Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington

June 2009

Tis the season of lush flowers and warm, sultry days!

Happy June! Ha ha ! I got ya first!

Say a prayer for Tred!
Click here for a health update by Joel Shangle. Barta Battles Back Part I
You can also listen to Tred via Joel's Outdoor program, here. Turn it up!

Muhahahah... I knew I'd get you if I got up before 5!
It's still dark, but I flung the office window full open, because the birds sound so marvelous! So many!
I adore this time of year, just as much as I dread late August when it all gets quiet and dry, again. It's that old opposites thing, again. How would we ever know, appreciate so much, if we didn't experience the opposite?
That's about the good I get out of late August. Well, that, and the yearning, the longing for the first sighting of a Chinook Salmon wandering up the river! That's neat-o!
And it's all the start of that!
Stan Fagerstrom's column is up!
It is regarding lightning, while fishing. That is especially interesting to me, as I've had many spooks on the water, with lightning. I always make Bill go in.
Once, with Jim Erickson, we really hit a big storm. I begged to go in, and they both made sport of my fear. How to control a boat with two big men at the tiller? How? You don't! You suffer through their stubborn ways. I mean, if the fishing was good, that was one thing, but it wasn't. I think they were getting desperate, which always leads to bad choices.
Fact is, we got through it, but it still scares me, to this day! It was a tremendous storm, and I was holding a lightning stick! (Well, not for long!) If they were to catch a fish during that, I would have been even more distressed! LOL.
We were fishing for summer salmon on the Nehalem. That's a rare run around here, unique to the Nehalem, really. It was a still, warm, June morning. The clouds gathered, got thicker, and boom!
Over the weekend, I spent hours at the Traeger, cooking a pulled pork, thanks to Crabbait's recipe. Oh, was it good! I'll beg him to share the recipe with you. It's to die for! We had a friend of Andrew's over, Nathaniel. He brought some wonderful pita bread and Andrew made Tzatziki and Hummus. That, and fresh tomatoes filled our plates and our tummies. Yum! It was a chicken house warming party! We had lemon cake for dessert, and I feel just awful, right now. Yesterday, I ate lemon cake all day long. That is not good for you! I'll tell you that, right now! However, it tastes good! I'm suffering, though, today!
Off to my hair appointment. How many people have hair appointments at 7 in the morning? Only in Tillamook, I'd bet. Where the hair dressers are wives and daughters of farmers, and this is their normal schedule!
Have a wonderful week! Oh, yeah! Wait!
I worked the weekend, bringing back replies to our classified ad systems! Now, we can reply again, to other people ads. No need to contact only by private message. I'm so excited to have this feature back. I have faith in ifish, again! 12 moderators have volunteered their precious time to help moderate the forums, and it's all good! Thank the list of new mods, here! Right now they are in training, so go easy on them. But, the fact is, I'm so thankful for them!
And soon... as soon as I pay the insurance bill and get the new legal speak up for the hunting classifieds, we'll bring back the hunting for sale board, which means we are OK to sell firearms again. Only thing, is we are not going to make it national.
Ifish is a regional board. Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana-ish. We will stick with that. We were getting over run, and known to be a good site to sell/buy firearms. I don't want that. I want ifish to remain a close, family friendly site where we all know one another well enough to trust each other.
We'll also have more rules for the hunting forum. Perhaps 100 required contributing posts and a membership of 3 months.
There we go! We are still deciding, but that's where we are headed.
Have a great day, peoples... It's days like today that I couldn't imagine not having ifish. Everything looks good and sunny and bright.
See ya later.

June 2nd

Don't miss it! It ends June 6th! If you are looking for a new boat, now is the time!
Use the ifish coupon and you can save BIG!

Yesterday was the busiest, most hectic, wildest day that any of us had in a long time 'round here. I don't know what happened!
It all started out marvelously with a trip to my hair dresser. I got up really early and was there by 7. That's always a blast! Kim's Dad was there at first, (Kim does my hair) and he's always fun to talk with.
But... when I got home, man oh man! Life blew up!
Andrew realized that it was the day before he is moving to Bill's old house to help take care of it while it's not rented.
So, the house went wild! Boxes flew! Andrew was packing, the kitty was missing, we had to hook up the electricity in our name, and the cable and the internet! I don't know, but it was just a hectic mess!
On top of it all, my pet peeve, the television was blaring at top volume. Bill listens to it louder than I care for. In fact, I could totally do without the darn thing, if it were up to me! LOL
Oh, quiet! How I love quiet! When everyone is gone, I never turn that thing on!
We were all busy and kinda grouchy. Thing is, I think, no one knows if what Andrew is doing is right. He's searching for a job in Portland, and when Bill rents the house, (which we don't know when will be!) Andrew will have to move, again. Will he move home (here?) or find a place? We don't know.
It's hard for Andrew right now. He can't see that well, and can't lift over 20 pounds. He needs a leg up, as he's spent the last couple years having surgery. So, he has no money saved up for a place of his own, and no car to get around. We are just hoping that by the grace of God, this will all work out for him.
And... I'm going to miss him desperately!
As my children grow older, they are becoming more and more decent companions, and almost friends! I know that is wrong when they are little, but darnit, I really like my kids! They are neat people and great to be around!
Andrew and I had so much fun in the kitchen, together, while he lived here. I can't count the times he's made me laugh harder than anyone ever has. He's funny and clever and well? I'll miss him!
He has to find his way, though, and I wish him all the success in the world. All I want is for my kids to be happy in this world.
Andrew has had a couple extra challenges, and I know that he can make it.
It's funny. I was reading an article about this lady having "empty nest syndrome". Her kids had all left for college, gotten married, etc... and then saying that the sadness didn't last long. She found that watching the "fruits of her labor", in raising her children was exciting and satisfying!
Well, I can tell you that I've yet to experience that part so much, but I'm waiting and I'm looking forward to it!
My children seem to still be at the stumbling age. I was envious of the lady in the article. At the same time, I know that my time is still coming! I have faith in both my boys! They are good and kind and intelligent people. I know they will be fine and will do good things in this world!
If parenting requires one thing... it is patience!
As the day went on, there was snapping and tempers lost amongst us all. I think we were all over tired.
How much should Andrew pack? Is he moving once or twice? All of this, and more to worry over.
As the sun started to set and we had eaten dinner, I had to have breathing room. I had to escape to my place on the river. I needed to be ALONE!
So, I set out with the dogs to my little hidey-spot in the tall grass, along the river.
Three weeks ago, the steelhead were spawning and it was so delightful! I shared pictures with you.
Since then, the water has really receded and it's been quiet.
Imagine my total surprise, when I headed down and just as I was ready to sit, the water moved before me. It boiled and flashed and rippled!
In a foot of water there was a huge redd! In fact, four of them, all strung together!
You know, I had seen this lighter area in the shallows in the past few days. I thought it was where elk had crossed, or perhaps a rafter had stopped to play, and disturbed the gravel. Maybe a lamprey redd? But, no! It was a huge wild redd alive with steelhead, actively working!
I caught my breath as I watched the underwater ballet, but I knew I couldn't watch without sharing this with everyone! This is just what we needed!
I turned, called the dogs and headed back to the house.
"Bill! Bill! Bill!" He was finishing up the kitchen dishes. "Bill! Come see the most excellent television that you'll ever see!"
I told him what was happening. He dropped the project and eagerly followed me. There really is nothing better and he totally agrees!
What a wonderful end to a hectic day! I wished so badly that Andrew would have dropped his project to join us! Bill and I stood together, though, the dogs surrounding us, wagging their tails, and we all stared at the activity in the water.
It was wild! There were at least 10 (wild) steelhead chasing each other around the redds. Sometimes two males would chase towards us, as close as four feet from where we stood! The female would shimmy and flash her sides as she dug the redds. Why don't the males help? I've always wondered that. My males help around the house!!
Anyhow... the sun slowly slipped behind the walls of the mountains around us. It was warm and still and muggy. Just an absolutely beautiful Spring evening, alive with wild!
I can't wait to get out there this morning and see if they are still at work, or if their work has been done. .
I see the fruits of the hatchery steelheads labor in the warm, still pools outside of the main current. The adults have long since done their work, and headed back to their water home, deep in the bay or the ocean? Who knows! They dug their redds long ago, and the offspring frolic in the warm pools, alongside the river.
The river is alive, this time of year! It's so deceiving! Always changing, always growing.
There is so much in nature that mimics life and teaches me lessons. If only I could stop worrying, and just let nature take its course.
Satisfied, we slowly walked back to the house. As a finale to nature's television show, a Western Tanager visited us, and I was awed by his color against the evening sky. Have you ever seen one? They are gorgeous!
It's a new day, and we are driving Andrew to Portland. Please, say a prayer for him and his success in finding a job!
As for me, I'm out to go visit the redds!

June 3rd

I love moving. Don't you? Better yet, I like helping people move. Muhahaha... oh yeah, right! I mean, how many times did YOUR parents help you move? Mine? Not once! I feel like I'm going over and beyond, helping. But, man oh man... I'm tired of it. I'll never forget like the third time I moved as a married person. My then hubby said, "Never again will I move this family!" I took that as a promise.
Anyhow... yesterday I helped Andrew move. What a day, indeed!
So, getting there wasn't all that hard, really. Actually, Bill helped with that part, the loading, the going to storage. Was I able to let the storage locker go? Not quite, but almost. I'm getting close! Soon! Soon! The boys will grow up and get rich and store their own stuff, right? I'm waiting!
We got to Andrew's new place and unloaded. That went OK. It's never fun, but we were doing fine. Boxes, we can deal with.
Then, it was onto David's in downtown Portland. Andrew needed their shared car to go look for jobs.
We got the car. That went fine, but Andrew didn't know how to get back to the house.
I picked up my handy GPS and said, "Follow me!"
HA! LOL! Little did he know!
I had just downloaded a new map for my GPS and oh, my! I knew it was bad when it called 405 an "unnamed road". HUH?
So, we missed our Ross Island turn off and ended up over the bridge and circling OMSI and getting lost in construction. It was then 6 O'clock, and past my time to take my heart meds. When I do that, my heart begins to race and jump and pump. Me meds were back at Andrew's house. Not good.
We ended up taking Moreland and Sellwood Bridge, and home via 43. The long way! Way, way long!
Then, Andrew ran low on gas. He called me and said so. I directed him into a gas station and told him I was going one block up to Safeway to get his kitty food and to go there, after.
I went into Safeway and started to shop for Andrew. Being the good Mother I am, I also filled it with foods he likes. I love to shop for my kids. It gives me joy, happiness... and all that. I shopped for quite a while and wondered where Andrew was. So, I left my basket and headed out to the car. Sure enough, three messages. "Where was I?" I called, "Where are YOU?"
"Ummm... Albertsons." I sighed. OK, I'll leave this stuff and come find you.
I drove to the Lake Oswego Albertsons, and I got out a cart, thinking I'd find him while shopping. I picked up a few things. Where's Andrew? I headed back out to the car to call him.
"Where ARE you?" I half cried, having to use the girl's room, heart pumping and now, half starving.
Come to find out, he was 10 miles away (A block, Andrew! A block!) at the Lake GROVE Albertson's! (????) What the??? A grocery store in a whole nother town!?!
After giving him the "what for" for 15 minutes, I hugged him and decided I STILL love him. We shopped, we stopped at McDonalds and went to his new home.
Sigh. I love moving.
I stayed over night, as then it was too dark to drive. I had mattresses to sleep on, but they were blow up and I had no pump. Sigh. Sleeping on hard floors is not good for a girl with a mechanical valve in her heart. I thought I was going to bounce out of the room. "thu-thump!, thu-thump!"
I don't think I slept a wink. Not only that, I could barely get up in the morning! Every muscle aches! Every last one!
I'm so glad to be home!
As I left Andrew's new home, he followed me out. "May I borrow your GPS? I want to learn my way around".
Good idea!
I handed it over. Will I own anything, at this rate?
I can tell you. I have helped move the boys 10 times, now. I guess my ex husband was right when he said HE would never move us again. I get it now. I will... but he won't be doing it!
He's a smart man.

June 4th

Sgt. Pepper in the car
Click to zoom

Too funny!
Andrew and I put Pepper in the kitty carrying box, for the trip to his new home.
Mind you, I have transported many unwilling kitties. They yowl. Some need medicine to calm down, and still they yowl, unapprovingly. Not Sgt. Pepper!
This cat is a goofball! He loves travel! He just lounged on the arm rest in between us, purring and fell sound asleep! Have you ever seen a cat like that? I haven't!
Off to see the redds. There are more, now! About 6 of them! I'll take a picture. One redd is very near shore and so fun to watch! There are only a few fish left, now, if any, this morning. I'll let you know!
Wow! Know anyone like this? A friend sent me this regarding someone we both knew, and man, oh man! So sad!

June 5th

Stan Fagerstrom wrote in asking where Sgt Pepper was going. Doh! I guess I didn't make that clear!
Molly the river cat doesn't like Sargy. So... since he mostly lived in Andrew's room, and Andrew has totally fallen for the little guy, he's going to live with Andrew.
I couldn't believe the difference, either! The minute Sgt. Pepper realized that there wasn't a black and white cat hunting him, he was the most loving, wonderful animal ever! Just delightful! He loves having all that room to roam, and he loves not being hunted! (Wouldn't you?)
He was all of the sudden not the nervous cat always looking around, but the kind of kitty that rubs your legs in the morning, and purrs, and loves to be held!
I woke up at 7 in the morning with a cat in my face saying, "You up yet? Wanna play?" He's SO cute!
Exciting news! For all of you hunters that want your hunting classifieds back, they are coming, soon! Woo hoo! A lot of work went into this. We'll be back online by next week, I'm sure!

June 7th
Jennie's worship service
Goofing around
Some praise
Some hymns
(In this one, I thought I paused it in the middle, but I didn't and you can hear my sniffly sneezing coughing allergies! I also sang, thinking I wasn't recording. Sorry! There is a big break and then more playing.singing-but actually, it's the best playing, in my opinion! Isn't it always, when you don't think you are recording?)

Can ya tell it's been a long time since I've played? I can. Blech. still, I enjoyed it and so did my Heavenly Father. I hope!
Darnit... My fish are all finished spawning. I want them back! What do I watch, now?
Yesterday was so rainy, blech, windy and cold! Here I was full-on into garden mode and then with no notice, it was inside/fireplace/meatloaf instead of BBQ day!
I wandered upstairs, and Bill was on the bed, watching television.
"Whatcha doing?" I flopped down.
"Gardening." He answered.
"Huh?" I was sure I hadn't heard him right.
"Gardening!" He said louder, over the blare of the TV.
He'd lost his mind. I was sure. I looked at him, reflecting that thought by squinting my eyes at him.
"Getting my Lawn in Order!" He shouted at me, clearly pronouncing each syllable.
Oh. I get it. He was watching "Law and Order" for the 3,000th time! Cute. Lawn Order.
Berother. I rolled my eyes, but couldn't help but giggle. Rainy day gardening!
I think he's seen every instance of that show, and those he has already seen, he says he forgets about and watches it over and over! Personally, I don't much like that kind of show. But, now that I know it's a gardening show, maybe I'll give it a shot.
It's nicer today, but I'm in the mood for some praise. I'm going to go sit and play some praise songs for a while. Maybe I'll record it to listen to, later!

June 8th

Ick, woke up with an awful cold.
Just for your viewing pleasure, here's the hummy cam. They aren't real busy right now, but dang! They were a minute ago!

June 10th

Cool! Grant asked that I play some music for one or two of his segments! Now, if only I could find a studio to work in, I'd do it in a snap! I'd be so proud to do it and just for the fun of it! I've never accompanied something so fun as one of Grant's adventures! He puts smiles on so many people's faces. I'm just so grateful he's back on the air! What fun! I love to accompany. I love to watch the singer or other instrumentalist breathe, and breathe at the same time, both musically and physically. I love that connection. There is nothing so close. You kind of become one. I just think it would be so much fun to "decorate" a show of the outdoors with music. Crescendos and decrescendos as exciting scenes of nature come and go! I hear it in my head while I'm out there, anyhow, so it would be no chore at all! -Just as long as I don't look down at my fingers and wonder what they are doing. That is where I goof up! If I just relax, and let music flow, I have nothing to do with it, and that's why it comes out so great! I know not from where it comes!
I met a nice fellow on the river, yesterday. The river is my fence, my social gathering place. I usually gather and chat with the otters, or the swallows or the fish. But, occasionally, a lone fly fisher will wander by.
A fly fisher? During this season? When the steelhead have passed by one way or mostly downstream, and the cutts are still waiting for the berries to ripen. The berries are my signal that it's time to begin the cutthroat hunt on the river! But-- this season?
Whatever was his target?
"Wildflowers." He answered. I laughed, but oh how I understood him! He said he was a bit different in that he truly doesn't care what he catches but fishes instead for the entire experience.
This is a guy I can relate to, lately!
I'm working on getting my passion back, lately for fishing. It worried me at first. But, I think I just need a time out to truly appreciate everything that is around us!
I can just sit by the river, watch the otters play, and the dogs dig and chase, the birds overhead. There is so much to take in, really!
How lucky we are, to live in Oregon!
Can you relate?
I think we all can.
I sure miss my little Sargie. (Sgt. Pepper). I hear he's so happy though, that I can't complain. It's just that I wanted a kitty... a new one, who would cuddle and love me while I sit. Molly doesn't lower herself to that activity. In fact, just as often as not, if you reach down to pet her, she'll snarl and swipe at us! But, she's a lover, all the same. It just has to be on her terms, and when she's done with you, that's it. There is no argument.
With Sarg, well? That cat can't get enough of a person's attention, and that's what I wanted! I want both, but Molly will have none of it.
I've finally decided that I have to live out Molly's existence with only one cat in my life. Sargie is gone and Molly is thrilled. Fact is, Sargie is pretty thrilled, too, not having to check his back every minute, wondering if big black Molly the river cat is going to pounce and try to kill him!
God bless them both. Cats are such interesting creatures!

June 13th

Lookee who is new!

Click on it! It's Fishin Magician and Mr. Kitch'n Pass of Doherty Ford! They are here to stay you a ton of work! Check this thread out to see some of what they can do for you!
They are just the nicest guys. You can't go wrong.
Talk about embarrassing!
Yesterday I drove to the Portland area to help Andrew out.
I was driving along in familiar territory with my headphones in, singing, at the top of my lungs, totally oblivious to my surroundings. I do that. I don't know how I get so lost in my car, knowing full well that other people can see me, but... I do.
Anyhow, I glanced to my left, in between some wild "Rage against the Machine" lyrics (Yes, I sometimes get caught up in my kids music...) and this handsome guy was smiling at me from his pickup. It just didn't register anything but embarrassing. I looked down and moved my car forward, out of view. You know, whilst I blushed purple.
Then, louder than my music, I heard, "Jennie!" (Oh... no....)
I looked up again, and it all came to me. It was Joe Brennan from O'Loughlin shows. I could have died. What a dork, I am! I do wonder just how loud I was singing!!!
Portland/Lake Oswego... it's a small town! I forget that!
OK, it's onto putting up Chapter 10 in Francis Caldwell's book, "Salmon on My Mind!" I'll let ya know when it's up!
Oh! I have to tell you how excited I am to announce the birth of flowers on my 6 year old orchid! I'm just thrilled! I nearly lost this plant, and now it's so healthy! I fixed it, with the help of my friends at the Orchid Board, here! Now, I have this very long shoot and tons of flowers and it's just so beautiful! Days away from my first bloom! I watch it every day, multi times daily! It's so exciting! Hey! A Mom has to have some "chids" around to take care of!
My favorite things... :chids and cutts and kitty cats!

June 13th later...
Francis' new chapter is up!

June 13th later, later... It's only 9 and I'm flying off to Jim Erickson memorial dedication at the Nehalem Hatchery. Join us?

June 16th

Oh, good morning!
It's great to be home, but likewise, it was great to be in Portland! It's just great, you know? Living! This "living" thing is really neat-o! I think we should all have a Holiday every single day, where we just celebrate being alive!
Remember when it was said that it was good to talk to your plants? That they grow better? It totally makes scientific sense, since plants like moisture and warmth. When you breathe on them they are going to benefit from that, so yes! Talk to your plants!
My orchid is just fascinating. I get up real close and "talk" to it, and it's doing so well! I can't wait for it to bloom! It's so darn close! I've been almost this close before, where the stalk developed, but then this sweet sap came on and it rotted! Better not happen this far out! I have actual blooms, this time! Undeveloped, yet, but still! So close!
I can aptly say that I am doing better raising my or-kids than ... Wait. I'm not going to say that. There is still time! I think I have just hit a road bump in my parenting skills. There is still time! Think if I get up real close and talk to them!? LOL. Real close...

Portland is energy for me!
I love to be alone in the city.
It was Gay Pride day, full on with a parade! I was rerouted through all the streets in downtown. Round and round I went, until I finally hit the right street to get me to my hotel! It didn't bother me, because it was so fun to watch all the people! I use two credit cards for everything. I have an Alaska credit card for flight miles for my personal stuff and a Hilton credit card for everything business. I am finally back up to 100,000 points on my Hilton card. That's three free nights stay! Whoo hooo! I used one of them, this weekend.
I threw my bags in my room, flipped on the TV and rested a while, watching OPB. There was this awesome percussionist group on, and they were so good!
Then, I wandered down to Saturday Market. Lo and behold, there were two young guys playing percussion and they were equally good! I was amazed! I watched, and then dropped a couple bills in their bucket and wandered on, looking at all of the crafts and chatting with the people.
My son David joined me for dinner. We had Thai food that was so-so at "E-San". I love Thai food, but this didn't seem very authentic. Still, it was a nice time and David and I had a great visit.
Tomorrow... finally! I think Bill and I are going fishing. I can't wait!
We've both been worried about the fact that we don't fish nearly so much, these days. There is just so much in life that is to be enjoyed and so little time!
Gardening and birding and ifish! Oh, my!

Oh! We have four new little baby chicks. All of them are Barred rock hens. They are so darn cute! Nick named our "Beeplers". :) We love them so much! They are now 5 days old, I think? We have got to get to naming them. I giggled about how to tell them apart, but Bill has it figured out. He does it by how their combs lay! Good thinking, Bill!
OK, enough mindless chatter. Someday I'll write about fishing again.
I was complaining to my brother the other day about my lack of fishing. I said, "Am I getting burned out, because of what I do?" He was convinced that might be true. He said, "If you worked at a pizza hut all day, would you want pizza for dinner?" Hmmm.
I spoke to April Vokey about it. She is now my official fishing counselor. She had two suggestions. She said to fish a different stream, and/or to plug in my head phones and listen to music while I fish. I'm going to try that this coming week, April. I'll let you know how it goes!
April is amazing, and not just because she is a fishing female. I mean, remove that from the equation, totally, please? It's frustrating that people immediately look at her and think that her abilities are only skin deep. Yes, she's gorgeous, but what is underneath that? A dedicated fisherwoman, that's what! And so much more! Did you know that she's a musician? A classical musician, who graduated with a degree in music. Her instrument is her voice. I knew we had something in common, but it's certainly not our looks! LOL
We are thinking about doing a musical benefit for a fishing charity. Too much fun!
I'm going to do a Q and A with April Vokey on ifish. If you have any questions for April, please send them to my contact e mail form, below.
Well, it's off for me, for now. I'm going down to the river with the dogs, and then I'm going to play in the garden a bit.
Have a great day, living!

June 20th
Don't miss Grant's Getaways, this Monday on Travel Oregon. Here is a teaser!

It's with Fish Hawk Adventures and Trey Carskadon.
What a treat this will be!
The full length version of the segment will be posted to the Travel Oregon web site on Monday.
a text version will accompany it.
The broadcast version of the GG story will air on KGW, Ch 8 next Friday, June 26 @Noon and Saturday, June 27 @7am.
A web site text version will be posted on the Outdoor page of
The broadcast version will also air on NWCN, Ch 49 (in Seattle, Spokane, Boise and Eugene) each hour throughout the day on Saturday, June 27.
It's been a long, long time since I've been sturgeon fishing.
Fact is, I won't be going again.
Wow. That is so hard to say! In fact, I haven't admitted it to myself, out loud, that is... until today.
That and halibut fishing are just out for me.
(ouch. Still hurts!)
Sometimes I think I'd like to go, just to watch, to feel those scoots alongside its beautiful back.
Some of my best fishing memories are regarding sturgeon fishing. It's really hard for me to talk about, knowing that I'll never go, again.
Long time back, I spent many days with Ben Tagliovento on the Columbia, fishing for sturgeon. Off the bank, no less, and boy oh boy did we catch fish, together! Man, did we catch fish!
I'll not forget bringing those monsters home. I was single, then, and all the neighbors would gather around the strange single girl that would filet out huge sturgeon in her front yard, and hand out big chunks for families to deep fry for dinner!
My kids grew up, knowing that their Mom was a bit... um... different.
But, Ben and I would sit on the huge boulders on the Washington side, right near a trailer park, just miles off the bridge and towards the Peninsula. The only sign we were there, to the cars whizzing by, was the top of our rod points, sticking up like empty flag poles.
At the first of the season, we'd buy our license. Then the routine was all the same. Go buy the bait at the park, head for the rocks and sit and wait. We'd eat soggy sandwiches and drink warm pop for lunch, while we anticipated our real bite!
There was always the period in the tide where the mud cat bothered us, and then the quiet time, when they didn't.
A couple times we'd fish off the Megler bridge to the right, where they have pole holders built right into the mile markers on the road! Oops. Ben used to get after me for calling them "poles". "Never poles! Rods! Rods, Jennie!" I can hear his voice, now!
I'll never forget being totally spooled by an oversize sturgeon, once, while fishing there. I just stood in shock and amazement, as my reel zinged a song so strong that I couldn't remove the reel from the holder. Soon, totally spooled, my line went "pft" flew from the reel, and that sturgeon breeched high up and out of the water.
Cars pulled off the road, to watch the show. That huge monster rose towards the sun, and in seemingly slow motion, fell slowly into the watery depths.
As an angler often quietly asks, "Did that just happen?!"
Speechless, I simply grabbed my then silent rod and reel, placed it in the back of my car, and drove home, laughing. Wow. What a rush that was!
I still have a little tupperware container with pre-tied sturgeon rigs. Beautiful, shiny and sharp hooks, all tied up with dacron line, the way we used to do, sitting around Ben's coffee maker, at home. The hook points are buried safely in little squares of styrofoam, just like Ben taught me, years back.
I still have one other margarine container full of them, too, that Ben and I bought at a garage sale. A lady's husband had passed on, and we were first to go through the tackle. Now, as I ponder this untouched plastic container, my fear is that someone will buy it from me, in the same manner. Someone, quick! Use them!
There were days, when Ben and I would stay in town (Astoria) and fish from the Pier.
Sitting in the truck, rain slamming against the windshield, we'd wait for our bells to ring. I learned the art of using a rope lasso to bring the fish up, up, up out of the water, and onto the pier. Those fish are heavy, though! Part of the very reason I'm unable to fish for them, today. I never should have done that. If only I'd known!
You know it's not a good thing, when you feel like you are bringing up a piano off the bottom of the river. That constant pull does me no good. It's just too long, and too strong, too forceful of a pull on my insides.
Frankly, I should stick to trout. I was told that by one doctor. I shouldn't even fight a salmon, truth be told, and when it gets too long and strong a fight, or when I have an especially wild fish on, I am forced by reason to hand it off.
But, if I have to give up fishing for salmon altogether, I might as well give it all up. I live to fish for steelhead and salmon. You know? I hope that I'm smart enough, or trust my instincts enough to know when a fish is just too much for me. I know for a fact that sturgeon are just that. Too much!
It's hard, though, as I struggle with really wanting the pride that comes with doing it all by myself.
I'll never ever forget the first spring salmon I landed after my heart surgery. I sat on the jet pump bench, oh-so-conscience of whether my heart was still beating, and asking Bill over and over, "Did I do it? Am I alive?" The fish flopping on the floor. "Really? I did that!? All by myself? I'm still alive!?"
I cried real tears of relief. I had won! I did it!
There was a time, laying in bed in the hospital that I really thought those days were over. Of course, there was a time when my close friends, my family, and even the surgeons working over me, wondered if my days were over!
As my aorta continued to dissect down my chest and towards my legs, it ripped one of the main arteries off of my heart, and it stopped beating. But, they expertly stripped a vein from my leg, and patched me up!
They didn't do a very "pretty" job on it, and my leg is still pretty ugly, there, but I don't think it was beauty that they were after.
The least I can do is to give up harassing those sturgeon in the Columbia river, and sit back with a big old grin and watch, fully knowing the joy that Grant, Joe and Trey are having.
It is better to have fished sturgeon and halibut and have to quit, then never to have fished at all. Did someone say that somewhere, or is that saying mine all mine? Tee heeeeeeeeeee.
Ben, my dear, dear fishing friend... He's already gone to that big river in the sky. I will fish sturgeon again, and I will sit next to Ben on some big boulders in the sky next to him, with a soggy fried zucchini sandwich!!
He's probably catching sturgeon like we'd never seen before, and he's holding a place for me, there.
That is part of the reason that the thought of leaving this place for that, never scares or upsets me. Heaven sounds like a pretty neat-o place, and when it's my time, I'll be ready! I have lots of loved ones there, and God will prepare a fishing place, just for me!
There is a part of me that is still healing, regarding my health situation and fishing. There is a part of me that yearns so passionately for the days when I was free to fish for anything, and be independent and free and unafraid of what might go on, inside me due to the consequences of lifting too much, and fighting too hard. It affects my writing, right here on ifish, I'm sure. I'm certain. It's changed my life a bit. Perhaps even my passion. I garden more and fish less.
I hope, though, that as I become more and more familiar with this new fangled metal valve in my chest, and what I can and cannot do, that my confidence fully returns. Perhaps it never will, but I'm sure working on it. But then, aren't we all longing to return to the youth and vitality that we once knew?
Sometimes I feel like a failure, that I have given in to the "wimpies". I can't figure out if that's wisdom or wimpy. Fully knowing that I had marfan syndrome my entire life, I swore I would never let it stop me from anything. I laughed in its face.
But, as I listen to that mechanical valve that so loudly ticks, right now, and even moves my sweater around as it does... Even though it won this round, and I had to give up sturgeon fishing, its not going to win the game.
Fishing is mine for eternity and no one... no one is going to take it from me!
OK. Off I go to the river... Let's go, Kilchy!

June 23rd

I'm off to fish a lake, today!
I'm a member of the Oregon Fishing Club, and so is Bill. We have access to great lakes for fishing. I can't express how nice it is, when the rivers seem jammed wall to wall with people, to be able to still enjoy my favorite things, without worry of overcrowding.
The Fishing Club is also a great opportunity for when the ocean is too wild, or there is no river fishing in season.
Wait a minute!
It's a great opportunity, anytime!
It's just a whole different ball game.
I get to try out my new fly line and new reel that I got for Christmas. I snuck out, yesterday and flipped it around on the river.
Cutthroat aren't in on the Kilchis, yet. I always judge that by the blackberries on the vine. When they ripen, the cutts come in. I learned that from Jim Erickson and ever since, have found it to be true.
I think of Stan Fagerstrom's "On the lake at Daylight" when I fish the lakes.
It came to mind, yesterday as I fished the Kilchis, just because it was so quiet and so beautiful on the river, yesterday.

On a Lake at Daylight

A friend saw me coming off the lake
He asked me what I'd caught
Didn't have a bump this trip, I said
And I fished in my best spot

If I was you I'd quit, he smiled
But I just shook my head
My friend just didn't know you see
There's much more to be said

Because on a lake at daylight
As dawn's light glistens on the dew
I feel the nearness of my Lord
Through skies of gray or blue

I hear him in the eagle's cry
And the heron's raucous call
I see him in the rainbow
Be it summer, spring, or fall

He whispers to me in the wind
Or in the softly falling rain
And I know that if I listen
He'll speak to me again

That's why before I make my first cast
I take the time to pray
To simply thank God for the chance
To be out here today

I thank him in the name of Christ
Because as we are all aware
It was often men who fished He sought
His life on earth to share

I like to catch my share of fish
And I get them now and then
But if I do or if I don't
I'll be back out again

If I never caught another bass
A crappie, perch, or trout
I'd still be going fishin'
There's not the slightest doubt

Perhaps you find the Lord in church
Me too but a promise I will make
Take time to look for Him, my friend
Next time you're out here on the lake

Thanks, Stan. You started my day off in the perfect way!

June 25th

My son Andrew is roughing it a bit.
He's staying in the Portland area and trying to get a job so that he can go back to school. He's finding it difficult, without much money. You need money, in order to get around, to eat, to take buses, etc!
Plus, he's running out of his heart meds and his glasses were broken. He doesn't have a washer or dryer, and his clothes all needed to be done.
I drove in to visit with him as we took care of much of this.
Life is hard. You know that? It really is. I can remember back to being that age. Little life things that kids take for granted pile up and they seem like a really big deal.
He was telling me, though, about when he was living in his last apartment and couldn't afford the heat, anymore. He had electricity hooked up, but knew from prior months, how expensive it was!
So, he was laughing at the memories of his roommate and he getting all excited to use the oven, so that they could gather around and sit by the open oven to get warm, after the baking was done. Then they'd warm their socks by the oven, put them on, wrapping those with tin foil and then putting another pair over the top. Toasty feet!
It was cold at Andrew's.
He hasn't a bed, really, so he offered to fill up an air mattress for me to sleep on. I slept with my sweatshirt on, and a sleeping bag, over that. I slept well, actually! The first night, the air escaped the mattress, and I woke on the floor, but the second night was good!
Sometimes, in the dark of winter after fishing, I'll come into the house, and my fingers will be frozen solid. I can't tell you how good the warm house feels. There is something about wood heat that warms you fully. It's such a wonderful heat! Especially if I go upstairs to sit where the air rises. It's just the best feeling!
I'm so hungry for sunshine! Can you tell? Sunshine is my prozac, for sure, and warm houses with wood heat do about the same for me.
I think a lot of us take for granted the warmth that comes from the walls like magic, when it's cold. I think many of us don't even know what it's like to be cold.
Andrew does! During his cold apartment days, I invited him to the Ifish Christmas party. He answered the phone and when I asked, his first response was, "Do they have heat there?!" He (and his roommate) were ready to be picked up in an instant!
I can laugh about Andrew's situation because he knew that at any time he could come home if things got really bad. But, there are many people out there that live with the cold on a daily basis and have no where to call home.
Here we sit, this morning, blasting the heat to take off the morning chill. Do we fully appreciate the luxury that we've been gifted with?
Not often enough.
Are your fingers cold? Run some hot water over them. Doesn't it feel great? Not everyone has that luxury!
Appreciate these things with me, today! The little things in life, that we know as normal are a real treat for someone, today!
It's really scary to me, as more and more people are beginning to realize the luxury of what many of us take for granted.
I thought of this, yesterday as I noticed that the grass alongside the road hadn't been cleared away, yet. That's because of our budget shortage for the county road crews. There's just lots of little things that aren't able to be accomplished with the current economy. It's really showing, and beginning to hit people very close to me. Too close!!
Little things around all of us that we always took for granted! Things like great big pot holes in the road haven't been filled.
Frankly, I don't mind those so much. It's kind of nice seeing the long waving grasses alongside the road, and the potholes make everyone go slower and enjoy the scenic river drive.
There is good in everything around us, really. I don't think I would have stopped to enjoy the things I've taken for granted, if it weren't for listening to Andrew's story, and feeling a bit of it myself, as I spent time with him.
He was extremely excited over the fact that he was going to have clean clothes to wear, after we did his laundry.
He's struggling.
But, he is learning some really valuable lessons along the way. Only one of them is appreciation for what he'll (hopefully!) have someday, due to his sacrifice and hard work to get up and out of his current situation!
And... I didn't even have to tell him those stories, such as "when I was little, I walked to school barefoot in the snow for miles and miles..." LOL
He wouldn't believe me, anyhow!

June 29th

Kilchis, my beautiful baby dog is getting older. Now, instead of racing out the door in the morning, sometimes he waits for me to get up, and even then, he's a bit slow out the door. I think he's given up to his counterpart, Rev.
Rev is aptly named "Rev" as he is constantly revved! I mean amped, man! That dog never slows down. I don't think she can relax at all. It's not in her makeup! She comes to me for love, but just can't cuddle! Her legs are stiff, and constantly in ready to rev! Imagine trying to hug a stick. That's Rev!
Kilchis, on the other hand, is a soft, relaxed lover-dog, who lays his head on my lap, while I pet his soft, curly ears. Mush pup. I love him!
I waded across the river yesterday for the first time in ages. The moss thickly covers the rocks and it's extremely slippery. Like wet glass, or worse!
Rev is a working dog, and loves to be of service. So, when I call her to guide me, to balance me as I cross, she is pleased. She loves to help!
Bent over, slippy sliding the whole way while tiny baby crawdad shot out to escape our approach, we reached the other side. Man, those crawdad are fast! I always wondered what those black streaks that flew around the river bottom were. Now I know! Yikes! They'll pinch my toes!
Ever since I was a kid and we got stuck on a sandbar while crabbing, I've had a thing about pinchers and my toes. My Dad had us kids get out, barefoot, and try to push the boat. All the while, he teased us about crabs grabbing our toes. Makes me want to scream, just thinking about it. My Dad thought it was extremely funny. Me? Not so much!
Pure agates don't attract moss, so they really stand out, this time of year in the river. I found a dandy! Of course, I picked it up with amazing speed, so as not to get my fingers pinched by the evil clawed ones! I'm kidding, of course, but again... yikes!
I think what motivates me to write is nostalgia. I think it's that way for the whole family, really, or maybe, is it everyone?
My son Andrew is very nostalgic about things. We were talking about that, the other day.
As I walked in the bright, windless sun on the other side of the river, I thought back to a day when my son, David and I made this same trek.
We had been hearing the most beautiful sax music alongside the river, so one day, we headed out to find where the source of the 'magic music' was coming from.
The music stopped along the way, but we kept going. It was just so nice out!
But, yesterday, as I walked to the edge of the pool across the river, I noticed how it had changed. It changes every year, but this year, especially so!
Last year, we couldn't walk alongside the river on the other shore. The brambles went clear to the water, and we had to make a trail through them in order to reach the deep pool at the bend. This year, there are yards and yards of clear rocks that pave the way all the way down.
When I reached the deep pool, I stared into it's windless face and tried to adjust my eyes to find the bottom. Man, it is deep, this year! What a perfect pool to swim!
And that did it! That was it for me!
Tears flowed strong so much that I probably raised the water level.
I sat down, and in my mind's eye, I saw David and Andrew swimming and splashing. I swear I could hear joyful squeals and screams. I could hear it so clearly!
Long ago, the days of the trampoline, David had a game of throwing a stick for Bill's old dog, Dee Dee (God rest her soul). He'd hold her after he threw a stick and then, he'd release her and yell "GO!" They'd race to see who was the first to get to the stick. What a blast it all was!
I'd lay on the river bank, watching this over and over until the sun started to fall behind the hillside and finally exhaustion would take over. Dee Dee's tongue hung out the side of her mouth, and I swear, David's did too! It was quite something to have two young ones named "Dee Dee". We didn't plan that. I swear we didn't! But, David's nickname was always "Dee Dee Cakes" because he loved pancakes. It was shortened to "Dee Dee", and that it was, when we met Bill and his dog, Dee Dee.
Dee Dee and Dee Dee were fast friends.

Dee Dee and Dee Dee
Click pic to zoom

Ah, dang. Where do the days go?
And, I can look out at the Milton tree on the way home, and see that the little seedling I planted from Milton's funeral is now 10 feet tall. I can really sing, "See the tree, how big it's grown..."
Nostalgia motivates me to write, and hopefully, it takes away a bit of my sadness, and helps me to enjoy my memories, to be glad for them, and to help me realize how lucky I am, to have them!
By the way, we did finally meet the source of the sax music. It was our neighbor, and from time to time, he still plays. It's always a blessing to hear!

June 30th

Wow! One day till July! Who can beat me to the "Happy July!"?
Stan's column is up one day early, because I'm going to help Andrew with some things, today. It's an awesome column! Always exciting to hear more about St. Helens.
I have experience with lightning on the water, and it's no fun.
Well, we are in for some heat, it sounds like! I think I'll take my swimsuit and take a dip in Andrew's pool!
I guess I won't be going to ICAST this year. Sad. It's the first year I missed, but I just can't afford it. It took me forever to finally admit it. It's a no-go. It's just too far, anyhow. I hope everyone has a great time and brings back lots of news!