Friday, December 28, 2012

Fabulous Winter Steelheading on the Cowlitz River

Roscoe, the fish dog, kept watch for fish the entire day.
Today the steelhead fishing on the Cowlitz River in the central part of western Washington was as good as it gets.  For my sons, Gregg and Doug, and me, at least. 
Just after dawn as boats arrive on the Cowlitz.
We put in the river at 6:45 a.m. close to the fish hatchery near Ethel, still in darkness, in Ron Holt’s beautifully equipped jet sled.  Ron and his dad, Clancy, form the team of Clancy’s Guided Sport Fishing.  Not ten minutes into our journey, we had a fish on.  I was the lucky first one to get to fight this 13-pound fresh, angry steelhead whose trip upriver to spawn had just been rudely interrupted. 
About 10 minutes later, after several powerful runs, stripping line as she went against and with the strong current, our deck hand Shawn slipped the big net under the belly of the fish, and it was over.  A beautiful, silver, hatchery hen was in the box.  Ok, time to quit shaking now.
At least an hour went by and then it was Doug’s turn to pit his skills against another gorgeous fish about the same size.  He was rewarded, after another intense battle, with a hen in the box.
The fight is on.
 Next, it was Gregg’s turn to experience the adrenalin rush that only comes from fighting a winter steelhead on a rushing river in a jet sled that’s drifting downstream with the rapid current though skillfully controlled by skipper Ron.  In the photo above Gregg is fighting a wily fish (visible just under his right arm).  Note the doubled-over pole just to the right of his shoulder.  Before the day was over Gregg got another beautiful fish, totaling four for the Koskelas, and a fourth fisherman, John, also caught two more. 

Koskela men and their fish.
Six fish total in the boat on a day when fish were scarce.  I don’t believe anyone else had more than one or two.  We were fortunate and privileged to be fishing with a great guide who not only knows the water like the back of his hand, but who also knows exactly the right lures to use along with his secret “scent” (that you dip your lure in before casting) which the fish cannot resist.
Ron's dad, Clancy, and his clients, come alongside for a mid-morning break.  Ironically, I fished with Clancy 35 years ago on the Upper Sacramento River near Balls Ferry, early in his career.  It was either with long time friend Ken Kerley or longer time friend, Ed Wall, both of San Jose, CA. 
A monster thank you to Doug’s wife, Jamie, who made this adventure possible via a “significant birthday” present to her husband.   You'll have to ask Doug how old he is; my lips are zipped.  O, you can click on any photo to make the image larger.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas 2012
To You and Yours
I really like this photo, as it reminds me of childhood winters in the Midwest.  I found it online and I believe it was taken in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  Hope your Christmas is filled with its true meaning and your New Year brings joy and happiness.  -RK

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

A Tribute To A Gritty and Determined Young Woman

Our granddaughter, Talli, ran Cross Country for Azusa Pacific University this past Fall.  Their season culminated on November 10 taking first place at the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) National Championship Meet in Cedarville, Ohio.

Talli (center in above photo) came in third on her winning team and 20th overall in a time of 19 minutes flat.  But that only tells you part of the story.

She ran the entire race in pain, thinking she had shin splints.  "It seemed go get a little better as I ran," she said gamely while home for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Well, she's been in the APU trainer's office quite a bit since then, and finally, after recent MRIs, it was determined that she has a STRESS FRACTURE in both of her legs!  Such fractures are extremely hard to diagnose and often take a long time to do so.

So not only did she run one of the best races in her life, but she was 20th in the country with two stress fractures -- to me a virtually impossible accomplishment.  To say that we are proud of this young lady would be the understatement of the century. 

The photo above, taken a few days ago with some friends on a hill above the APU campus, shows Talli (far right) wearing a boot on one of her legs.  That was before she learned yesterday that she had factures in both legs.  We're now wondering if she's going to have to wear a boot on both legs!

As an aside, sorry it's been so long in posting.  I've simply been busy with other pressures.  I'll try to do better in the days ahead, but this story was too important to overlook.