Fishing The Coast, Oregon and Washington

September 2005


Jennie's
Fishing Life


September 1st!

Hey! Happy September! I had to be first! Funny... I told my angel at the Post Office yesterday Happy September and that I had to be first. She asked me, "Are you competitive?" That stopped me cold. "No! I just like to be first!" OK... I guess I'm competitive when it comes to trying to be happy!
This means that you can use bait in the Kilchis river. The odd part is that you cannot retain salmon until the 15th. I suppose that was written to keep people away from deep pools where they may lie some old spawning springers. As if someone would want one at this point!
I doubt I could catch anything with bait in the Kilchis right now, anyhow. The cutts seem to like flies best of all. Besides, it's much more fun to catch them on flies. Especially since Stan Fagerstrom sent me some hand tied flies that he used to use. I adore using those! They are huge! You would think it would scare the little buggers, but they are so aggressive they just take them on like mad!


A black bear foot that I found on a Tidewater beach.

A couple times this week I have had them take flies on the top, like bass. That is so exciting! The minute the fly is neatly laid out and touches water, the water explodes! Sure enough, there is a tug, when I tighten the line! Whooo hooo! The fight is on! What a fight it is, with a 3 weight rod!
I'm excited about the tuna derby this weekend. You can read about it, here. All of the tuna gets canned and given to the food bank. Now, that's a great idea! Thank you, Sweet Louise!
Then, Sunday I'm going to a bbq at my old best friend's home. She is so awesome. She takes in animals that are abandoned, and she takes such good care of them! She always was a softy.
Alright. Enough of this nonsense. I have to get out there and watch the top water explode some more!

September 3rd

After a satisfying dinner, I wandered out to the river. At least once, after the river opens for bait, I just have to use it... just to find out what lives in the deeper pools, and what has declined my offering of several different flies over the summer months. Who knows? Something new and different may very well have worked their way upriver overnight, anyhow!
Two days ago, I was laying out a fly in some flat water, in between two shoots of rapids, and I abruptly stopped at what I was seeing. What was it? A dark form appeared in 10 feet or more of water, and... it moved! It swayed gently, to and fro. I couldn't make it out, yet, what else could it be, but a large fish? Too deep and too still for an otter. Too big for a cutthroat. It had to be a salmon of some sort!
I sighed. It was too deep and too short after the riffles to get a fly to. Still, I gazed in amazement. I supposed it was an old spring chinook, already spawned, just finning next to the rocky bottom.
I was satisfied just knowing that there might be a stray springer in the river.
However, last night, it did not occur to me that in the upper hole lived a salmon.
I casually sifted through any "bait" I might have in the garage. The odor from my bait fridge proved that the worms that I had bought for spring trout in the lake had long past expired. I tossed them out, fighting nausea as I did.
Power bait? I suppose. I put some in my bag. Gulp worms? Yeah... I'll try that. Pink worms? I doubt it, but I threw them in, also.
Not very satisfied with my choices, I began to head out when it hit me. I had purchased frozen prawns for a stir fry. Just a couple of those? No one would miss them for dinner, right? When we have prawns for dinner, we all count them out, exactly divided, as treats. We love prawns! Well, what's more important here? Fish love them, too!
I hurried back to the house, grabbed a couple out, put them in a plastic baggy and ran them under warm water to thaw them.
There! Now I had my hope. You must have hope to catch fish, yes? Still, I sauntered slowly out to the hole. You know, fishing had been so slow the last weeks. The river is low, and gazing into it, appears lifeless except for the tiny steelhead smolt that perform their water ballet each night at dusk.
With a micro trout rod and four pound test, I attached a medium sized hook, and a rather large chunk of precious prawn. I neatly crimped the barb, knowing full well I'd be pestered with smolt, and I dislike nothing more than to risk their lives just to feed my addiction for casting lines attached with hooks into the water.
My tiny cork bobber was a bit difficult to see in the dusk, as I cast it across the hole, and near to the rocky ledge where salmon lie, in the late Fall.
I squinted my eyes to track it, when it totally disappeared. Doubting what I saw, and instead taking it for my poor eyesight, I pulled back, just to move the bobber, so that I could focus on it more accurately. Low and behold, it pulled back with a force that made me say outloud, "That's a real fish!" I was thinking cutthroat. Big, big cutthroat! However, as I played it, I was forced to think, "Salmon! That's not a cutthroat, that's a salmon!" When it came into view, sure and by golly of all gollies, it was a salmon! A silver salmon! A coho! Oh... My... Gosh!
My micro rod bent double as I tried to figure out what to do with this monster on the end of my line. I knew I couldn't keep it, and I knew that I would have to play it a long, long, time in order to get it in to release it on the equipment that I was using. I mean, a micro rod and four pound test and a 10 poundish silver? Lord, help me!
I thought it was a summer steelhead at first, (which we have very few strays) but the chrome on it, and the fact that it was spinning in my line, (as silvers often do) brought me to reality. What in the world is a coho doing this far upriver in the first of September???
I could not believe my luck. I landed it in no time, and with my heart pounding harder than the doctors would like, and yelling fruitlessly for someone in the house to come witness my miracle, I released him.
I sat on a rock, trying to calm myself and I looked around me. The river beach had returned to silence. Not a ripple on the water. Not a breeze to move the trees.
The only movement around me was my dog Kilchis. His tail was wagging furiously. He saw it. Just ask him!
All of that excitement happened on a small, skinny and shallow stretch of water on the Kilchis river. As I sat there in the stillness, I wondered if it had really happened, or was it all a dream?
Instead of trying again, I simply had to go tell someone, and I walked to the house, to tell my tale.
This morning, I got up at dawn to go repeat my adventure. Try as I might, I could not replay any of what I experienced, the night before. I caught a couple cutts, yes, but the dreams of my hands on that silver are just that... only dreams... only memories... But, it was one of those memories I'll never, ever forget.
Now... how am I going to explain that we only get two prawns a piece, for dinner?

September 6th

I've got to admit. There is this red watch on Ebay that I really want. (Badly!) It has little fish inside the dial that are free to move around, and they have little sparkling crystals around the dial and on the fish! One is even pink! I adore it! But the red one.. It has more sparkles. I love sparkles!
However, they are shipped from Tokyo, and I'm just a little hesitant. I know that should I buy it, I'd receive a quick rush of happiness when it got to my mailbox. I'd wear it some, and keep it in my jewelry box and every once and a while, it would give me pleasure.
But... it's stuff. You know? It's just stuff, and the happiness "stuff" brings is so fleeting.
The other night I made a beautiful dinner. It took me quite a while, and a whole lot of planning. But, as I sat down to eat, I kept checking faces of folks around me. "Do they like it?" They were silent. They must. My heart swelled as I finally got a response. "Mom, this is the best chicken I've ever eaten!" After that, a chorus in agreement came from around the dinner table, and my heart shot towards the stars!
Whoo hooo! There might as well have been a thousand shiny crystal fish watches at my doorstep!
I'm rarely hungry at dinner time, but I live around a troop of hungry men. I cook them fancy meals for mainly one reason. To "fish" for compliments. It just makes me feel really good! I love cooking wonderful food and being praised for it. I have, ever since my kids were little. No, I did it before then! I used to cook when I was a child, and loved that attention, too! Preparing something that disappears fast, or brings requests for seconds makes my heart sing.
I really think my kids know that I enjoy positive feedback about dinner. Even if it's so-so, they always thank me and say it's good. Now, that's a well disciplined and trained child, if you ask me!
Heaven forbid if I ever make anything they don't like. It tears me up, and my evening is in ruins.
Realizing how much pleasure making a good dinner brings me, makes me realize how "giving" is really the ultimate key to happiness.
I think that's why I've been more than a little down, lately, watching the news. I feel so helpless! I've given to the Red Cross, but still, I feel little relief. I've had thoughts of selling everything I own, just to know a bit of what it is like for them. I'd use the money to help them. I've had thoughts of wearing black, or of fasting until they all had food.
If only I could "hands on" cook them a nice meal, or even take a family in, and cook them lots of nice meals! I really want to! I've heard that wish expressed many times over in conversation with my friends.
Perhaps it is almost a selfish wish, to be able to be right there. I know that it is in part, to help my own self to feel better.
I also realize that when I'm frustrated, and my need to feel needed and appreciated is in low supply, I tend to turn to wanting "things"... like that ebay watch. It's a desperate cry for a quick fix of happiness. I know I don't need it. I just crave that rush of excitement and happiness.
Sometimes I wonder if there isn't an economic boost in spending when National tragedies occur. People, desperate to feel better... buying things?
Good thing I know that "things" only bring short term joy. Good thing that I've learned, that when I'm feeling down, it's because I haven't given to others enough, lately.
I wish that we could all do something, daily, to help the victims of Katrina. I wish that, not only for the people who are suffering, but for the people that are suffering.. I want us all to feel alright!
All I can say, is give what you can, when you can. The news is filled with "how to help" ideas. One that hit me was Northwest Medical Teams accepting household goods this week at their Tigard office. Go down and give something! Toothbrushes! Anything!
And, in the meantime, cook something nice for your family, tonight. I mean, really nice. Something that they really love and will appreciate. I bet it will do miracles for how you feel about yourself.
We all need to be appreciated, and we all need to appreciate others.
I don't need that silly watch. It sure is pretty, but I'd bet your bottom dollar that my family thinks I'm much prettier when I'm smiling and happy. That smile lasts a lot longer just being surrounded by their love and appreciation.

September 9th

Migraine headache... day 6. I guess I can't complain. I hadn't ever had these, before my surgeries starting in December. Now, I know the true meaning of what an 'aura' is. I guess I am lucky to experience so much of what life has to offer!
Yesterday I fished the upper bay for a little bit. We got blown off just about the time I started getting tired, so it worked out perfectly.
No fish for us, however, Bill did miss one.
Afterwards, it was warm and sunny at the house, so I went on a slow stroll on the river beach, picking berries as I wandered. They are the most wonderfully sweet little drops of summer, all warm and mushy in the sunshine.
Today, it is raining. I just walked out to the garden and picked 10 raspberries. (Count 'em!) They match the weather in taste. I ate them, standing in the rain, ankle high in mud. Sweet little cold drops of rain. Fall is well on it's way.
Kilchis loves the blackberries and the raspberries. He's not so hot on blueberries. I just don't get why he can't pick his own. He's a little pushy when he sees me with a handful.
As the wind blows around me, the trees are stripped of their summer clothes. I love how they land and skitter across the surface of the river, as if on ice skates. Are they really touching the water, or just floating over it? I'm fascinated when they fall, crisply dried to the pavement and scoot across, as if propelled by their own devices. They don't turn and roll, they just float, ever so smoothly across the road.
Chipmunks dash to and fro across the road in front of me, as I drive the tourist-abandoned roads for home. Bill jokes about wanting a new bumper sticker that says, "I brake for Chipmunks". I know from experience that he speaks the truth. I'm here to tell you. He does brake for chipmunks. If you are following him closely, beware.
One of these days I'm going to be able to go fishing, or go to Portland. I've been waiting for days. Every morning I get up and my headache yet keeps me from traveling... or doing anything, really.
Yesterday I went fishing anyway, and last evening I paid for it. I know there will be good days in the future. I'll just wait it out. This can't go on forever! Can it?

September 10th

Did you listen to Hobart this morning? Remember, he's back! On KPAM, Saturday mornings at 6!
I just had to share with you, Liz Hamilton's great B-10 fish, and the beautiful words of David James Duncan. Please click here.
Also, received this awesome link from Bill's cousin in Louisiana. You just have to sit through it! It's really awesome! Click here! Thank you, David, for sending that to us! We watched, glued to the screen.
Today is Jerry Dove and the Tillamook Angler's kid's day. Click the link for more info! I have to get ready to go!
I wish I'd have told you earlier, but things just go off the page so fast, that I don't know about them until it's too late! Help! Too much to keep track of for an old lady. :)

September 12th

Just so you know... I've been kind of quiet, due to two things. One, is my monitor went out, and I'm left with one that's color is totally faded and very hard for me to work with. The other, is migraines.... day 9? Guess I'm going to have to go see the doc, to see what can be done. I can't take Imitrex, or any of the newer things, due to heart complications. I wonder if they have another magic pill to add to my colorful assortment?
The water on the Kilchis rose, almost like a flash flood, due to the violent and most enjoyable storms the other night. Man, alive, I've not seen such a storm on the coast! It was wild!
Well, enough staring at this monitor for today. I have one supposedly coming in the mail, soon, because mine was under warrantee. They told me it had been sent out, but I called, and they told me they were out of stock. Be warned, Viewsonics warrantee procedure is not very reliable! I may have to just go buy one, in order to keep up with things.
In the meantime, it may just very well be time to go fishing!

September 14th

I didn't even notice them, when I sat down on a moss covered rock by my fishing hole. Kilchis, my dog did. He barked a sort of bored bark, and then settled in beside me. I asked, "Kilchis, what is it?" He pointed with his nose.
Oh! We have company!
"How's fishing over there?" I yelled over the top of the rushing waters at the falls. Maybe they weren't fishing. They were all sopping wet, and sitting on the rocks. Swimming? Playing? Yes. Looked like it was all for fun.
I had stumbled across slippery rocks to get to this hole, and I wasn't happy about trying to find another one. Fishing probably wouldn't be too good, here, or anywhere on the Kilchis river, really. It was late summer, mid day, with the sun on the water. It especially wouldn't be good, though, after being swam in... by otters!
They just stared back. A family of three, stretching their necks in that curious, playful way.
As I feebly tied a fly, I kept one eye focused on the trio. They were a delight! By now, they are somewhat used to me. I talk to them, and they kind of cock their heads, as if truly trying to figure out what I am, what I'm trying to communicate. But, I think they know I mean no harm.
They were on with their business. One big otter would climb on the others back, and they'd both go under, only to pop up three! Then, it was up the slippery rock face, only to slide down on their backs! One! Two! Three!
You can almost hear them laugh as they play. What a life they must live! I thought to myself as I battled with a fly that still had glue in its eye. I poked it through with another hook, and finally threaded and tied a Borden's Special lazily onto my leader.
The fishing hole is only so big. Since they were playing on the south side, I'd cast to the north. Mind you, in this hole, south and north exist only 20 feet apart, if that. But, still... it was worth a try.
I laid out the fly quite neatly, sitting next to the rock to the north of me, and sat to be entertained by the otter family. My fly lay silent in the water, swirling back and forth, and tugging a bit, with the current.
The last of the summer is upon us. The air was warm, and it was a fine day for a swim. I almost considered joining them.
The otters are about the size of a cat. Their fur is rich and sleek, with plenty of fat that ripples richly as they move. I've heard they don't eat all that many fish. They aren't a threat to me, I've decided. I like them living in my home stretch of the river. They just add to the adventure of the day.
I didn't catch a thing. Not that I expected to. My day today, even with a slight headache has been extremely enjoyable. Lazy, rich with wonder, and warm.
I wore a sweatshirt, and even with the sun shining hard on my back, the warmth was good after the chill that the Fall mornings have been bringing.
It's one of those days that my brain seems defragged. I was thinking free, and uncluttered of junk that tends to overload me.
You know, for a while there, I was getting to be a jittery mess. Sometimes I wouldn't answer my phone. I even went so far as to hide once, when a car appeared in my driveway. I didn't answer the door! I hid until they went away! Can you believe that?
Since my surgery, things have been different. I have attended events put on by friends and family that I excused myself in years previous, as being too busy- too harassed.
I am thankful for every one I've attended, and in my new slow way, I talked to folks, really enjoyed their company, and was not in a hurry to go. I'm a richer person for it, and I have none of that guilt that is associated with apologizing for not being there.
I answer the phone, now, and my voice is slower, and more relaxed.
I can sit on a rock for hours on the river, and take in little things that before, I was in too much of a hurry, or too motivated to catch a fish, to notice.
I don't know whether it's my medication, (beta blockers that slow my heartbeat), or the realization that life is short and so precious--, that's made the difference.
I like to think that it is a period of emotional growth, to realize the short time we have here, and that I want to experience everything, be there for my friends and family, and just... slow... down.
I think back to days when I couldn't walk. When trying to get my wheelchair out the door for so much as a quick whiff of the outdoors was a frustratingly slow battle.
I remember my plastic chair in the shower and things like how difficult it was, to face climbing the stairs to try to get into bed. I'd climb halfway, and collapse in pain, only to get up and do it all over again, to get to the top.
Man! I've come a long ways! I just can't decide if conquering some of my physical challenges are the most rewarding, or my emotional battle to slow down and notice things.
Or, maybe the two go hand in hand.
All I know is that I've come a long way, baby... and I'm pretty darn happy 'bout that.
I didn't even get a nibble out fishing this morning. But, I did walk back to the house wonderfully renewed by my time with the otter family.

September 16th
(Flocking Spider Webs!)

Cleaning this house is a real chore. I would love to hire someone to help me, but financially, that's not an option. The embarrassing part is that I can't see all of the dirt, so when company comes, I never know what they see, that I don't.
Thus, I clean by braille, just trying to cover every inch.
I think I'm paranoid about this, as my sister once told me a story about myself.
In my college days, I arrived home to a family event. My sister whispered to my Mother, "Jennie's jeans are dirty!" I guess my Mom said, "That's OK! She can't tell!"
Argh!
So, if you come to my house this Fall, just realize that I can't tell.
And welcome to the year of the spider!
Can you even believe how many spiders are out? They are everywhere! There is a spot behind one of our doors. If I remove the web in the morning, it is back, by noon!
I took a look at the rock wall that is behind the wood stove. Oh my gosh! It is a solid rock wall, two stories high, and it is totally covered, woven and blanketed by web! I began to clean it, but gave up before I got far. An ache in my shoulders stopped me, as I sat and stared at my options.
I poured a cup of coffee to ponder.
Finally, I had it! I'm going to buy some of that glitter glue spray, and spray it! It will be the perfect Halloween decoration! How cool is that?!?
Then, when Halloween is done, I'll just flock it for Christmas!
Martha Stewart would be envious! Flocked spider webs for Christmas! Yes!
Of course I am kidding... and I did finally figure a way to get most of them down.
My sister would be appalled. When she finds a spider web, instead of walking through it, she detaches one end, and finds another place to hook it to, thus leaving the spider's creation mostly untouched. She is really that sensitive about killing things, and preserving their creations! Imagine what she thinks when I bonk a fish. Oh my!
I'm off, to do just that. Please don't mention it to her! Of course, she loves the vac packed salmon I give her. I wonder if she knows how it gets to be that way?
What I find very recreational is to find a live fly and throw it in an active web. That's at least an hour's entertainment for me. Watching the spider go after it, wind it up... Better than T.V., anyday.
I still think glittering and flocking spider webs is a good idea. I'll do it, one of these years. Maybe when they are a bit less prolific. Some things can just be overdone, you know?

 

September 18th

Happy Birthday to my son, David!
He'll probably sleep all day! I think I'll let him!
~~~~~~~~~~
As I struggled up the stairs last night, I kept hearing over and over, a quote listed in the lower right hand column of this front page:
It is from Edward Abbey:
Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast...a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure.
What "other half?"
Yesterday I burned myself out, big time! But, it was in reverse and with a whole heart!
Yesterday morning I rose from sleep feeling really feisty and restless. Maybe it was the bite of Fall in the air. I just don't know!
My Mother used to have those days. She'd put her two index fingers up in her hair, pointed to the sky like a great bull moose, bend slightly forward, dig one foot into the 'dust', and charge at us kids, creating exhilarating screams for mercy! It was scary and exciting, all at the same time. I did that to my son David, yesterday. I think he's a bit old to appreciate it, now. No, I'm not very fast, nor very scary, (this is debatable) but it was still fun!
I couldn't settle. I made my way out to the river, and fished a bit for cutts. I sat on a rock until my backside molded to the shape and contour of the rock, making it difficult to rise. Dissatisfied, I talked Bill into getting the duck boat out to go fish for cutts in tidewater.
The tide was high and the river was filled with bay water and the notorious sludge and debris that is so common at high tide. The river was actually flowing backwards due to the low river conditions, and the force of the tide. We couldn't keep the grass off of our lines, and the fish appeared to be hiding, if there at all.
Finally, the tide turned, and just as we were headed for the dock, just as the slurry of salt began to suck back out to the ocean, the action started. Huge, flashy and fat sea run cutthroat came at our offering with gusto. After trolling with such monotony for so long, it took our breath away!
We finally did make it to the takeout, and drove home.
After a bit of rest, I returned, once again to my home stretch of river to give it a second try. The light of day was diminishing, and I could barely see my line. Again, returning to the monotony of casting without interruption, the sun vanished from the sky, and my energy vanished, too! I could barely make it back to the house! Half hearted? I don't think so! I went overboard on the outdoors! Or, is that even possible?
It is overdoing it, when you can't make it up the stairs to go to bed!
I did, finally make it upstairs, and as I fell into bed, sideways, I drifted off without even getting under the covers. Physically, my body aches from toe to shoulder this morning, but emotionally, I'm fresh and alive and thankful!
As the sun rises on yet another beautiful day on the coast, I can honestly say that I do believe I will outlive those who sit behind desks with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators!
I am free! I am alive!
...and by golly, I think I'll go fishing, now!
Get me some aspirin and get my cane, Kilchis!

 

September 19th


Marie at Tillamook Bait Company

You know those little "gifts with purchase" that they give away at department stores, when you buy makeup? Well, I received something even better!
Marie of Tillamook Bait emailed me to ask me to stop by the shop. She had a special spinner for me to try. I couldn't wait, but I put it off a bit, as I tried to get over my headaches.
Finally, I arrived at her doorstep.
I love going to Tillamook Bait Company. Click here, for her website! I have so many memories of early mornings visits to purchase shrimp, or her beautiful salmon eggs... or just to sit around the propane stove to warm my hands, in between casts on the river.
Honestly, Bill and I try to never stop there before fishing, as it's like a toy store. A toy store, with great company! We spend much too long longing for all of the toys on the wall! Spinners, flashers, jigs, divers, oh my!
Anyhow... She handed me a brown paper bag. "What is this?"
I could tell there was a jar of eggs in it, immediately! I had saved up all summer to buy some eggs, and now they were in my hot little hands! Fall MUST be here!
Along with it was a bottle of her wonderful shrimp scent, that by the way, has helped me to land many of my fish. Believe me, if there is one thing in my arsenal that I can't live without, it's Marie's original shrimp scent. I now am addicted to her sticky scent, also!
Also in the bag, two spinners. One beauty of a red and white blade that I love for fishing on sunny days, and a new one with a Larson's scent body attached to it! Cool! You can find a picture of it, here. Simply scroll down to the bottom of the page.
I fished the scent body spinner that day, and found that I wished I had some cotton, or some kind of absorbent material. You could also fill it with a bit of Power Bait, drowned in her shrimp scent. Something to keep the scent in the body is necessary. It's a grand idea, though, and although I didn't catch anything on that day, I have confidence that it will produce. The day we fished, very few fish were caught so I didn't feel like it was a good test day.
Anyhow, I left that day with the same excitement I get out of those gifts with purchase at Nordstrom's! No, much more excitement than those!!!
I just adore Marie. She's like a sister to me. If you'd like to meet her, stop by on your way to fish Tillamook Bay this season. Here is her address:

Tillamook Bait Company
1975 Wilson River Loop Rd
Tillamook, OR 97141

Or give her a call at:

Day Phone: 503-842-5031

But, you've been warned. It's a very difficult place to leave, once you enter those doors!
Give her a hug from Jen!

 

September 21

Last night I rose from a deep sleep, just as most people are retiring for the day. I was really tired, and fell soundly asleep, just after dinner.
About 10 P.M., I glanced out into the moonlit night. I love it when there is a full moon. It brightens the night to a deep blue that actually casts shadows of leggy trees clear across the meadow!
But this time, the leggy shadows were moving! They were alive! Standing bold and beautiful, dead center, was a bull elk, four cows and a calf! Their legs cast long shadows, moving like spiders, clear across the field! It was beautiful and story book like! I would have loved to have captured this on camera!
Standing, dazzled in the moonlight, I was unable to move. I just watched in complete awe as the bull seemed to dance, slow motion in place, and the cows fed on the long grasses.
You know, yesterday evening before dinner I took Kilchis for a walk, knowing full well that I'd be too tired after. Besides, the evenings are growing shorter, and soon our after dinner walks will be a thing of the past. That is, except for the nights that I go out to the river in the blackness, flashlight in hand, to view salmon spawning, or racing upstream, or finning quietly in the night. I love to stand on the dark river banks and listen to their music, the splashes, the stirring of the river's symphony. The percussion of a salmon running upstream sends shivers down my spine!
Anyhow, slowly strolling the river beach, I noticed huge patches of grass that I hadn't visited in the past week. I have been fishing up river, and hadn't made my way down in at least a week. They were flattened, and large droppings from some kind of animal were thick in the sand. I wondered if they were elk! They were! They are using the river bank to bed down!
I wonder if my scent from last night will spook them to another location? I hope not!
The ballet of elk dazzled me until my eyelids again became heavy, and I headed for the cool crisp sheets under my fluffy down comforter.
What a night's show I was treated to!
You know, watching the news, I was envious of all the music at Peter Jenning's memorial service. Not anymore! I spent the evening at the ballet of the elk!
As I lay in bed with all of the windows open to the crisp night, I heard crashing of rocks and the spray of the river. The elk were moving across the river, and had left the open field. It was the applause, and the ovation at the end of the performance.
I closed my eyes and drifted off into a deep, peaceful sleep.

The children were nestled all snug in their wee, little beds,
While visions of elk, danced in their wee, little heads.
Mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap.

 

September 23

I have news overload, big time.
As if Katrina wasn't enough, now we have Rita. At the very least, it doesn't affect us. But, wait! It does! I am affected! It is just utterly depressing to watch on television, to think of the panic, and the people on that bus, and oh my!
I've decided that the news people have me just where they want me. All sensationalized, and wrapped up, so that I don't want to turn it off.
Today, as I snuggled in to read some fishing reports, I decided that it was a cool thing to have the MSNBC live feed of news on, in the background.
That lasted about 15 minutes, until I reached up with my mouse and hit the big black X. I closed the window. Silence. Ahhhh.... I like that much better!
This morning, before light spread across the Kilchis river valley, coyotes howled into the blackness.
My dog, Kilchis, decided to join in. Beside my bed, nose to the sky, Kilchis "wooo woooooooo-ed" with the chorus. I grabbed my alarm clock thinking, "What the heck?!" I had just bought this alarm, and had not heard the tone of what would wake me. A coyote howl?
At least I woke up giggling!
Anyhow, I need a trip on the river. Something to get me away from the bad news of the day.
The best we can all do, is to pray for the folks preparing for this monster storm. I can do that, anywhere! The river sounds good.
Last night I was down at the river. It was calm, windless, and the river turned a beautiful color of peach, matching the sky. I searched my mind for the meaning.
Red sky at night, Sailors delight...
Red sky at morning, Sailors warning...
Peach sky at night...
I want a bite?

 

September 26th

Put these in your cell phone, now! :)
'Tis the season!
Report Game Violations!
Washington: 1 800 477-6224
Oregon: 1 800 452-7888

Yesterday we fished the Nehalem. The ramp wasn't all that busy. We passed the ramp at Garibaldi and sighed. There were rigs parked clear out in the street!
We were on a mission to find coho, but failed, miserably. We also thought we'd go upstream and do a little pleasant bobber fishing. That, we did well at, however, we did not catch a fish!
However, we ran up the North Fork, just to see what we could see. It was really interesting. The old, "shoulda been here yesterday" was in full swing. The reports we had heard were consistent. There was fish in the river the day before we hit the river, but no matter where we went, the fish finder in our boat gave no sign of the elusive fall chinook. We marked perhaps two big fish in random places, but no build up. They either ran upstream overnight, or went back out in the ocean.
We saw one fish caught, all day long. That was by Clancy. They were using divers and herring, way upstream! It was a hoot to watch. He had a boat full of kids. Perhaps 6 people in all. Reeling in those lines to land one fish, divers flashing and swaying everywhere. What fun to watch! If anyone is going to catch a fish, it'll be Clancy! You can book a trip with Clancy, here. Tell him Jennie sent you! In fact, I may be doing just that! I need a fish!!! Badly!
Bill put the jet on plane, and we went flying up the river. The sun was warm and pleasant by then, and I just sat back, enjoying the view. Beautiful herons, soaring, floating through trees, then landing gracefully on bending branches, tucking their wings in, to become a surprisingly delicate bird, after all! We spotted some Mallard ducks, which piqued Bill's interest. All in all, a lovely boat ride. You know, sometimes we are so after the fish that we forget to enjoy the whole experience. Yesterday, I was forced to enjoy it, rather than fight a fish. I'm thankful for that, actually. It was a beautiful day.
Both Bill and I just finished a really wonderful little book, sent in by a friend by the name of Mary Jo. It's called "That Quail, Robert."
It's an amazing story, really, and one that both brings joy, and a tear at the end. The book is about a quail and it's relationship with a human family.
I have memories myself of holding a small banty chicken egg, and having it hatch in my hand. I, too, thought that the egg was dead. What a shock, when it started to peep! It was abandoned by it's banty Mother, Charlotte. I used a blow dryer to warm and dry it's tiny little body. A couple days later, I snuck it under the hen, and sure enough, the baby was accepted, just like a book told me it would be. Somehow, the Mother learns it's voice overnight, while it sleeps and will not be rejected after that. It worked! I was kind of sad, as I really wanted to raise it myself. I knew it was best with Mom, though.
You can order "That Quail, Robert" at Amazon, if you wish. This link will support Ifish.net and it's expenses.
I still can't well handle a regular day on the water. When I came home, I hit my bed, hard, and fell asleep sideways. I woke stiff and sore this morning, but very glad that I had gone.
I feel refreshed, and new. But for all of these sore muscles, you'd think that I'd played a salmon!
Maybe next time!

 

September 28th


Don't you just love fish in the box?

What a great day I had yesterday!
It started out that I did NOT want to go fishing. I didn't feel good, hadn't slept well, and I had asked that Bill find someone else to go fish with. In fact, I was out right grouchy about it!
I seemed to forget everything, as Bill forced me into the truck. "Where's my rod? My spinners? Did you remember my scents? Did you grab my cell phone? "
Alright, he didn't really force me, but I showed him with a grimace that I had better things to do. Like, lay in bed and feel sorry for my little self.
I was so tired that morning! I just didn't feel good. I was so tired that I played a little piano, then sat down to the computer and as I rubbed my eyes, thought, "why can't I find the A flat on this keyboard?"
Now, that's tired!
I told Bill that at the very least, I had to stop at the store and the post office to do some ifish biz. We did that, on the way to Garibaldi. Our original plan was to fish the lower bay. It's been producing nice fish all along, this week.
However, the thought of rocking in the waves in the freezing cold fog, and dragging around 8 ounces of weight did not appeal to my already sore and stiff bod'!
When we pulled into Garibaldi, the lot was totally full and overflowing! Ha! I lucked out! There was no way that I was going to park the rig on the hiway and walk all the way back to the ramp! We didn't have to fish! Maybe I could go home to bed?
The look on Bill's face was so sad. He really wanted to wet a hook somewhere. So, with a sigh, I suggested we go check out the upper bay, and perhaps put a spinner in, somewhere.
I really thought that would be full, also, but as luck would have it, there was no wind in the air, not too many boats in the water, and one single parking space with our names on it! We quickly dug out our parking permit, slid the boat in the water, and squeezed into the parking spot!
Still a bit tired and grouchy, I selected my old faithful spinner from the previous spring fishery, and prepped it with a bit of Marie's sticky shrimp scent. I lazily tossed it over the side and thus began the vibration, the 'thump thump thump' across the bay.
Just as we put in, we noticed a bite going on. Two fish on, right in front of us. That picked my spirits up!
Half hour later, I was freight trained like you would not believe! The fish nearly jerked me out of my seat!
Things are different, now. I used to yell and scream and laugh and stand up and jump, I'd be so excited! But now? Now, I have to be calm! This is very hard to do with a 25 pound salmon on the other end of your line!
This fish had the wilders!
I can't put the rod butt in my stomach any more, since I could hurt the work they've done on my aorta. I have to balance it on my hip bone. Bill coaches me, now, almost constantly. He's so worried about me catching these fish.
When we first started fishing, he used to coach me a lot, because I needed coaching. With experience, I've gotten pretty darn good at it. I believe that he misses coaching me, and now that I've had serious medical problems, he can coach me again. I do believe the guide in him enjoys this.
Bill starts with a calming reminder. "Jennie... take it easy. Breathe. It's only a fish."
"Yes, it's only a fish" I breathe deeply and calmly. (only a fish... only a fish...)
Then, the salmon takes a wild leap out of the water and nearly pulls me in!
"Jennie! Hold your stomach tight! Don't put that rod butt near your stomach!" He barked at me!
(Yes, sir... rod butt on hip bone. Check. I drew another yoga type deep breath and sighed... "Only a fish...".)
The salmon came near the boat, and then took a run under the boat! I tipped my rod upside down and held it away from the gunwale, just as I have been taught! "zzzzzzzzzzz!" My reel was just singing!
Out and around with my rod, I followed the fish, and low and behold, he took a jumping, leaping, run clear across the bay. I couldn't take it 'no more!
"Whooo hoooooooo!!! Bill! Wheeee haaaaaaaaa!" I screamed at the top of my lungs!
:"Jennie! Calm down! It's only a fish!"
(Only a fish... only a fish... breathe...)
"Bill! Look at it!" I screamed. "It's huge! It's not only a fish! It's beautiful!"
I giggled. I couldn't stop. In between cheap efforts to breathe deeply, I sat down and tried to be calm while I worked the fish to the boat.
Finally in the net, and into the boat! It was a beautiful hen!
You know, I've always been accused of being in a bad mood if I'm not successful fishing. Clear back to the days when I was married. If I came home fishless, I'd be accused of being grouchy because of it. "Sorry you didn't catch a fish!" My husband would snort at me, if I seemed in a foul mood. I didn't believe it to be true.
However, yesterday when I got home, the sky was bluer, the Kilchis river more beautiful, my garden more bountiful, my dogs most lovable, and life... well, life couldn't be better!
I only shudder to believe the opposite is true.
"Jennie, you caught a fish." Bill looked at me and smiled, as we put up the fish, and began working on the eggs. I was so tired, by then, and I remember that I hadn't really wanted to go fishing. I recalled how I nearly got out it, that morning.
"Yeah" I teasingly looked up at him. "And it's all your fault."

September 29th

I just adore my hilarious bird, whatever it is. I can never see it. The only thing I can imagine it to be, is an American dipper. The song is the most hilariously joyful bird song that I've ever heard, and there is only one bird singing. It honestly makes me giggle out loud, every time I hear it! It lives on the other side of the river, and follows me from hole to hole. Yesterday, I shouted across to it, "You have a beautiful voice!" It just kept on, without interruption. I can't imagine being that happy, always. Life must be good!
The bird trills in fast 32nd notes... Never really syncopated, just keeps singing in different high tones, like a flautist warming up for a concert. I found this recorded song, and it's familiar, but I swear that my hilarious bird is more melodic and constant. Just goes and goes and goes!
It is odd to wake early in the morning to a cold chill, and a silent forest, after the warm symphony of birdsong which filled the trees in the spring and summer.
The American Dipper's song is a welcome celebration of life on the river, at day's end.
I will be sad to notice it gone, soon, as winter usually marks it's departure.
There is an eerie stillness to Fall. A kind of death and moving on, that we all must face. And in the face of it, there is one single hilarious bird, singing about joy, and life, and living... in contrast to all that surrounds it.
There are new squash, and a few lemon cucumbers in my garden. I still feast on the last of my raspberries, which cling to the vine, ripening yet more slowly each day. I get about 10 each evening, and it's a wonderful treat, after dinner.
It's really a nice end to a Indian summer night. I need no further music, or television, or entertainment. The "hilarious bird's" song, (whatever it is!) melody follows me into my sleep as I wait for winter to close in.
Nothing I love more than Rachmaninoff's 3rd piano concerto. And it's a perfect morning for it.
Later: OH MY GOSH! I forgot what music does for me! Listen to some Rachmaninoff!!! WHOO HOOO! Vladirmir Horowitz is 'da man! The very end of the Allegro ma non tanto is my American Dipper singing!

 

FISHING THE COAST
A journal of my adventures.

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