Winchester Bay, Oregon
The alarm went off at 4:30 AM. Captain Patrick Sullivan told me to bring "full rain gear" because it was an open boat. We left the harbor a little before 6 AM and ran through the dense fog and cold air at high speed for about an hour. My raincoat was dripping with fog. I kept expecting the Exxon Valdez to appear 30 feet off our port bow. Finally the Captain found an area of the Pacific that was about six degrees warmer where he though that there might be salmon.
He was right. My first fish was a 25 pound Chinook (King) salmon. We had to release it because this year there is no season at all for Chinook in California or Oregon. The Chinook salmon spawning runs in the Sacramento River have declined precipitously. Big agriculture is thought to be the cause as the river water is taken into fields and then returned to the river at a higher temperature and with a variety of pollutants.
We began to land Coho (Sockeye) salmon about eight to ten pounds in weight. The ones raised in hatcheries have their adipose fin clipped off. You can keep those, but the "wild fish" must be released. I caught three of each before "limiting out" with three hatchery salmon about 10:30 AM.We went back in to pull some crab pots. Crabs with soft legs are not very meaty so Captain Patrick threw back about half the crabs because of soft legs. My fellow passenger, George, explained to me the cooking process for crab.
Our three oldest grandchildren are completing a 2-week drama class with a play tonight. Afterwords, the family will be driving thru the night to Indian Rocks Beach on the west coast of Florida for their yearly "beach week".
I got home and froze about 15 pounds of Sockeye fillet. I kept out this one chunk and we grilled it along with grilled potatoes, onions and green peppers. We also cooked some sweet green peas for lunch. The grass here is thick and soft. It was nice to warm our toes in the sunshine
Winchester bay is a small fishing village on the north end of the Oregon Sand Dunes National Recreation area. People come here to run exotic dune buggies, ATVs and motorcycles up steep 600 foot sand dunes. Others like to fish for salmon and catch crabs.