On the Wild Side
By G.I. Wilson
“A hundred and sixty thousand shad a day are going over Bonneville Dam. I want to hit the Shadrack and fill up a cooler. I’ll use them for sturgeon, halibut and crab bait,” Donald Koskela explains. I could feel the excitement in his voice. “Ken Zandol is going. Want to join us?”
Koskela, of Pastime Fishing Adventures, is a longtime friend. Ken Zandol, of Keizer, has fished for shad with us before.
I’m ready and anxious. Tomorrow it is. I’ll have trouble sleeping tonight.
We are at The Fishery boat launch on the Columbia River, at 7:30 a.m. for the two-mile run upriver to the Shadrack, a popular shad fishery.
The 180-horsepower Honda motor pushes us 25 to 30 knots against the heavy river current.
We arrive to find 25 to 30 boats anchored along a quarter mile stretch of river. The key is to anchor near the shoreline out of the heavy current.
Koskela uses his electronics to find a “soft spot” some 20 to 25 feet inside the nearest boat. It is important–and prudent–to anchor the same way your neighbor is anchored. Boats anchored side by side are called Hoglines.
While Koskela is getting gear arranged, I try to photograph this magnificent scene in my mind: Two bald eagles are circling high overhead. The spectacular walls of the gorge are draped in fir, alder and maple. An osprey comes gliding by looking for an injured fish floating in the current.
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