderful lightning strike lures in the mail today! They are so beautiful! I just love these lures, and have done really well on them. If you want to go check them out, go to their homepage. There are some amazing pictures of huge fish caught on these lures.
I have gotten up much too early for outdoors recreating every day this week, and I am utterly pooped! I had an absolutely wonderful week though, no complaints!
Today I went with Bill Hedlund up the Columbia to fish for steelhead. It is a little early, as far as the time we got up and in the time of season, but we gave it a go. We didn't have any luck, but the scenery is just absolutely breathtaking. All I could say to Bill at first was, "Can you believe we live here?!?" Thoughts of people who live in big cities that have to plan all year for a vacation to be in these surrounding... How lucky we are! The green! I mean it is awesome in the true sense of the word!
The weather was not great, had a few squalls to sit through, but I had no trouble passing the time just staring at the beauty of it all. Such an untouched feel to the whole area. It was magical, gazing down into the water and then looking up to the hills jutting out of the water, covered with trees of as many shades of green as you can imagine. To prove God's presence in this world to my children once, I picked a flower out of the yard, actually, it was a dandelion, and I asked them to use any material they wanted to, to reproduce it as closely as they could. I think the point got through rather quickly. They just stared at me. Exactly! I could not even begin to produce a color palette on this computer that would display the depth and intensity of the colors I saw today.
Well, anyway, I'm off for the day. Time to get the bike rack on the car and try to prepare for the trip to Black Butte. Hope you all have some great fishing... Tight lines to all!

July 1st, 1999 eve

I am so happy that I had a good time outside fishing today. I am so glad that along with what I am about to share, I have also been blessed by people who have been great to me today also!
I came home to a major disappointment that really hurt.
I know this is not about fishing, but I just have to write this, so bare with me.
I think that one of the worst things that can happen to anyone is to become hardened. Hardened to not feel other people's feelings, to be so hurt by life, and perhaps by people who have earlier been hardened, that they don't see that they are passing it on. I think this happens to people when they are hurt by someone or something. Not by a person's death, or a natural cause that saddens us, but by purposeful wrongdoing against someone without any conscience.
I have been fairly lucky. Not because I have always been treated fairly, but because I search out and try to find the good in people, and don't like to see the other. I turn the other way. I don't want to catch it! It is like a disease, and I can feel it creep up on me sometimes, and feel that I could easily fall victim. There is so much in life that is not innocent anymore, and I think that our senses are becoming deadened to things that used to shock us.
I guess that is why I like fishing. I really, honestly, feel that there is not much that can happen to me negatively while I am fishing. I guess it could. I guess someone could and has stolen gear before, etc., but on the whole, Iv been lucky while fishing, I guess.
I spent a lot of my time recently trying to do a good thing for someone and it turned bad. I was absolutely fooled by them. I got taken. I could file this away in my 101 reasons I am hardened against people, and continue to build a barrier against them very easily. I could do that. But I don't want to, and I'm just not ready to give up yet. Hope. I just still want to have hope.

July 2nd, 1999

Off to Black Butte first thing tomorrow! I am kind of excited! What a long drive though, and the weather will be questionable at first. Isn't this a bizarre June?
By the way, some friends of mine caught a couple steelies out of Coffenbury lake on shrimp. They also planted it with bigger trout. No longer are they referred to as 'troutlets!'
I am going to take my fly fishing rod to Black Butte and hopefully try the Metolius river with all of the grace I can muster! I also want to take my kids to that bridge where you can feed those trout. Ever done that?
Lots of good food, lots of bike riding and swimming... No computers... hmm.. Might even play piano at the lounge if they have a free night. My girlfriend, Joni Harms, who is a country singer might be there performing. That would be fun, because I used to be in her country band way back when.. Now she is cutting Cds in Nashville. Why did I quit? Because there is no fish there! Anyway, off I go... I will miss this writing and reading! Please do not catch all of the fish in Oregon while I am gone!
I am so worried about leaving my dog while I am gone, but I do have a good house sitter that will take special care of my animals.
Off to pack...wahhhhh... I hate good-byes!

July 3rd, 1999

The car is packed with bikes, basketballs, games, suitcases, pop, and piles of overnight bags. One bike in the back of the station wagon, and two on the bike rack. I feel like this is going to be a vacation out of the movie, "vacation" except Grandma is not on the top of the car.
Wasn't that earthquake wild? I was sitting at the computer, (gee, what a surprise) and the screen jerked away from me, and the whole house just kind of sickeningly rolled around. It was kind of fun! Then I went to sleep last night and someone let off a huge firecracker. I thought it was the start of the "Big One" and so did my kids!
Anyway, I'm off to the showers, and then to hit the road.
Hope you all have a great fourth of July. This will be the first year my kids haven't had fireworks. They are not allowed in black butte. I think I like it!
Be back Friday or Saturday depending on the amount of fun I have!
Don't let me forget my fly rod! They have little trout ponds on the Ranch, and I am going to tease them!

July 10th, 1999

So much to tell... I am home! I am exhausted! So many neato things to share, but I am just so tired, and the car is still full.......Last night, my last night to show off my fly fishing abilities I caught a big one. Me. In the ear. Had to go to the stupid paramedics and as they were telling me the grueling things that would have to be done, I worked it out myself. My brother in law was going to grab it with pliers and jerk, the paramedics were going to work it clear through and then snip it. I just sat there quietly thinking "No you are not!!!" and I pulled it out with a little flesh. Yes, the barb was buried in my ear. Yuck! It was windy though! I did get to casting better, contrary to what my story tells.
More later, I kept a total journal that I will probably post if time allows. Now to attack the car, and apply tons of aloe to my sun blistered skin!

July 11th, 1999

Beginning to recover a bit. Wrote about my trip here on the Journal page.
Clamming should be good this week, and I am going to give it a try tomorrow a.m. early. It should be best I think Wednesday. I think it is a minus 2 tide. Have to be out there really early though.
The fishing at Coffenbury has been good, and they have some decent sized trout out there.
Fishing opens the 19th out in the ocean for salmon and I will be out there. I can't wait! Life seems to be a big party lately. I hesitate to look at my bills. I need to start back to work in a serious way this week in order to keep up all the frolic.
Hope you had a great fishing week while I was gone. My ear still hurts!

July 12th, 1999

I was so excited about the fly fishing seminar at Black Butte, and then my family decided it was a requirement to go to Sisters to eat Pizza that night. Well, I did go eat pizza, but I was finished in time to rush back and get to the class. No matter that I was dressed in a sun dress. I grabbed my rod, I was 15 minutes late, and joined a bunch of men in a huddle around Jeff, the owner of the Fly Shop in Sisters, who was going through several flies that work in the waters around Black Butte. It was kind of uncomfortable, as usual, being a woman around a bunch of guys, especially when I look so out of place in a dress. Nonetheless, I took notes on all of these foreign insect bodies, and learned quite a bit.It was absolutely freezing by that time and the wind had come up. It was time to practice casting. We all lined up and began to take in all of the advice offered previous to our attempts. We were all fairly novice. It is so difficult to remember everything all at once. The number one thing that helped me was to keep a small book, or I used my fly box in between my chest and arm to keep my arm close in while casting. Ten and Twelve... It is amazing when you finally get it, and you're fly lays out nice and quiet! I had sinking line with me, so he let me use his G Loomis, beautiful fly rod, and I casted much better with that! O.K, so now I need a Loomis fly rod too. I would be such a happy girl if I had every G Loomis available!
It also helped to remember to hold the rod right where the cork ends, not at the butt of the rod, but up above where the cork ends by the rod. I had a lot more control that way. I hope that explains what I am trying to get across.
My nephew, who is equally as addicted to fishing as I am, went out together the next night, and worked our way clear around the lake. It was so interesting to see all the fish feeding on the hatches in such a natural way. I saw some absolutely huge rainbow... Must have gone 24 inches.
Well, I didn't go clamming this morning, just too tired. The reports I have been hearing though confirm that I made an O.K. decision. It's just not all that great lately.
I am going to fish the lower Necanicum for Cutthroat in the morning. Interesting how the book reads about using bait in the creeks and streams. Just where does tidewater end, and a stream begin? This is the question.

July 13th, 1999

Len Self is still consistently catching limits of sturgeon on the Columbia. For recent pics of these magnificent catches, click here!
For the picture of the week click here! It is so cute!
Fishing on the Necanicum for Cutthroat was really great! It has been so long since I caught fish consistently! We caught and released several. I have never fished for cutthroat, although I have caught a couple while fishing for other fish. They definitely are giggle fish! I mean they jump out of the water and fight like mad! What gorgeous fish. I caught one that was probably 15 inches. They remind me of mini steelhead the way they fight! Every time I had a take my breath would surge in, and then they would jump out of the water, tail dance around a bit which brought on the giggles! I used my G Loomis casting rod, and it was just perfect for that! It was so snaggy that the 10 lb line on my reel really saved some tackle. I used a little F6 flatfish. It was white with red spots. Fun! Now on to a day without recreation. Will I survive?

July 15th, 1999

What a great picture! This is a must see! Len sent me this yesterday. He caught this pic in mid air with a digital camera. Take a look!
I received a phone call from someone from "Fishing with Shelley and Courtney" and they wanted to make an appointment with me. I would love to have them come down and fish and do a story. I hope I have that to look forward to, but I returned the call and haven't heard yet. Exciting!
I posted a message on the discussion board about a letter I received in the mail that kind of bothered me. I don't really want to get into the political issues of saving the fish, but this one struck home to me. I would love responses, pro or con. I just want to hear all viewpoints.
Coffenbury has been really slow for trout. Anyone hear anything about the other lakes?
I need coffee! Byeeeee! Oh yeah, I posted a pic of my nearly 60 inch sturgeon here.

Next up on the Ifish contest comes a mahogany box filled with 42 lightning strike spinners inside!I will start the contest the first of August and I hope you all will enter and go visit Lightning Strike Lures.

July 17th, 1999

Spent all morning on the phone catching the 'salmon opener' excitement with Linda at TackleTime Charters. It's contagious! Captain Gene and Linda have two boats running this year. One is a 32 foot Twin diesel, and the other a 36 foot "lobster" boat. One of the great things about going on a charter for us girls is that on both boats there are restrooms! There is nothing worse than not being bucket trained! I KNOW! Plus it is nice to have a spot out of the rain should a storm pop up. Rain in Oregon??? YES!
Everyone is excited this year about the Salmon opening. It seems to be looking the best that it has looked since the early 90's. There are bait fish everywhere, meaning that there is good feed for the salmon. The crabbers out in the ocean report lots of salmon out there. Predictions for catches are phenomenal!
Usually there are so many negative reports in the paper. Not this year! The buzz has it that it is going to be a great year for everyone.
Look forward to some great stories from Linda and Captain Gene as the season progresses.
Also aboard this year is Leo, who has 57 years of experience, and people just get hooked to him, hopefully not literally!
I am so excited about going out on Monday. The opener is the 19th! I love the ocean, and at 5:15 A.M., I will be boarding a charter to go! Whooooo Hoooooooooooooo!

Quoted from KGW.Com

More salmon are being found in a key count. Washington state fisheries biologist Joe Hymer says results are stronger than expected in counts of small fish returning
early to the Columbia River. The numbers of these adults generally reflect the size of overall salmon runs. Hymer says more than eight-thousand-700 early spring chinook have been counted moving upstream at Bonneville Dam.
That's the highest count since 1977. Scientists report other indicators also suggest there will be healthy runs of chinook, coho and other salmon in Puget Sound and the
Columbia River.

July 18th, 1999

Argh..... isn't 5:15 A .M. a little early to be boarding a charter? I think I will have to just show up in my pajamas. Yeah, that's right, it must be a pajama party. Why didn't I think of that? Seriously, I better go to bed at 7.
THE SALMON OPENER! I know, all of you South Coasties have been at it for a while. No fair! This is our turn, this is our chance to play with the illusive bite and bye bye fish. I hear they have been doing that. You get them hooked and near to the boat, and they say hi and take off. Teaser fish.
Oh well, I don't care, I just like the whole thing, the water, the boat, the boat toys! The people, the rigging up, the coffee on the way out to the ocean blue. I can't wait!
O.K, off to the store for some Dramamine. I have never gotten seasick, but I wouldn't put it past me. Well, I'll report on the trip tomorrow. Till then.... sleep time!

July 20th, 1999

OK, my experience yesterday is a must do for those of you who have never been on a charter, or even if you have! What a neat, memorable day! Lots of salmon, lots of laughs, lots of deep blue rolling seas! In fact in bed last night I closed my eyes, and I kept feeling like I was still rocking, and visions of gentle swells of sea water danced in my brain and lulled me to sleep!
Yesterday pumped out not very ideal conditions on the water. It wasn't terrible, but for those who didn't take Dramamine, it proved to be a little bit of an unsettling morning. The trip out was hailed by the captain as he enthusiastically yelled "ROCK AND ROLL!
It was very foggy, but Captain Mark of Charlton Charters, was very comfortable with his job. He goes out in the terrible winter months crabbing, and deals with conditions that are absolutely terrible in the winter months. So this was nothing!
I have a love/hate relationship with the sea. OK, I was scared, but needlessly. No one else was. I just get this extremely respectful feeling towards the sea. But I hung in there, and am I ever glad I did. (Not that I had a choice unless I wanted to take a deep dip!) The boat was going over the bar, and my only escape would have been overboard... no thanks!
Once we got through the mouth things were still a little unsettled with a brisk N.W. wind that tends to bring up chop.
Let me tell you, with Captain Mark and his very endearing deck hand, Tony, you can't help but catch the enthusiasm they hold for fishing! It was like a winning Blazer game, or better! When a fish hits, they are running for the nets screaming "FISH ON!!! FISH ON!!!!!...ANOTHER FISH ON! IT'S A DOUBLE!!!!" It was so FUN!
Quickly everyone forgot about the chop as the fish started taking and everyone had a smile on their faces and were joining in the 'fish on' chant!!
This is a must do for families, and visitors to the coast! I want to go again!
Tony the deckhand, is just about as likable and helpful as a guy can get. He loves his job and it shows. He is right there with your next bait, busy all of the time, offering smiles and checking for any needs. I even went so far as to ask him for a quick manicure while the bite was slow, but I was kindly denied. Oh well, I tried!
When the bite was hot, as it was often, Tony and Capt. Mark got into a comedic routine that had us laughing so hard and so excited about all of the fish flopping on the deck that I was convinced I had never had a better time! The little ones were cheered on with huge, deep bassy male voices... "Reel faster buddy!! Faster!" Those kids will NEVER forget this trip!
It was so nice to see Dads and sons go out together on a trip like this. It restores my faith in life and all it has to offer.
13 passengers board a boat at five in the morning as tired and timid strangers and come home as exhausted, fully content friends, and everyone had fish to take home.
What a day!

July 21st, 1999

I have goldfinches staying at the house for the summer! I didn't have a birdbath so I flipped over the top of a garbage can lid and filled it up, and you know what? They aren't esthetically picky! They love it! Right now I have 4 of them down there, 2 in the bird bath and 2 eating black sunflower seeds. I have to fill the feeder up every day! I don't know where all that food goes, but they are happy birds, and so beautiful!!
I fished at Cullaby lake last night. Had a hectic day. My floppy drive has been waiting to be replaced for 4 weeks, so I bought a zip drive that I have been using instead. Yesterday I was busy working and backed up my office chair into the open c.d. rom drive. CRUNCH! So off to Costco I go to buy a new drive to install, and guess what? I need a floppy to install the software for it! Just my luck. I gave up and headed to Cullaby lake. No one was around but a bass boat out searching for bass. So I threw around some bass tackle for a while. Saw a beautiful blue heron. Then I gave up on bass after talking to the boat guy who had been trying for hours. Took out my micro rod for pan fish. I had been digging around in my garden and came up with some 'mealy worm' looking worms that prompted the whole trip in the first place. I popped it over the side till it hit bottom and reeled up a foot or so. Waited, waited....Nothing! That is so weird because usually I just knock 'em in this particular spot! I remember filling a bucket full and just giggling! They fight so good, those little blue gill! Then I would return them all with a big splash of fish frenzy! So, I took out a little white jig for crappie.... Wait wait wait, jig jig jig.. Nothing! So then I put on a hole worm and casted way out and slowly retrieved it! Nothing! Where are our fish? Same thing with a bobber and worm, nothing! What an odd feeling to wonder if there are any fish in this lake anymore? Used to be I'd go out there and the whole dock would be lined with nice people chatting away a summer evening. I did have a lovely time anyhow. I saw wood ducks, and a bald eagle, and the air was cool and quiet. But I do worry about the fish. Is the water to cool yet? I just can't figure it out. It made me feel kind of lonely and nostalgic for the good old days.Back to teaching and web pages tomorrow. Maybe on some calm quiet evening this week I will head out with the kids to Coffenbury and see what is cooking out there. Salmon for dinner tonight! YUM!!!!!

July 23rd, 1999

I have a summer cold, there is nothing worse! Either that or it is allergies, who knows? Who cares?
Anyway, I haven't been fishing, I have been working alot. I updated the Guides catch page, and I can't get over how hot Sturgeon is this year!I keep expecting it to slow down, and it just DOESN'T! How fun! Get out there before it is to late!
The salmon out in the ocean should be referred to as "salmonettes". They are small yet. There are, however lots of fish out there, as predicted. It is so much fun! I can't wait for beach fishing. I know, I know, I get called a "bank Maggot"... but whatever, I enjoy it! I enjoy cheering other people on, and I like the fact that there are people out there that are not all that experienced, and it is fun to help them out. I also enjoy the group of people who are there regularly. We trade vegetables from our garden, the kids can wade in the water, and it just turns into a whole lifestyle!
Summer time on the beach, could there be anything more natural? I miss the feeling of sand between my toes. I remember days where it was really hot, and you can just wade out in your shorts to cast out farther, although most of the time you don't need to. The fish are right there traveling up the deep channel 2 feet from shore. Something about "getting out there" that makes you think your luck will improve. After all, it is more difficult, therefore it MUST be better! Some of those folks out there do the most fantastic casting dances to propel their line nearly to the Washington Coast from an Oregon Beach! I used to ask them if they had a Washington License! They stand about 15 feet from shore and do sidelong gallops to the shore and catapult!
People get to know one another, and tease them, name them nick names, to go with their attitude or casting characteristics. I, of course, in my first year out there, and in some kind of initiation to the local fishing tribe was affectionately named, "Mrs. Borrowitz" because I seemed to never have the right gear. "Pardon me, but do you have a 12 ounce weight?" Oh well, it is all in fun, and now I give away tackle to the less fortunate! Got to run, lots to do.... Want to fish fish fish, but have to work work work.

July 24th, 1999

Good Morning! You wouldn't believe what I just got in the mail! A beautiful mahogany box filled with Lightning Strike Lures!It is for the Contest starting August 2nd. What a fun thing to win! It is absolutely to drool over!
Where is everyone fishing today? I feel a little left out!

July 26th, 1999

Does fishing relax me or do I fish when I am relaxed? I am not sure, but I have been so uptight lately, busy, spinning head over tail trying to get things done, that I haven't been fishing. But this will change! A girl just knows when she needs to fish! Things in my life have been topsy turvy. Lots of serious decisions to make, and I just haven't seemed to settle down enough to feel good about jumping in the car and escaping to fish. I have to fish!
The top things to fish for lately are Sturgeon in the Columbia, (still hot) Ocean Salmon, ( they are small but out there), Steelhead in the Columbia, (haven't heard a report, but it should be good), Cutthroat on the streams, (mandatory catch and release!!! They are taking lures) and crabbing in the Bays, ( Nehalem Bay was packed yesterday, and Astoria is picking up). I even heard that they are catching some fish now in Nehalem Bay.
I have heard the lake trout fishing has been poor, so I haven't even updated the My three lakes page. Anyone heard any different?
That is frustrating to me as that is a quick fix for my fishing needs. I took the boys out to Sunset Beach the other day, and it was a beautiful calm evening. There wasn't ONE fishermen in the usual places. Usually there are kids with rods fishing away a long summer evening, but it was totally vacant! What is going on with our lakes? Is it the fertilizer from all of the lakefront homes? The Golf Courses? I have heard of people sitting for hours after giving up on trout, trying with all of their might to wake up even a small perch with a worm on the bottom with no luck. Hello, fish?? Anyone alive out there? I guess there is an upside. Maybe this is the kind of thing that spawns people into action. Into caring enough to join and form groups of people to try and repair our natural resources. I'm game now. Point me the way to start, because my Father and my Grandfather's stories of huge crappie and perch in these lakes dance in my memory and I want them back!
On the lighter side, I have sure enjoyed my goldfinch watching! They are so cute! Keeping them fed is a chore that never ends! They eat all day! I have six so far this morning, and one red headed one, who is either a purple finch or a house finch, not sure which.
Off to fish or work, haven't decided yet.

July 28th, 1999

Whoo hoo! The girl is recharged and ready to take on the world!!!! No, I didn't catch a steelhead, but shoot, who cares? Had the absolute time of my life! The sun came out, I was fishing, I was on the water, I was staring out at not so distant shores thick with deep green trees, with gently lapping waves at the shoreline. The wind was soft, the waves were tame, it was summer today!
You know the thing that really floats my boat? I LOVE the way Bill's boat takes off with this awesome, and I mean awesome, (In the true sense of the word) power! It really thrills me! This super V jet just... I don't know, I just don't know, but it... I'm speechless! It skims the water! It takes off so darn quick that I am quite sure most cars couldn't go from 0 to 60 faster! And... and... and... we sped through the canals of the river in these smooth as butter turns, that make you feel like you could just slip off the world into the sky! The water was glassy, and you almost feel as if you aren't in contact with it. Like you are floating above it on air. Smooth.... I guess you have to be quite careful handling jets in the right way, and I personally am quite content just to ride along and grin like some small child on a roller coaster! I also learned how jets work, at least enough to satisfy me.
Anyway, today is just what the doctor ordered!
On the way home we studied the fishing synopsis for sizes, rules and regulations about Silvers, Chinook and Jacks. Something that always confuses me... YEARLY! There is an addition that can be found to the main booklet that I need to read also. I heard and read so many facts and figures that I think I absorbed about 1/3 of them, but I am sure that someday, somehow, I will know just what I can catch, how many, and how to call it a jack or a silver. Whether I can keep it here or there, in a train, or on a plane. in the rain...on a train. Fine, Dr Seuse wrote this article!
But seriously, it is a bit tricky knowing what is what, so be careful, and read up! I am! I mean, sometimes the distance of several feet will determine whether something is a keeper or not!
Well, I'm happy, I'm silly, I'm totally rejuvenated, and life is full of possibilities.
August 1st is coming so soon! Salmon! Chinook! A big quota, a big prediction for wonderful success! (smile)
I can't wait!!!!!!!

July 29th, 1999

Life is good!!! I am fishing again!!!
I went again today, actually twice! Not only that, but I got my work done also! I went looking for some Chinook up the Clatskanie for a bit, and it was so beautiful there. I am just crazy about the shady treed areas, with the dark green lush vegetation, and the trees overhanging with little bits of leaves and debris on the thick silent waters. Thick? The water DOES look thick there somehow! Slow moving, calm lazy river on a sunny day.. who could ask for more?
Anyway, no luck, didn't even see anything move, but on the way home I passed my favorite jack hole and there was a seal in there, and although it seemed crazy and unreal that there would be fish in there, I couldn't help but wonder. So I went home, grabbed an extra coat, a leftover box of Chinese food, and my dog, and headed back out. No luck, but it was so nice to be back at my old spot. You know that feeling when it has been a whole year since you have been to a place that you had spent hours at alone? It's like everything there welcomes you, and you feel at home. I love that feeling! Anyway, the wind was howling and the sun was straight in my way of seeing my bobber. I couldn't cast out as well as I'd hoped due to the wind, and well.... it didn't work out fish wise, but it brought me to a nice settled comfortable feeling. Besides, I just HAD to try it, you just never know!!!
Oh! By the way, some very nice people sent me some D.K.'s magic powder for fishing, and I can't for the life of my find their Internet page again. I want to thank them, and can't wait to try it, so if you know where it is, let me know! I love fishing goodies! Especially fishing magic!

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