Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington

Fishing with Milton Fisher
on the North Fork Nehalem

Jennie Logo

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

A journal of my adventures.

September 2nd 1999
Happy September!!! Just that much closer to my favorite season! Steelhead!
I am calling Captain Mark Charlton for a fishing report right now. O.K, here's the deal...
The Captain reports good fishing out in the ocean, big silvers, 12 to 15 pounds! Not many Chinook out in the ocean yet, but it is open for Chinook, he caught one yesterday. Mostly limits on the boats. Buoy 10 continues to produce silvers. Thanks Mark!

Linda at Tackle Time reports that many people believe Buoy 10 is closed. It is not closed! It is open for Coho from Buoy 10 to Tongue Point. There are only 12 trailers there at the Warrenton boat launch which goes to show that people think it is closed. People are catching fish! We still don't know if the ocean is open 7 days a week but there are rumors to that effect, and we need to find out for sure.

I so wish that I could drop everything and go fishing for Jacks. Actually fishing for anything! I am waiting for the movers to come, and I need to break down my computer now. I will get it up and running by Friday, and update then. I will be back in Astoria this weekend to check on all the fishing news!
Until then, fish on, tight lines, all that fishing stuff! Catch one for me!

September 3rd 1999
Hah! 'told ya so! I would be back on Friday! Well, my zip drive started acting up, but I am here!
WHOO HOO!!!!! Woke up to a river in my back yard! How awesome!
Tonight I went out back and sat on my deck upstairs, and listened..... I heard nothing but the sound of birds and trees and water! No cars! No sirens! Nothing! I stared out over the water and saw fish feeding on bugs... I waited for a deer, but no luck. Guess they don't do requests.
Moving is an awesome task though. My back is sore, my legs are going to fall off I am sure, but besides all that, I am happy!
I can't wait to get everything in order. It will take some time. The kitchen is so huge I don't know where everything is! The kids and I play the magic guessing game, "where are the bowls, choose a door!"
Anyway, back to Astoria tomorrow to clean my old house and check up on the rivers. I am staying overnight to play at my old church. Then back to paradise.
It's all paradise, actually. Just follow the deep blue sea, and the coastal towns that dot the way are all exciting, and I have lived in many places from Gleneden Beach to Astoria. Can't seem to get away from the coast, and I don't want to!
Anyway, I'll give you what I hear about the waters soon. Until then, I will post Linda, from Tackle Times report that I just received:

Here's the scoop. Ocean open seven days a week. One chinook may be kept. All other ocean regulations apply. Season will run till Sept 30th, if quotas are not met. Just talked with Tarra, Oregon fish and wildlife, she said that only 27 percent of quota has been caught. So, we still have a Long way to go yet.
Buoy 10 fishing. Also open seven days a week. It's a coho fishery only. Chinook may be kept ABOVE Tongue Point. The line is from Tongue Point to Grays Point. Barbed hooks may be used at buoy 10. All other regulations apply. Now for the report: Buoy 10 is starting to pick up. Limits are more common now. Nice big silvers! Fish have been caught right at the saw dust pile. That's just straight out from the Warrenton boat launch, and down river. It's been reported that a power mooch is the way to go. Some of the guys are using down riggers. But for the most part, the guys are using e-z divers (about a 4 oz.) and trolling, using Fresh whole herring. Reports for today, is that their were a clatter of fish on the Washington side right at the famous Church Hole and over by the bridge. Limits were caught all up and down the river. Also, sturgeon fishing is still holding up. Fish have been caught right behind buoy 29 and in front of Astoria. Most of them are using fresh anchovies and sand shrimp. Smelt is also working.


September 7th 1999
I am a terrible web mistress! It has been 4 days since I wrote in this column at Ifish.. I am having many, many computer problems switching ISPs! I miss Seasurf SO much!
Let's talk about T bay! I heard a confirmed catch of the giant Chinook in T bay last Thursday. (Sixty pounders are caught just about every year!
T Bay opens up soon! Before the closure, that section produced well consistently as early as the latter part of August. (it has been several years since it has been open before the middle of September.)
With improvements in the Canadian treaty situation, good numbers are expected to return this fall.
Time to polish up on your plug cut herring techniques! Don't forget to use enough lead to fish just off the bottom!
It has been so long since I have fished, I think I will changed the domain name to "" or perhaps, ""!
I got a report from Linda at Tackle Time, and I put it on the Tackle Time page.
That's all for now, I have to go back to Astoria tomorrow, so I will check on things again!

September 9th 1999
Stan Fagerstrom just sent me a new column on the new page: Let's Talk about Bass, Panfish and Products. I love reading his articles, and I learn so much too! Thank you again, Stan!!!
Still no requested visits from deer in my lawn, but I had many, many pairs of Golfinches out my back window. Hey, we only have, what, 7 feeders outside already? I think they followed me from my old house. Do you think so? :)
Things are winding down a bit on the moving side, and I am able to take some deep breaths. Got the kids in school, and they seem to be adjusting O.K. It is hard to change schools. I never had to, luckily.
A fishing report is due from Jim Erickson on the phone so soon as I know, I will report what is up. He will know, I certainly do not! Next week I get to fish though! I can't wait, and I am going to fish fish fish! I think I will get to fish in between lessons, and after church on Sunday. I have a killer day each Sunday. Drive to Astoria, play for church, and then teach 8 piano lessons. But then.... I get to fish all week!... (And keep up with web clients...) (And take care of kids...) (And play a few gigs...) but HEY! I can fish!
OK, here is the news on Jim's fishing:
Looks like I'm not missing much! YAY!!! Slow at Wheeler and Nehalem, although he did see his first Fall Chinook go up the North Fork. He has heard mixed reports on the Columbia. Hmmmm Next week, I just know.... It will be a fish producing week!....... Please????? See ya!

September 11th 1999
Saw my first confirmed catch today on T Bay! I was driving past the ghost hole just at high tide, and saw the nets up in a boat, and on closer observation saw them net a Fall Chinook! YES! It is confirmed. I saw it with my own eyes! There were probably 20 boats out on this absolutely gorgeous day at the coast. I will be there next week without a doubt!
Just got back from swimming in the river with the boys. No better way to study the new body of water out here than to know what the bottom of the river does. I explored all of the drop offs, the tail outs, the riffles. Played with some crawdads with the boys. The water is SO cold though! BRR!
It was so nice just to have a little fun today.
Tomorrow back to Astoria. I am going to pack a jack rod, and some salad shrimp. That is all I have, but you know, they do work well! Hard to keep on a hook, but I am going to give it a try in between lessons. I can't wait!!!
Well, off I go, big day tomorrow. Let me know what's going on out there!!!

September 14th 1999
I woke up this morning to a world of fog. I think between the two labs we have, deer might be fairly scarce around here. This has two sides though, because I think the coyotes and bobcats will be more scarce also which is a darn good thing for my cat. The people living here previously lost 3 cats in the last 3 months. Scary!
We need rain! I know, this weather is lovely, but fishing is my main goal in life, especially lately, since I have been fishless and moving. Now I need a rain and a salmon!
T bay should be heating up soon. The bubble and the lower end will open up on the 16th, and I think it should improve greatly in the next few weeks.
The Columbia, as you all should know by now, closed for Chinook on Monday, but remains open and fishable from Buoy 10 to Bonneville for Steelhead and Silvers.
Honestly, I didn't plan on moving South just in time for the big Nookers, but it sure worked out great! Hee hee! Migrating with the species!
I guess Nehalem is still slow.
Do you know how hard it is to work out in my yard with a river beckoning me constantly....."Come fish Jennie.... come fish....."I keep having these visions of me quitting what I should be doing, rising from my computer chair and walking trance-like out the door to the river edge. The darn river is so low though.
Keep in mind the people who will be affected by Floyd and send whatever good thoughts or prayers you can. How scary. I really feel for those people!
Anyway, off to finish up some chores around the house! Byeeee!
(I will fish this week. I WILL!)

September 15th 1999
Wow! Take a look at what Len did today! I guess it was a rough Buoy 10 season, but things are looking good from that pic! Don't give up!
Whoooo hoooo! Fishing tomorrow! I can't wait! I am fishing T bay tomorrow and I need, I want, I have to have, I crave, I must have a hog! Gimme gimme! It's about time! I have been fishless for what seems like forever!
****** says fishing in this area lately has varied from extremely poor to excellent. How is that for a forecast? I guess you just never know! He is bringing in a lot of fish though!
I threw a little (ok, BIG) pity party for myself today as Bill departed for Seaside to do some errands, and stuck a rod in his car on the way out. He promised to show his friend in Seaside some nice silver jack holes. I had to stay home for the cable guy, (Boo fair) so I couldn't go, but still, my heart sank as I cleaned house, and arranged things in the boys room, my mind wandered to the places that I have fished for years, and now am so far from. All of the waters out here are a new adventure to me, which is very exciting, and yet at the same time, my heart longs for the familiar. I wonder how I will feel though, when those huge hogs are swimming in my back yard waters. When I can get up at 6 and throw on some warm clothes, grab my rod and be where people travel for hours to get to, in less than a minute, with no car hassles, no parking, no hiking. Just a vast waterway in my back yard! YAY!
So anyway, tomorrow I will be fishing again, and I am more ready than I can clearly comprehend. I want water surrounding me. I want to stare at a rod tip. I want that rod to go down and wild like visions and excitement that sometimes wake me in the night. To hear reels screaming in protest, and to feel my heart beat wildly! Yes! I want to go!
Now I am so excited I won't be able to sleep. Oh brother!

September 15th 1999
Wow! Take a look at what Len did today! I guess it was a rough Buoy 10 season, but things are looking good from that pic! Don't give up!
Whoooo hoooo! Fishing tomorrow! I can't wait! I am fishing T bay tomorrow and I need, I want, I have to have, I crave, I must have a hog! Gimme gimme! It's about time! I have been fishless for what seems like forever!
***** says fishing in this area lately has varied from extremely poor to excellent. How is that for a forecast? I guess you just never know! He is bringing in a lot of fish though!
I threw a little (ok, BIG) pity party for myself today as Bill departed for Seaside to do some errands, and stuck a rod in his car on the way out. He promised to show his friend in Seaside some nice silver jack holes. I had to stay home for the cable guy, (Boo fair) so I couldn't go, but still, my heart sank as I cleaned house, and arranged things in the boys room, my mind wandered to the places that I have fished for years, and now am so far from. All of the waters out here are a new adventure to me, which is very exciting, and yet at the same time, my heart longs for the familiar. I wonder how I will feel though, when those huge hogs are swimming in my back yard waters.

September 16th 1999
I posted My Buoy 10 Salmon here!

Wow! That was fun! I had a great day fishing! Let's see, at low slack there was a good bite happening. We fished for a bit just outside the jaws on T bay, where there were several boats fishing. The ocean was a little rock and rolly today, and since we got one bite (the fish just didn't take!) on the way to the jaws, and spent twice as long out in the ocean and got no bite, we decided to head back to the jaws. Inside we went a ways up river, and put it. Bingo! The minute Bills bait hit bottom we had a nice 23 lb. buck. I netted it successfully! Yee haw! I mean, you know how it is netting someone's fish, SCARY! But I did it really well! I held the end of the net with two fingers, waited for his head, and Swoooosh across the fish, as I dropped the netting! Oh yeah, and up straight so he wouldn't get loose!
Anyway, I didn't get my Chinook. I didn't get to feel the womp, womp of the take, and the instant notorious head shaking you feel that instantly identifies the species, but I did do one other very important thing.
I backed the trailer into the water!!! Totally straight down, and everything! It was two lanes and I got totally in my lane! You don't know how this made me feel! The first time I tried I failed miserably, but this time... No prob! I did good! It was more exciting to me than a fish! I can handle a trailer!
So anyway, low slack seems to be producing. Saw a friend of Bill's out on the water, Tim Juarez, and he had four in his boat by low. A few fish taken here and there.
Off to a great start! Let's go! (And I am ... Tomorrow!) My life has begun again!
Oh yeah, guys, everyone seems to like and visit the discussion board. It gets kind of tedious to read though, if you don't post! That means YOU! Please?
Oh yeah, I have this great idea I want to see happen on Ifish. I want three river cams. One on the Wilson, the Trask, and The Kilchis. I would like to start with my the Kilchis, since I can easily monitor it and see how it goes. I need technical advice, and financial support though! Wouldn't it be fun to see a fish caught and played on the net? Wheeeee!
Then I want a Davis weather station, so I can have real time weather data down here. Dream on, Girlfriend! Oh well, it may happen!
Enough for now. Reports tomorrow from T bay again!

September 17th 1999

Tillamook Bay was not as hot today when we fished the last of the outgoing and low slack. We saw 2 hook ups, and at take out the fish checker had checked in 5 fish at noon. The water was rough, and I wouldn't have even wanted to go outside the jaws. Big rolling waves... you know, where you see a boat, and then it is gone??? Anyway, it was windy and cold and rough. Not a good bite like yesterday.
However, we put a crab pot out, and in three and a half hours, one pot, we got 6 nice keepers, so don't forget the crabbing! One was huge! 8 inches!
Len Self reports hot fishing out in the Columbia. He writes:
B-10 has picked up. Hooked 30 fish today, got 8 for clients and 2 for me!
Picture attached!

September 20th 1999

Jim Erickson stopped by and brought some wonderful smoked salmon! YUM! He also let me in on the local fishing news, so I thought I would pass it on. He has been spending most of his days roaming around the ocean in the fog with his G.P.S. Something I would not recommend except for very experienced navigators!!!
Anyway, here goes the news: For more information, you may call Jim at (503) 368 5365.
Chinook fishing at Nehalem/Wheeler was hot until about 5 days ago. The fish have now moved up river, although there are very few as far as the Nehalem hatchery.
They are as far up the South Fork as the Liverpool area, Roy Creek and Foley Creek. Fish with a bobber and shrimp or eggs, at 7 to 11 feet down with about 30 lb test. (He says you need about 100 lb test at the Wilson, due to heavy fishing though!)
The only problem with fishing the South Fork is that you can get a boat only from Roy creek down, because of low water. It is currently at 1.4 feet, and it needs to be 2.5 to get a boat down from the Beaver slide ramp. You can fish from the bank though on Foley Creek road. Other access is Cook Creek downstream on the south side.
Best bet is Roy Creek on down.
Jim has a theory on the Nehalem Bay fishery. He says that the fish that used to linger in years past, in the Nehalem Bay/Wheeler area have been caught. The only survivors are the ones genetically programmed to go upriver in spite of the low water.
Fishing is excellent when the ocean is calm and fish can cross the bar. But the ocean has been very rough so many fish have yet to come in.
Jim has been fishing at the whistler buoy and doing great. He has been getting out there in the early morning and buzzing around with his G.P.S. The bait fish, though are extremely thick this year. Candle fish everywhere.
Tillamook Bay has been fair. Not as great as they predicted. There were some big catches at the Oyster plant before the 16th opening of the jaws. Since the jaws have been open, fishing has been sporadic.
HOWEVER, Crabbing is Excellent both in Tillamook Bay and Nehalem Bay. An insiders secret on the Nehalem: Start at the jaws and work your way clear up near the state boat ramp as the tide comes in.
Warning: Do not crab next to the South Jetty. The Coast Guard will ticket you for blocking the Channel.

September 21st 1999

I was pumping out web pages and late work this morning when all of the sudden the lights flickered a couple times and then went completely out. Poof! After checking with the utility people here, and finding out a truck had hit a line I wandered around the house. What could I do? I was being very productive and thinking work, work, work all morning.
FISH! I have a river in my backyard! Yes, the river is very low. So low you can see bottom in all but the deepest holes. O.K., hole. There is one hole that is deep. So I grabbed my ultra light with a little red and brown rooster tail, and mostly just set out to go play. No hopes of real fish.
WRONG! First cast! Into the deep pool, landed a micro inch from a large rock that then followed into a deep dark pool, and whammo! Bit like you couldn't believe! It was a fairly nice sized cutthroat, and after I released it, I casted again. Wham again! This time harder, more forceful, sharper! This fish did not want to travel the 12 feet across the pool to come see me. Not at all!! This fish wanted to display his dancing abilities. He was big! He was strong! I was smiling, giggling I think, there on the river bank with no one near me for acres.... Tail dancing, flipping, pulling against my buckling little quantum micro with the line screaming on my Daiwa 500T. What could this fish be? Well, I got him in, and in the excitement of the release, I didn't ever figure out what it was. I wish I knew. I know a cut, and I don't think it was a cutthroat. It was too big, too fat. About 18 inches. A small summer steelie? But he didn't seem chrome enough. Large native rainbow? I don't know! But it was the highlight of my day/week/month!
So then I walked upriver, thinking surely, after a few more casts, that the residents in this hole had enough for the moment. The only other hole required wading, so I decided to go for it. Long pants, thick socks and tennies... I had the bug and I didn't care. Hunting woman!!!
I didn't have any luck. Why is it that fishing people think the harder you work the better your success will be? It's just not always true. So I gave up on the new hole, and went back after 20 minutes to the producing hole. Wham, got bit again, but only to tease and torture me. I am sure that fish is probably there until the water rises. I wonder how many days I can catch him. I wonder how many times I can trick him into biting a new and different lure. Poor thing will have a sore mouth though. Think I'll leave him alone.
For today.

September 23rd 1999

Where is the month going? What is going on here? I think this last month, with being so busy has just flown by!
Steelhead season is nearer, and nearer!
I have been out trying to catch those fish again, but with no luck. It is so nice, when I get frustrated here at the computer, just to pick up a rod off of the rack in my office, walk out the door and head for the water! WHHEEE HAW!!!
Tomorrow I hit T bay again, and I can't wait!
However, I have a headache, and a little bit of a fever, and I have so much to do this weekend.. Oh well, life with kids, and every germ they pick up at school!
So..... Stan sent me a new column on open faced spinning reels and it is very interesting for those of us who want to take people who don't fish much fishing, and I do!!! My kids!
Len has still been pullin um in on the Columbia.... That's all.... I'll give you a report on T bay tomorrow!

September 24th 1999

Did you read Stan's new column? O.K., just checkin... I think he's awesome!
Anyway, fished T bay today.. my, oh my but it be slow out there! But we did get one of not too many fish caught today. The breakers were huge out at the lower bay by the jaws, so there was a Coast guard boat stopping boats from getting too close to the tower. As if you would see those waves and venture near! I convinced Bill that it was not fun out there (I am basically a chicken) so we fished the Coast Guard hole and the Ghost hole.
We caught our fish at the Ghost hole before high tide. Kind of a surprise, the bite was totally nill. At check out, the checker said he had seen ONE other fish. Not good for this time of year. But hey, you look at the berries, the tomatoes, everything is late this year. I still hold out hope!
Much needed out there today, also, was a "Please keep off the grass" sign. Everytime we reeled in, we had tons of seaweed, and I don't know of any vegetarian salmon.
However, I had the time of my life, I always do, you know, when I fish!
Bill actually hooked the fish and was sweet enough to let me play it. We caught it in shallow water, and boy do they run in the shallows! Wheeee!
I also met Peter Morris for the first time. A long time e mail aquaintance.. Hi Peter! That was fun!
Anyway, off I go to a weekend of gigs and piano teaching in Astoria. Time for me, hopefully, to check out my old jack hole I miss so dearly.
Hope you all get lucky and catch lots of fish this weekend! Byeeeee!

September 27th 1999

Back from the big weekend in Astoria. I guess things are kind of slow all over! All I can do is chomp at the bit for the Fall Chinook to come in the rivers here. I talked to some people about jack salmon... They appear to be late or non existent this year. People who have tried my spots daily...(my old spots.... sigh.....) and have done very little. I talked to people who have fished the beach out at Fort Stevens and not done too well. Let's see... where are they doing well?
I don't know right off, but I am going cutthroat fishing in the morning! That will be fun!
I got some really important work done today.. and lots done all weekend. I was really exhausted, and it just feels good to look forward to a day in the fall sun going down a beautiful stream. I love this time of year. When the air is just a little crisp, but the sun is warm in the afternoon, and there is a promise of steelhead in the air.
I am in the mood for a big rain. A full blown storm. I want to see the sky turn gray and dark, and have the wind give the trees a total workout. I want to hover by the wood stove, and make cinnamon rolls from fresh yeast dough. I want to get up at first light, and make coffee and watch the birds come to feed.
But most of all, I want to see this river rise. I want to know what it looks like when it is not a small summer creek. I want to see the current, and the new channels it forms. To walk along the river and find where my places to fish will be. I want to know this river. Not only out of curiosity, but out of missing knowing a body of water like the back of my hand. I miss my old waters so much, and I know I can love these the same, but I need to get in there and discover them, to see them in all seasons, to watch the water levels rise and fall, and to know when the river says... "yes... the fish are here......"
The rain will come.

September 29th 1999

Lots 'o news!
I'm fishing again! Alot! We figure if we don't fish at least three times a week then something is terribly wrong. I love this life! I fished two days in a row this week!!! Yesterday and today!
Yesterday we fished for cuts in the tidewater on the Kilchis. The water was really low and extremely clear, but we managed... well, BILL managed to catch a few. One pretty nice one. All were released unharmed. Pretty little fishies...
Today we just pulled in off T bay after getting blown off. It started out calm as can be, but as the N.W. wind picked up so did the chop. We fished the jaws, and even outside the bar. The ocean was as calm as a big lake! Then we went to the ghost hole, after the Coast Guard hole..Anyway, about the fish, Bill had one on and lost it.
Which brings me to my next subject... WHY can't I hook a fish lately? WHY??? I can't even get close!I was SO hot for a fish today.. I just knew I was going to get slammed... But NO! I am, yet again, losing faith in my ability to hook a fish! I start in on these "Poor me, I miss my old fishable waters where I knew how to hook fish!"
Or...."the fish here in Tillamook are just plain stupid" or when Bill hooks YET another one.. I say, (instead of YAY!) "You DON'T have another one on, DO YOU???" Oh well... I will catch one soon!
I stayed overnight last Saturday night at the Riverside Inn in Seaside. I did their web page for them, and they invited me to come stay. Since I had to play gigs both Saturday night and Sunday, I decided to take them up on it! What a neato place! Everything was decorated with fish! My kind of place! I was thinking how neat it would be for a couple to come down in the wintertime, and stay.. Get up early in the morning and go drift the Necanicum or something. The only bad thing about that is that you would miss the breakfast! Maybe sleep in and fish late? Catch all that the others didn't have the skill to land. I love it! Lazy fishing! Judy and Larry at The Riverside Inn gave me the recipe for this wonderful Strata that I thought I would share with you. Most of all I just loved the the homey, warm atmosphere at the Inn. I simply loved it!
So, along with a super recipe for smoked salmon dip, submitted by Jim Erickson (the local Nehalem fishing pro), I thought I would post the recipe for the strata here on theNew at ifish!Recipe page. If you have a recipe you would like to share, I will try and post it! Even though the strata is not fish, I would like to keep the page basically fishy or beachy..
Anyway, off to check the waters of the Astoria shores tomorrow... Will post a report on jacks, etc!