Columbia River King Salmon

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UntouchableNess
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Columbia River King Salmon

Unread postby UntouchableNess » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:40 am

We traveled to Portland, Oregon recently, me on business. I decided why not try to squeeze in a little fishing while there. I searched the web for a local guide, found a couple, picked one and called him. Things sounded good, so I put down a deposit. He said he would call me the afternoon before the charter date to walk us through the on-line license application. I went ahead and generated an account with ODFW from my computer, as I hate doing much typing on my smart phone. Well, he calls the afternoon prior, with bad news. Seems a family emergency has come up, but he found another guide that would take me for the same price. Since we had a two hour drive up to the marina, we had booked a half day trip. He gave me the contact info for the new boat, so I called the guide. He seemed ok over the phone, figured why back out now? It wasn't like we knew our first guide either.

So we buy our one day licenses, good for two salmon each. We could catch one King, one Coho, or two Coho per license. We couldn't keep 2 Kings per license. I figured if we caught a fish, the day would be a success.

By the time we rent the vehicle (only thing available as a walk up was a huge Dodge Ram Rebel pickup, LOL, we'll take it), drive up the coast, it was around 11:30 am when we called the boat. The guide said they just boated a 26# King and they were headed in to pick us up. They pull up to the dock, we jump in, away we go.

The fishing style was trolling a herring behind a flasher, held down with a huge lead ball. There were tons of boats on the Columbia River, the salmon season was less than a week old and people were anxious. We were in the Buoy 10 area. The three other fisherman on the boat had already caught their Kings, so we had 5 poles in the water for our two licenses. The guide told us that if a pole gets a strike, wait for him to signal the hook set, everybody else was to get the other poles in to prevent tangles.

Well, a pole starts bouncing, I approach it, get the ok to grab it, fight on! Feels like a decent fish, I'll reel a bit, it strips some line off on the run, repeat. Well, one of the other lines got tangled on mine. I'm holding the pole, the guide is leaning over the boat trying to untangle the other line. We look up and spot a sea lion about 50 yards out. The guide had a sea lion steal a King the day before, so he starts hand lining my King in (it was pretty close to the boat by now anyway). I put down the pole, grab the net and scoop up my fish. So I guess you can say I caught and netted my own fish. :D Get it in the boat, he clubs it in the head and we get the scale out. It weighed in at 22#, second largest in the boat.

We continue to fish hoping Julie can catch a King as well. She did catch one, but it was 23" and needed to be 24" to keep. We released it and fished until quitting time without another fish being caught. I felt kind of bad for the other 3 guys in the boat who essentially watched us fish the rest of the day. The plan was to limit on Kings, then switch to Coho. That did not happen.

The guide filleted my fish, then I took it to a fish cleaning shop at the marina where they vacuum packed it, put it into a carry-on insulated box with some frozen gel packs for the flight home. No way I'm going to do the math on cost per pound, just happy we had ocean raised deep red salmon fillets to bring home.

Image

We got to see whales spouting and surfacing in the river, a porpoise swam by which surprised the guide, we saw harbor seals, pretty decent afternoon overall.


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greenhorndave
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Re: Columbia River King Salmon

Unread postby greenhorndave » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:08 am

Sounds like an interesting and fun deal. Some great sights in that area.

We have some good King fishing in Lake Michigan, but I'm often curious about any taste difference between the two.
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Re: Columbia River King Salmon

Unread postby Jackson Marsh » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:10 am

Nice!

That will taste great on the grill :dance:
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Re: Columbia River King Salmon

Unread postby muddy » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:12 am

LMAO @ The Fishbonker Open!
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Re: Columbia River King Salmon

Unread postby Edcyclopedia » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:44 am

8-)
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Re: Columbia River King Salmon

Unread postby Edcyclopedia » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:44 am

8-)
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Re: Columbia River King Salmon

Unread postby UntouchableNess » Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:44 am

muddy wrote:LMAO @ The Fishbonker Open!


When I got into the boat, I immediately spotted the guide's "fish bonker":
Image

Here it is being employed:
Image

For more of the back story on the shirt, a friend has an annual "golf" tourney that he sets up on his acreage. It is called the FIshbonker Open, notice the club in the shirt logo. It's kind of putt putt golf meets Jose Cuervo. Its the only time I pick up a golf club during the year. Until this year's event, I was the only person to ever card a hole in one. I took second place that year.

greenhorndave wrote: We have some good King fishing in Lake Michigan, but I'm often curious about any taste difference between the two.

I've fished Lake Michigan for salmon as well, noting that the fillets are a little paler. We have cooked up a couple of the King fillets since we have been back, noticing that it has a much richer "salmon" flavor. Here is a fillet on the counter prior to cooking:
Image

Business trip to Milwaukee next August, already looking at a Lake Michigan charter for when I'm done with my meetings. 2021 business meeting is in Pittsburgh, kind of stumped on what to do in that area. 2022 finds us back in Portland, not sure I will do King again, maybe sturgeon, though most boats are focusing on the salmon run at that time of year.
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Re: Columbia River King Salmon

Unread postby elk yinzer » Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:59 am

UntouchableNess wrote:
muddy wrote:LMAO @ The Fishbonker Open!


When I got into the boat, I immediately spotted the guide's "fish bonker":
Image

Here it is being employed:
Image

For more of the back story on the shirt, a friend has an annual "golf" tourney that he sets up on his acreage. It is called the FIshbonker Open, notice the club in the shirt logo. It's kind of putt putt golf meets Jose Cuervo. Its the only time I pick up a golf club during the year. Until this year's event, I was the only person to ever card a hole in one. I took second place that year.

greenhorndave wrote: We have some good King fishing in Lake Michigan, but I'm often curious about any taste difference between the two.

I've fished Lake Michigan for salmon as well, noting that the fillets are a little paler. We have cooked up a couple of the King fillets since we have been back, noticing that it has a much richer "salmon" flavor. Here is a fillet on the counter prior to cooking:
Image

Business trip to Milwaukee next August, already looking at a Lake Michigan charter for when I'm done with my meetings. 2021 business meeting is in Pittsburgh, kind of stumped on what to do in that area. 2022 finds us back in Portland, not sure I will do King again, maybe sturgeon, though most boats are focusing on the salmon run at that time of year.


Lake Erie is about a 2 hour drive from Pittsburgh. The next few years are going to be some of the best walleye fishing in the history of the world due to prolific hatches. Every day this year we limited out within two hours. I'd recommend a charter out of Ashtabula or Conneaut, the fish usually stage off those areas more consistently and larger schools than they do off Erie PA.

Love the salmon. I've done it a couple times but I'm looking at getting into it with my own gear. Mostly because I'm actually getting bored at how easy the Erie walleye fishing is right now, and Lake Ontario is about the same distance from me.
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Re: Columbia River King Salmon

Unread postby greenhorndave » Sat Aug 31, 2019 2:12 am

That’s awesome advice Elk
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Re: Columbia River King Salmon

Unread postby UntouchableNess » Sat Aug 31, 2019 2:35 am

elk yinzer wrote:
Lake Erie is about a 2 hour drive from Pittsburgh. The next few years are going to be some of the best walleye fishing in the history of the world due to prolific hatches. Every day this year we limited out within two hours. I'd recommend a charter out of Ashtabula or Conneaut, the fish usually stage off those areas more consistently and larger schools than they do off Erie PA.


Elk,
Thanks for the Lake Erie walleye tip, I've been thinking about that for some time now. Also, thanks for being a thorough reader and sticking with it to the end of the post. ;)
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