My wife Pam and I got home from our trip to Yakima around 9:00 pm and by the time we had unloaded everything and headed for bed it was after 11:00 pm. We had planned to go fishing in the morning at Rufus which is an hour and a half from home, so we would have to get up early. So about 5 hrs of sleep later we are standing around the coffee pot like a couple zombies waiting to come back to life.
We got the boat ready and fueled the truck and boat on the way out of town. Pam slept while I drove and slept until the coffee kicked in. Thank goodness for Auto VonPilot, he has gotten me home more than I want to admit.
Well we intended to fish for American Shad because the numbers looked good coming over Bonneville Dam, but we didn’t find any shad, or at least any schools of shad where we were fishing.
We tried to drift for walleyes, but the water was low and had been very high for weeks, so I think the change may have put the fish down. There were many boats out fishing for walleyes, and I didn’t see anyone with a fish on. We did get a couple of Smallmouth Bass while drifting, but nothing of any size, so they went right back into the river.
We went to my usual spot to eat lunch and put out baits for catfish, but all we got was little fish stealing our bait. all in all it was looking pretty bleak for catching a fish dinner.
We tried to anchor up and fish for salmon, but I anchored us in too fast of water for the amount of weight we had available in the boat, and when I tried to move us to a calmer spot I couldn’t get the anchor loose from the rocks and ended up loosing it.
The temperature was rising and we were about to call it a day, but I had one more trick I wanted to try for cats so we returned to the lunch spot.
I wanted to drift through the run with the baits on or near the bottom. This is not an easy thing to do as the weight has to be very near the bottom, but cannot drag or it will snag in the rocks.
So we lowered our baits to the bottom and then lifted them an inch or two and began a controlled drift (using the trolling motor to compensate for wind and current).
First drift, nothing. Second drift through I put us more into the current, and about half way though I hooked a small sturgeon. It surface with a jump and came off the hook, but it was fun for a minute.
After that we repeated the drift and picked up a couple catfish around 4 to 10 lbs, and a couple more small sturgeon before the run went cold. (too much activity)
We tried a couple other spots and even another drift for walleyes, but we didn’t catch any more fish so we got the boat out of the river and headed home.
Special thanks to my beautiful wife for her camera work.
Pam (Camera Operator)
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It was another Saturday morning at the bike shop, coffee brewing, the smell of donuts and gasoline in the air, and the phone ringing. Only this call was not from a customer but a friend. My friend Lannie explained to me that the helicopter pilot Keith had shot and killed a nice wild hog on one of his properties, and they were checking to see if I wanted it. Well not being one to turn down free food (especially if it includes a wet and muddy recovery effort) I agreed that I would recover the pig and salvage the meat.
Needless to say, the bike shop closed a bit early and I set about getting my atv’s ready. By the time I got loaded and gassed up it was already afternoon. I took one of my employee’s with me for backup just in case I got stuck in the 2+ miles of mud I would have to get through and set off.
Allen and I arrive at the property a short while later and found a place near the hiway to park the truck. I nearly got stuck in the mud just pulling off the pavement. The weather here in central Oregon has been cold and very wet for the last month. We have had snow and frozen ground, followed by many days of rain and temps near 50. This in combination with the fact that the antelope area is known for it’s deep sticky mud, means we are in for an adventure.
We offloaded the atv’s, and gathered our things. It was spitting rain and to the south was a black wall of misery, that was surely headed strait for us so we had rain gear, necessary supplies for dressing out the swine, a tow strap to hook to the winch if one of us sank, and a six pack of Budweiser for luck.
We were using my ATV’s, two older Polaris. One a big boss 6×6 and the other a sportsman 4×4 so I was confident we would have no problems.
Finally ready we set out. When we were within sight of the area we stopped and scanned with binoculars, but no sign of more pigs. I had brought along my Sam Yang big bore air rifle just in case we got a chance at a second hog. There were cows grazing all through the area, but no wild pigs.
We proceeded into the meadow and noticed that the entire valley was running about an inch deep in water, which meant that the areas that would normally have water were a couple feet deep. We did our best to stay on the high ground as we made our way to the lower end of the meadow where we were told the pig would be and after about a mile of dodging deep spots we found it.
Now the work begins. The hog was a boar with impressive tusks for this area and a live weight approaching 300 lbs. We parked the ATV’s nearby and got to work dressing out and loading the pig on the 6X6.
The ride out went much as the ride in had. Dodging deep spots and mud holes. The damage the hogs had been doing was obvious to see, large patches of ground overturned, bushes bent and broken from rubbing and chewing. What a mess, and some of those holes they had rooted up were more than a foot deep. That should be fun to drive through with a tractor come summer when the ground is dry and hard.
When we got back to the truck we loaded the ATV’s and tied everything down, then enjoyed a well earned beer before heading back to town.
When we finally got the pig skinned and hung up headless, it weighed in at 128 lbs. Not huge but a good pig and well worth the effort.
When I cook up some pulled pork from him, I will let you know how it was.
Until then, thanks for reading, and I hope to see you in the field one day soon.