Oregon is known for it's great fishing. President Herbert Hoover spent much of his fishing life on the McKenzie River. The drift boat, now used worldwide, originated on the McKenzie. Many river guides have spent their life on the McKenzie as well. The McKenzie River fishing guides not only provide spectacular fishing adventures, they also work to protect the river and the fish. These guides sponsor fund raisers and education campaigns to protect the residents that use the river and provide life vests for free to anyone who needs them.
One such guide is Robin Alexander. Robin has taken my daughter and I on several fishing adventures. We had a great time and learned a lot from Robin. Robin provides sport fishing for trout, steelhead, and salmon on the McKenzie and the Siuslaw. Robin designed a fish hook release that is amazing. With a simple twist of the wrist your catch is released unharmed to be caught another day. Robin also provides raft trips when fishing is slow.
Advantages of using the Guides Choice Original Fish Release include:
Hands do not touch the fish, increased fish survival, it is rust free, and it floats.
March 2012 We just got back from fishing the Grand Rhonde at Minam. The hook remover I got as a gift in 2006 was used and still does well.
The weather was about 17 degrees on that morning which is about average for late February on the Minam. I decided to take a photo because when it comes to fishing, I have a tendency to embellish the story about just how big they were and how many we caught.
For the record, the photo weighed less than a pound. V.E., Deadwood, Oregon
The one that got away
It was a cold wet day in October, 2006. The first rain had fallen and drove a school of Chinook up the river. Brookings, Oregon has a great Chinook run in the Chetco river. The salmon are plentiful and move up river to wait for the seasonal rains before making their way to the spawning grounds. There are a few strategic fishing holes and they have almost as many fisherman as salmon circling the pools. This was combat fishing at it's best. Previous to this, I had vowed to never get involved with combat fishing.
For those who do not know what combat fishing is, it occurs when dozens of fisherman descend on the same fishing hole. Shoulder to shoulder they stand. Sometimes casting and reeling in unison. It might even resemble synchronized fishing. Fisherman tolerate each other to take part in a fishing adventure that almost certainly yields a fish or two. The energy is high because every few minutes somebody is hooking a big one and reeling in their prize.
My fishing adventure was no different. I had traveled over 200 miles to meet a buddy in Brookings and try my luck. I locked up the fifth wheel and headed to the river. I didn't know what I would find. After trekking down a steep deer trail I saw the river. Next to it was a huge boulder nicely perched above the river and provided a great view of the salmon below. On the boulder stood about ten men. Just up the river stood another few men and across the river a few more. All of these fisherman stood in the cold rain in hopes of catching a 30 pound Chinook to take home, and most of the men were not disappointed.
The river was still a bit low and slow moving. The water below the boulder was up to 10 feet deep in stretches. It was a perfect setup for fishing. Schools of Chinook circled the pool. The fishing hole was almost 50 yards long and provided a great holding area for the spawning salmon. The Chinook ranged in size from small jack salmon to 40 pound kings. I watched as skilled fisherman hooked and reeled in their trophy's. These men would jockey for position and I was no different. I waited and watched. This was my first combat fishing expedition and I was a bit green.
But then it was my turn. I felt a rub on the line and set the hook. Boy, she was a beauty. A 30 pound silver with lots of fight. These salmon have just begun their trek up the river so they are as powerful and as they are beautiful. "One on", I yelled. Almost without fail, everyone around me reeled in as fast as they could to allow me room to fight this prize. Of course they didn't want to tangle their own rigs either. Back and forth she went. Up stream then down. She even broke the water and flashed her silver side to the group. She was a fighter. After I tired her out, my buddy grabbed the net and headed to the water's edge. When I would get her close to the bank she would turn and run. I turned her back once more and brought her toward the net. Just as the net hit the water she broke loose. I had only hooked her in the edge of her mouth. She had fought hard to get away, and she did. I was saddened to see her go but the fight is an enduring memory. K.L., Deadwood, Oregon
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