HAIKU MONDAY: 99 Problems, Whackin’ Fish Ain’t One

Fish Hack, left, and dinner

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack is back in the Fish Wrap after spending Saturday in the mobile office on the lower Rogue Bay, turning eyes into X’s on one fine fall chinook in tidewater before they start heading en masse upriver.

Gotta love them bay fish. Troll all day for one bite, then head back with a 24-pound chromer.

Hack’s newest slogan:”I got 99 problems/Whackin’  fish ain’t one.”

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 forms of bad Japanese poetry stuffed in as the schtick.

This-here schtick ended up in the bay with Hack’s bud Brian Winkler on the motor trolling Hack into a chinook just to validate that Hack really does investigate and truthify all that crap in the weekly MT Fishing Report.

Hack says troll a large anchovy with a chartreuse Rogue blade, Hack trolls a large anchovy with a chartreuse Rogue blade.

Took a while, but Hack finally stumbled into this-here chromer thanks to a quick net-job by B-Wink.

Then the work began.

Spend a bit filleting, portioning and vacuum-sealing the carcass and pulled the belly straps for the smoker. Also took some trims for some salmon tacos.

Gotta love chinook:./Bite hard, pull strong, taste awesome./Try that with golf clubs.

But the chinook are on the move out of the bay, and that means the August “spike” of water from Lost Creek Lake into the Rogue River to help those fish get upstream and out of the lower Rogue’s hot summer water.

That’ll put fish in the Lower Rogue Canyon and into the Merlin-Galice area by this weekend.

But they never taste as great as they do plucked right from the bay.

Bay chinook perfect./Sea lice, puny eggs pure chrome./Great place to whack ‘nooks.

 

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HAIKU MONDAY: On The Perfect Chinook Pyre

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack is holed up at the Fish Wrap waiting for the smoke to clear enough so rowing the home waters of the Upper Rogue won’t feel like suckin’ down a pack of Camels as Hack did half a life ago.

Too much smoke to row./Steelhead gettin’ a respite/From hack’s plugs, worms, flies.

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 bad forms of old Japanese poetry sprinkled in as the schtick.

This vast morass of smoke may be choking Fish Hack and plenty others off the water. But it’s providing a much-needed thermal cover over the Rogue to help migrating wild fall chinook survive otherwise lethal water temperatures in the lower Rogue.

Water temps at Agness were forecast to hit 82 degrees last weekend, but the smoke helped reduce the thermal load on the Rogue, and temps are hovering around 77 degree instead.

Still high, but at least the chinook have a shot.

Poached ‘nook not for Hack./Hot water bane of chinook./Stay in the bay, chill..

Fish Hack wants most fall chinook to stay in the bay this week for two reasons.

One, it’s cooler and they can wait another week before augmented flows cool the lower Rogue and improve migration conditions.

And two…Hack’s headed to the bay to turn some chinook eyes into X’s before the mass exodus occurs.

If the ‘nooks are gonna die, it’s best to provide that primo funeral pyre called Hack’s bbq.

Time to hit the bay./Troill ‘chovies, whack two chinook./Better’cued than poached.

 

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HAIKU MONDAY: On Upper Rogue Double-Dipping

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack is livin’ the double-dipping life on the upper Rogue River, which happens to be Hack’s home waters.

Should Hack fish for spring chinook or summer steelhead? Yes.

Can’t choose between fish?/Then target steelhead and ‘nooks./Plenty of both here.

For you few Haiku Monday virgins out there, this is when and where Fish Hack waxes on and off non-Brazilian style aboutt the outdoors and whatever the hell else comes to mind while sprinkling in some back versions of old Japanese poetry as the schtick.

Lots of apers out there in the bogosphere, but Hack was the first to marry haiku’s with Northwest fishing, and Hack writes that as if it’s a good thing.

Take blame for haikus?/Hack’s got to stick out somehow/In dumb blogger-sphere.

July is a special time in the upper Rogue because it’s the overlap of two precious runs. The spring chinook run is starting to peter out, but there are late pulses of hatchery fish moving through so it’s generally the time when the percentage of fin-clipped fish in need of seeing their eyes turned into X’s increases.

Plus, the early-run summer steelhead are hanging around. They’re a mix of smallish fish around 19 inches, plus decent numbers of the 8- to 10-pounders.

Target one you can end up catching either. Or both.

That’s why fishing Mag Lip 3.5 plugs is quite the ticket right now. They’re the right size to entice either big summers or bigger chinook when fishied in the deeper runs of the upper Rogue.

Get your Mag Lip on./Pop both chinook and steelhead./Good time to go Rogue.

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HAIKU MONDAY: On Catch with the Kid and Steelhead FD Memories

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack’s spent a summer solstice that didn’t include a three-putt that didn’t include three-putting the 18th.

Stayed out late chucking the football in the dark with Tax Deduction No. 2, perfect Father’s Day ending.

“Wanna throw the ball?”/”Sure, Dad. Just like we used to.”/Miss those simple times.

For you 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 sprinkled in as the schtick.

Caught the first summer steelhead of the season Sunday morning on the upper Rogue River, Hack’s home waters. And it came about a month after hooking the first one.

That first summer of the year typically marks the start of Hack’s year. Two years ago, the June summer steelhead started a 12-month string of catching a steelhead somewhere on a 15-mile stretch of the upper Rogue. Pretty astonishing feat, but the Rogue is special and so are steelhead.

Especially after being deftly sick of trying to get a Rogue hatchery spring chinook to unlock that welded-shut mouth and bite a bait.

Changing of the guard./Chinook are the enemy./Steelhead are your friends.

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HAIKU MONDAY: On Free Fishing Sit-Out and Early Cocktail Hour

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack is back in the saddle and happy for American Pharoah for nailing that Triple Crown in Secretariat-ish fashion.

Watching the Belmont is the only way Fish Hack spends Free Fishing Weekend.

Free Fishing Weekend./One day left to amateurs./Fish Hack sits it out.

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 bad Japanese poetry sprinkled in as the schtick.

Free Fishing Weekend and Graduation Weekend have a few things in common. Mainly, though, it’s that neither Fish Hack nor his brood partook.

Tax Deduction No. 1 still has another year left in that great daytime babysitting institution known as the Medford School District. and TD#2 just put the knife in freshman year.

Free Fishing Weekend, despite Hack’s distinct lack of sharing good water, is a good thing for Oregonians who want to test-drive fishing without having to tell a pint of plasma for a license and salmon tag.

Tap blood for license./And it’s going up next year./Expensive hobby.

Still, you’ll see Fish Hack back on his favorite haunts on the upper Rogue River on Tuesday, plying the pools for spring chinook salmon on cocktail hour.

Missed that missive? Check it out HERE.

Sand shrimp cocktail hour./5 a.m. chinook bite starts./Great way to start day.

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HAIKU MONDAY: On Less Fish Blood, Clearer Videos

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack is back adding new media to the cyber version of the Fish Wrap now that a little iPhone cleansing has occurred.

Who would have thought fish guts on the phone would ruin cause blurry videos?

Clean off the fish guts./Shoot vid: “Nugget Falls Rafting.”/ Finally in focus.

Don’t believe Hack? Check out Hack’s summer rafting preview on the Rogue River, including draft water-release strategies from Lost Creek Lake and the rad phone vid at Nugget Falls HERE.

Watch the video./More clicks keep Fish Hack employed./Can’t do honest work.

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 into mind, with a few forms of bad Japanese poetry sprinkled in as the schtick.

Water woes on the Rogue will continue through the summer, but enough supplemental flows from Lost Creek releases will keep your boat afloat…as long as you know how to row.

Some of the rapids will be awfully skinny and other will be easier from the lower flows. To see what to expect, read the story.

Hack looks out for you./Just keeping your boat afloat./Just avoid the rocks.

Hope you liked the short video. Guess Hack wiill be wiping those lenses more than once every change of data plans

 

 

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HAIKU MONDAY: On Early Springers and the One We Let Go Away

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack helped break the ice on the upper Rogue’s spring chinook salmon season by stumbling into what might be the first upper Rogue springer of the season.

Twenty-five pounder./Hit plug meant for a steelhead./Still an epic catch.

For you few Haiku Monday virgins still 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. The bad versions of old Japanese poetry is the schtick that keeps on schticking.

So got best bud Jeff Barnard in the front seat of the driftboat Saturday on a steelhead float downstream of TouVelle State Park. The fishing was far more prevalent than the catching for everyone, and I opined aloud that hooking the first sprigner of the season would erase the ills of the day.

Been rumors of a couple caught earlier but no photographic evidence. Besides, there were just two in Cole Rivers Hatchery, so it’s not like their are many of these somewhat rare critters out there.

Fish in a barrel./Talking springers, big barrel/And not many fish.

So we got one steelhead released when we pulled into the old First Chance hole. It was the spot where the Rogue flowed into the Gold Ray Dam impoundment for 106 years before that dam was jettisoned from the Rogue in 2010.

Barnard lets out one plug then gets obsessed with changing out a hook on a plug destroyed last week by Eric Winkler’s first steelhead that anchored Friday’s Oregon Outdoors story about how there’s so many winter steelhead in the upper Rogue that even one-armed rookies can limit out. Check it out HERE.

Fresh steelhead abound./Break an elbow, catch two fish./Wince the hero shot.

So I tell Barnard, why don’t you let that other plug out before you fart around with that plug?

So he lets out the hand-painted K-9 Kwikfish and starts to dissect said hook.
Uhh, you gonna get that?” I say.

The rod is pulsating but the fish on the other line isn’t running. Just swirling around in the deep hole.

“Dude, that’s a springer.” Hack says.

Yadayadayada, after four times trying to net the damn thing (it was 5 inches longer than the net ON EACH SIDE!), Fish Hack finally put the corral on this-here bad-girl.

35 inches. Maybe 25 pounds. Chromer than a new truck bumper.

Wild.

One too many fins./Released 200 bucks worth of/Primo ‘nook fillets.

Woulda turned Fish Hack’s Fish Camp into an impromptu fish party if that adipose fin was gone.

No prob. Still made the trip.

And the opening salvo on what should be a primo springer season.

Stink out of the boat/Earliest springer Hack’s got/ Great sign for the times.

 

 

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HAIKU MONDAY: On Hot Steelhead and Hotter Weather

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack has hung up the rain gear for the season and pulled out the flip flops, even though spring’s supposed to be almost two weeks away.

No snow to speak of/Mid-70s days not good/To this steelhead bum

For you few Haiku Monday virgins out these, 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 little bit of bad Japanese poetry sprinkled in as the schtick to stick out in the Crapland known as the blogosphere.

What’s sticking out these days are crocuses and other flowers that should be in the dirt in early March. But the weather has been so balmy that everhthing’s early out of the ground.

But it comes at a price. With no snow, that means no water for snowfed streams that spawning steelhead rely on.

Fish need cold water./Snow makes the cold water flow./Brutal snowpack sucks.

But the adult winter steelhead keep coming, making 2015 the latest example of how drought hurts fish but is good for fishing.

Hack’s most recent float on the fave stretch of the upper Rogue yielded five adults, including one big buck pushing 30 inches and 11 pounds.

Just as relevant, however, was the 68 degree temperature when it hit a new Mag 3.0 plug.

Hot fish, hot weather/Prefer to wear the rain gear/Need a normal year.

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HAIKU MONDAY: On Sunscreen Steelhead and Flat Earthers

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack is decked out in shorts and flip-flops waiting for nature to put the winter back into winter steelhead fishing.

Steelead fishing and sunscreen are a fine mix on Fish Hack’s home waters of the upper Rogue — in July. But February?

What do you expect when there’s more snow in Boston Harbor than at Diamond Lake and Lake of the Woods combined.

Knocking climate change?/Round world once just a “theory.”/Don’t drive off the ledge.

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 or whatever the hell else comes to mind, with some irreverent versions of bad Japanese poetry sprinkled in as the schtick.

So temps hitting 70 and a piss-poor snowpack has Tax Deduction No. 1 and his snowboarding elk wheelin’ it to Bend every weekend to get in competitions that should be on Mt. A.

It’s also making it difficult to ply the upper Rogue for winter steelhead because out-flows at Lost Creek Lake are down to the bare mid-winter minimum

Rain’s coming Friday. That should get things hoppin’…much better than the rockin’ of that VW park on the TouVelle boat ramp last week.

If you missed that blog, check it out HERE.

Steelheading in the sun/Good for fishing, bad for fish./Bad dilemma here.

 

 

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HAIKU MONDAY: On Early Steelhead and Boat Ramp Romp Interrupto

Welcome back to Haiku Monday, where Fish Hack’s puttin’ it down during Presidents’ Day because the Fish Wrap doesn’t recognize it as a paid holiday.

So Hack’s bangin’ away kinda like the California dock workers. He’s here, but typing…real…slow.

Holiday work stinks./Hard to write crap:No sources./Saves Hack from himself.

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 a few bad pieces of bad Japanese poetry sprinkled in as the schtick to stickout in the Crapland of the Internet.

Early February’s big splash of rain jump-started the Rogue’s winter steelhead run enough that Hack decided to take bud Jeff Barnard down the upper Rogue in search of early winters.

Always prefer fishing home waters than driving 50 miles to where most of the action, and effort, are.

So we pull into TouVelle seeing we’re the only rig there, so there won’t be much, if any, competition on the run.

Except there’s a pink VW bug parked in the middle of the ramp. Barnard walks up to get the driver to move, but he starts barking at the occupants and gouging his own eyes out.

A couple of locals were swapping fluids instead of cards in what can only be described as Valentine’s Day 826-er Style.

I told them at least to take that to the tie-down area. There’s a 15-minute limit there, but looking at the guy, I’d say he’d have more than enough time.

They sheepishly — and for us, thankfully — pulled their duds on and drove away.

Boat Ramp Etiquette::/No fishing, parking or sex./That’s for tie-down spot.

Luckily, we had more — and better — action Saturday than that guy.

Hooked five fresh winters and boated three in the best mid-February day ever for Hack on the upper Rogue.

Nothing like the earlier-ever record return of winter steelhead in the upper Rogue to make for a fine Valentine’s Day.

 

 

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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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