HAIKU MONDAY: On Making Steelhead Fishing Too Easy

Tom "Anthony Bourdain" Erspke with a Rogue summer steelhead, his second ever.

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack is busy ruining the myth that steelhead are tough to catch, one new angler at a time.

Like Medford’s Tom Ersepke. His brain is totally polluted now on what it really takes to get into summer steelhead.

Guy just catches fish./He sits in the boat, clueless/Steelhead come to him.

For you few Haiku Monday virgins, this is when and where Fish Hack waxes on and off non-Brazilian style about the outdoors and whatever the hell else comse to mind, with some bad forms of old Japanese poetry tossed in as the schtick.

So, Ersepke is an old bud and out Tax Deductions play sports together. Dude never fished til Hack took him to Diamond Lake two years ago and he catches, like, 50 rainbows in one afternoon.

Last year he popped his Rogue River fishing cherry by catching and whacking an 8-pound hatchery summer steelhead, declaring “That was easier than I thought.”

Don’t test steelhead gods./They don’t like rooks kickin” ass./Due to get skunked, Bro.

So Hack takes him Sunday evening on the upper Rogue, Hack’s home waters. Get that bad-karma skunk trip out of the way, Hack says.

Sitting on a plug below Takelma and, BAM, the rod goes down and the acrobatics begin.

A big, bright chromer does a few 4-foot jumps then bee-lines it downstream over the break and into the next chute. Fish Hack gives suit, with Ersepke with the rod butt drilled into his belly-buttom, reeling as fast as he can.

Hack scoops him up — a 10-pound buck that gets a free pass back to the Rogue.

“Not so easy this time, eh?” Hack says.

Ersepke, rockin’ the Anthoiny Bourdain hair, posed for some fish porn.

Next chute and BAM, another monster chromer, but this one cuts Ersepke off on a sharp rock.

He does an epic battle with a fourth 10-pounder before losing it at the boat.

That was in the first hour of fishing, and all before 6 p.m.

Dude fishes the Rogue a total of five hours and gets four steelhead, nothing under 8 pounds.

And all rocking shorts.

No year of casting in the cold rain waiting to get your first bite. The fish of 1,000 casts just come too easy for this former TV foof.

“It’s not supposed to work this way, Dude,” Hack says.

Hack pollutes his mind./Makes steelhead seem so easy,/Dude needs to be skunked.

 

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HAIKU MONDAY: On Heat Waves Not Cookin’ Chinook

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack is laying low at the Fish Wrap waiting for this triple-digit heat to go back to Dorris where it belongs.

Instead of saying it’s hot as hell, they say it’s as hot as Dorris.

Don’t need a heat wave/At 105, Hack can’t fish./Just write about it.

For you few Haiku Monday virgins out there, this is when and where Fish Hack waxes on and off non-Brazilian style — no, not non-Brazilian as playing defense in the World Cup semi’s — about the outdoors and whatever the hell else comes to mind, with a few forms of bad Japanese poetry sprinkled in as the schtick.

Cuz you need a schtick in this-here blogosphere.

Tripe digits temperatures in mid-July really isn’t that bad. In fact Hack can argue that it’s the best possible time for head-popping heat in Southern Oregon.

That is, if you like chinook salmon.

June or August are months when spring chinook and fall chinook, respectively, are migrating up the Rogue River. Air temperatures that warm at those times could trigger disease outbreaks in the lower Rogue Canyon that can hammer the run.

But July is the tweener time between the late-run springers and the early-run falls. So, if you gotta suck up this kinda heat, it might as well be now.

No chinook, no prob./Let those temperatures sizzle./Just not in August.

 

 

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HAIKU MONDAY: On Early Steelhead and Tyson’s ‘Courf!’ Returns

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack struggled to get dressed and make that Monday cameo on the Fish Wrap.

After three days of shorts and flip-flops, these-here jeans pulled on like sandpaper and work boots felt like vices.

Monday morning clothes/Scrape and bind tortured torso./And it’s not a suit.

For you few Haiku Monday virgins out there, this is when and where Fish Hack waxes on and off non-Brazilian style about the outdoors and whatever else comes to mind, with a few versions of bad Japanese poetry sprinkled in for the schtick.

Hit the upper Rogue — Hack’s home waters — the other evening for the first summer steelhead trip of the season, and Fish Hack was clearly underwhelmed.

With 214 summers already making it to Cole Rivers Hatchery, you’d think ol’ Hack could run into a couple somewhere between Dodge Bridge and TouVelle. But nothing.

Fish Hack skunked? That’s news/Dude gets down with Rogue steelhead/More often than not.

Used to be a pre-July Fourth fish was a rarity. But the past three years has shown the best June returns to Cole Rivers in at least 20 years.

Now, most anglers want to say it’s the removal of Savage Rapids and Gold Ray dams from the Rogue, two of the biggest dam-removal projects for salmon and steelhead benefits so far in the West.

Courf! as Mike Tyson would say (Don’t get it? Check out the Tyson blog HERE.) you’d think so, but there is no proof. Flow and water temps play juist as key rolls in when steelhead migrate as concrete impediments.

So it’s just a correlation, but one that may get stronger as the years go by.

It’s good to be bummed/When July Fourth fish don’t bite./Nice problem to have.

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HAIKU MONDAY: On High Desert BBall and B.S.

Welcome back toHaiku Monday, where Fish Hack is finally back at the Fish Wrap after a three-day hoop tourney in Bend, where the North Medford varsity girls took no prisoners in a clean sweep of High Desert teams.

Glad to be back in steelhead country.

Can’t leave steehead long./Hack’s a West Sloper for sure./Keep your desert, Bend.

For you few Haiku Monday virgins, this is when and where Fish Hack waxes on and off non-Brazilian style about the outdoors and whatever else comes to mind, with a few forms of bad Japaneze poetry sprinkled in as the schtick.

You need a schtick to stick out in a place where everyone and his sister with a wooden leg has a blog.

Least Fish Hack’s not writing it from the parents’ garage converted into a bedroom.

As for Bend, it’s an enigma for sure.

10-Barrel is the best brewery in Oregon. Great downtown. Hack could certainly do without all the puffy coats in the winter.

But one thing that hacks Hack off about Bend (other than the piss-poor homer referees) is how they treat their downtown river.

The good citizens of Bend have hacked their stretch of the Deschutes and turned it into a summer floatie pond. Sure, it’sa nice thought. But how about taking care of your stream?

How can you ask upstreamers to take care of headwater habitat when you treat your downtown riparian zone like ear hair?

Take care of your stream./Desert bakes Deschutes water./That stretch is B.S.

 

 

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HAIKU MONDAY: On Bad Ties and Downer Steelhead

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack won’t put in a full effort in the fifth minute of stoppage time for this-here blog.

World Cup Heartbreak Tour./Ties like French-kissing a shad./Should never be seen.

For you few Haiku Monday virgins out there, this is when and where Fish Hack waxes on and off non-Brazilian style about the outtdoors and whatever the hell else comes to mind, with a few versions of bad Japanese poetry sprinkled in as the schtick.

And nothing’s schtickier this Moinday than the World Cup last-second nap by the U.S. team to give Portugal a gift tie one week after Father’s Day.

Instead of watching, Fish Hack shoulda been steelhead fishing on the upper Rogue River, Hack’s home waters.

After 12 straight months of boating at least one steelhead each month, Hack shoulda put that good ju-ju at work to make it 13 straighty instead of trying to channel his inner-Donovan to get the Futbolers something to chant madly about.

Late tie ends big match/Like catching a thin downer/It counts, just barely.

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HAIKU MONDAY: Day Late Cuz Hack is Officially Old

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack is mailing this-here post in a day late cuz it just didn’t seem right to file on that half-century mark.

Fish Hack turns 50/OIfficial antiquity./Old, still immature.

For you few Haiku Monday virgins, this is when and where Fish Hack waxes on and off non-Brazilian style about the outdoors and whatever the hell else comes to mind, with some bad versions of old Japanese poetry tossed in as the schtick that keeps on schticking.

The over-under on Hack once was 34, but blew the doors off that after Tax Deduction No. 1 came to be.

While some have wished a happy start to the second 50, Fish Hack is still good with burning a few off the back end to enjoy the current.

Rather have more fun at 50 than eking out an extra six months deep on the back-side.

Fifty’s the new 12./Act old and you’ve lost the game./In it to win it.

Gotta live by the almost wisdom of TD#1 at the state snowboarding championships last March in Bend.

Dude is doing the big-trick event. Hack asked him just before take-off if he’s got a plan.

The 16-year-old says he might do a monster front flip, which is a competition no-no.

“I’ll get DQ’d. but I’ll win the crowd.”

He kept it legit, but the lesson’s there: Just thinking unconventionally sometimes is a a way to stay real in an odd-dude’s world.

Don’t get Haiku Day?/Then it’s not written for you./Can’t laugh at yourself?

Had an impromptu birthday party Sunday night on a houseboat on Half of Lake Shasta, when many of Hack’s better Buds penned haiku after haiku about this persona.

Most were pretty good, if not spot-on.

Hack’s buds know the schtick/Use dumb poems to make your points/’Bout what needs slamming.

 

 

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HAIKU MONDAY: On Texas and Not-So-Honest Work

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack is back in the saddle after a week in Texas hanging out in hotels and conference rooms as part of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.

Never spend more time indoors than with this crew.

Outdoor writer pals/Dress in camo for dinner./Can’t see audience.

For you few Haiku Monday virgins out there, this is when and where Fish Hack waxes on and off non-Brazilian style about the outdoors and whatever the hell else comes to mind, with some cheesy versions of Japanese poetry sprinkled in as the shtick.

Took three airplanes, a rental car and a mule to make it to McAllen Texas, the host for his year’s OWAA conference.

Quite the birding mecca. Stranagely, though, most of what we saw are stuff headed our way anyways.

Birding in Texas/Same egrets as Oregon/But different accent.

First thing Hack had to do once returning home was drink a real bottle of beer, a glass of real tap water and

Lone Star Staters drink/Thin beer ‘cuz their water sucks./But in your Fruit Loops?

Had a great time, though. Great to hang with old and new buds, Hack’s only true peers.

Fish for work? We do../So, it’s just not honest work./But work nonetheless.

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HAIKU MONDAY: On Wild Springers and Haiku Inanity

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack is honked off trying to do the nearly unthinkable — catch a fin-clipped Rogue River spring chinook.

Can’t seem to get a hatchery dog to run into Hack’s plugs or bait quite yet.

Breed back the biters./Clip their fins, don’t shut their mouths./Springers tough enough.

For you few Haiku Monday virgins out there, this is when and where Fish Hack waxes on and off non-Brazilian style about the outdoors,with a few forms of old Japaneze poetry sprinkled in as the shtick.

Seventeen syllables of inanity, thy name is Haiku.

Haikus aren’t for wimps/But they are for Fish Hack fans/All seven of them.

The early spring chinook bite has been pretty solid for the upper Rogue in mid-May, but it’s largely been a wild fish show.

Wild springers still haven’t rebounded enough to allow for Hack and others to turn their eyes into X’s, particularly the early-run ones.

Just as well. Hate to see the best salmon in the Northwest wink out because of the location and operation of Lost Creek dam.

Wild early-run springers are the biggest losers to the taming of the Rogue. Ironically, the explosion of fall chinook make them the basin’s well-documented biggest winners from the building of Lost Creek and Applegate dams.

So it looks like Fish Hack will have to save most of that blood lust for August and September, like usual.

August is for ‘nooks./Fall fish pay for springer’s shun./X’d-out eyes for you!

.

 

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HAIKU MONDAY: On First Fish and a Year’s Worth of Steelhead

Karen Lollis with her first fish, a Rogue steelhead

Welcome Back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack is spending today where he normally spends other country’s co-opted national holidays.

At the Fish Wrap.

Cinco deMayo:/When Irish drink tequila/This one day a year.

For you Haiku Monday virgins, this is when and where Fish Hack waxes on and off non-Brazilian style about the outdoors, with some bad forms of old Japanese poetry sprinkled in as the schtick.

While Fish Hack won’t be sucking any limes today, Sunday did warrant a couple toasts.

Rookie fisher Karen Lollis of Medford waited all of 50 years to catch her first fish, a Rogue River steelhead caught Sunday on a plug.

Fought it like a champ and hubby Kevin Lollis netted it like the KTVL weathermaster that he is.

Then Karen decided to join the fishes. Fell in the river trying to get out of Fish Hack’s driftboat.

Fish Hack stayed in form by not helping, but chronicling the event.

Fish Hack ink-stained wretch./”She’s your wife. You help her up.”/This will make the blog..

Got both Lollises back in the boat without further incident, as they say on the crime beat.

While it wasn’t much of a steelhead, it was big in Fish Hack’s book because it was a May steelhead.

That means 12 straight months when Hack put a Rogue steelhead in the boat while fishing just a 15-mile stretch of the upper Rogue, Hack’s home waters.

It’s why Hack lives here:A year’s worth of Rogue steelhead./Take THAT, Nebraska.

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HAIKU MONDAY: On April Steelhead and a Chinook for the Houseboat

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack has 11 down and one to go in the quest to catch an adult steelhead each month for a year along one stretch of the Rogue River, Hack’s home waters.

Drew McLemore of Medford put the hurt to a 26-inch winter recently, chalking April off Hack’s calendar that has a checkmark for steelhead every month since June.

Hack has May to go./Year-round steelhead on home stream./That’s why Hack lives here.

For you few Haiku Monday virgins out there, this is when and where Fish Hack waxes on and off non-Brazilian style about the outdoors and whatever the hell else comes to mind, along with some bad forms of old Japanese poetry sprinkled in as a schtick.

This-here year-round steelheading didn’t get rolling undil December, when Hack realized he put a steelhead in the driftboat every month since June, when the first summer steelhead of the season bent a plug rod.

Since then it’s been more plugs, worms, roe, pink worms, nymphs and streamers all taking care of business.

Steelhead bites galore./Rise to damn near everything./Steelhead come to play.

Gonna have to get out early May for a late winter to get that steelhead out of the way so Fish Hack can focus on turning the eyes into X’s on a few early hatchery spring chinook salmon.

Hatchery springer:/Need one for June’s house-hoat trip./It’s Hack’s bording fee.

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  • Blog Author

    Mark Freeman

    I've underachieved as the Mail Tribune's Fish Hack since 1989. I can't help but find a few things to yuk about with pathetic regularity in the outdoors. My most treasured award? An OSHA citation for a messy desk -- Fire hazard. YEAH! Read Full
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