On The Willapa


In my continuing efforts to stock the freezer with smoked salmon, I was lucky enough to spend the first part of last week fishing Willapa Bay with the Sweeneys. This is something of an annual tradition for Sweeney and me, and more times than I can count, this last and latest saltwater king-salmon fishery has bailed me out of a fish shortage. This year, the whole Sweeney family–including Grandma Janet–was there to fish and hang out with. Above, a morning’s worth of work; two kings and a big silver.


Dark skies and occasional rain dominated. After long stretch of warm, dry summer weather, it felt like autumn had arrived. And the up-and-down barometer made the fishing a bit tougher than usual. But there were enough fish around to make it worth doing, and gradually, we scratched out enough to fill the box. That’s Maren Sweeney, above, with a nice silver.


Laine Sweeney, commuting back and forth from volleyball practice in Olympia to the coast, went to bed late and somehow got up early for each morning tide. Her dedication paid off with an epic battle to land this king. After three days, I had to bail for home to catch up on work, start brining fish–and about 20 hours later–pick up the kids and dog to head back to the Willapa. To be continued…