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Showing posts from 2017

My 2017 season is filled with ones that got away

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This year will be one for the books. I was reorganized out of my position in July after more than 20 years, and while taking time to determine my future career goals, I spent time on the rivers and bays fishing for salmon and surfing on my laptop. I can certainly attest to the stability of a Hobie Pro Angler.

Overall, the summer and fall seasons followed a tough spring season where I caught no salmon on the kayak and only a handful while fishing the ocean on Don's boat. The late winter/early spring was great for bottom fish but this year's tuna and halibut seasons were tough. Luckily it was saved by an epic birthday tuna trip in July. I was also able to open up some space in the freezer when I tried my hand at canning tuna for the first time - yes, canned Oregon Albacore tuna does taste that good.

With climate change, the salmon seasons are also changing and the fish seem to show up later. This was best exemplified by the emergency regulation change on the Willamette and Colum…

Fly fishing for trout from the SUP at Swift Reservoir

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In mid-August, I enjoyed my first SUP fishing trip in nearly a year. The opportunity came up when MAC Executive Chef Philippe asked me to join him at his cabin near Swift Reservoir (check out the video here)

Swift is always good for fly fishing, especially where the Lewis River drops into the reservoir. Of course having been stocked with 500,000 trout in late April helps.

On this trip, since I was only going for a night and Philippe already had his boat in the water, I didn't want to take the trailer and the kayaks and I didn't want to put the Hobie Pro Angler on top of the Escape.

As I was contemplating my need for a kayak, I decided I should get the SUP out again. It had spent many months traveling unused on the kayak trailer and it was time to put it back on the water. It was also easy to put it on top of the Escape.

I loaded up and headed out shortly before noon and arrived at Swift within a couple hours. Soon Philippe and I were on the water fishing. He had been out for t…

An epic birthday catching Oregon tuna

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This year's birthday was memorable for two reasons:
I caught a lot of fishEveryone on the boat caught a lot of fish Like most tuna trips the day started early and ended late. In fact it was a 26 hour day with a 1:30 a.m. wake up call and a 3:30 a.m. crash in the bed. 
The opportunity to catch tuna is always questionable because the fish are often miles off shore and the weather can change quickly. This day proved advantageous for us with the forecasted winds showing up late in the day.
We started the day slowly with a couple singles caught while trolling. We would try a bait stop and jigs but we were rewarded with nothing. The third fish was a different story and while slowly reeling it in, we fished anchovies and jigs. There are few experiences as thrilling as reeling in a tuna and watching another rod get buried by another tuna. Multiply that and it is chaos with rods bouncing and people reeling in fish. 
We picked up a few more throughout the day and as quitting time grew closer…

Water everywhere but few fish

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What a wet winter it has been. This is an obvious statement to anyone living in Portland this past winter. Record rains, snow and cloudy days are actually normal for Oregon and since the past couple winters and summers were relatively dry I suppose we are experiencing the swings that create the "average."
What seems to be missing in all this water are fish, especially spring chinook. The counts have been low on the Willamette and Columbia and the fishing tough. At least for me. I have plied the Willamette for several days with not a single bite.

The only solace in my efforts is that I haven't seen anyone around me catch a fish either. In fact, I have yet to see a single salmon caught this year. That's not to say they aren't being caught. Several of my fellow kayakers have posted happy selfies with big fish. I have not lost hope. In fact I expect the high water is causing the run to be late and by May and June, my luck will change. At least I hope.

For now, I wil…

A wild ride with a wild steelhead

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I consider fly fishing for winter steelhead an optimist's sport. During my many years of chasing these fish from sleds, drift boats, on the bank and more recently from the kayak, expectations of catching one on a fly are low. Of course, if catching fish were a requirement for fishing trips, they would be called "catching" trips.

With this in mind, I was looking forward to my first winter steelhead trip of 2017 more for the company and as a way of scouting a section of river in a drift boat before taking the Pro Angler.

Steve and I arrived at the launch as the faint light of winter morning was fast pushing the darkness aside. Pulling away from the shore, we could barely see the water - and the obstacles in front of us. We talked as we drifted through the long run towards the first rapid. Steve rowed into position and we dropped through the rapid. It was short and we floated a minute before Steve slowly guided the boat to our first stop. We rigged up the rods as the sun t…