As the Hunting & Fishing Correspondent for this otherwise urbane and sophisticated web site, I figured my latest writing gig was just a good excuse to scour the county for hot-spot intelligence from numerous pistoleros, grizzled charter operators and bartenders around Lincoln County.
You’d think I’d be the one to ask all the hard questions: ‘What kind of stink bait did you use? How big is your Rooster Tail? Do you load your own brass? Did you smell it before you killed it?’
Typically, though, I’m the one who gets grilled. There are three dozen good sources in my Rolodex, but they interrogate ME like cops in a one-bulb room before yielding any information. In fact, one of them is a cop, an OSP game warden who keeps asking me for triangulation coordinates on the midnight gunfire in the Bull’s Bag region.
Here are some of the questions I’ve been asked recently. They were merely test questions, designed to check my bona fides or just make me sweat like old cheese. My answers determined the quality of the swapped information:
Q. Where you gonna’ go for trout this year?
A. The Cedar Creek drainage, high above the Siletz River. But you’ve got to hike in deep to get to the big fish, and it’s tough as boiled mother-in-law there. Unless you want to be miserable, take plenty of bug juice and wear gloves. I ruined a $70 pair of loafers after work in there, but it was the handful of prehistoric nettles that gave me the weird nervous twitch for two days. Use two-pound test and standard barbless flies on a short rod, like a Trailmaster Pack Special, because the bush eats any rod over six feet. The smart trout run to 16 inches, but are tense as fiddle strings and have grown wary with catch-and-release. The season for streams opens May 22; lakes are open year-round.
Q. Naw, I mean the BIG fish.
A. No, you mean the weird fish. Rich Allyn, son of legendary Tradewinds Charters founder Stan Allyn, once caught a 52-pound electric ray — a local record — on the surface right out of Depoe Bay. At first Rich didn’t know what it was. A pal grabbed one side, and he grabbed the other. “If I had touched both wings at the same time I would have been knocked out. A small one paralyzed Dad’s arm once and it took a week to work it out.”
Q. What about blue water fishing?
A. Monster ling and breadbasket rockfish are the talk of the Depoe Bay charter fleet, which got underway in early March. The four-hour trips by Tradewinds Charters and Dockside Charters are returning some real scale-busters. The action is on the bottom for lings, where anglers should bang the rocks with a 6-to-8 oz. leaded hook. The rockfish are anxious for bullethead jigs with plastic feathers in any color.
Q. What’s the sitrep from Devil’s Lake?
A. The trout have gone deep, if that’s what you call 20 feet. Troll the flashy stuff for ‘bows to 19 inches around places like the springs off Sand Point. Throw any old junk at the bass, which are biting hard.
Q. Where are the best waves?
A. Otter Rock State Park. Otter Rock is sheltered from the north winds and prone to stable and predictable rides. Intermediate surfers who want to polish their skills should head to 35th Street Beach Access in Lincoln City, Gleneden State Park or Lincoln Beach, with its insufferable break and jet-stream riptides.