A week, or so ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Carol Healy who was the deckhand on the Travelore when it sank in a series of tsunami waves off Winchester Bay on August 31, 1964. The waves were generated by a severe earthquake off the coast of Alaska and the Travelore had a full load of 12 passengers. – Carol, who was working as a deckhand to earn money for college wrote a book about the ordeal – “The Sinking of the Travelore” which is available on Amazon.com.
Talking to Carol, who now goes by her married name of Carol Healy Melquist, definitely brought back memories, as I had fished aboard the Travelore less than a month before that fateful August day with my dad, Richard “Dick” Heley. I was severely seasick for the entire trip. However, dad had a great time and fished aboard the Travelore a couple of other times, even coaxing my mother, Alice, out for her first salmon fishing trip.
The reason that the “Travelore” will forever be etched in my memory is that mom’s first salmon fishing trip took place, as I remember it, on August 30th – the day before the Travelore sank. And while Carol Healy was written up in the Coos Bay Times (now The World), as being calm and very brave – being a major reason that all 12 passengers survived – her task would have been much more difficult had the Travelore gone down one day earlier – since both my mom and dad could not swim.
There are still salmon being caught at Winchester Bay – by both boat and bank anglers. Most of the bank anglers are using bobber and bait, but a spinner flinger stopped by work last Friday to show off a limit of bright salmon – one coho and one chinook – each weighing more than ten pounds. He was fishing in Half Moon Bay.
All three coastal lakes that allow the retention of unclipped coho (Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile) have salmon in them,but Siltcoos is the only one with many adult salmon in it at present..
Crabbing in the lower Umpqua River at Winchester Bay has shown recent improvement and a surprising number of people have been crabbing in what can only be described as an “off” year.
Salmon fishing on the coastal streams farther south will show major improvement with the next rainstorms. Judging by the number of boats salmon fishing, the best fishing on the Siuslaw is between Cushman and Florence – and has been for some time.
Fishing remains fair to good for yellow perch in most of the area waters that contain them – but the most productive fishery has been Tenmile Lakes where anglers willing to “wade through” lots of smajjer fish will end up with fair numbers of decent-sized perch suitable for filleting.