Sunday, October 29, 2006

The End of the Coastal Cutthroat Trout Season

It's been a mixed bag coastal cutthroat season for me this year. I started the season out with a nice 17" from the upper Nehalem then went on to hook a few nice ones on the Nestucca later in the summer. The Trask, Kilchis and Wilson were not very good this year. The Necanicum was so-so however seeing huge thirty pound plus chinook salmon plowing through the shallow riffles was amazing!
The Trask was a real bust as a lot of the structure that cutthroat like in the lower river was washed out by high water last winter.
A few weeks ago I hooked a very nice cutthroat on BAIT in the Trask tidewater and was just sick about it. I've gotten to the point that I hate bait fishing and was only doing it this time to help out a friend who is trying to put a fishing DVD together in order to sell his jigs. I cannot stand the mess of those gooey eggs and the whole "bait" mentality that prevails in Tillamook county this time of year. I swear that you could use salmon eggs as currency this time of year down there. Using bait for coastal cutthroat trout should be banned! I recently read where the owner of a certain popular NW fishing forum was using bait to hook these fish and immediately fired off an email to her asking her to please quit doing it. Was I out of line doing this? I don't think so! I will strive to get the use of bait for these fish banned.
Anyway last Friday I decided to give one last shot at some coastal cutthroat. I hooked nothing on both the Miami and Trask rivers and being somewhat discouraged about the lack of both water and fish I tried the Wilson on the way home. To make a long story short I did not find any cutts on the Wilson but did find this guy.

What a rush on a four weight bamboo fly rod and 5X tippet! He did all the usual steelhead antics and made me smile all the way home.
Fly fishing is a sport of mystery in a lot of ways and you just never know what you'll encounter.
I've had many trips where the actual fishing was not all that good but I might have seen a family of otters or maybe a bald eagle or an elk and so that makes the trip a success.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

With Apologies to Dickens

The opening sentence of Charles Dickens " A Tale of Two Cities" is It was the best of times, it was the worst of times describing the French Revolution but I think that line best describes this time of year for the angler.
Fall is a season of movement and change. The beautiful foliage that one encounters along the way to the river is awe inspiring. The leaves seem to be ablaze with hues ranging from bright red to amber gold. The call of the migratory waterfowl as they head for their southern nesting areas always stops me in my place to watch their "v" formation as they fly over.Then of course there are the salmon!
During this time of year the fall representatives of the chinook salmon
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha begin their journey to spawn in the same water where they were reared years earlier. An angler will be startled to have one of these thirty pound fish roll near them as they are fishing for coastal cutthroat trout. The chinook will be joined by coho and chum salmon this time of year and the whole river is alive with piscatorial activity....these are the best of times.
Unfortunately this is also the time of year that seems to bring out the ugliness of human greed and ignorance. With the spectacle of huge fish in low water conditions the dregs of society cannot control their urge to take advantage of these helpless fish.
They rig up their lead weighted treble hooks and virtually rip these fish off the bottom of the river. Sometimes they will be so good at doing this that they can accomplish their illegal activity while using legitimate sports fishing gear.The chum salmon come into the river in large numbers all seemingly at the same time and are easy prey to these "sportsmen". They think nothing of wading across the spawning redds of these chum salmon and I hate to say it but it's not just gear fishermen who do this.
They actually yank these fish off their spawning redds all in the name of fun. These fish are not fit for consumption and in fact are on the endangered species list. It's as disgusting a sight as one would want to see and hopefully the ODFW will one day close this fishery altogether.
So you combine all of the salmon abuse with the usual littering,physical along with armed confrontations and you know.... these are the worst of times.
You must take the bad with the good and I feel the good does outweigh the bad this time of year.
Such is the life of the angler in the fall of the year.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

He has earned the right to speak

After Pat’s Birthday
Kevin Tillman Honors Late Brother's Birthday with Plea to Speak up for Democracy

by Kevin Tillman

It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we get out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice:

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few “bad apples” in the military.

Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It’s interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.

Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.

Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.

Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.

Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.

Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.

Somehow torture is tolerated.

Somehow lying is tolerated.

Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.

Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.

Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.

Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that “somehow” was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday.

Kevin Tillman joined the Army with his brother Pat in 2002, and they served together in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pat was killed in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004. Kevin was discharged in 2005.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Snakes! Why Does it Have to Be Snakes?

The title of this entry for the unknowing is a line from my favorite movie of all times "Raiders of the Lost Ark"
So I'm walking along the gravel road above the locked gate on the Deschutes. I figured well it is fall after all and so shouldn't these rattlers be hibernating or something? Nope! My little poisonous friend comes slithering across the road in from of me and not used to seeing a lot of snakes it comes as a shock to the senses. It was fascinating seeing him crawl across the road and never taking his eyes off of me.So off he went into the brush. I think the fact that you can encounter such creatures as rattlesnakes adds to the charm of the river. I've seen snakes, porcupines, beavers, coyotes,deer,eagles,heron,ospreys along my favorite river and it never gets old. The Deschutes is truly a wild western river in every sense of the word and it's hard to pull myself away from it.
The trout were as active yesterday as I have ever seen them feeding on what looked like mahogany duns but I'm no entomologist so them may have been something else. I was pursuing steelhead so I wasn't equipped to go after trout but watching them work the foam line and slurping mayflies was a real learning experience.
A good day on the river nonetheless.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Is There Anything Better?

The 2006 Los Angeles Dodgers have clinched a playoff berth at the best place to do it....the home field of the hated San Francisco Giants.
You see I'm a Dodger fan from way back. I attended my first Dodger game at the LA Coliseum back in in 1959. I've eaten a few Dodger Dogs along the way and listened to Vin Scully even after I moved into this baseball wasteland of Oregon and I named the best dog I've ever had "Dodger". I've ridden the crest of the improbable 1988 World Series championship. I've worshiped at the alter of Sandy Koufax and wept at the death of Don Drysdale but the one thing that has sustained me throug the lean years of being a Dodger fan is one thing. My intense hatred of anything connected with the SF Giants. I hated Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Will Clark and absolutely despise that cheating jerk Barry Bonds. I've often said that my two favorite teams are the Dodgers and whoever the Giants are playing that day.
So for my beloved Dodgers to make the playoffs at the expense of the Giants is sweet! They did it in 2004 when Steve Finley hit a grand slam home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the division for the Dodgers. I also reveled in the Dodgers knocking out the Giants in 1993 when they crushed the Giants 12-0 with Mike Piazza hitting two home runs.
To the typical San Francisco fan it is better to beat the Dodgers than to actually win a World Series. I find that sick but I cannot help but take pleasure at anything bad happening to the Giants which takes second place to the Dodgers winning another World Series.
So here's to the 2006 Dodgers....cheers