Posted by: Fishin' Shawn | September 26, 2014

It’s a Dad Life! Fishing, mopping, changing poopy diapers oh yeah!

So how is your dad life going? Right now it is the prime of my areas Fall Chinook season. I am having trouble focusing on much else, but alas there is always something to do when your a dad. I have made a few trips out on my own and gotten a few fish:

I always enjoy catching fish but like I said before when your dad, there is always something else that needs done too! Thursday I got out of the house early and got to go fishing for a few hours, I got skunked, but thats ok, it happens to the best of us!  When I got home it was time to get the kids dressed, teeth brushed, hair brushed(fishin shawn’s kids love their long hair)and off we went to the public library for story time!  A few stories and a craft and it was back home for lunch, where I whipped up some turkey sausage and scrambled egg and cheese burritos, then another story, a diaper change, and last but not least 5 mins of my terrible singing to bore them both to sleep.

It always feels like when the kids are resting, I should be napping or doing something completely unproductive, because at last it is quiet and peaceful. Then I remember a poopy diaper needs sprayed, a floor needs swept, laundry needs put away, dinner needs prepped or at least put in a marinade or something, because as we all know trying to sweep a floor or fold laundry is like trying to resist the Borg! Resistance really is futile….If I’m lucky I will get done in time to have an intellectually stimulating conversation with non fisher Lisa before a child comes out from nap and demands more attention, even if that attention is nothing more then some quiet cuddles as they wake up!

Yesterday was a particularly difficult day. Both boys were beyond cranky, even after naps. My wife had to deal with some teenager issues with our son and my evening appointment was particularly ill planned. I arrived back in the evening and got to work on making chicken taquitos right away. We needed some supplies, so while the wife was out I continued to make dinner. Two cranky kids who wanted nothing more then to be constantly held made frying taquitos really challenging.  I should add here that prior to yesterday I had never been able to successfully roll and cook the taquitos, mine always fell apart at the tooth pick. Extremely impressed with the first one I rolled I gently dropped into the hot oil only to see the oil almost explode out and the taquito turn black right away. I look around frantically for tongs to pull it out, I found them just in time to pull a blackened log like object out of the oil. So I turned the oil down, all the while thinking what is taking non fisher Lisa so damn long at the grocery store! Wait. What? It has only been ten minutes, AWWW SHIP man, this sucks! I get the oil turned down and get a couple of successful taquitos cooked, give the kids a few tasteys to keep them occupied and decide to get the rice and veggies going.  Got the veggie steamer and a pan of rice going on the back burners, with the oil in front and chicken in another pan in front. Pretty soon the steamer starts spitting water out which hits the oil which sprays me! WTF man, where is my wife???Damn only 20 mins? Is someone messing with the clock! SHIP!

I turn down the back burners and start moving pans around so I will presumably be able to get the bad combo of the steamer and pan of hot oil away from each other. I pick up the oil pan because I had just moved it to steamer burner that had been on high and it was starting to boil itself, as I do that I also have the pan of rice in the other hand, and well I will just say it, I sloshed a lot of oil out onto the burner on high which caught fire! My middle son dreams of being a fire fighter so to him it was about the coolest thing ever. Got the fire out(no damage..phew) and Jason was already dressed in fire gear pumping his fake hose towards the stove. His first words afterwards? I can’t wait to tell mom!!!
I got everything cooking again, and successfully made a meal of rice, steamed veggies, and home made chicken taquitos. I was literally spent and exhausted by the time Lisa got home. The kids were completely happy and oh so excited to tell mom about the adventures of Dad cooking, complete with smoke, steam, and flames. I felt accomplished, but I also felt a completely new found respect for non fisher lisa. She has made this meal no less then 10x without my assistance after being at home with the kids all day while I fished or was at work! I don’t know how she does it or how she put son a happy face so often, but I sure appreciate it!

I know that the kids can be as draining as they are wonderful, but I guess it never clicked before just how draining something simple, like cooking dinner alone, could be.  I think as parents we all need to take a little bit of time out of our schedule and not just tell, but try and show our partners how much we appreciate them.  Words are great. and I sure appreciate them, but acts of kindness and appreciation can be priceless….My wife works hard, like I do, and just to show her how much I appreciate it, I’m heading out the door right now to go home and change a poopy diaper so she doesn’t vomit!(Non fisher lisa is pregnant, and well all you moms know what that can do to your senses)

Until next time, keep your tip up!

Fishin Shawn

Posted by: Fishin' Shawn | September 19, 2014

An open letter to Tribes of the Pacific North West

I am a member of the Ko-Kwell Indian tribe of Oregon. Through out history our tribe, like most others in the Pacific North West, relied on the protein from anadramous fish stocks such as salmon and Pacific Lamprey. These fish were/are a vital and iconic part of our culture. The species importance is so iconic, so great, that even as far back as our written, and even before that in the time of oral history, we had major celebrations, village establishments, and yearly preparations all in the name of salmon. All was good, we took what we needed and we utilized the entire fish from the head to the tail, and placed what we did not or could not consume back into the water to help renew our resources for the following year.

Then times changed, the arrival of the euro americans and their insatiable appetite for logs and salmon altered our landscape forever. The early logging practices combined with massive over harvest of existing fish stocks set our beloved fish species on a crash course to oblivion. Or wild fish stocks crashed and the euro americans came up with the idea of artificial propagation of the most economically valuable fish stocks. The salmon wars came and went for many years tribal, commercial, and sport fisherman all competing for the same thing. Fish were still taken in great numbers, many wasted before they could even be canned. Eventually even hatcheries could not keep up with the vast take as canneries set up shop in the base of most major river systems. Numbers plummeted as habitat destruction due to dams and logging and over fishing occurred at an even more rapid pace. Slowly the canneries faded away and logging practices have slowly improved.

While the situation is much improved, we are still heavily, if not completely reliant, on artificial propagation. Many areas of Washington and Oregon State continue to have dismal returns of wild fish. Those wild fish are irreplaceable, and we need to step up and protect them! We need their genes to continue making hatchery fish, we need their genes because they are a connection to our past, an important part of our history. Traditionally Native peoples are known for being in touch with the earth, our drum beat is her heart beat, the earth give us life and we take only what we need. This means we have to make sacrifices, if our runs are endangered we need to reevaluate how and even if we harvest fish, no matter if it is our legal right or not. We should be thinking ahead, ensuring our children get to harvest fish and other traditional foods. Traditions are vital among our peoples, and passing on traditions are wonderful, important and dare I, say our responsibility.  Part of our traditions are being good stewards of the earth.

What does all of this mean to you?  For me it means I teach my children as many of the old ways as I can, but I also teach them we have a responsibility to the earth and too our community. We don’t over harvest simply because we can, we don’t kill fish to only let them rot in the water for days, we take exactly what we need to feed ourselves and potentially barter for other goods. In today’s society we often barter for money, that doesn’t let us off the hook, that doesn’t detract from our responsibility to to the earth, if our resource can not handle what we take from it(no matter what the cause) we should no longer take from it.

Additionally, we have a responsibility to each other.  We face enough racism simply because we are the indigenous people of Turtle Island. It does not help our cause when a few among us conduct illegal fishing activities. Things have changed over the years and we should not condone illegal harvest of our resources simply because our families have fished in the same place for hundreds of years. It is unfortunate, it is sad, but the truth is our resources are finite and the poaching of them, even for traditional purposes, should not be acceptable. The poaching of our resources should not be swept under the rug, we should expose those people and let our tribal councils inact swift punishment, let the public know that we do not tolerate the abuse of our most sacred resources.

The Tribes of the Pacific North West are fast becoming the leader in hatchery sciences. We are pioneering new techniques, and hopefully soon we shall create a hatchery fish that is indistinguishable from it’s wild counter parts. Let us continue with this, let us devote our time and energy to restoring the habitat, utilizing the fish we create in our hatcheries for our cultural and economic needs, while releasing and conserving their wild brothers and sisters.  Most of all lets practice resource conservation, that requires us to be pragmatic and responsible with where we fish and techniques we use to harvest fish.

Posted by: Fishin' Shawn | September 5, 2014

Salal- The most overlooked plant in the forest

Now is the time to harvest salal leaves and berries. It amazes me when people tell me not to eat that plant or that salal is poisonous. That is completely untrue. My tribe and family has used salal for generations both medicinally(leaves) and the berries for taste and as a preservative. The berries taste can vary according to the soil content, so as you wander around try picking them from various plants. The best ones will be the largest and a very deep blue in color.

These berries are similar to blue berries in that they have a lot of antioxidants, and some anti inflammatory values. My tribal people used to mash and dry them into cakes on ceder planks and the natural preservatives would keep them good for many months. You can reconstitute them in water or as my people did in smelt oil.

You can make an excellent fruit leather using 1/2 salal berries and the other 1/2 being thimble berries, huckleberries, even blue berries and blackberries will work. Add a table spoon of lemon juice and a table spoon of honey and then blend them up. Poor the contents in a pan with parchment paper or skunk cabbage leaves as was traditionally(the smell of the skunk cabbage plant will not attach to the berries)nothing will stick to the leaves of skunk cabbage, and leave in direct sun during the day, depending on temperatures it may take up to 2 or 3 days to get a nice dry pan of fruit leather.

You can also make a really tasty jam with the berries just like virtually any other berry out there.


You dry them as you would just about any flower. Harvest only the greenest leaves and hang them upside down in bundles in a dry dark place like the garage, cupboard or something similar. When the leaves will easily crumble you can crumble them and seal them up in jars or whatever you like. Use about a table spoon and make yourself a nice cup of tea. It is good for the runs, sore throat and even the flu.

For burns and sores you can chew up fresh leaves and then place them on the wound.

Posted by: Fishin' Shawn | June 9, 2014

It’s a dad life…

You might notice the new title, I am taking this blog from being solely about my fishing adventures to everything dad related. I want to broaden my discussions. While fishing is important to me, and will always be a part of my life, there are lots of other issues us Dads need to discuss. That does not mean I will quit discussing fishing or jeeping or anything else, it is just as dads we need to be able to discuss bigger issues as well as the things we enjoy.

Posted by: Fishin' Shawn | January 1, 2014

Winter steelhead season

Well my official winter steelhead season starts around Thanksgiving, but the weather this year has absolutely stunk. It has been cold with no signifigant rainfall in months. Steelhead are present in all our coastal streams, but mostly in low numbers. There are still loads of coho in the lower sections as well. My best advice is to focus your efforts at the head of tide. Typically you can find fishable water there, and the steelhead should be staging waiting for rain.


Read More…

Posted by: Fishin' Shawn | October 19, 2013

19 October, 2013 20:21

Posted by: Fishin' Shawn | October 2, 2013

Fall chinook

After out big rains the early fish have moved out of tide water. While waiting for the next batch I hit the river and went 3 for 4. I let this brassy hen go on her way!

Posted by: Fishin' Shawn | September 23, 2013

Fall fish are biting!

Sent from my LG Smartphone on Sprint

Posted by: Fishin' Shawn | August 16, 2013

The Sweet Spot

The first of this years Fall Chinook are slowly working their way up the bay as I type this. I am anxiously awaiting my first chance of the year to go up to the head of tide and start tossing some bobbers and eggs. I love watching a bobber drop, thanks to the advent of affordable and high quality digital video records we can now relive that moment at anytime with the click of a button. But there is a special moment in time that is the culmination of all of the anglers preparation and knowledge, there is this one spot….

The sweet spot, where you see the bobber tilt, slow, or give you the first inkling that there maybe a fish chomping on whatever you have suspended underneath it. You tense up, square your shoulders, reel up your slack line and BOOM! The bobber drops, I swear I stop breathing and it feels like time slows down as I set the hook. Then you feel the weight, the head shakes, and the powerful fish takes off, racing across the river becoming airborne. Doing flips and contortions, that make an Olympic gymnast envious.  While the rest of the fight, is awesome, something all us fisherman long for everyday, if not more…That first few seconds is the sweet spot!

There is a sweet spot in almost every technique.  Another favorite technique is the age old art of drift fishing. Where the angler drifts a bait or a lure of some sort along the bottom, hoping that a fish eats it before the end of the drift. You cast into a seam, feel your weight drift to the bottom, feel the tap tap as it drifts over the pebbles, sand, and bedrock. Then the tension comes as the fish takes your offering, the weight lifts off the bottom and you feel the fish shake his head, or perhaps he just takes off with your gear, regardless you set the hook and time stands still again. You feel the head shakes as the fish tries to dislodge the hook, then things snap back into normal time as the fish makes a screaming run through the water.

In either scenario you fight this fish, just you your rod/reel vs. the fish, this tough animal that has been avoiding predators and fighting to survive since the day it buried itself in the gravel.   This animal knows how to use the current, rocks and logs to it’s advantage. Your heart rate quickens, your breathing becomes faster and more shallow, you become hyper focused on exactly where the fish is, where it is going, and trying to keep a bend in your rod as it jumps, zigs, zags, and rolls away from you. Everything else is a blur except exactly where the fish is and what it’s doing.

Eventually, hopefully, you get the fish to the bank, it’s tired, it submits and rolls on its side. Then you get to fully admire the beautiful animal that you have fooled into a willful take of your gear. You look at it and thank the creator, whom ever that might be in your eyes, for this magnificent beast. You decide whether or not to return it and let it continue its journey or maybe its journey has ended and you will make a healthy and delicious dinner for your family.

Which ever way you decided, you catch your breath, smile, and enjoy the moment. The fisherman’s triumph, the joy of setting free the fish, or the fulfillment of providing your family with a healthy meal. Both parts equal create the reward of a glorious days work.  Maybe it is time to rebait and make the next cast, or maybe it is time to go home, either way the angler can’t wait to start the game again!

Posted by: Fishin' Shawn | July 20, 2013

Sea Run Cut-Throats and Fall Chinook

The first Fall Chinook of the year are making their appearance in my local rivers. They are of course being caught close to the bar, but still between the Jetties and even a bit further inland. I have hitched a ride with my friend Fishin Kelly twice now, but we have come home empty handed both times, we are still hoping for a July Chinook on the tag.   For the bank bound folks the fall chinook are mostly, with one exception, out of reach. There is however another, often over looked tide water fishery that is really in it’s prime right now.


Sea Run Cut Throat trout are beginning to bit in the mid to upper tide water sections of most of the coastal streams. These fish fish are aggressive biters and fantastic fighters. They can also come in some impressive sizes with an average of about 12″ they can had to 20″ plus. I recently took a trip out where I caught and released 4 with several missed opportunities and one fish that would have been close to 20inches escaping after a massive jumping spree. That thing jumped about 4ft in the air 3x in about 3 seconds.

I like to target these fish with steelhead sized gear, often times you will start picking up jack chinook this time of year, which means 8lb leader #2 hooks, and when in tidewater I like to drift a corky/yarn combo with a shrimp tail or a small wad of ez eggs and a chunk of night crawler. I cast up stream, which ever way the tide is running, and drift the bottom. Often times here on the coast our mid tidewater areas are really quite warm, so you want to try and target this fish in deeper pools and where cooler creeks and streams enter the tide water.  This fish taste great, as good as any steelhead, and often times anglers can get into large schools which can make for some constant action. Just remember if you end up above tide water, there is a bait ban on most coastal streams.

sea run sea run and jackUntil next time keep your tip up!

Fishin Shawn

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