Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Endless Summer (SR 11/07/2015)

I'm incredibly grateful for my teachers that have shared their knowledge with me along the banks of the river and within the pages of magazines like Northwest Sportsman. The potential for product innovation and improving techniques is infinite, and I've been introduced to some very respected guides and industry professionals. I'm fortunate to have made some incredible connections as an outdoor writer that have sped up the learning curve of becoming a versatile and successful angler.

Don't get me wrong, but with that being said, at the end of the day, nothing beats fishing with your buddies. Every river has it's own set of locals that know every nook, cranny and boulder from the deadline to the ocean. The anglers that not only learned the ethics of fishing on that water, but developed their own set of rules through their experiences with their peers.

Stepping outside the box of our "home river," I always feel like the training wheels are coming off and it's time to get serious. However, there's something special, personal, sentimental to making that pilgrimage to the home river, even after you've moved away from it. The tractor beam of nostalgia draws anglers back to familiar waters, reconnecting groups that have drifted apart over the years. A reunion of sorts. The following is a story of one of those outings that happened on the central Oregon coast this November. The names of the parties have been changed in an effort to conceal the identities of those who wish to remain unknown.

"C-dub" taught me how to fish for steelhead. He wasn't there for my first steelhead, but he taught me how to tie a single-egg pattern and fish it under a float, which was a game-changer that got me my first limit. Eventually we developed a group of friends that started filming each other's catches and making short videos for our entertainment during long nights of cooking up fish, drinking cold beverages, tying jigs and flies on the vise in preparation for the next day. The camaraderie of our group revolved around C-dub being the one guy everybody could count on to drop everything and go fishing when the conditions were right.

Nowadays, C-dub resides in Santa Cruz, California catching striped bass, ling cod and halibut. However, the draw of our home river brings our group together each year as the end of the Central Oregon coast Fall salmon season approaches. There's an odd purgatory within the seasons where everything just falls into place and we usually have no problem getting a good stretch of water to ourselves.

While most salmon anglers have put a few on their tags, through the smoker and into the freezer by that time of year, elk season also draws many sportsmen away from the water. It's still a little early for winter steelhead, but don't count them out just yet. Summer steelhead on the other hand are a neglected fishery this time of year. While early summers overlap late winters, the late summers are often swimming with a mixed bag of fall salmon species and the earliest of winter steelhead. Some of the best river memories I have are fishing with close friends during this aquatic phenomenon.

With a few of our friends entering new marriages, careers and parenthood, this November's excursion seemed to be "the good old days" in that present moment. Meeting at the Moonshine Park campground, we rendezvoused and set up camp that Friday evening, chowed down on bear chili and smoked kokanee, rigging up for the morning on the water. A little rain brought the river up on Thursday and it had just started to drop and clear as we showed up to the water on Saturday morning. The Plum Creek Timber Company road is only open to public vehicle access Saturday and Sunday, which reduces a lot of the fishing pressure upstream. A 12 mile drive up the gravel road to the deadline, we rolled several vehicles deep enough to discourage any other anglers from even stopping along the road to check things out. We crawled down into the gorge to that familiar stretch where we had made so many memories before.

As we've all matured and the distance between us and the days we get to spend fishing together get further and further apart, it's understood that up there they've got to do what's best for them, because it's their time. Their time, up there. But down here, it's our time. It's our time down here, in the gorge, grown-up Goonies, stomping the banks for anything that will provide us with the tug that is drug we're all hooked on.

Every species of trout, salmon and steelhead are in the river this time of year, and all of them eat eggs, or anything that even closely resembles them. The action can be unbelievable at times, especially when you're fishing with a half dozen friends or so, searching through every inch of water like a fine-toothed comb. Summers that have held out for rain in deep pools along the lower parts of the river are racing to the finish line, with surprisingly bright patterns and firm-fleshed, quality table fare among the hatchery run. Changes included in the Multi-Coastal species plan that cut the release of summer steelhead smolts in half back in 2013 could mean that this year is as good as it's going to get. These are the glory days we'll be yammering on and on about to future generations of anglers about how good things used to be.

C-dub landed the first fish of the day just after daylight, a hatchery, which took a little pressure off him taking home some meat back to California. I hooked a wild steelhead only minutes later, then our friend "Biggums" pulled in a nice sized wild steelhead a few casts later, "Muskrat" put a hatchery summer on the bank, followed by several triple hook-ups that resulted in action that didn't seem to stop for at least an hour. When one pattern got slow, we'd change things up and the bite was back on again. We hole-hopped to a few other areas of the river miles apart and it was the same story.

A few hours into the morning, several of us had a fish on our tags and we were handing off the rods to each other to keep from limiting out. We headed back to camp around noon and proceeded to celebrate in proper fashion as the rain started pouring down, like a baptism cleansing us of the scent of roe and fish guts, drenching our worries and drowning our problems.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Rain or Shine Giveaway - Part one: Willamette Weapon Lures & Trigger Happy Comfort Grips

I'll be doing give-aways through the holidays to those who have shown their support as readers this year. The first give-away is for two custom-painted crankbaits from Willamette Weapon Custom Lures in the "Sculpin" and "Tualatin Craw" patterns. The detail in these custom paint jobs has been mentioned in my Wide Open Spaces articles Targeting all 4 Seasons of Big River Smallmouth and Big River Smallmouth Tactics. I'm also going to include a pair of Trigger Happy Comfort Grips to make those long days of casting and cranking easier on your hands. I wrote about this product for Wide Open Spaces in the articles, Get Your Hands on Trigger Happy Comfort Grips and 9 of the best Outdoor Products of 2015. To be entered in the contest, you need to like Willamette Weapon Custom Lures Facebook Page the Trigger Happy Comfort Grips Facebook Page as well as my Randall Bonner Outdoor Writer Facebook Page.

You will also be asked to like and share the post made on my Facebook Page about the contest. Good luck!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Bumper Dumper Makes Going on the Go Easier

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This Taxidermy Mount Will Blow Your Mind

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Concealed Carry Yoga Pants

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These Duck and Goose hunting memes are almost Fowl

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Gillnetting Practices Continue to Threaten Columbia River Recreational Fisheries

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Millenials May Spend More Time Outdoors than we Think

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Spicy Teriyaki Venison Meatballs Recipe

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ODFW Confirms AHD virus in Blacktail in Coos County, Oregon

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Elk Poaching Case in Columbia County

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Pelican Pilsner Sales Benefit Fish Passage Projects

Pelican Brewery’s newest Pilsner contributes to the Tillamook area’s Salmon Super Highway fish passage projects.

Every coastal angler and guide in Oregon knows Tillamook for more than just its dairy farms and the air museum. Tillamook County has six coastal rivers that flow along the Oregon coast that are host to salmon and steelhead. Those who know it best also know where to grab a beer and a bite to eat after a day on the water.
Pelican Brewery, a frequent stop for recreational anglers and professional guides, is giving back to the community by donating a portion of their profitsfrom a new pilsner to a habitat restoration project called the Salmon Super Highway that is geared towards removing obstacles to fish passage.
Anglers Sara Dodd and Kristin Bishop prepare to chase a pair of oyster shooters with their Pelican Ales at the Tillamook brewpub after a day of fishing
Jeff Schons and Mary Jones founded Pelican Brewing Company, opening a brewpub in Pacific City back in 1996. Celebrating their 20th year in business, they now have brewing and brewpub facilities in Pacific City, Tillamook, and Cannon Beach.
With leadership under Pelican’s Brewmaster Darron Welch, the brewery has earned over 300 awards, including the 2014 World Beer Cup© Champion Small Brewing Company and Brewmaster of the Year. Pelican also recently won a bronze medal at the World Brew Cup℠ and eight medals including Champion Medium International Brewery at the Australian International Beer Awards.
The success of their small-town community supported brewery has allowed them to grow, expand, and now give back to the area it calls home. Pelican Brewery invites its consumers to “Drink a beer and save a fish” with its new Five Fin West Coast Pilsner.
A portion of the proceeds from every barrel sold will be donated to the Salmon Superhighway, a project to restore access to nearly 180 miles of blocked habitat in the half dozen local rivers where five ocean-going species of salmon and steelhead spawn along the North Coast of Oregon.
The Pilsner is brewed with a West Coast influence, incorporating a bold, hoppy flavor and aroma. It’s crafted with a Northwestern blend of Cascade and Sterling hops as well as Mandarina Bavaria hops from Germany. The fusion of citrus and floral notes balanced with Great Western Pilsner Malt make the Five Fin Pilsner a unique craft beer, in character with their award winning signature brews.
“We wanted to create a beer that would successfully support this unique restoration project—when we think about salmon, we think of the clean, cold, crisp flowing rivers here and imagined Five Fin to mirror that,” says Jim Prinzing, CEO, Pelican Brewing Company. “We love pilsners and we love American hops and this beer brings those two elements together in a bold, refreshing way.”
ABV: 5.3% | IBU: 45 | PLATO: 12ยบ
Five Fin Pilsner is available in the grocery craft beer aisle in 6-packs; 12 oz and 22 oz bottles; 50 liter kegs; and 1/6th barrels are also available for on-premise pours.
Small dams, tide gates, and other barriers that create bottlenecks, encourage flooding, and contribute to road damage, many of which include culverts at road crossings, are costly problems to address that the state can’t fund alone. Adult fish face obstructions to access spawning habitat, and juvenile fish face the same obstacles on their out-migration to the ocean.

The solution:
The Salmon Superhighway project is a strategic and intensive effort across a six-river landscape of 940 square miles to reconnect fish populations with the habitat they need to migrate, navigate, spawn, and survive. Starting in 2014, the project has identified obstacles and removal projects that will require a 35.8 million dollar campaign that is expected to run through 2024 in an effort improve habitat for salmon in 93 different locations throughout Tillamook County.

Author with his first chum salmon, caught from a Tillamook County river
“Pelican Brewing Company is a valued leader in our effort to raise awareness and funding to protect salmon in Tillamook County—which impacts all of us at some level,” says Terry Turner, Oregon Council Chair, Trout Unlimited. “We hope Pelican’s creative funding strategy will encourage other companies and organizations to join this very important salmon habitat restoration effort.”
Acting as a sponsor and donor to the Salmon Super Highway community partnership, Pelican hopes to also improve and stimulate the local economy that is closely tied to it’s fishing opportunities. Other partners include a broad range of state and federal agencies, local business and agriculture, and local watershed councils.
Doing your part contributing to the Salmon Superhighway is easy, drink a beer, save a fish!
This article was published on October 21st 2016 by Wide Open Media

10 of the Best Raingear Brands

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Portland Bass Club Revives Fishery

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