Posts Tagged Salmon

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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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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