Down at the mouth of the Columbia we fished with Austin Moser who we call Boom Pow Moser, for coho and king salmon at the start of what was an expected record run.
For most of August, a large pod of salmon were reputed to be offshore while warmer water flushed out of the big river. With recent rain and cooling, those fish were washing in on every tide.
We were a bit early, but we caught two limits of fish and two limits of Dungeness crab to go with them.
It was early morning and that was how I greeted my friend, and our fishing guide for the day, Austin Moser. The word is a lot like the Hawaiian Aloha. It’s a simple greeting used upon meeting or parting in the Chinook trade language that was the common form of communication between Indian tribes and white traders along the Columbia.
In the early light of an August sunrise, we motored out of the harbor. Austin Moser introduced Stevie Parsons, a Hawaiian islander turned Oregonian and salmon angler. This was her ninth time to Buoy 10 already in the young season.
On the Washington side, downstream of the bridge, we put our baits in the water and entered the fray among a hundred other boats.
The tide was washing out, and as the river current gained momentum, we drifted faster toward the mouth and then ran up and started again.
For a few moments, I fought a small salmon that took the Pro-Cure-doctored bait then threw the hook. Around us, anglers fought fish, but it was obvious the main body of the run was still offshore.
An hour later, I let a salmon chew the bait before I reeled down and set the hook. This one was a lower Columbia stock hatchery chinook, probably seven or eight pounds. An hour after that, Stevie hooked and landed a coho. My coho, a five-pounder, came after that and then another chinook for Stevie.
It was fun talking with Stevie who, like a lot of relocated Hawaiians has made a home in the Northwest. Hawaiians added a lot to the culture of the Pacific Northwest, as trappers and crew in early Astoria and in the Cascades and beyond. Their words also mark the landscape. The Kalama River was named for Hawaiian trappers and so was the Owyhee.
See you on the skookumchuck. # # #
Gary Lewis is the host of Frontier Unlimited TV and author of Fishing Central Oregon, Fishing Mount Hood Country, Hunting Oregon and other titles. Contact Gary at www.GaryLewisOutdoors.com