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We spent our fair share of time on the water from the time our children were very young.

When they were old enough to hold a rod, our children fished for Shad. As they grew older they graduated to trout, Kokanee, steelhead, and salmon. Fishing the Willamette from Oregon City to the Columbia, Diamond Lake, Lake Odell, coastal tributaries, and of course the infamous Tillamook Bay - our family favorite.

Any angler will tell you it’s called fishing, not catching for a reason; it’s technique, learning, application, patience and persistence.

But there’s nothing about fishing that isn’t fun. Especially when the sky is blue and the fish are biting.

On this particular day, my now grown son took me out in his boat to fish for Shad on the Willamette.

My, how times have changed.

This time is precious. A captured audience to share stories, memories, jokes, watching life all around you, and learning new things. Confession: I learned how to net a fish! He was the guide, and I, the student. The fish were biting, the cooler was filling up, allowing us plenty to share with friends who will use them for crab bait this fall.

We watched two bald eagles - big, beautiful, majestic birds; one dipped down to the water and grabbed a fish, making a sharp turn, he took it to what I believe to be their nest in a large tree on the opposite side of the river. The cries of the second eagle were loud as it flew around for a while, then followed the first into the same tree. Three huge red headed condors, whose wing spans were amazing and the edges of each feather on their wings were vivid against the bright sun.

They soared on the upper wind currents like kites - never flapping their wings - so effortless. Countless swallows weaving in and out of the lower wind currents, dipping to and fro, feasting on the few bugs they could find. A pair of Great Blue Herons gliding just above the waterline so effortlessly. Magical.

Most of the boat anglers were anchored in a row, each enjoying the peacefulness, the gentle rocking of the boat, fun banter back and forth, cheering when someone netted a fish, a gentle wind and a beautiful day on the water. The bank anglers were standing in their chosen spot; one testing his fly fishing skills, others casting out with their spinning reels, each hoping for the excitement of a bite.

The kindness and appreciation found that day on the water is a good reminder of days gone by and the fun days yet to come. We just have to get out there.

#fishing #wildlife #oregon #conservation #nature #sports

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All pictures used with permission and attributed where necessary. 

Deschutes River image by Erik Dresser