Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Great Day -- Salmon Fishing On The Columbia (No Fish Were Harmed In The Production Of This Post)

6:30 am at the boat launch.
Ever since I first visited here I wanted to go salmon fishing. I kept thinking it would happen by accident, somehow I would stumble upon a group of people who would insist I join them.

Weird when things actually happen the way you imagine. I mentioned to a friend I always wanted to go salmon fishing and he insisted we go, sending me a link to a guide and boat.

Marvin picked us up at the dock early and off we went into the current south of the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. We anchored in about 20 feet of water, fishing with weighted lures enhanced with "smelly jelly," a type of fish perfume.

"Governor Kitzhaber ain't worth nothing but crab bait," Marvin started out. For a moment I worried we would have to hear the Tea Party venting at us for eight hours, but such was not the case. Marvin had a full range of colorful political views, but his main beef with the governor was byzantine rules and mismanagement of Columbia River fisheries. In a nutshell, there exists an animosity between sport anglers and commercial gillnetters similar to the farmers and free-range ranchers a century previous. Apparently the gillnetters have the upper hand at the moment.

Thus began an eight-hour conversation scarcely interrupted by fish. We did have two strikes but were not able to land the fish. Part of the challenge is that barbed hooks are not allowed, so when a fish strikes the lure only a careful hand will bring it to the boat. The inexperienced, like us, get mocked (good naturedly) by Marvin.

A warm sun shone, a gentle wind blew, and I luxuriated in the exercise of philosophic waiting that is fishing. Certainly there are worse ways to pass time. I can't wait to try again next September.

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