Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington
JUNE 2002



The Springers are here!

 

Jennie's Fishing Life

FISHING THE COAST

A journal of my adventures.


June 1st

As I glanced at the front page of ifish, everything seemed normal. The image of Bill, in all his glory, with a big fat spring chinook.
People are still catching fish.
People are still drifting the North Fork. People are still drifting and fly fishing the Deschutes.
But things are different, and will never be quite the same.
Getting an e mail from Milton Fischer's Father brought it all back to me.
I haven't floated the North Fork of the Nehalem since we lost Milton. It will never be the same for me. When I'm freezing cold and extremely wet from taking on water, while drifting the Nehalem, I won't be able to tell Bill to pull the boat over so I can run up to visit Milt.
Milt won't greet me with a hug like he always did. He'd hug me through my wet rain coat, even though I was soaking wet and he was dry and warm by the fire. He won't be running to get me a cup of tea. His dogs won't wag their tails and greet me.
Last week I received a beautiful CD with a Power Point presentation of Milton's life, made by the Griswolds.
I can't count the number of times I have enjoyed viewing it.
The first time I watched it, I did all right until I got to a picture of his dog, alone, in Milt's tent.
Tears.
Two days ago, I received an E Mail from Milton's Father telling me about a fellowship at Reed College, in Milton's name. Click here for the:
"Milton L. Fischer Memorial Field Research Fellowship".

For future use, that link will always be in the right hand column on the front page of ifish. Click on it when you think of Milton.
I thought about Milt's Dad clicking on ifish. I felt guilty, all of the sudden. When the loss of Milton was so strong and fresh in my mind, ifish was covered with Milton pictures, Milton words, and Milton memorial notices.
Ifish had moved on.
But has life gone on for the friends and family of Milton that were closer to them, than I?
I would imagine, they might glance around at the lives around them, and see that people were moving on. That must hurt.
Exhausted last night, I forced myself to take my fly rod down from the rack, and walk Kilchis out to the river. I didn't expect to catch anything. The kids had just finished swimming, and the water was stirred up. I casted for peace of mind. I walked to stretch my muscles.
I was caught by surprise when I felt that familiar vibration, and saw my indicator, which Milton had taught me to use, go down! I had hooked a huge cutthroat!
Out of the blue, while trying to manage my line, the fish came into view. Struggling with that big cutt on my fly, I looked up to the sky, and yelled, "Milton, look!"
Milton was there! I swear he was!!
Life goes on, and Milton is still with me. Perhaps larger than before. Milton may not be on the front page of ifish with a spring chinook, but he lives in every part of nature that surrounds us.
I came back in the house, and shared the cd of Milton with a close friend who hadn't met Milt.
It seems especially difficult for me to lose someone that I have shared the outdoors with.
One of the frames that had been added to the presentation was:

“I should think there is nothing very bad about dying except for the people one has to leave and the things one hasn’t had time to do. When the time comes, if I know what it’s all about, I suppose I shall think, among other things, of the fish I haven’t caught and the places I haven’t fished.”
--- Roderick Haig-Brown

I suppose, though, that that can be adapted for those that you have left behind, Milt.
Dang, I wanted to drift the Deschutes with you, Milt, and learn the rest of how to make this indicator work for me... I want to learn to make your venison stew, (Do I have to kill Bambi to make that??) and visit your garden. I want to listen to you while you speak passionately about why indicators aren't cheating!
When I drift that North Fork again, I'm going to force myself to pull over at the place in the river where you lived.
I suppose that my emotions might be a little tough to handle, but I'm going to stand on your river bank, and I'm going to cast out into your water, and if I hook into something, I'm still going to shout, "Milton! Look!"
And Milt, I know that you will be there.

June 3rd

Just had to share the news about Tim's new boat. It's awesome!

Hi Jen,

I have been with the "Willie" family since 1997, I bought my 22' Predator and 17' drift boat at that time. My Predator has been a great experience for me and my clients, with the wide beam and all the room you could ask for, the Predator has the ability to fish in shallow water as well as a good ride in the open water.
I received a phone call from the man himself, Willie told me about a new boat that he was building, he is calling it the "Raptor". He told me that he would make it another 6 inches wider on the floor for a total of 78 inches, and keep the same beam width of 8' 6". The Raptor would have a 17 degree bow.

I received my new 24' Raptor three weeks ago and have fished it now a total of 12 guided days. I am writing this testimony because of how impressed I am with my new Raptor!

The ride in this boat is unbelievable, I have had it in some 2 to 3 foot chop water with the wind blowing about 30 mph. I cannot believe how dry this boat is! I can quarter into the wind and still keep everyone dry! The l7 degree bow is a great addition, it has added so much comfort, instead of a hard bounce in chop water, now the boat has a comfortable soft feel when going through rough water.
I have had the chance to see how shallow I can troll this boat. Wow, with 5 people and all the gear and can go through 12 inches of water. When on plane, I have gone through water as shallow as 6 inches!

Willie, I want to sincerely thank you for building a boat that has all the great qualities of the Raptor! Once again, you have built something that is "Simply the best"!

Tim Juarez
Tillamook, Or

June 4th

Lately, I fly fish out back in the Kilchis 4 or 5 times a day, whether I need to or not.
It's fun and so easy. I can just tie one fly on, and when or if I lose it, I'm done. One fly, and a pair of pliers. It doesn't matter the attire. I can wear anything from pajamas and slippers, to a sun dress and sandals. I have been out there when I just had to get to the other side. It's not easy to wade in slippers. It's messy, too.
Last night, after dinner, I grabbed my rod off of the office wall. This is Kilchis' trigger to get hysterical. He talks to me in long "woo woo wooooo's".
As I arrive at the river's edge, I have to plan my fishing water carefully. Kilchis helps me see where NOT to fish. That would be where there is a Merganser, flopping around, playing lame, protecting his nest.
Ever seen a dog walk on water? Kilchis starts at the bank at a dead solid run and continues half way across the river after anything with wings. I mean anything. Butterflies, dippers, ducks... He's gone. He spends the entire time in the water, swimming up and downstream, without rest. The whole time he is in chase, his mouth is going, "Woo woo rar rarr woof woof whine". Dog frustration. Those things with wings go fast. He is not deterred and will go for hours without stopping.
So we split up, on different missions. Kilchis to the left, after the Merganser, and me, upriver, to the big deep hole with a Muddler's minnow.

Muddler's minnow
An excellent resource for fly tying and information, is Salmonfly.net

I caught a dandy on a Muddler's last week. He flipped out of the water, and threw my hook. I want him back. I just want to pet him!
Half or more of fly fishing, to me, is learning to cast. I constantly correct my mistakes, and I am getting pretty darned good! I talk to myself. "No, Jennie, your going back too far with your backcast... Nope, don't push forward, load the rod and let her fly!"
Listening to the quiet of the river, and feeling the familiar summer air, I think back to last year. David used to entertain me by playing the sax on the back porch while I fished. I was just missing that when Kilchis began a warning bark. Someone was coming across the rocks. It was David, silly dog!
David, rod in hand. (Now that was an odd site!) was coming towards me.
He had his little spinning outfit, and I greeted him with a proud Mom smile. He began to cast. I was frustrated, trying to tie another fly on.
It wasn't long before he lost his spinner, so I gave him my fly rod and a short lesson.
How is it that kids learn so darn easy? In no time at all, he had that fly laying out pretty nicely. Gaining confidence, he flipped it a little hard and snapped off the fly.
"No problem, Dave..." Let's just leave it off and work on your cast. I told him that half of the fun of fly fishing, was perfecting the cast. To me, it really is.
As he was casting, we stood at the river's edge, in silence.
David broke the silence with an oddly calm voice.
"That's a beaver."
What?
I turned around, and in the spring clear water of the Kilchis river, swam a beaver! At first, being the color of Kilchis, I thought it was him, but it was a beaver! Four feet from us his little paddle feet worked downstream.
We dropped the rods to follow him. Kilchis got in on the excitement and went after his first non winged creature!
We followed that beaver clear to the take out hole, in back of the house, before we got tired of spotting him.
Satisfied, we hauled the rods up to the house.
Imagine my surprise when David asked for further lessons on the fly rod.
Sitting on the back deck, I coached David as he casted further and further on the green expanse of lawn.
As daylight faded, I was drawn indoors.
Upstairs, later... I walked out on the bedroom deck. Night had fallen, but I heard an odd noise. It was the rhythmic sound of a fly line, moving gracefully back and fourth in an almost perfect loop around David. It was well past dark, and still he was casting.
I miss David's saxophone music echoing in the trees of the canyon while I fished.
However, the sound of his fly casting was the most beautiful and welcoming music that I had heard in his life.
Might I have a fishing partner after all?

June 7th

The Kilchis canyon is wild and new!
Close up to the house, the feeders are all filled with busy hummingbirds, sometimes as many as 10 or 12! Grosbeak, bandtailed pigeons, American Goldfinch, a summering junco or two, and various visiting winged creatures, new, every day!
Early yesterday morning, standing like little plastic statues out in the meadow, stood a deer and two brand new baby fawns! The little ones were no older than a week, perhaps just born that day! They were SO cute!!!
I thought I knew where they were living, and were born. Later that day I walked out to the heavy underbrush and tree cover and... sure enough! As I approached, four feet from me, bounded the scared deer and babies. Shouldn't have done that. Why do I want to touch everything?
Stand back, Jen... and watch!
Later, last night, I went out to the chicken cage. Our beautiful bantam, Charlotte, sat on two freshly hatched babies. They are SO cute! Of course, had to pick one up and run it into the house. LOOK!!!! :)
After much oohing and ahhing, I put it back, grabbed my fly rod and headed out to the river. Funny, I know there is no steelies, no springers, and lastly, no water in my river, but still, I go!
Dee Dee and Kilchis followed. Kilchis, ran hysterically up and down the other beach, and Dee Dee, in her senior way, lounged on the sandy beaches absorbing the sun.
Out of nowhere, Dee Dee hackled up, and gave a warning growl. It was a fierce, scary kind of growl. She began to bark, back up, charge a little and bark some more. Kilchis came running. "What, Dee Dee... what?"
I glanced to what she was telling me about.
Not 200 feet from me on the same side of the bank, moved 12 very large elk! They were beginning to cross the river, sensing the danger. Yeah, I wanted to touch them too-- as in neatly stacking frozen meats.
Get the gun, Dee Dee! I love back strap!
All in all an awesome week of wild animals in the Kilchis Canyon.
Beaver, and deer, and elk, and... wild baby chicks!! OH MY!

June 8th

I was really getting tired of how low the Kilchis was. Even though I love to just cast and be out there, it's much more fun when something hungry swims there!
It is just BLACK outside, and the rain is falling by buckets! I can just smell the chinook wandering in!
I half expect it to thunder. My hands instinctively are ready to back away from the keyboard at the first crack of lightning... As if that would do any good!
I love spring storms! Up rivers, UP!
Come home fishes!
Got up this morning to the sound of pouring rain. Went to the weather station and the rain gage registered 0.00. Do I have birds nesting in the weather station gage?
Up on the roof I went, clad in slippers and PJs. Sure enough, water was backed up in the funnel. I cleared it out and the gage began furiously ticking up to .71 inches! Whoooo hooo! Soaking wet, I ran back in the house.
Fishes come home!
The river will be full and dropping by tonight!
I'm going to lounge around. It's Saturday. A day to quietly wander around the house. Sit down to catch up on some reading, perhaps cook something to take to friends.
Turn the heat up! Don't get dressed till late!
I took down all the hanging plants under the eaves so they could have a rain bath.

The birds are taking shelter on the little wire triangles under the eaves that Bill and I made. The hummies are so cute there! They line up on the wire swings, and appear grateful for the place to rest, under cover. Back and forth they swing, one by one flitting off to take a drink of the sugar water. Dang, life is good for a pet hummingbird!
Life is pretty darn good for me too!
It's raining and the fish.... oh the fish!!! Come home to Mama!


 

June 11th

As if I don't have enough on my brain about the proposed hatchery closures...
I am sick about the proposed loss of our music teacher at the Junior High School.
I have volunteered my time to call a list of businesses to see if we can get the money donated for his salary. We can probably do it, but we shouldn't have to!
The music program is not the only thing they are taking from the schools!
Andrew, browsing through the list of next year's proposed electives, exclaimed, "Great! When I graduate, all I can be is a dairy farmer!" Dairy farmers are needed, no doubt, but no art classes? No journalism? No computer?
With Andrew's physical situation, this pretty much excludes any of his career goals.
Without building any team spirit, without preparing the kids for the technology age, how do we get them to college?
David's jazz band is excellent. At a competition this year, the judge stunned the audience by turning to the audience and saying, "Ladies and Gentlemen, do you know what you just heard? You have heard a junior high band sound as good, or better than a good high school band!"
This is unusual, because usually the judge begins to immediately critique the band. Not Tillamook Junior High band! (Insert proud Mom here! :)) Needless to say, they won!
If you could hear this band, you'd know what I mean!
My kids make fun of Tillamook, and it's country ways. Tillamook is a farming community, and many of the activities are centered around dairy cows and farming. The big city-style trends hit Tillamook about two years too late.
In fact, as I write, the boys are planning an event that I find really creative and humorous. I'm going to help them set it up:
Two weeks ago, or so, Star Wars came out in the theaters. People stood in line for hours, sometimes over night, to ensure they got tickets. The national news coverage was extensive, rolling film of people camped out waiting.
This weekend, Star Wars comes to Tillamook! Roll the news cameras!
The boys are going to take their tents and sleeping bags, and sleep outside of the small, single cinema theater, on the sidewalks of downtown Tillamook, prior to the opening of Star Wars.
Of course, the boys have all traveled to Portland, or elsewhere, and have seen this movie, but.... Tillamook is just now opening the release!
There is a curfew here. Call me a bad parent, but I'm going to support their enthusiasm, and let them do it!
They are calling all of their friends. It's a party! We are going to roll the video, and submit it to local news sources! If they get sent home, so be it! All the funnier!
It's these kids' enthusiasm that keeps Tillamook going. It's the team spirit that develops in children, that a jazz band, or a sports group encourages. We are taking this from them to balance the budget?
After jazz band concerts, I am known to walk up to Mr. Hammond and thank him for being the saving grace of Tillamook.
To me, he is.
To the jazz band members, he is... and from the looks of the packed-house auditorium at the high school, during their last performance, he is! They are!
Close the hatcheries?
Cut the school budgets?

What future are we planning for our children? Our children's families depend on the economy driven by our sports fisheries.
This is more than scary! We need our parents in the home supporting, but not running these programs!!
Fax. Write letters. Call!!!
Sure, we can do volunteer work to keep these programs going.
The fact of the matter is we shouldn't have to.

Get out the news cameras!
Roll the video!
I'm fighting for this old dairy town, for our hatcheries, and for all of the children in Oregon!
I don't know the solution, but I'm willing to fight to find one.


Governor John Kitzhaber called the Oregon Legislature back to Salem on Wednesday, June 12, for a special session to rebalance the state's 2001-2003 budget. Please attend, call or write!
CLICK HERE!


June 12th

It's June 12th, the day of the Legislature meeting. Hope those guys eat their Wheaties today. I think the news will be quite interesting today and tonight. They better have some tricks up their sleeves.
How many quarts of hummingbird food do we go through in one day? Four quarts!
How many hummingbird pictures can I possibly take? It's a constant project of mine to see if I can get the wings to show clear by adjusting the camera settings. They are so used to me out there, that I can get inches away from them. In fact, they land on my finger sometimes.
I shoot a sandisk card full, plug it into the computer, and see which ones worked at what setting.

Fishing? Two days ago on the Trask I watched my bobber float back and forth with the tide for about 5 hours. It was more like sun bathing than fishing. Only difference is that I used egg goo instead of tanning lotion!
Still, a relaxing day. Bobber fishing is my favorite. I have a thing for tidewater sloughs. The birds, the creeping of the tide in and out against the muddy shores, the beaver, the otter, the fish finder, these are a few of my favorite things...
The kids are out of school, and moved out to the tent for the duration of summer. They have a new used trampoline, and a new tent. What more do you need? They have requested an extension cord to move a TV and video game outdoors. Not going to happen.
Woke up to sticky Koolaid on the cutting board.
"Bill? Don't clean that up. I want the kids to see what it's like to get those stains out".
It's going to be a long summer...
Think I'll grab my fly rod and go dance a dry one on the morning's windless water.
"Kilchis? Fishin!"

June 12th

It's June 12th, the day of the Legislature meeting. Hope those guys eat their Wheaties today. I think the news will be quite interesting today and tonight. They better have some tricks up their sleeves.
How many quarts of hummingbird food do we go through in one day? Four quarts!
How many hummingbird pictures can I possibly take? It's a constant project of mine to see if I can get the wings to show clear by adjusting the camera settings. They are so used to me out there, that I can get inches away from them. In fact, they land on my finger sometimes.
I shoot a sandisk card full, plug it into the computer, and see which ones worked at what setting.

Fishing? Two days ago on the Trask I watched my bobber float back and forth with the tide for about 5 hours. It was more like sun bathing than fishing. Only difference is that I used egg goo instead of tanning lotion!
Still, a relaxing day. Bobber fishing is my favorite. I have a thing for tidewater sloughs. The birds, the creeping of the tide in and out against the muddy shores, the beaver, the otter, the fish finder, these are a few of my favorite things...
The kids are out of school, and moved out to the tent for the duration of summer. They have a new used trampoline, and a new tent. What more do you need? They have requested an extension cord to move a TV and video game outdoors. Not going to happen.
Woke up to sticky Koolaid on the cutting board.
"Bill? Don't clean that up. I want the kids to see what it's like to get those stains out".
It's going to be a long summer...
Think I'll grab my fly rod and go dance a dry one on the morning's windless water.
"Kilchis? Fishin!"

June 14th

"Did the hummingbirds wake you up?" I yawned and stretched as Bill's words sunk in. Yes, they did. We are over run by hummingbirds. There is no happy medium here in the Kilchis Canyon.
It's a menagerie.
It's flock or famine.
Massive swarms of hummingbirds dart in and out. Daily, they drain our sugar supply that hangs dripping, sticky, and nearly empty, outside on the upper deck.
I went downstairs to get some coffee. I glanced out at the four feeders on the lower deck. All of them, half or near empty! Each hideously brightly colored plastic flower is occupied by similarly colored aggressive Refocus hummingbirds.
The birds! I try to forget that movie. Head down, I walk a straight line to the office.
Outside my office window sways an empty hummingbird feeder. One lone hummy soul hovers outside my window looking directly in. I look away, as if I don't see it.
"zzzzzzzzz" He hovers, staring.
"Go away! I don't WANT to boil sugar and water yet!!! I need coffee!"
Yet still, he stared.


Click.
OK! I got your picture!
Now go away!

"zzzzzzzzzzz" He hovers. I close my window shade. "vrrrrrrrrzzzzzzzz"
---
Bandtail pigeons? What beautiful birds! Every day I get up, fill two coffee cans with cracked corn, and sprinkle it closer and closer to the house, in hopes of bringing more bandtails in.
"Bill? Do you think they will come? The Bandtails? Is it time yet?"
Imagine the excitement when one showed up! Then two! Then three! Two weeks later and eight-fifty pound bags of corn later, Bill and I sit down to discuss the problem.
The pigeons are over taking the yard. Pigeon droppings are everywhere. My flowers destroyed, my bird feeders, meant for birds the size of grosbeak, are broken, and dangle from their wires.
OH! Look at the goldfinch! They are so pretty! They are here, Bill! What a miracle!


How much for 50 pounds of thistle?

How do you thin out 100 bandtailed pigeons?
The chef is tired of cooking for 100 desperately hungry hummingbirds.
I have to take out a bank loan to buy more thistle.
If only I could wake up in the morning to Bill saying, "Did the flock of spring chinook wake you up? Did the wings of hatchery steelhead disturb your sleep? The flight of the searun cutt?"
Off to the store....
Anyone seen any specials on sugar?

 

June 14th night time...

...an Instant Message
conversation I just had.
Thought I'd share. :)
------------------------------

Jennie: You there?
Friend of Jennie: Yes
Jennie: Once upon a time....
Jennie: I wasn't feelin very happy.
Jennie: So, I grabbed my rod, and I headed down to the river, tired, exhausted, and feeling a little frustrated and alone.
Friend of Jennie: yes?
Jennie: I made my way across the rocks... I had bare feet, so I grabbed socks out of the lost sock box, and put on some cut off old loose rubber boots.
Jennie: I tripped, but I finally made it!
Jennie: I sat down.
Jennie: grabbed a yellowish weighted nymph pattern, somewhat like a muddlers.
Jennie: Tied it on.
Jennie: Sitting down on the rocks of the upper hole, where the water gushes into a deep hole and swirls around until it tails out by a rock on the other side.
Jennie: Across the river, across the riffles, is a still pool.
Friend of Jennie: I think I know it.
Jennie: Letting the nymph swirl.
Jennie: I just let it swirl around as I thought, and something kept nipping at it.
Jennie: Little ones, I thought... I wasn't too excited.
Friend of Jennie: Salamanders?
Jennie: Will you listen?
Friend of Jennie: Water sprites?
Friend of Jennie: OK
Jennie: Please?
Jennie: I'm telling a story! :)
Jennie: OK.
Jennie: eh hem.
Jennie: So....
Jennie: I decided to cast over to the still water, just to see how my rod reacts.
Jennie: It is fairly shallow over there, and still, but... you never know, right?
Jennie: So, I laid it out nicely, and.... it swirled past a rock where the water is deep.....
Jennie: I did it again. Casting that far was effortless and fun.
Jennie: SPLASH
Jennie: What the heck???
Jennie: A huge cutt came clear out of the water!
Jennie: I didn't have him on my fly, but I KNEW that it was after my fly!
Jennie: YIKES!
Jennie: So I casted again!
Jennie: Sitting down.
Jennie: still.
Jennie: Nibble.
Jennie: Nibble.
Jennie: cast..
Jennie: Nibble
Jennie: Nibble
Jennie: Cast..........
Jennie: WHAMMO!
Jennie: OHMYGOSH!
Jennie: OHMANNNNNNNNNN!
Jennie: My reel ZIPPED!
Jennie: IT'S BIGGGGGGGGG!!!
Jennie: I didn't know what to do with all my line!
Jennie: Reel it in or hand line it in???
Jennie: Reel!
Jennie: So, I let everything go!
Jennie: All that line!
Jennie: No tension!
Jennie: I reeled it in reel reel reel...
Jennie: Finally, met with the tension of the fish.
Jennie: I know that was wrong, but I didn't know what was right!
Jennie: So, I played him!
Jennie: My drag!! There is a drag on this reel!
Jennie: It was set really light!
Jennie: That fish took me all over the place!
Jennie: He wanted to go over the falls!
Jennie: He wanted to bury himself in the rocks!
Jennie: Nope!
Jennie: Up up up up up up up HERE HE IS!!!! KILCHIS! LOOK WHAT I HAVE!
Jennie: It was the most BEAUTIFUL resident cutt I had ever seen!
Jennie: About 13 or 14 inches and FAT!
Jennie: I LANDED HIM!
Friend of Jennie: I have the biggest smile hearing about it!
Jennie: MY FIRST CUTT!
Jennie: I mean, on my new fly rod!
Jennie: All by myself!
Jennie: But I couldn't grab him!
Jennie: My rod is so long!
Jennie: How do you do that?
Jennie: I reeled in, and finally he was 9 feet off my rod, but then what???
Friend of Jennie: lift the rod up to bring the fish near your feet.
Jennie: I let a little line up.
Friend of Jennie: Point it towards the sky
Jennie: I did, but when I reached down, then he shot away!
Jennie: So I had to grab the line!
Jennie: And work my hand down the line. Is that OK?
Friend of Jennie: Nets are the gentle way.
Jennie: And then he was slippery! Slipperier than steelies!
Jennie: I'd like to have a good net.
Friend of Jennie: Working down the line is OK, too.
Friend of Jennie: I built my own little net ... I never use it. It's beautiful.
Friend of Jennie: Cherry and maple and oak.
Jennie: Pretty!
Jennie: Nylon or rope?
Jennie: or rubber?
Friend of Jennie: Cotton net.
Friend of Jennie: soft on the fish
Jennie: That's the best I hear.
Jennie: I'm so excited I can't relax!
Friend of Jennie: When you described the fly swirling behind the rock, you know what I thought?
Jennie: what?
Jennie: BIGFISH?
Jennie: STEELIE?
Friend of Jennie: I felt Milton smiling down on you ... slack line technique.
Jennie: I can't talk.
Jennie: tears.
Jennie: You made me cry!
Friend of Jennie: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you cry.
Jennie: That's OK, it's a good cry.
Jennie: Milton! I got my own cutt!
Jennie: On a fly!
Jennie: That's good, right?
Friend of Jennie: Yes, it's excellent! Great! Stupendous!
Jennie: I always catch little ones. :-)
Jennie: This one was BIG!
Friend of Jennie: They come in all sizes.
Jennie: And fat!
Jennie: Milton sent me a big fish!
Friend of Jennie: I can remember the few big cutts I've caught in my life ... they all took so much work and always surprised me.
Jennie: I feel good. Now I'm going to take a bath and go to bed.... Dreaming of flocks of cutthroat. :-)
Friend of Jennie: The biggest was after a 5 hour hike and I caught it in 8 inches of water ... I couldn't believe it!
Jennie: Wow!
Friend of Jennie: Big trout on a fly ... it really is sport, isn't it!
Jennie: It really is.
Friend of Jennie: Totally exhilarating ... beyond the dimensions of the fish ... a line to something greater ... spiritual.
Jennie: I can relate to that feeling. :)
Gnite.

June 17th

I'm leaving on the annual Black Butte trip in two days! My Father, as a gift, rents two big houses for the entire extended family. Sisters and brothers, cousins, nephews and nieces, unite!
Whoo hooo!!
Pack up my fly rod, my bike, my swim suit, fish the Metolius, fish Black Butte pond, swim, ride bikes, and remember my Mom, riding along exclaiming, "Oh! Listen to the quaking aspens!"
It's a tradition, those quaking aspens!
I could use a vacation! I have to make three batches of French Breakfast Puffs (If you click on that link, you can find the recipe on that page...) to contribute to the food resources. Better get on it!
I recently touched base with my first boyfriend's Dad, who lives on The Crooked River, and he is taking me fly fishing! I haven't seen him in twenty years! He is a master fly fisherman, and I can't wait!
June 22nd-- Outdoor Writers Association of America conference. It was difficult to admit that I don't get to attend this year. I just don't have the funds. I had so much fun last year in Utah. I left that conference with so much new information, new friends, and a new insight into writing. I'm feelin' kind of left out. I hope they will let people order tapes of the speakers again. I still listen to last years tapes, and draw inspiration from them.
Each time I need or want something, I have to look out at my truck, which takes up quite a bit of my income, and say, "Dang, I have a pretty truck!!"
Speaking of expensive things... why is software so expensive? I really want the new Macromedia "One Solution" suite for ifish.net, and it is $799.00!!! As if!
Perhaps that is why people are so tempted to pirate software. Are these programs designed only for big business? I lurk around the web and see all these young people on web geek sites, who own these expensive programs, and I have to wonder. How did you get that??? Of course, they probably also have trucks just like mine, or nicer, too!
I am doing two major things this summer. Black Butte, and a deal I made with Andrew. In desperation, I told him if he received a good grade report, I'd take him to Ozfest.
Am I nuts? He aced school!
OUCH!
Ozzy Osborne? I'm going to Ozfest?
So, I swallowed that fact, only to have Andrew tell me he wants to be in the mosh pit. I freaked!
"Mom!" He calmly pleaded, "It's a friendly place!"
The mosh pit is friendly? I have to draw the line, young man. A deal is a deal. Ozfest we go, but... the mosh pit??? A friendly place?!? I had to laugh.
I had a rough day yesterday. Can you tell?
Everything seemed to go wrong.
A week ago, I was on my way to take David to one of his jazz band concerts. Along the busy highway sat a petrified young dog, with no where to go. The guard rail and cliff were on one side, and the highway on the other. He was nearly in shock, I'd say, panicked, with no where to go. He sat rigid, head up and alert, panting, watching the traffic whiz by, inches from his feet. (Kind of like I will feel, I suppose, in the mosh pit.) It's a friendly place?
I was late to take David, and I really wanted to attend his concert, but I couldn't leave that dog to get hit!
I dropped David off, and sped back to the dog site. In a dress, with leash in hand, I got out of my truck, and began to approach slowly and gently, in pursuit to save him. Bill drove to the other end of the escape path, to catch him if I spooked him. We both notified oncoming traffic of the problem, waving our hands to slow them down.
The dog was obviously wild and in shock. He ran across the highway, narrowly missing being hit. We followed.
By this time, we had four or five other carloads trying to help save the dog, for the girl in the dress with a leash. I think they thought the dog was mine!
We never could catch him, but I kept envisioning this dog in my living room, not afraid anymore. I wanted him to be part of my family, and I would have taken him home. I wanted him to be wagging his tail in front of our fireplace, safe and happy. No dog deserves to be this frightened.
He finally ran up Kilchis road, and into a pasture. We gave up pursuit, and were satisfied, at least, that the critter was safe from town traffic.
Yesterday, driving along the same stretch of road, I saw the same dog. He was no longer afraid. He lay, on the side of the road, dead.
In our family, when we see dead creatures on the road, we are known to say, "It's O.K. They are just taking a nap". It's an attempt to take away the sadness, the finality.
This dog was not taking a nap. The saying didn't comfort or humor me. This dog was dead, and so needlessly so. Why didn't the owner care more? Did it even have an owner?
I was sick.
I drove home in sadness. Kilchis greeted me with hysterical happiness. I welcomed his hug. He took me to the back porch, where he scratched to get something from underneath a planter. I thought it was probably a ball, or a Frisbee. I moved it for him.
It was one of our Bantam hen's 3 day old new baby chicks, dead. How the heck did the chick get there? They are double wired in! A weasel? A rat?
This little chick was not napping either.
I want to run away to Alaska. I want to go to the OWAA conference. I want that software.
Today I want to charge a little happiness on my credit card.
But, I won't.
This summer, I'm laying low and paying off my bills.
Last night, as the day came to an end, I stood, knee deep in the water, fishing the lower riffle for cutts. All around me was hushed quiet, except for one lone winged creature, who hadn't nested for the night. I whistled back in imitation, trying to communicate with him.
The light was fading, as I searched the tree tops. To my left, a deer quietly crossed the river. Kilchis was wildly running up and down the other side of the river. He didn't see the deer, and was happily hunting swallows, dippers and moths.
I realized in the stillness, that every day that I wake in this canyon... every hushed evening that I fish on this river, I am on vacation.
And you know what?
It's free.
I am going to try to remember that, all summer long.

June 18th

Boats intrigue me. Motors intrigue me. I was always the passenger. At one time, water crafts of any size seemed as unreadable to me as someone who can't read music, staring at a few measures of one of my compositions.
After a year or so of riding in Bill's driftboat, duck boat, or jet sled, I had to know more.
Besides the fact that I would like, someday, to do this all on my own, it was a safety factor that I learn how to navigate.
"Bill, what happens if you are injured and we are in the Tillamook Jaws?" What then?
It was that very thought that made me begin to point and say, "What's that? What does it do? What is this little red ring? This white button? Where does this hose lead to?
I had to know, and I memorized the parts as hungrily as I did as a child when I was in love with horses. I had a chart, and I memorized every bone in a horses body.
After learning what this was, and what that was, I made Bill have me do every step, as he looked on.
I learned to back the trailer. Don't tell him, but when he was out of town, I'd hook up the boat, and maneuver it around the field. Now, I can back it at the busiest of launches. We have a routine down, and I swear we are the fastest team out of the water. I still don't know how to power the boat on, but that is my next step!
Then, out in the water, I had to learn to manage the jet sled. How to read the water, take on wakes, quarter into the wind. I learned to stop the jet, and put down the trolling motor.
While trolling, and running the kicker, I still run into trouble. I'm fishing, I'm trolling, searching for bottom with my lure, I'm working my way through the crowded areas, trying to control the speed against the wind. Bill asks me, "Do you want a sandwich?" I glance over at my hands, one holding a rod, the other working the motor. "How do you do that?!?!" I didn't say a word, and simply opened my mouth!
OK! FEED ME!
How do those guides do it? Manage four people's lines, run the boat, eat lunch, pour coffee? I have a long ways to go!
Once, on the Trask, while retrieving a line that was hooked on wood and snagged up, we trolled over to try and save the bobber. I was leaning over, bobber in hand, pulling up line when Bill accidentally crossed the mono with the prop. ZIP ZIP ZIP! The line was in the prop! Holding onto the bobber, I noticed the hook coming at me in record speed! I quickly dropped it.
It was that day that I learned to take the prop apart and remove the line. I can fix props! If you ever have line in your prop, call "Prop" tology Dr. Jen! I can fix it with a screwdriver in no time! I love what is inside those things! I love taking things apart and putting them back together. Especially when they still work!
In the duck boat, we often travel in tidewater, where it is very shallow. It is necessary to lift the prop out of the water so we don't break a cotter pin. Sometimes, however, the pin breaks. On one of those sunny days, Bill taught me how to replace the pin. Now, if I ever want to take the duck boat out in the tidewater alone, Bill feels confident that I'll come back, low tide or not! :) Wait a minute... Bill just told me it's the dang shear pin, not the cotter... Well? I'm learning!
Drift boats... That's a scary one. He has had me row before, and I realized it really is an art. I rowed some pretty easy water. Due to my heart problems, I'm not supposed to do isometric exercises. Rowing is extremely that, and he is afraid for me to have to do the tough pulling that the upper river requires. Sissy.
So, I got out the little rubber raft, and went up the Kilchis to the park with the kids in the summer. Believe it or not, I learned a lot from rowing that little raft! How to read the water, how to point the boat in the direction I don't want to go. I think, in a pinch, I could get us down river safely.
That next winter, I was rowing Bill down the Kilchis and actually put his wiggler onto a bright steelie! "Bill! I got you into a fish!!!"
Feeling very confident, after spending the summer coming down the Kilchis from the park, and getting Bill into a fish, Chris Sessions invited me to row.
"O.K.!"
I took seat at the oars, and began. Dang! The water was moving so fast! I panicked!
"Chris! I can't do this!" Imagine his look of shock, when I totally stopped trying, got up from the oar seat and came to sit next to him, the boat freely moving down river! I've never seen a man hop faster to save the boat.
I suppose if Chris was injured, or I knew he wouldn't save my rear end, I wouldn't have aborted the oars. My confidence in him was high. He saved us from the frightened lady who abandoned ship. Why wasn't he smiling anymore?
Anyway, you gotta just love it when Bill leaves town.
I've grown past dismantling trolling kickers, and trailering the boat in the field.
I'm really wondering how the heck those jet motors work.
Got a screw driver? Dr. Jen thinks we need to find where the heck the shear pin is on one of these monsters... It's all in the name of safety. Please don't tell him. I promise I'll put it all back together again.
Now, how do I adjust the clearance on these impeller shims?

June 19th

Got my fly rod, got my reel, got my line, got my flies... my toothbrush...
What else could a girl need?
OH! The kids!

Bye-- Have fun, and be good to Jennie. Don't make me use my laptop!!

June 23rd

I wish I had gotten a picture or two, but the images are still clear in my mind.
Ever fish a pink lake at dusk?
Black Butte pond was glassy still at 8:00 P.M. last Friday night.
The fish were feeding at the surface. Birds picked bugs off of the top water. I had a renegade fly tied, from fishing Suttle Lake, and I laid it out as gently as I was able. I let it lie still on the water for a couple deep breaths, and then gave it a twitch.
Twitch! Breathe.... twitch.
Splash!
The rainbows took the fly and ran! They were on such a furious feeding frenzy, that any dry fly that I presented correctly was taken.
Sometimes, after landing a fish, I became lazy. In my greed to catch another fish quickly, I'd just flop it back out there. Although it seemed to be on the top, I'd get no take.
In dry fly fishing, the fly must sit on top of the water totally dry! Presentation seemed to be everything.
I'd reel it back in, either do a series of false casts to dry it, whipping it back and fourth, or reapply fly dressing and then lay it out. It didn't matter if my cast was long or short, as long as that fly barely danced on top of the water. As the sun went down, the lake took on a deep pink, mirroring the sky. Mt. Jefferson, and the Three Sisters towered, white tipped, around me.
Growing tired, I picked around until I found a clean spot in the grass near the shore. Goose droppings are hard to find at night, unless you use your bare feet or your rear end.
The pink light of the lake began to fade, as I continued my casting from a resting position. Still, the trout rose, and still, the trout took my offering.
I had to cast in between the geese, who were letting me know that it was time to call it a day. It appears that I was sitting in the middle of their resting place.
The show came to an end, and left me sitting still, in the dark, on the shores of the pond at Black Butte.
Gathering my gear, I headed back across the field, lit by the moonlight, and haunted by the blackness of the towering mountains.
I was too busy to take pictures.
I simply went back to the house, fell fast asleep, and rose at daylight to do it again.
My casting shoulder is in knots. My legs are tired from hiking. My skin is burnt from the sun. My shoes are covered with goose memorabilia.
My mind, however, is a full roll of Kodak film, just waiting to be developed.

June 24th

Hatcheries smatcheries. I'm so tired of repeating myself. DON'T CLOSE THE HATCHERIES! Do you get it? What DON'T you get about this? Tons of people on ifish, and we need to turn them into tons of support for the hatcheries, NOW! -- as in before 9 A.M.!
I sent out about 30 letters, and came up with one response:
--
Thanks for the e.mail ... we don't need to close hatcheries. If some Senators would simply quit throwing money away at useless programs (Dukes voting against getting rid of CIM/CAM that would have save millions) we could fund the essential functions of government.


Senator Miller
---
I'm going crazy. I'm also headed to the telephone. How bout you? It's 8:00 A.M. We have one hour....
Ready, set.... DIAL!

 

June 27th

Couldn't sleep all night, knowing I was leaving for summer steelhead fishing. Now I have to rush to get ready. Gulp coffee and try to hit the right keys here!
Rain is supposed to hold off till tonight or tomorrow! Huh? It's raining here! :) Not much though...
I'm off!
J

June 27th... later

We have done it tons of times before! It has been MORE than safe! We have it down pat!
(Where have I heard that before?)
Actually, we are safe now, but I'll tell you, there were plenty of scared fishermen and women out there today!
We were fishing at the steelie spot we always fish, in the channel, close to shore. I mean, WAY close to shore.
We always anchor when a ship comes. We throw the buoy and go out to take the waves. They are usually nothing special! It's just that the water gets sucked out in the shallows and if we stayed, we could end up on the rocks.
Yikes! Not today!
Two ships had passed, we were doing great. It was raining,... We looked downstream at the approaching ship. YEESH! It was extremely weighted down, and throwing huge waves off the bow. Then we saw them crash to shore.
"HMMMM.... Bill? Can we like, MOVE???"
"Oh no, honey, we'll be fine...."
As the ship approached my fear level did not lower. I was shaking. It looked like tidal waves coming off the bow! We threw the float, and stood ready. The boat downstream from us, took off at high speed.
"What the heck, Bill? He's racing the ship! Me thinks he doesn't think he can handle this wave! Bill??? I think we can't handle this wave!!!!"
"Relax, darling...."
The jet sled that lost his nerve was racing ahead of the tanker... or whatever this huge ship was! It was strange looking!
So, as I was watching the tidal wave like water approaching shore with a huge splash, I turned to look ahead of me.
A WALL OF WATER.

"BILLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!"

It was at least a six foot standing wind wave, approaching fast, and more coming soon in after it! They were breaking.
Bill throttled up to take the wave, and thank GOD, (and I mean that most sincerely) we did not crash down on the back side.
He is a pro!
We took all the waves, and did not take on water, but some of the boats out there were not so lucky.
The river was in turmoil for at least 10 minutes past the ship. Breakers still breaking at 5 minutes!!!
I told Bill that that was enough for this girl for the day.
Heading in, we stopped to check with the other boaters. Some took on water, some were very angry.
But.... The fact of the matter is that we were in the shipping channel and that is the risk you and I take.
Was the river pilot giggling, and saying, "Watch this?" with a malicious laugh? Seemed like it. He had to have seen the damage he could have done. He had to know the wake he was throwing.
But even though we were in 10 feet of water, only 5 feet from shore, boys and girls, it is legally the shipping channel! (I'd like to see a ship in 10 feet of water! .. uh... No I wouldn't!)
Bill says we weren't actually IN the shipping channel.
Yikes... I think I'll go out and bank maggot a while...
Check for wakes... Bill may be used to it, and may be able to handle that, but I think I'll stay out of there. Capt J? Bill needs a Columbia fishing partner!
I'll just be home dancing flies for cutts on the low and clear Kilchis River. I know there are no ships coming anywhere near here.

I'm alive!

June 28th

Just finished an article, "How To Cure Eggs Like The Pros!" with Scott Amerman. Click on the title for the link.
It was a really fun article to write, and my eggs that I cured, along with Scott, look mahveous, dahlink!
Enjoy!

 

June 29th

Man oh man, does time fly! I can't believe it is already almost July! June 29th signals the end of the Spring Chinook Contest on ifish. I have a really good entry from Dick. Beat this!

Dick

This Spring Chinook was caught on 5-8-02 in the Willamette River. It weighed in at 42 pounds!
Measurements:
Length: 46"
Girth:26"
Way to go, Dick! I think you are the winner, but I have to wait until midnight tonight for more entries.

Spring Chinook!
What a way to fish! Looks fun to me!

Springer
Hold it up there, Dick! Higher! I can't get the tail in there!

Spring chinook

Handle with care!

The winner will be presented a beautiful hand crafted TH Custom Rod. Now, that is worth celebrating!
Off I go to get ready for Erickson's 50th wedding anniversary. Another reason to celebrate!
We actually have a river out there! We got quite a bit of rain yesterday, and I woke to the sound of a river! Bill was wearing his red wool flannel shirt yesterday and his sheepskin slippers. A fire roared in the woodstove. It all reminded me of winter.
Now, a river too?
Are the steelies in yet?
Is it Thanksgiving?
Get out the drift boat!
Grab your corkies!

I can dream, can't I?

June 30th

Congratulations to Dick Holmes of Mulino Oregon! He won the Longest Spring Chinook Contest at ifish!

 


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