Archive for category Fishing

South Twin Trip

Our family recently spent nearly a week camping at South Twin Lake, in Oregon.Georgia and I standing in front of South Twin

The lake is a nice place to take a family as no motors are allowed on it. It is stocked fairly frequently with trout, so fishing can be productive too. The first day we went fishing, Lisa’s father and I caught 8 fish between us, and we kept 4 of them.

The evenings (and mornings) were cool, with temperatures in the upper 40s. This is in contrast with the daytime temperatures of mid 80’s to 90’s. The lake is around 4400 feet (according to my GPS), which explains some of the temperature extremes. The campground we stayed at on the lake has lots of large trees, which help with shade, and also kept the wind off the ground.
The trees in the campground can be seen in this picture.
The nights were a lot of fun for everone. Georgia, Morgan and I enjoyed watching the bats fly around. You wouldn’t notice them flying over your head (they fly pretty silently), unless you happened to look up.

The kids enjoyed swimming in the lake, and also enjoyed taking a hike on the trail that surrounds the lake.
Lisa and Morgan taking a break on the hike
There are Osprey that fish in the lake. One evening, Lisa and I saw an Osprey capture a catfish out of the lake. I was surprised that there were catfish in the lake. On our hike around the lake, we saw catfish in the shallows, so I’m sure they are in there.

One of the more impressive views was at night, with the full moon reflecting off of the lake.

Moon reflecting off of South Twin

We also went to Crane Prairie for a day of fishing. It started off very calm.
Crane Prairie before the wind started blowing

The fishing was terrible. Lisa’s father and I spent several hours fishing with no action whatsoever. We came back later with Lisa, and the wind had come up, making things a little more challenging. We had the same result, no action. At least it was nice to look at. The lake is very odd. According to the fish finder, the channels were about 15 feet deep, and the rest of it was 8 to 10 feet.

Crane Prairie once the wind came up

From all the stories that the other people in the campground told, we should have spent the day on Wickiup, as people seemed to be catching larger brown trout there. It is something to try next time.

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More plunking at Meldrum's Bar

I went Saturday and yesterday to Meldrum’s Bar again to do some steelhead fishing. I hadn’t been there in many months, but things haven’t changed since my last posting on the subject. A lot of the same people still fish there, the fishing success is as sporadic as ever, and the geese are still fighting. The Clackamas County Sherrifs showed up for a while to talk, and I actually had a state trooper check my salmon tag. I now feel justified spending the $46 bucks for the license and tag this year.

I was surprised to see all the boats in the Willamette considering how many logs, trees, and UFOs (Unidentifiable Floating Objects) there were going downstream at a good clip. The water was chocolate brown, and as high as to be expected during this time of year. A bit of excitement occurred when a guy out in a boat seemed to have lost his motor. Steam started pouring out of it pretty close to the mouth of the Clackamas, and everyone watched him as he drifted downstream trying to get it running. He drifted out of site, about that time the police were contacted, but eventually he managed to come back upstream on his own.

There were only two fish landed (almost 3, but the guy’s leader broke when he was hauling the fish on shore) in the 14 hours I was there for the two days. Of course, none of the fish were on my line. This is not the sort of fishing you want to take your kids unless they have infinite patience and you don’t mind them learning a bunch of new four letter words. There is also one guy who thought Hamms is good for breakfast (well 6:30 am, I suppose he could be working nights), so eating habits might be better learned elsewhere… 🙂

I tried to make observations about all the different plunking rigs I saw there, and I’m going to put a posting together that shows pictures of all the different ones I saw.

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Finally landed a salmon…

Lisa’s father and I have been going to the Siuslaw near Mapleton for three years now. This year’s trip, I finally landed my first Chinook Salmon. It was about 36 inches long, and somewhere between twenty and thirty pounds.
My first Chinook Salmon
We caught it while trolling downstream of Mapleton. I count myself lucky in a couple of regards. We had beautiful weather while we were there. A slight chill in the air in the morning, but no rain for the two days we were fishing.
View of the Siuslaw river while bobber fishing
It seemed that fishing was terrible from everyone we talked to. It was midweek, and yet there were lots of boats bobber fishing and trolling. We spent the better part of our first day bobber fishing. Dan caught a “blue back” on his second cast of the day, but we had nothing but “bait stealers” after that. They are some sort of chub that inhabits that part of the river and live in abundance. I guess it is because they are well fed. They manage to strip all the bait off a hook in a couple of minutes, which makes it hard for the bigger fish to get a chance to see it.

After not having a lot of luck for hours bobber fishing, we decided to do some trolling. I was using a “rainbow spinner” that had mostly green on the outside of the spinner blade. You can see the beads in it in the photo of the fish above. Dan was using a “Blue Fox” lure. The fish finder wasn’t showing a lot of fish in the river. We were just about to turn back when I managed to hook into the salmon. It jumped around a bit, and took out a lot of line when it saw the boat, but we managed to land it. I was pretty excited.
Me with the fish
The second day, we spent the whole day trolling. We had hours of no action. Finally, Dan had a fish on. Unfortunately he had some mechanical difficulties with his reel, combined with my inability to pilot the boat well. We lost tension on the line, and ended up losing the fish. This was much better than anyone else was doing. This seems to be the story for every trip we make to Florence to fish on the Siuslaw. This year, we decided to go a little later. Usually we fish late September, but this year it was mid October. There didn’t seem to be that many fish in the river. During the September trips, we always saw fish rolling, but this year we didn’t. I wonder how the fish populations in the river are doing.
A view of the Mapleton bridge from the river

The third day, we went crabbing in Florence. The pier there has been used for years, as evidenced by the marks the ropes left in the wood.
Ropes from years of crabbing have left marks in the wood.

We found lots of crab, but nothing large enough to keep. We did get to experience the view, though, which was certainly worth it.
The Siuslaw river, near the mouth.

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Plunking at Meldrum Bar

I have been spending some parts of some of my weekends trying to catch a Steelhead at Meldrum Bar in Gladstone, Oregon. I’ve been using a technique called “Plunking”. The name sounds derogatory, and I believe it is intended to be. Plunking is generally looked down on by “real fishermen” whoever they are. I’ve been using it as a means to get some “me time” without a lot of driving, as well as an opportunity to see a different segment of society that I don’t normally.

Typically, the weather is terrible. It is usually cold, and rainy. I’ve been going some various weekend days since the middle of December. Occasionally it is a nice day on the bar. This photo is an example.
Plunking on the Willamette at Meldrum Bar

Plunking, involves hammering a pole holder in the ground, setting up a heavy weight rod with heavy weight line, and using a spin-n-glo, or something similar anchored by a heavy weight above the lure. This is cast into the river. The spin-n-glo floats a bit on its own, and the current makes it spin in place. Some place bells on their poles so they know when a fish decides to commit suicide on the gear. On a good day, I’ve seen five fish landed in a ten hour period. A typical day only one or two fish are landed.

The people that regularly commit time to this odd form of fishing are odd themselves. Many of them are retirees, that appreciate the proximity to their homes, as well as the ability to go crawl into their vehicles when the weather turns bad. Did I mention that you can just about drive up to the water?
Drive into the water, why don't you?

Most of the people there drive American vehicles and use the “F” word as an “every-other-word” concept in English language construction, both of which I choose not to adopt. Aside from a bit of brusque language, the people are generally friendly. This is a positive, because as I mentioned before, when the weather is nice, it gets very crowded. I’ve seen over 40 poles in the water, with about 6 feet of ground between them. This situation leads to regular tangles, and few fish caught. Fortunately the tempers seem to stay in check. The Gladstone sheriffs make regular drives through the area just to make sure.

The only fighting I’ve seen is from the local fowl population. There are a good collection of geese, and ducks that seem to hang around all the time. They get regular feedings from the kids that show up, which must encourage the birds to remain. Occasionally one of the birds does something antisocial to one of the other birds. This leads to a large amount of carrying on and occasionally some feathers flying. I’m glad this, and the occasional fish death on the bar, is the limit of the violence there.

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Diamond Lake fishing

We recently went on a trip to Diamond Lake to get in some fishing prior to the treatment of the lake. The hope was that fishing would be good since the lake had been drained down to 80% of normal. It wasn’t good at all. Dan was the only one that caught trout. He caught a nice 17″ fish and a couple of smaller ones.
Dan's trout

Morgan had a good time catching chub. He didn’t care about trout, to him, catching anything was fun. He caught 26 of them in about an hour.

Morgan fishing for Chub

It sounds like the lake will be better off in about three or four years.

Building a new dock
They are building a new dock, and hopefully they will do some work on the cabins. The screen doors wouldn’t stay closed, and considering the number of mosquitos there, it was a real problem. The bathrooms were ok, but the caulking around the shower was just disgusting. There was a black mold or mildew growing underneath it. Ewww.

In any regard, we had a good time. It was nice to get out of town and not think about work for a few days, even if the fishing was terrible.

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Orvis needs an education on the word near…

Orvis included this image in a recent advertisement sent to my house:
Orvis school map

The dots in the picture indicate school locations. Sorta makes me wonder what “near” means. What about people in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, North Dakota? None of them look “near” in my mind. I suppose Oregon is “near” because we are only half of Washington away. If you consider travelling at the speed of light, all the schools are near. Perhaps the people at Orvis have developed a Warp drive, which is why they can afford to charge so darn much for everything. $139 for a fishing vest? Give me a break.

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New reel for fly rod

While I was in Eugene last weekend, I took my fly rod to The Caddis Fly in Eugene. The rod was a gift from my father several years back. It doesn’t have markings for line weight, so I wasn’t sure what line to purchase. The line on the reel he had given to me with it had started to separate. I’ve been trying to find things to do that aren’t computer related, and fly fishing seems like a good possibility.

At The Caddis Fly, the guys there put a reel on it with 6 weight line. It worked well, so that’s what I bought, along with an Orvis Clearwater III reel and a new leader. My thinking was that the Clearwater isnt’ terribly expensive as well as being easy to find. I plan on getting a spare spool and a sinking tip line in the future.
I was digging through my fly tying supplies and noticed that the Hare’s mask I had was mostly dust, along with the calf tail and squirrel tail. Bugs had gotten to them at some point. I’ll have to purchase more. I haven’t yet found a good fly fishing shop in Portland, but I haven’t looked too hard either.

Lisa, Morgan and our yet-to-be-born-much-less-named baby have been occupying most of my free time. 🙂

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Fly Fishing someday…

Lisa purchased new waders, boots and a float tube for me for Christmas. I’ve been wanting to go fly fishing for a while now, but haven’t been motivated. I’m lacking a bunch of gear. I have a rod and reel, but the line is at least 10 years old, nor do I know what weight it is. The reel is a pfluger knock off my dad purchased when he had the rod made back in Albuquerque. I can’t find my fly vest anywhere, and only have one small fly box. I do have all the fly tying materials in the attic, so I’ll have to bring those down. I’m going to have to go shopping to get all the gear I’m going to need: a vest, new line, leader and tippet, fly boxes… I’m sure once I’m in the store there will be a bunch of other stuff I’ll find I need. I also need to get a new Oregon fishing license.

I found a couple of good websites related to Oregon fishing. www.ifish.net has a good discussion board, and www.nwlunker.com has a searchable database of lakes and rivers. Besides the “what” question in “what to buy”, I have to figure out the “when” I’m going to go fishing, and the “where”.

In the past, I have primarily done trout fishing, but reading all the steelhead reports on the website, it sounds like that might be a good target for the end of 2006, beginning of 2007. The rod I have is too light for steelhead, but Lisa’s father gave me a 6 weight rod that might just work, from what I have read.

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Back From Florence…

We went to Florence this last weekend. I don’t like posting about our trips before we leave… too much information on a public forum. We went to do some fishing for Chinook, and spend some time decompressing. We did a bit of both. Lisa’s father and I went salmon fishing on the Siuslaw river on Thursday and Friday afternoon. It is a tidal river (at least in the sections we were fishing). Here is a picture I took from the boat before the battery on the camera went dead:

Siuslaw River in October

We were fishing with sand shrimp and salmon roe on a bobber, with weights below. The river was full of fish, and plenty of them were eating the bait. Unfortunately those that we landed were not quite the size we expected:

Dan lands a lunker

The whole group of us also went crabbing off of a dock, and brought in a couple of nice crab for dinner. Chicken seemed to be the preferred bait. The local sea lion population left it alone.

A guy salmon fishing off the dock also had the misfortune of hooking a seagull while casting his bait out. The seagull took a dive for it, and hooked itself in the mouth. It took two guys and a pair of pliers to free it.

It finally started raining on Saturday while we were on the dock, which made it an opportune time to leave the dock.

All in all, it was a nice to get away from town for a few days.

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