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Contact Pete Heley
PO Box 264
Reedsport, OR 97467
Monthly Archives: November 2012
Although the Big Creek Reservoirs, also known as Newport Reservoir, receive a fair amount of fishing pressure, virtually all of it is directed at the rainbow trout that are frequently planted in these two approximately 20 acre reservoirs – and the trout fishing after a plant can be very, very good.
However, these reservoirs also have good populations of several warmwater species that are almost never fished for. The warmwater fish do not seem to be as abundant in the upper reservoir which is somewhat larger than the lower reservoir, but the fishing for warmwater fish in the late spring on the lower reservoir can be excellent.
The first time I dumped my float tube into the lower reservoir, I only did so because as I was standing along the road running alongside the reservoir I happened to see a school of bass swim by. They were not lunkers, but they were big enough that I figures I had better launch my tube. In about three hours, I managed to fish the entire reservoir and had almost constant action. The bass were biting short, but I must have had about 50 strikes and landed about a dozen smallish bass, Yellow perch were biting very lightly, but I managed to land about 20 of them. But the big surprise, was getting into some great crappie action on fish to about nine-inches in length.
The crappie were located in a large cove adjacent to the road near the middle of the reservoir and one of the fish I hooked on the 1/100 oz tube jig slowly swam off with most of my 2# test line. It most likely was a largemouth bass, but if if was a crappie, it was a giant.
Brown bullheads are also present in the reservoirs, but are almost taken accidentally by trout anglers fishing bait. Bluegills have been reported, but if they are still present in the reservoirs, they are rare.
The point of this article is to inform Newport-area anglers that when the trout fishing falls off after the latest plant, there are still plenty of things to fish for in these two reservoirs located just east of Highway 101 at the north edge of Newport.
High muddy water slowed crabbing at Winchester Bay last weekend and the few crabbers still trying worked hard for their catch. The key was to crab as far downriver as possible which was Half Moon Bay for boat crabbers and either the Coast Guard Pier or Dock 9 for dockbound crabbers. Crabbing is hold up very well at Charleston as the water is still quite salty.
Although rough conditions in the ocean and the Umpqua River Bar have limited bottomfishing options, anglers recently fishing off the South Jetty have enjoyed some fair fishing. However, the most common fish species are greenling and striped surfperch and they are almost always taken by bait and sand shrimp has recently been in short supply.
Although a few diehard salmon anglers are still.catching a few bright fish, most of the salmon fishing pressure has moved south.where the salmon fishing can be very good or very bad depending upon river conditions and the amount of fresh fish entering a particular streams. Anglers that know how long it takes a particular stream to clear make the correct choices as to which river to fish. Some large salmon have been caught, but the largest reported so far is a 61 pound chinook from the Chetco River.
The Umpqua almost certainly has the first arrivals of its winter steelhead run already in the river. However, since the fishery is pretty much a catch and release fishery, fishing pressure will remain nominal. A few anglers plunk for steelhead from Family Camp up to just below Sawyers Rapids, but anglers using other techniques seem to start using them at Sawyers Rapids. Tenmile Creek should have a few early arrivals now entering the stream, but the fishery doesn’t pick up, in normal years, until early December. Eel Creek doesn’t open until January 1st, but will have steelhead in it when it opens.
Although trout trollers are having a tough time catching fish, anglers stillfishing with bait are having better luck. Rainbows exceeding 20-inches in length have been caught recently at Tenmile Lakes, but other large coastal lakes are capable of producing fair angling for bait anglers. The key is whether or not they receive searun trout as well as native trout and carryover planters.
Except for Tenmile Lakes, there has been very little fishing pressure for yellow perch and fishing has recently been tough for most perch anglers. Major exceptions are Jim Spickelmire and his wife Betty. Jim is an ex-fishing guide from Grangeville, Idaho who has managed to find time to garner more than 30 patents. Jim has developed an extremely effective fishing strategy for fishing off the fishing dock at the county park on Tenmile Lakes in Lakeside. Jim and his wife have recently been averaging more than 50 perch per outing while using this technique and he had no qualms about explaining the technique in detail while talking to me.
Jim starts out with taking a few perch and pickling them. Then he cuts the picked perch into tiny cubes no more than one-quarter inch thick. He takes one of these cubes and places on the middle of the shank of a Gamakatsu #4 thin wire hook and then uses just enough weight to get the tiny offering down close to the bottom. Since Jim and his wife are not into crowding people, he usually fishes anywhere on the fishing dock where there is a fair amount of room and that can be anywhere from the the end of the dock to various spots along the narrow part of the dock and he has fished off both sides of the dock – and while other perch anglers are catching a few perch per hour, Jim and Betty are catching a perch every few minutes. Another benefit of his technique is that the hook is never swallowed and the perch are easily removed from the hook.
The reason the Spickelmire’s do a fair amount of their perch fishing at Tenmile Lakes, despite the fact that Idaho is loaded with great yellow perch waters is that they love eating dungeness crabs and Idaho definitely has a lack of good crabbing spots.
In spite of there being limited warmwater fishing opportunities for Toledo area there is a hidden, almost completely overlooked section on the relatively popular freshwater fishing spot – Olalla Reservoir.
Olalla is a fairly deep, more than 100 acre fishing spot located about four miles north of Toledo and receives frequent plantss of various-sized rainbow trout and surplus steelhead and virtually all of the fishing pressure is directed at the trout.
However, Olalla is a very good fishing spot for warmwater gamefish. The lake has produced largemouth bass weighing more than ten pounds and some of the yellow perch are good-sized as well. Bluegills are less common and usually top out around seven to eight inches. Although there have been reports of brown bullhead and crappie catches, they are rare, if present at all, and anglers should not count on catching them.
One of the best sections of Olalla to fish for warmwater fish about five acres of relatively shallow water located just beyond the end of Olalla’s east arm. There is a narrow strip of clay about five yards wide that separates this water from the main lake and the two are connected by a fairly deep culvert.
The only way to properly fish this overlooked spot is to drag a small boat or float tube across the strip of land connecting the two spots and the best early spring bass fishing on Olalla Reservoir usually occurs in this spot.
Located less than three miles east of Waldport on the south side of the Alsea River Highway, 45 acre Eckman Lake gets very little fishing pressure – except when it receives one of its frequent trout plants.
However, this very shallow lake also contains brown bullhead catfish and largemouth bass and although they are not overly abundant they are capable of reaching good size. Eckman once held the Oregon state record for brown bullheads with a fish weighing more than two pounds. Oregon has since decided to lump all of its bullhead catfish species (black, brown and yellow) into a single category.
Eckman also prduces a few really big largemouth bass with fish weighing at least nine pounds being taken in past years. Much of the lake is too shallow to hold decent bass and the best bass water is along the Alsea River Highway. If bass angler enjoys the challenge of tough fishing for potentially big bass, Eckman Lake would be a good choice.
Although Eckman does not have a boat ramp, it does have a fishing dock and a restroom and they are located on the northwest portion of the lake only a few feet from the Alsea River Highway.
SOME OF MY FAVORITE FISHING THINGS
Here are some of my favorite things related to fishing – in no particular order.
(1) – Favorite method of attaching super braid lines to either fluorocarbon or monofilament. There are a number of recommended knots for doing this, but I have had my best luck using the smaller swivels and tying the braided line to one end (I use a palomar knot) and the non-braid to the other end using either a palomar knot or a clinch knot. Depending on whether there is much breaking strength difference between the line and the leader, in order of decreasing knot strength, I attach the non-braid with either a palomar knot, an improved clinch knot or a clinch knot. I definitely want the leader to break before the main line and preferably, if it must break, at the lure. That is why I use a slightly less efficient knot at the lure.
(2) – Favorite weekly outdoor columnist – Definitely Carrie Wilson whose column appears nearly every week in Western Outdoor News. Carrie is a marine biologist who works for the California Department of Fish and Game and she does a great job of giving direct and understandable answers to a wide variety of outdoor-related questions. Those of you who have directed very many questions to outdoor biologists and enforcement personnel will realize how rare this is.
(3) – My favorite soft plastic jerkbait is – without a doubt the five-inch Castaic Jerky J series. I usually use the largemouth bass pattern and have found that the plastic used in making these lures is heavier than in most similar lures allowing much more options when retrieving it. I always make sure that there is a small bend in the upper portion of the lure which allows me to achieve better action on a slower retrieve. The five inch size seems to attract more big bass than do smaller versions of soft plastic jerkbaits. Although the company does not make a yellow perch pattern, it has a couple of patters that with a black magic marker can easily be made into a good perch imitation. My favorite choice for this strategy is the ayu color pattern.
(4) – My favorite fishing lake in central or eastern Oregon. It used to be East Lake back when it had lots of decent-sized rainbows, a few jumbo browns and a fair amount of brookies. In the fall, the brookies would school up on some very visible small gravel areas along the shoreline opposite the resort and would eagerly attack small lures and flies – and the average brookie measured all of 15-inches. Today, East Lake offers even more angling variety with rainbow trout, brown trout, Atlantic salmon and kokanee salmon being stocked. However, the brookies are no longer stocked and have pretty much died out. Try as I might, I just cannot find the brookies’ replacements to be as interesting as they were. So my new favorite fishing lake for central-eastern Oregon is Lake of the Woods located between Medford and Klamath Falls. It is approximately the same size as East Lake and offers even more fishing variety. The last time I fished it, in three hours of fishing near the resort, I landed approximately 50 fish on light tackle, but even more impressive was the variety of fish I landed. On my second cast, I landed a two pound rainbow and the fishing got more interesting after that. I ended up catching rainbow trout to 18-inches, a 16-inch brown trout, a number of black crappie to ten inches, quite a few yellow perch to at least nine inches, a bunch of smallish smallmouth bass and a one-pound largemouth bass. I did not catch any of the lake’s kokanee salmon or brown bullheads and if I wanted to, I could have hiked up Rainbow Creek, one of the lake’s small inlet streams, to catch some of its smallish brook trout.
(5) – My favorite western Oregon Lake is a tossup between Loon Lake and Lake Selmac. Lake Selmac is noted as a consistent producer of jumbo largemouth bass, but also has populations of bluegill and black crappies that are abundant, yet reach good size. Brown bullheads and a small populations of warmouth round out the lake’s warmwater fish species and the lake is very heavily stocked with rainbow trout. Because much of the lake is quite shallow, Selmac starts producing good fishing well before any of the other area lakes.
As for Loon Lake, it is the lake where I learned the finer points of bass fishing and I know it well enough to fish it effectively after dark. Large sections of the lake are overhung by brush and trees that reward my ability to cast far beneath them and my very best bass catches always seem to come from Loon Lake. Although few of Loon Lake’s planted trout reach respectable size and the crappies are relatively scarce, good-sized brown bullheads are available near the inlet and the lake has an abundant population of bluegills to at least nine-inches in length. Loon Lake is a wonderful lake to flyfish, but the best fishing is in the early spring before the boat traffic gets ridiculous or in the upper end of the lake where boat speed is greatly restricted.
(6) – My favorite electronic fishing equipment is – without a doubt the Fish Buddy – which is a portable depth finder with one important difference. It does side scans that show the air bladders of fish. It works really well on warmwater fish and the bottomfish anglers encounter when fishing off jetties. However, despite salmonids not having air bladders, it will show trout measuring more than 13-inches in length. It does not tell an angler which species of fish it is marking or how large they are, but it does allow an angler to cast to fish that have not already been spooked.
(7) – My favorite device to fish out of is called a “River Rat” and it hasn’t been made for about 20 years. It is shaped like a conventional float tube and is made out of polypropylene and only has a depression where the hole through a conventional float tube is. It allows me, with swim fins, to paddle through water as shallow as six inches at a speed of up to four miles per hour (unlike a conventional float tube, one doesn’t have to push most of their body through the water to move. It seems like it also allows me to closely approach fish without spooking them. Since it is somewhat physically demanding, I don’t know how much longer I can keep fishing out of it – but so far, so good.
(8) – When flyfishing, my favorite fly for most conditions is a black leech pattern. Ideally, it has a weighed head consisting of lead wire covered by the wrapped body material and is tied on a thin wire hook. When tied to the tippet with a loose knot (I often use a regular knot and then use another fish hook to create a little space around the hook eye so that I can more easily impart action to the fly. I really like to give a subtle up and down quiver to the fly and the number of different species that take this lure consistently surprises me.
(9) – My favorite online fishing site is WashingtonLakes.com. Although it has an Oregon section (oregonfishingnews.com), most of the site is aimed at Washington anglers and it is absolutely the best site I am aware of when it comes to getting uncluttered fishing reports. Better yet, a viewer can select any of the numerous listed fishing spots to view multiple fishing reports for any particular fishing spot. Of course, the site has lots of other reasons to give it a good luck such as helpful fishing videos, online fishing maps and much more. But I tune into this site primarily to view the fishing reports.
(10) – My favorite western Oregon river is the Umpqua River. It offers so much variety. What other northwest river system holds such varied fishing records as the national record for fly tackle-caught striped bass – at 64 pounds eight ounces, a national and world record that has stood for more than 40 years; the Oregon state record for chinook salmon at 83 pounds and the Oregon record for green sunfish at slightly more than 11 ounces.
(11) – My favorite central and eastern Oregon stream is the Deschutes River. My favorite sections of this river lie between Tumalo and Lake Billy Chinook. The fish I pursue are brown trout and there are some true lunkers in certain stretches of this river with some of the browns weighing well over ten pounds. Moving along the river is difficult, but the steep canyon walls ensure that some sections of the river are in the shade most of the day. My best brown that I actually landed was caught between the Folley Waters and Steelhead Falls and weighed more than 15 pounds on a certified scale in the supermarket in Terrebonne and it struck a hand-painted Rapala that I had added a herring scent to. Since the jumbo brown was taken above Steelhead Falls, it will most likely remain the largest stream-reared brown I will ever land.
I think the new NCAA single game basketball scoring set this week by by Grinnell’s Jack Taylor is a very cheap mark. Sure, the team is known for its pressing defense and quick shot-taking. In fact, the team has led its NCAA Division (III) in scoring for 17 of the last 19 years. In 15 of those 19 years, Grinnell has led the nation in three point scoring.
But other record scoring nights by other players have been because of outstanding shooting. Not so, with Taylor’s mark. In the first half, he made 20 of his 50 field goal attempts or 40 percent. For the entire game, he made 52 of 108 field goal attempts or 48 percent. However, he only made seven of ten free throws and only 27 of the 71 three point field goals he hoisted up. Making only seventy percent of one’s free throws is only mediocre, at best and making only 38 percent of one’s three point field goals usually means that a player is not the first, or usually even the second, option for long range shooting on his college team.
Because he was on the bench for four minutes, Taylor averaged three field goal attempts for every one of the 36 minutes he was on the court.
It is difficult to find “glory” or even merit in a player taking about three-quarters of his team’s field goal attempts. I would like to know how the Grinnel coach, David Arseneault, sold this strategy to the rest of the team. Although Grinnell won the game, it almost seems like the striving for the victory was secondary to Taylor immediately shooting the ball every time it touched his hands.
The incredible number of attempted field goals will make Taylor’s record almost impossible to approach or beat – unless a player adopts the same strategy and makes a higher percentage of his field goal attempts. In other words, no team-oriented basketball teams need apply.
Crabbing is holding up quite well at Winchester Bay and it looks like even if we have considerable rainfall over the next couple of weeks it will only move the crabs closer to the ocean and not run them out of the river. Last week, some crabs were taken more than a mile upriver from the entrance to the East Boat Basin. As this is being written Thursday night, the crabs in the river seem to be full as opposed to the ocean crabs not being full enough to allow the commercial season to open on schedule.
The catch rates for the wild coho during the week ending November 11th are out and it appears that only 23 wild coho were kept and counted by fish checkers. The top river for wild coho was the Coos with a mere seven fish. It appears that most of the salmon taken recently have not been counted as Mike Shubin stopped by where I work in Winchester Bay last Thursday with two bright salmon he caught while fishing the Umpqua River’s South Jetty – one a chinook of more than ten pounds and the other a wild coho of at least 15 pounds. As stated earlier, both salmon were quite bright and Mike also had some bottomfish action while trolling for the salmon. Salmon are now distributed throughout the Umpqua River system and have been for several weeks.
Salmon fishing has even been tough on the South Coast where it almost seems that a good rain is required to get new, and more cooperative, fish into the streams. Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes continue to produce coho salmon, but it seems that most of the salmon taken in Tenmile are falling to anglers fishing spinnerbaits and crankbaits for bass – which are still entering the catch at Tenmile Lake, but in limited numbers.
As for the Triangle and South Jetty, fishing pressure has picked up somewhat with the decrease in salmon anglers. Rainy weather has shrunk the number of anglers fishing for salmon from shore and rotten bar conditions have made trying to fish the lowermost Umpqua from a boat, iffy at best. There has been virtually no fishing pressure directed at striped bass and sturgeon, although there have been a few anglers trying for sturgeon above Wells Creek where almost every fish taken is too big to legally keep.
Trout fishing in Saunders Lake and Lake Marie has been better than could reasonably be expected for good-sized planted rainbows. Although the trout fishing has slowed down since early summer, Tenmile Lakes is still producing some sizable rainbows to persistent anglers. Anglers willing to travel can catch some good-sized brown and rainbow trout out of the Deschutes River from Bend downstream to Lake Billy Chinook and some sizable rainbows to more than 30-inches from Agency and Upper Klamath Lakes. During the colder months, spring areas tend to offer the best fishing. Good winter fishing for rainbows to at least eight pounds is also available on the Klamath River below the Keno Dam downstream to John Boyle Reservoir. This section of river can get very warm and trout fishing is only allowed from October 1st through June 15th.
The best winter trout fishing in the northwest can be found at Rufus Woods Lake, a Columbia River reservoir, where the net pen-reared rainbows tend to stay close to the pens they were raised in. These sterile triploid trout don’t seem to do anything but eat and incredibly fat fish weighing at least 20 pounds are taken every winter. The average rainbow will weigh around three pounds. The guides that fish Lake Chelan for mackinaw or lake trout are also incredibly successful. The usual trip results in several lakers per angler and these fish are capable of exceeding 20 pounds in weight with the average laker weighing between three and five pounds. Chelan holds the Washington state records for both mackinaw and landlocked chinook salmon with both fish weighing well over 30 pounds.
Although the fishing for hybrid muskies in Washington falls off during the coldest months, the fish usually bite fairly well in cool water. Hybrid or tiger muskies are only present in seven Washington waters and the trout fishing seems to have improved in all of them after the musky program got established. A minimum length limit of 50-inches makes Washington’s tiger musky program pretty much a catch and release fishery designed to offer a trophy fishing aspect to the improved trout fishing in the lakes containing the muskies. It seems like they could also plant a few of the sterile tiger muskies in other lakes simply to shock the occasional trout, bass or panfish angler.
One of my pet peeves is the desire of many parents to introduce very young children to fishing tackle and fish species far beyond their ability to properly handle. This article, which I intend to include in an ebook expansion of “Oregon Fish Tales”, covers one child’s path to a proper fishing trip. This article is a work of complete fiction. I hope you enjoy it.
MY BIG BROTHER
I could not help being excited. My dad was excited, my big brother, Tim, was excited and although I didn’t know very much about the upcoming trip, I knew it was for salmon. We were headed to the Portland Area to fish for chinook salmon and of the three of us, I was the only one that had never gone on one of these highly anticipated trips.
We were leaving in the middle of the night from our home in Tacoma, Washington and driving to our fishing destination which was slightly west of Astoria.
Although it was already later than my usual bedtime of 9:00 pm, my seven year old body was nowhere near ready for sleep. Since I couldn’t sleep, I decided
to read up on our intended fishing area. The spot we would be fishing would be an area called Buoy 10. My father assured me that it was a very famous fishing spot and was located where the Columbia River met the Pacific Ocean. The brochures I was reading, but mostly was looking at, seemed to indicate that anyone fishing that spot was assured of landing several giant salmon.
My parents had insisted that I look at the fishing guide brochures in mybedroom, and eventually, my excitement left me as my body began to shut down in anticipation of sleep.
The next thing I knew, my father was shaking me awake. He seemed both excited and upset, but I later realized that he was mostly mad at him self for slightly oversleeping. As he shook me awake and yelled at me to hurry up and get dressed, it seemed like he was mad at me.
I felt better when my 13 year old brother, Tim, told me that dad was like this every time he started a drive to Astoria on a fishing trip.
A few minutes later, we were in the car traveling south on Interstate 5, with plenty of time for an on-time arrival at the charterboat office. Dad seemed less upset, but still excited, and kept telling me that it would never get better than this trip on which I was surely going to catch my first salmon.
Tim was quiet, but I could tell he was excited. But he kept watching me out of the corner of his eyes and I could tell he was worried about something. I quit thinking of what it might be as I started to nod off.
The next thing I remember is dad gently shaking me awake at the charter office. The three of us would be with three other people aboard the charterboat which was named “The Salmon Seeker”. Dad made sure I had a lifejacket on before one got on the boat. We took up three seats on one side of the boat, while the other family, all adults, took up the three seats on the other side.
The guy everyone called “skipper” got into the boat and sat at the steering wheel, while a young man, about 20 years old, stayed in the back and started giving us safety and fishing instructions. He then took a small fish out of a bucket and before I knew it, he was handing me a rod that he had already baited and let out.
I was fishing.
The first thing I noticed was that the rod was really heavy and I could bare hold it. I was relieved when the bait boy took the rod back and placed it in a pole holder on our side of the boat. He had barely taken his hands off it, when it went down and grabbed it and handed it back to me, telling me that I had a salmon on.
I took the rod and immediately realized that with the salmon pulling on the heavy rod, I could not hold the rod tip up. In fact, I felt like I was going to lose my grip on the rod and everyone on the boat, but especially the skipper, the bait boy and my dad, started hollaring at me.
Just as the rod slipped from my fingers, the bait boy grabbed it and raised the rod tip and began fighting the salmon. As the salmon neared the boat, the bait boy looked at me and asked if I was ready to take the rod back, but I shook my head no. I noticed my father look away with so much disappointment, that it may have been disgust. I wanted to cry.
As the salmon was brought aboard, everyone started congratulating me. The salmon, a 17 pound chinook, was magnificent, but I knew it wasn’t my fish.
With the salmon on board, everyone else got their lines in the water and started fishing. Everyone on the boat caught at least one salmon, but I stared at my rod tip, hoping that I would not get another bite that would surely result in more humiliation.
Dad caught two nice salmon and seemed happy and less disappointed in me, but the highlight of the trip, for me, was when Tim came over and said that the same thing had happened to him on his first salmon fishing trip and he had been nine years old, not seven.
I felt better.
On the way back home, I was happy, because both dad and Tim were happy, but mostly, I was relieved that the fishing trip was over. Later that night, I saw Tim and dad having what seemed to be a serious discussion. At first I thought it was an arguement, but their voices were so low that couldn’t overhear them and Tim was doing most of the talking, which certainly would not be the case in an actual argument. Dad was really paying attention to whatever Tim was saying and then walked apart, seemingly in good spirits and I went on with my seven year old life.
The next day, Tim told me that we were going fishing again, but in a different spot for different kinds of fish. Before I knew what was happening, Tim and I were in the car and dad was driving us somewhere.
The somewhere turned out to be American Lake and as we pulled up to the fishing dock, Tim pulled out a tiny fishing rod complete with reel and line.
I told him that I wasn’t a baby and I wasn’t going to use what was obviously a baby’s fishing pole, Tim then pulled out a slightly larger fishing rod and handed it to me and said he would fish with the smaller rod.
Dad, who had not gotten out of the car, stated that he would be back in three hours to pick us up and to have a good time.
Tim then put a lifejacket on me and walked me partway out of the dock and started to bait my hook with a piece of nightcrawler.
I asked him what we were fishing for and Tim said, “whatever bites”. Tim then threw my worm and tiny bobber combination into the water next to the dock. He then seemed to take a very long time baiting his rod and before he had done so, I noticed my bobber dancing.
I set the hook and hauled out a small chunky fish and Tim told me that it was a pumpkinseed sunfish. He took it off my hook and put in the bucket he had filled with water before he started baiting his hook.
Tim rebaited my hook and before he could even pick up his fishing rod, my bobber was dancing again. This time the fish gave a good fight on the small outfit and when I hauled it on the dock, I noticed that it was a different kind of fish.
Tim told me that it was a rock bass and he measured it and told me it was an eight incher and that it was a big one for that kind of fish. He threw it in the bucket with the pumkinseed and, once again, baited my hook.
This time, he managed to get his worm and bobber in the water before I flopped another fish on the dock. This fish was at least as long as the rock bass, but more skinny, and Tim said that I had caught a yellow perch.
My confidence was soaring. I had caught three fish more than my big brother and I had very little trouble handling the kid-sized fishing outfit that I was using. Tim didn’t seem too upset to have to use an even smaller fishing outfit and when a kid about his age started teasing him about his “baby pole”, Tim laughed and held up a yellow perch that he had just hooked that had to be at least 11-inches long. The kid, who had yet to catch a fish, walked off in a hurry.
Tim and I were both catching fish now and I even was baiting my own hook and unhooking my own fish. But I noticed that whenever Tim got close to having caught as many fish as I had, he took a long time baiting his hook.
When nearly three hours were up, we had a bucketload of several kinds of panfish. Most of the fish were rock bass, yellow perch and pumpkinseed sunfish, but there were also a couple of catfish, crappies and bluegills in the bucket as well.
Tim told me that the catfish were brown bullheads and that the crappies were black crappies and there was a species of crappie called white crappie.
About that time dad pulled up and grinned widely when Tim showed him the bucket of fish and told him that I had caught most of them. Dad said to dump the water out of the bucket and he would show us how to clean the fish so that there were no bones in them.
We put the bucket and our fishing gear in the trunk and hopped in the car. I had never been more proud of myself and I think that dad and Tim were pretty proud of me, too.
When we got home, Tim took the bucket out of the trunk, handed it to me, and told me to go show mom our fish.
Mom was delighted and said that if dad would clean the fish, she would cook them up and show us how delicious they tasted.
Dad started cleaning the fish and showed both Tim and I how he did it. He said he was filetting them and the tiny slabs of meat ended up boneless and skinless. Dad let Tim filet some of the fish, but dad got lots more meat out of each fish. He wouldn’t let me anywhere near the filet knife, stating that I would be cleaning more fish than I wanted within a few years.
We had more than 50 fish and it took dad nearly two hours to clean them all, but by the time he finished, mom was ready to cook them. She cooked them several different ways, but she deep-fried most of them in cooking oil. Every filet, no matter how it was cooked, was delicious and the whole family enjoyed the meal.
I felt really good, knowing that I had caught most of the fish and I had pretty much fed the family this meal of fish. Then I glanced at my brother and noticed that he had a big smile on his face as a moment later, he raised a tomato juice toast to my fishing prowess.
I beamed, but moments later, I came to my senses and realized that Tim had made sure that I was going to catch most of the fish that day. I also realized that he had a lot to do with making sure I had a fishing outfit I could handle. In fact, he did everything but actually catch the fish.
But it didn’t bother me.
In fact,that evening I became completely convinced that I was part of a very special family and I knew with complete certainly that a big reason why – was because of my big brother.
US ARROGANCE – EVEN EXTENDS TO FISHING
Our country’s arrogance extends to almost everything in our country. However, in most cases, it is very much misplaced or unwarranted. Of course, our country is a wonderful place to live when compared to many other countries, but some countries compare quite well with the USA in such matters. Here are some cases of misplaced USA arrogance.
The United States does not have one of the three longest river systems on the planet. When we put the Missouri and Mississippi together, we do have the fourth longest, but the amount of water flowing down our largest river system is a small fraction of that flowing down the Amazon River of South America. We also do not have any of the seven deepest lakes in the world or any of the ten largest reservoirs by surface area.
The tallest mountain in the United States is Mt. Denali/McKinley with an elevation of more than 20,000 feet. However, it could be several hundred feet taller and still not be one of the 20 tallest mountains in South America or more than 6,000 feet taller and still not be one of the ten tallest mountains in Asia.
Some other things we do not have – the US does not have any of the eight largest buildings in the world based on square footage. It doesn’t have any of the ten longest railroad tunnels, most populated cities, or highest bridges.
Since this is supposed to be primarily a fishing website, let’s look at how this arrogance permeates our country’s fishing.
The biggest affront to the perceived supiority of United States bass fishing is that we no longer own the world record for heaviest largemouth bass ever landed. Of course, we claim to share the world record, but the plain truth is that the jumbo largemouth bass taken by Manabu Kurita in Japan’s Lake Biwa in 2009, at 22.31 pounds is about one ounce heavier than the former world record holder from Lake Montgomery in Georgia which was taken in 1932 and weighed 22.25 pounds. Somewhow, the current record-keeping behavior now only recognizes a new world record largemouth if the new fish is at least two ounces heavier than the previous record – so the old world record from Georgia can still claim co-ownership of the world record. But make no mistake, the heaviest largemouth bass ever legally caught and officially weighed came out of Japan. It should not have been such a surprise that Japan claimed the world record largemouth since other jumbo bass weighing to more than 19 pounds have been caught in recent years and there is an unverified report of a 25 pound largemouth taken by a commerical fisherman from Lake Biwa in 2009
The United States has set more state records for flathead and blue catfish in the last two decades than in any other 20 year period in our history. However, the maximum size of our biggest catfish is dwarfed by the largest catfish in Asia, Europe and South America and essentially tied by the largest catfish in Africa..
During most of the last 72 years, the recognized world record pike was a 46 pound two ounce fish caught in New York’s Great Sacandaga Lake. Discounting the fact that back then, mis-identification of fish species was rather common and the fish could easily have been a musky, the numerous larger pike caught from many European countries and Russia were pretty much ignored. In recent years, some of these European pike have been accorded world record status – as well they should have – and many countries have produced heavier pike than have been caught in the USA. One way we could salvage our national angling pride could be to start calling muskies, norther pike since they are pretty much confined to North American and rival the heaviest European pike in weight.
Even the European counterpart to our walleye grows to a larger size. The record zander, taken in 1986, weighed 25 pounds two ounces – topping the dubious walleye world record of 25 pounds taken in Tennessee in 1960 and the 22 pound 11 ounce fish many consider the real world record taken from Greers Ferry Lake in Arkansas in 1982.
Even our yellow perch are upstaged by the very visually similar European perch which can grow to at least eight pounds and has been introduced with great success to New Zealand and Australia.
For years, the recognized world record brown trout was a 39 pound eight ounce fish taken a long time ago from Sweden. The record’s authenticity was very much in doubt since many thought that the fish was actually an Atlantic salmon and the record should actually be a 35 pound 15 ounce brown from Argentina. When brown trout larger than the Argentina fish are finally caught from USA waters, the Swedish world record was disallowed. The world brown trout record finally culminated in a 40 pound four ounce fish from a tributary of the White River in Arkansas. In the meantime, dozens of jumbo brown trout had been caught from alpine European lakes that would easily top anything taken from the United States. These seeforellen browns reached weights of at least 50 pounds. Even larger browns were taken from tributaries of Russia’s Caspian Sea with the largest of these coming from the Kura River where an unofficial record of 112 pounds was taken in a net. These browns only lived for about ten years, but were capable of reaching weights of well above 50 pounds. Presently, virtually none of these Caspian brown trout are living beyond six years and it appears that the largest speciments of the Caspian Sea and the alpine Seeforellen browns are no longer present. That fact when considered with the Seeforellen browns planted in Lake Michigan now reaching weights of well over 40 pounds may indicate that with brown trout, perhaps US arrogance may now, or in the near future, actually be warranted.
Although several weeks remain for anglers to be able to retain wild cohos on the lower portions of many coastal rivers in Oregon, the fishing pressure for both bank and boat anglers has dropped way off. However, the very few anglers still pursuing these fish are still catching some.