Tag Archives: steelhead

Mergansers Chasing Smolt in the Alsea River

This Great Blue Heron is fishing for smolts but he is not nearly as successful as the mergansers.


Usually the mergansers just dive to get crawdads or mudcats off the bottom of the river.  But smolt were released upriver this month.  Steelhead smolt must be fast because the chase is on!  Check out this video.

[youtube https://youtu.be/Wa4rGNtvfwA]

According to ODFW 20,000 stock and 80,000 wild stock Winter Steelhead, size 6 fish/pound, have been or will be released into the Alsea River this month.  40,000 stock Winter Steelhead are also to be released into Five Rivers.

Read more about the Alsea River Hatchery.

Work and Play

We got some much-needed yard work done today!  The grass has been naturally watered for over a week and today the sunshine made it grow a foot in an hour – no really!

Pileated Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker

I could hear a very loud knocking across the road.  I didn’t have to look long to see this big Pileated Woodpecker.  The tree sounds hollow 😦

Crawdad Trap Toss
Crawdad Trap Toss

Don finished the crawdad trap and tossed it in the Alsea River.  My mouth is already watering!

Red and Gray Moth
Red and Gray Moth

What’s the difference between a butterfly and a moth?

A friend just told me that this is the Cinnabar Moth (Tyria jacobaeae), introduced in the NW from Europe as a biocontrol of a weed called tansy ragwort (which is toxic to cattle and horses).  I guess one could guess from the coloration that this an apsomatic warning to would-be predators of both the adult and the larva that it is toxic due to bad chemicals.  (Thanks John!)

Red and Gray Moth
Hand Shadow Chicken Beak

Don was playing hand-shadows with the moth.

Hhhhmmm – now how can I imitate that with a fly?  I bet those summer steelhead would like that!

Alsea River Steelhead Fishing

These Buffleheads are the fishing experts.


The Alsea River is clear and low right now.

Alsea River - Feb 15, 2013
Clear and Low

This is just at the end of the tidewater.

Beautiful day on the Alsea River
Beautiful day on the Alsea River

You’ve got to be really sneaky to fish in this crystal clear river!

Drift Fishing the Alsea River
Drift Fishing the Alsea River

This drift fisherman is fishing the deep holes.

Check out this video for some winter steelhead fishing tips on the Alsea River from OregonSteelheader: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAXghZHWFR8

Stop to Smell the Wildlife

If I’m going to oogle at the wildlife, on our way to church, I need to start out earlier.

Bald Eagle
The Eagle Has Landed!

It’s not MY fault a bald eagle landed across the river from our house!  It IS, however, Don’s fault for telling me about it.

He’s feeling under the weather so he wasn’t going with me.  But that didn’t mean he was going to take the photos.  hahaha

snap, snap, snap, snap, gotta go – I’ll look at them later!

Bald Eagle eyeing the river
Bald Eagle eyeing the river

The eagle looked up and down that clear Alsea River.

If looks could kill
Bald Eagle eyeing our backyard birds and chipmunks

Uh oh!

Tidewater Elk
The fence is to keep the elk out, not in

I have gotten into a pretty good habit to pack my camera with me everywhere.

However, I specifically do NOT take my camera with us to church, for this very reason:  I’d be late everytime.

Life is full of hard choices.  We have to strike a balance. 🙂

Elk Huddle
Elk Huddle

I was pleasantly surprised, though, when the herd was still there when I came home today.  (By the way, I was on time.)

It’s not often that they are within walking distance from our house so I was anxious to walk back with my camera.  I really didn’t want to take time to eat lunch but I asked Don if he felt like eating anything.  He first said, “No”, but then changed his mind.  So I fixed myself a sandwich and he looked at me like I’d deserted him.  Then I remembered he’d wanted soup. 🙂  As I said, I was a little distracted by those elk.  So we finished lunch and I ran off to see if I could sneak up on the elk.  They startled as soon as they saw me.  I don’t know if it was me or the sound of the boat in the river or both that made them get up and move.  Next time I’ll wear my camo, instead of chartreuse, coat.

Steelhead Fishing in Alsea Tidewater
Steelhead Fishing in Alsea Tidewater

The Alsea has been at a nice level and color for fishing for about a week now.

Tidewater Ripples
Alsea tidewater at a great level for steelhead fishing

It’s nice to see the ripples back.  They disappear, of course, when the water is high.

I’m enjoying it for now because I know the other rainboot will eventually drop.

Thanksgiving – Oregon Coast Style

It’s going to be a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend on the Oregon Coast!

Rainbow Over Alsea Bay
Rainbow Over Alsea Bay

So…what’s your pleasure?  Camping overlooking a romantic beach?

Romantic Beach Gettaway - Tillicum
Romantic Beach Getaway – Tillicum Beach Campground

Or maybe camping near the dunes?  Sutton Campground is perfect – and Three Rivers Casino has a great Thanksgiving buffet!

Or  how about steelhead fishing on the Alsea River?  http://www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/river/station/flowplot/flowplot.cgi?TIDO3

The river level is dropping fast and it is clearing up.  It should be good for the holiday weekend.

Once the river level drops, the crabs will be back in the bay too.

Tillicum - Bull Kelp
Tillicum – Bull Kelp

The storms sure stirred up the bull kelp.  There was nothing on Tillicum Beach yesterday.

Bull Kelp Slaughter

But today mounds of it were all over the beach!

Happy Thanksgiving
Happy Thanksgiving

Have a great Thanksgiving!

And wherever the holiday takes you, be safe.

Blackberry Campground – Alsea River Steelhead

According to ODFW, 3 days ago:

Winter steelhead  fishing is fair to good in the upper basin as recent high water events have  pushed many fish up river. Look to fish the mid to lower river sections as the  river comes into fishing shape later in the week. A variety of tactics can be  productive such as bait and bobber, drifting jigs or pulling plugs. Casting  spoons and spinners is also productive near riffles.

High River Mark
High River Mark

Check out the high water mark on the other side of the river.  And, you can see how high the grass is on the tree in the foreground.  The Alsea River is clearing up nicely!

Blackberry Campground Boat Launch
Blackberry Campground Boat Launch

Camp in Blackberry Campground year round and drift the Alsea.

Open Year Round
Open Year Round

Hope, ID, to White Bird, ID, along Hwy 95

We took off from Sam Owen Campground, near Hope, at about 10:45am.  Took Hwy 200 west to Sandpoint, then 95 south.  It was raining or overcast all day.  Not a bad drive day but no opportunities for pix.  It was mostly rolling hills of farmland until we got to Lewiston.  Then we started seeing some canyons.  Then we hit the 7% grade.  We survived that one without hot brakes.
Riverfront camping near White Bird, ID
Riverfront camping near White Bird, ID

The Snake River carved out Hells Canyon, “North America’s deepest river gorge”.  We are camped in Swift Water RV Park on the Salmon River.  The Salmon joins the Snake River just north of Hells Canyon.  Getting down to the riverfront camping took another 7% grade.  Our Escapees membership gets us 15% off at all 3 of these RV parks on the Salmon River near White Bird.  We chose Swift Water because it said “real riverfront camping”.  It was the last one down the hill.  Our brakes were hot by the time we pulled in.  The entrance of the park is a sharp turn.  It’s a good thing there was a large pull-out area across the road from it so we could get a better angle at it.  We pulled in at 4:45pm.

Swift Water RV is a pretty little park; very clean, no extra charge for the dump or showers.  $23 for electricity and water.  It’s a reasonable rate.  However, when we showed them our Escapees membership card, there was no discount.  We were tired – our brakes were hot – it was getting dark – it was starting to rain again – we were in no mood to argue.  So, he got advertising in Escapees and doesn’t have to pay for it – we did.  We travelled 252 miles today.  That’s too long for leisurely travel!

The park owner said the salmon season was outstanding this year.  But he said the steelhead fishing is non-existent so far.  The weather has been too warm so the fish are holding until the water cools.  What will likely happen is that it will cool off quickly and all the fish will come up in 3 or 4 days.  So there will be a very short steelhead season.