Friday, January 21, 2011

Outdoor Update

Jeez, I’ve been so busy lately, it is hard to say where I should begin. Alphabetically, I guess, so let’s start with fishing:

I haven’t been back out since my last trip where I thought I fried the injection pump on my boat. Turns out the pump isn’t fried like I thought – it still works fine. It seems as though the main reservoirs lost pressure somehow and stopped supplying oil to the small, engine mounted reserve reservoir, until it ran dry. There is another problem, too – there should have been an alarm horn that sounded to warn me of this. It didn’t. I am waiting for it to warm up enough so I can roll up my sleeves and find out what is going on here, and also if my engine is blown up.

Crossing fingers…

My friend hit Lake Roosevelt last weekend (I didn’t go, see pheasant hunting below) which is the Columbia River impounded behind the Grand Coulee Dam . He caught a 14 lb walleye. Damn nice.

Hunting went a little better. I did not get my elk. We found almost 200 head in two different herds, but they were outside the boundaries that my tag allowed for harvest. They never came into our unit. However, bird hunting has been a different story. My Dad and I went out three days before Christmas after a good snowfall and shot 27 birds in one day. 13 california quail, one pheasant, one ruffed grouse, 7 chukar partridge, and 5 hungarian partridge (does that add up to 27?). In a new personal best, I shot all 13 quail with one shot. They were packed up densely in the new fallen snow, and when they got up, I picked a buck out of the middle of the flock and slapped the trigger. 13 came down in total. My dog went nuts – she overloaded… so many birds, dad! It was a mistake – I’d never had anything like that happen to me before. I’ve shot multiples with one shot before, but never more than three or four. It is a good thing Dad was with me because the limit for one person is 10 (hopefully WDFW isn’t monitoring this page…) :)

I went out last weekend to a game preserve with a bunch of clients and took them pheasant hunting (on the company’s dime – gosh I love my job!). We shot quite a few pheasants, and Dutchess performed admirably. I got a lot of comments on what a good dog she is. Again, I trained her myself, so there is a point of pride there. That dog has done wonders for my career – clients become very loyal when you develop a friendship with them beyond work, and when you have funny hunting stories to tell… well, more the better!

Made up one of the salmon fillets that I caught on the Hanford Reach in October, with a homemade pesto and parmesan crust. It was delicious.

Made pheasant leg soup again. I just had it for lunch today.

Bird season is now closed. So is all big game. Next season coming up is spring black bear, spring turkey, and spring king salmon on the Clearwater river in Idaho. All in April and May.

As a note to those of you who do not live on the Pacific Coast, these King Salmon are actually born in freshwater, migrate to saltwater, and then come back into fresh water to spawn after about 5 years or so in the ocean. The amazing thing about them is that in the Clearwater, where I am catching them, they are over 400 river miles from the saltwater, and have swam over 8 massive dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers (link is to Lower Granite Dam, the last one on the Snake River before they swim into the Clearwater) just to get there. Even more astounding is that many of them are only HALFWAY to their spawning grounds. The Redfish Lake sockeye travel almost 1000 river miles to spawn (986 miles, if memory serves). Their spawning ground are just outside of Boise, Idaho. Look at a map. Find the mouth of the Columbia on the Washington/Oregon border. Now, find Boise, Idaho. Now, consider that the rivers don’t draw a straight line between the two, more of a squared off right angle… well, you get the picture. It is simply amazing.

The next big thing coming is March. White Sturgeon fishing. These prehistoric monsters have been known to grow up to 20 feet long and weigh 2,200 pounds. There are stories of the old method of catching them – using horse teams to drag them out – and losing entire horse teams because the fish pulled them off of the slippery rocks and into the river. They live in the Columbia, Snake, and Salmon rivers around here. Nowadays, the average size is 5-6 feet, and a really big one will be 12 or 13 feet long. They fight like crazy, and are the best eating of any fish I’ve ever eaten. I’ll start after them in March. Try to remember the camera this time, huh Goob?

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