Photo credit: Glenda Monroe
An unusual record April snowfall may have interrupted spring Chinook season’s introduction, but not for those who coincidentally escaped to the 50th state.
My original idea for this column, written from out of town (in case you didn’t notice) was to talk a bit about the amalgam of when, where and how to fish for spring Chinook salmon.
In normal times, it would have been fine.
“Normal,” that’s a strange new term isn’t it?
Here’s how I would normally have begun the column:
Had Kenny Rogers been an Oregonian, perhaps his classic song “The Gambler,” instead of sounding like this:
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done.
Might easily have instead been “The Angler” and gone like this:
You’ve got to know when to get ’em
Know when to net ’em
Know when to reel away
And know when they’ll run
You can’t weigh your salmon
When you’re sittin’ at the kicker
There’ll be time enough for weighin’
When the fishin’s done.
My normal approach would then have been to talk a bit about the Buzz Ramsey approach: Troll Fish Flash and bait in early cold water (“troll like a drunken sailor,” back and forth) and switch to skateboards (ProTrolls, etc) and spinners when it warms up.
Or how to stay close to the bottom (“dredging,” remember that column?) in eight to 35 feet of water.
Etc., etc., normal tactics all.
I even felt an ever-so-slight normal tinge of regret as the plane lifted off from PDX, with a 75-degree day forecast and the Columbia and Willamette spring salmon runs at the threshold.
As luck would have it (ours, not most of yours), we inadvertently escaped “abnormal” and were watching surf, sand and sunsets as SNOW FELL IN APRIL across spring Chinook country.
Kenny Rogers the angler might have then abnormally come up with:
You’ve got to know when to get ’em
Know when to leave ’em
Know when to run away
And know where to hide
You never catch your salmon
When it snows on muddy water
There’ll be time enough for fishin’
When the hula’s done
I did my abnormal best to avoid gloating on Facebook and simply suggested in the spirit of the season friends and family simply relate to Bing Crosby:
“I’m dreaming of a white Easter…”
Speaking of salmon: I picked up some fresh ahi poke (a traditional Hawaiian dish pronounced “po-kee”) in Koloa, Kauai, and decided to also try some sesame salmon poke (Atlantic salmon from a fish farm in Scotland).
My wife (an anti-poke picky eater) seemed startled, even after 49 years.
“You eat raw salmon?”
“Not yet, never tried it till now.”
So I tried it.
Just one bite.
Nope, I’ll stick to “normal” ahi poke, thank you.
However, since I was still stuck with a smallish container of sesame salmon poke, and am normally totally against wasting food, especially salmon, I came up with a recipe:
Slice a couple strips of bacon into small squares and fry them until just crispy.
Stir in the sesame salmon (it’s a nice enough flavor) and cook briefly until flaky. The bacon should be crispy.
Drain, put into a bowl and dredge with a teriyaki sauce/marinade.
Sprinkle crushed Maui Potato Chips over the top and serve with a nice Oregon harvest reisling.
Short casts: The U.S. Coast Guard now requires all boat fire extinguishers to be newer than 12-years-old. The new regulation took effect April 20…Hood River opened April 15 for hatchery spring Chinook fishing, with a good return of 1,200 hatchery adults expected…There will be no sport spring Chinook season this year on the Deschutes River…The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will not ask for a fee increase in its next biennial budget, meaning it will be nearly a full decade without an increase rather than one every half dozen years.