Sturgeon Fishing on the Columbia River
Astoria, Oregon
May 30 - June 2, 2008

Limited out near Tongue Point on June 1.  Fourteen fish in the boat that day!!!
(Can someone PLEASE teach a big chick how to hold a fish?)

Dude!  Although we ran into some snags along the way (and one big pricey one for Bill), I can't even begin to tell you how incredible this weekend was!!  We decided that, with Jeff's own personal little rain storm following him around,  if he ever starts guiding, he'd have to name his outfit Black Cloud Guide Service.  HA!

I lucked out and was offered a seat in Jeff Schumann's boat on a trip that he and three buddies were planning to Astoria, Oregon to fish for sturgeon.  Anyone that knows me knows that I have been FISHING MY ASS OFF in an attempt to get a sturgeon on the table this year.  We've even pulled all nighters with drunk Russians to try to "Git-R-Done".  Up until this weekend, I've been empty handed and, if it weren't the for Asian guys that continue to show up in my fishing spot on the Sacramento River, I still wouldn't even know what a sturgeon looked like.  Anywhooo.... one of the guys backed out on Jeff's trip and opened a seat up.  I grabbed that sucker up like it was on sale.  I had the wonderful opportunity to fish with Jeff again along with his two friends Bill and Fred Majors from Klamath Falls.

I'd been working all day that Thursday with Ty, Kaleigh and Dad at the Brophy property trying to get the front gates set.  When 2 o'clock came and went and we still weren't pouring cement, I knew I wasn't going to make my deadline for being in Klamath Falls.  I called Jeff and told him to go ahead and I'd just drive straight up to Astoria on my own.  I didn't get on the road until 7:30 pm and knew I had one long haul.  I stopped in Redding to fuel up and got a call from Jeff.  Bill's pickup's motor had seized and they were at a dead stop someplace East of Oakridge Oregon.  Jeff wanted to know if it would be possible for me to come via K Falls and pick them and the boat up.  This is about when I realized how hard core these guys are.  Had it been me with a blown motor, you'da found me sitting on the side of the road crying and working on my second twelve pack of beer.  Not Bill.  That's a guy that wants to fish!

I made Oakridge around 3 am.  A "HEYYYY!!" from Jeff that I heard over the radio with the windows up made it very apparent that I'd found them.  The guys told me that they'd forgotten to pull the hitch off of Bill's truck.  So, while they were waiting for me, they'd had to break into the fenced, locked lot where the truck was to get it.  The cops cruised by just as Fred was balanced on top of the chain link fence.  The nice officer didn't stay long.  He either bought their story or they scared him.  I'm guessing the latter.

 


We drank some beer this weekend.  Ok, we drank a LOT of beer this weekend.  I really think it's a requirement for fishing.  I try to comply at all costs.  In the little time I've known Jeff, he's had to open numerous beer bottles for me.  The guy can open em with anything but this is the classic right here...opening a beer with a beer!
 

FISH ON!!  That's actually Bill's pole I've got in hand.  Lucky for me Bill was having so much "trouble with his shoulder" that I got to bring him in.  Fred's not a smart ass at all.  See what he thinks about the request "look back and smile"?

When Tyler and I first started fishing for sturgeon at home, he asked me if I'd be mad if he caught the first fish.  I said "NO WAY!  I'd do cartwheels up and down the bank of the river!!"  Click here to see what I got right after we got this fish in and I told Ty about it.

 


Did I mention we drank beer on this trip?  Jeff's actually got a fish on in this shot.

 


Fred's Dad Bill working another fish towards the boat.  Guess his shoulder's feeling better.

 


Almost in.

 


One of Bill's shakers.

 


Fred and Bill next to the boat at Tackle Time in Warrenton.  Three fish in the boat this day and two were keepers.

 


Fred working a fish with Bill in the background.

 


This fish had us all fooled.  When Fred hooked him up, his rod bent nearly in half.  It looked like a HUGE fish.  As it turns out, he was a keeper but not the oversized we were hoping to get to see.

 


Fred gets one in close to the boat and Jeff goes in for the grab.

 


Nice fish Fred!  Sturgeon have spines that stick up in each of those diamonds on their sides and backs.  Fred got a new cut nearly every time we landed a fish.  He ended up the trip cut to pieces.  Rumor has it that's normal for him though.

 


Jeff and Fred with another good fish in the boat.

 

Ok...look closely at this picture.  See the infamous Folgers can?  Well, after talking to one of the girls here in the office and explaining how I had to learn how to pee in a can, she said "Was it a Folgers can?  We always had to pee in a Folgers can when my Dad would take us fishing."  Surprise!  It WAS a Folgers can.  Well, Fred here had gotten set up to, um, make a deposit when he noticed this rod was getting a bite.  He took the rod out of the holder and set the hook.  FISH ON!!  He looked back over his shoulder and gave me a look that said "Yeah...Ronda....stay over there."  He got this fish in with something else out... ifyouknowwhatimean.  That's hard core fishing right there!

 


Fred loves fishing.  In fact, you can see here where Fred is loving the fish.  Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately cause it was really gross, I missed the shot where he french kissed this fish right in the snorkel.

EW!  EW!  EW!

 


Jeff shows off another keeper.

 


And another one.

 


My big fat 50 incher wrapped around Fred's little bitty 48 incher.  We all put five bucks in a pot....biggest fish wins.  The 50 inch fish won me the big money!!

 


I forgot to collect on the bet so Fred texted me the five bucks he owed me.  He wanted to be right with me and all.
 

Me and Jeff with my monster.  In-freaking-sane people!!  This is so much fun!!

 


I finally made it home on Tuesday evening and we all went to Mom's for sturgeon.  I was wallowing around with the fish on the tailgate of my truck trying to get it cleaned when my brother-in-law, Mike showed up.  He stood behind me jumping from foot to foot.  I took that as his subtle way of saying "WOULD YOU FLIPPING GET OUT OF THE WAY AND LET ME DO THAT?!?"  I did.

Mom and I fixed the fish three ways.  We deep fried some fish nuggets, we bbq'ed some with butter and garlic and I pan fried some with a hazelnut coating and made a blackberry bbq sauce for it.  You guys KNOW I'm not a fish eater.  I not only ate it, I LOVED it!!  It was wonderful...and unfortunately...it's gone.  One fish fed 15 people.

 


 
I really want to thank Jeff Schumann for thinking of me and allowing me the opportunity to go along on this trip.  The last thing I wanted to do was be the annoying girl in the boat.  This was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had and I owe the entire opportunity to Jeff.  Thank you!!

I'd also like to thank Fred and Bill Majors for sharing their expertise.  Bill gave me some pointers when Jeff let me drive the boat and Fred showed me how to tie a bait knot so I can make my own sturgeon leaders now as well as showing me how to get a sand shrimp on a hook in two seconds rather than twenty minutes.

 

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