Been fishing for years but have no clue what I'm doing...

BadTaco6

BadTaco6

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Apr 17, 2021
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4
Hey everyone. This post might get lengthy, sorry.
I'm 43 and I've been "fishing" for as long as I can remember. I've been out of the game for many years; jobs, raising young kids, etc. My youngest kids are hitting 9 and 7 now and they're really loving the outdoors, camping and such. I want to get back into fishing and get them in it. I have fond memories of fishing with my dad and brothers and friends over the years.
All that said, as I'm now trying to get back into fishing and teach my kids, I quickly realized I don't know a damn thing about actually fishing. I know the basics of most equipment and gear but actually, truly fishing, I'm lost. I don't know how to read the water, what to look for when looking for a good spot to fish, what to put on the end of the line, etc.
I feel like a let down to my kids cause I keep getting them excited to go out and then the end up just get tackle wet and that's it. Yes it's building memories and we hang out in beautiful places outdoors but I just want them to feel the excitement of having a fish on the line and fighting him in. I feel the only memory they're going to retain is that their dad sucks at fishing.
So now, the main point to my sad story here is how do I learn? I watch videos, I read books, I listen to podcasts. I take those things I think I learned and head out to some water and nothing happens. I know full well it's not realistic to think I'll land something every time but I want to at least increase my odds somehow. Does anyone know of any classes, trainers, something that can help teach me so I can feel confident taking the kids out? I'm open to suggestions. I really want to make this an activity I can bond with my kids over.
Good hell, I sound pathetic and whiny. Someone please slap me, with a salmon preferably, hopefully it's a little smoked that would be great.
Seriously, if anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears. I'm not looking for pity or the coordinates to anyone's secret fishing holes. Just want to know how to be successful. You know, teach a man to fish and you feed him for life. I'm hungry, damn hungry.
 
Chromatose

Chromatose

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May 27, 2009
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546
Interjecting what the kids think is silliness. Just the mere act of taking them fishing is memory building. It is called fishing for a reason. So what you suck at catching! Learn with your kids. BE honest and upfront about your lack of knowledge. Let the kids know your human, and in return you will be rewarded in the bonds you and your family will achieve. There is a plethora of online information to be had, but that is predicated on the species and watersheds your looking to fish. Welcome to the forum & Good Luck to you. Keep Going Fishing!
 
O. mykiss

O. mykiss

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Nov 2, 2012
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88
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Oregon coastal river
The second what chromatose said, you are building bonds and memories your kids will always remember. Now that being said, what are you fishing for? Here in the pac nw we have so many species of fish to fish for that it can be daunting. No one method can catch every fish out there. Start with the basics, fish local ponds and lakes that have been stocked with trout or that have panfish in them like bluegill or bass. The spawning season for panfish is quickly approaching and they will be in the shallow water near the bank and willing to bite. A simple piece of worm on a hook 2’-3’ under a bobber is bluegill kryptonite. If you are targeting other species such as salmon and steelhead the number hits you are likely to get significantly decreases. Start with the easier species and get the kids hooked then after they have the fishing big move on to more challenging species!
 
Admin

Admin

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Oregon
I would start mastering my fishing skills by fishing for trout at still water. Check ODFW site for trout stocking schedule and chose the nearest pond that gets regularly stocked. Use ultralight rods with 4lb test line. Powerbait or Powereggs.
 
bass

bass

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Cedar Mill area of Portland, OR
One of my favorite things to do with my kids was to fish for carp. They usually bite well and are huge. My kids still talk about catching fish as big as they were (through the optics of the memory of a child). If there was a good spot of panfish that was a good choice as well but there are not as many of those in Portland. I tried to mostly focus on getting the kids to places where we could fish off by ourselves.

A second really fun thing to do is to fish a pond soon after they are stocked with trout. This usually did not come with as much of getting away to nature feel but the kids liked catching the stockers.

Up here in Portland some fun places we use to fish were Commonwealth pond (playground at the pond for bonus points), Bethany pond, Willamette river (Mary S. Young park is a nice little hike to the water and good carp fishing in the slough there), Tualtin river (bass, suckers, pikieminnows and carp). We sometimes would go to a big place like Hagg but I think the smaller spots were better.

It always seemed that the types of places where we had to walk a little to get to the water were extra special. I think it made it into more of an adventure. Plus, we would almost always stop at a playground on the way there or back or both to make the trip extra special. Going to a new playground was a huge deal for them. Now with coronavirus I would probably skip the playgrounds for now but having to walk for ways to the spot is still an adventure.
 
BadTaco6

BadTaco6

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Apr 17, 2021
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I have mostly ever fished for trout. I've caught one salmon on the Sandy River years ago but someone else did the setup. Just handed me the rod and turned me loose. Although I was the only one on the bank out of 20+ guys around that caught one. Now I just wish I could remember the setup!! I haven't really caught anything other than trout and most of that has been from throwing out random things and something happens to work.
I haven't fished specifically for anything, because I'm not sure how to target different fish. I'm trying to research now that because want to know how to target different fish and what to use for each. What to use on a river vs a lake, when to use bait, spinners, lures, etc. So much to figure out. I think I'm trying to learn too much at once. Like you've each pretty much said, pick one type and focus on that.
One of my issues is I'm super impatient. I want to know now and feel like I should already know since I've done it for so long. I need to slow down and learn.
I have some long commutes so if anyone has suggestions on podcasts or ebooks I could sure use those.
I carry a rod and a small box of tackle in the truck all the time now with the thought of having it available if I'm in a spot I can use it.
I appreciate the responses. I'll take any and all tips, tricks, and advice. Thanks guys.
 
DOKF

DOKF

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Oct 4, 2020
Messages
109
Last spring conditions prompted me to attempt re-introducing fishing to my youngest before he aged out of interest (he was 18 ..). In some sense, the pandemic was a blessing in disguise for me (us?) in that it provided the impetus for some quality shared time. Since then, we have religiously hit the water weekly.

Starting out at St Louis ponds, we both started learning how to fish in Oregon. I learned to fish for steelhead and trout in BC, and had to adjust to the local nuances. We were modestly successful in our first few outings, catching only enough fish to keep coming back for more. Slowly, we graduated to larger lakes (Trillium, Lost, Harriet, Hagg), and then introduced fly fishing from the boat (canoe).

After some moderate success on the lakes, we then attempted some stream fishing (Breitenbush, Santiam, Deschutes) to again moderate success. Several outings on the Deschutes came to naught, but the Breitenbush was generous to us.

I was only a step ahead of the boy (man) a year ago, but he has caught up quickly. Some days he outfished me, some days we were evenly skunked. But every out was a fond memory to be enjoyed by us both. Even just quietly sitting in the canoe became transcendental. Magically for me, my son has started to to think and explore fishing independently on our outings, although he still wants to and looks forward to heading out to the water with me. Even if we are doomed to come back wet and stinking of n-butylthiol.

We have graduated from St Louis, Commonwealth, and Prospect, and relish the successful days all the more for the less than fish days. It is always a good day as we start out to the water regardless of how many fish we bring home.

Another trick I learned, was to freeze most of the fish caught (usually too late to eat by the time we came home) and to then have a big fish fry or smoking later. The stored stash really brought back the memories of the trips, and how many fish we actually caught.
 
BadTaco6

BadTaco6

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Joined
Apr 17, 2021
Messages
4
Last spring conditions prompted me to attempt re-introducing fishing to my youngest before he aged out of interest (he was 18 ..). In some sense, the pandemic was a blessing in disguise for me (us?) in that it provided the impetus for some quality shared time. Since then, we have religiously hit the water weekly.

Starting out at St Louis ponds, we both started learning how to fish in Oregon. I learned to fish for steelhead and trout in BC, and had to adjust to the local nuances. We were modestly successful in our first few outings, catching only enough fish to keep coming back for more. Slowly, we graduated to larger lakes (Trillium, Lost, Harriet, Hagg), and then introduced fly fishing from the boat (canoe).

After some moderate success on the lakes, we then attempted some stream fishing (Breitenbush, Santiam, Deschutes) to again moderate success. Several outings on the Deschutes came to naught, but the Breitenbush was generous to us.

I was only a step ahead of the boy (man) a year ago, but he has caught up quickly. Some days he outfished me, some days we were evenly skunked. But every out was a fond memory to be enjoyed by us both. Even just quietly sitting in the canoe became transcendental. Magically for me, my son has started to to think and explore fishing independently on our outings, although he still wants to and looks forward to heading out to the water with me. Even if we are doomed to come back wet and stinking of n-butylthiol.

We have graduated from St Louis, Commonwealth, and Prospect, and relish the successful days all the more for the less than fish days. It is always a good day as we start out to the water regardless of how many fish we bring home.

Another trick I learned, was to freeze most of the fish caught (usually too late to eat by the time we came home) and to then have a big fish fry or smoking later. The stored stash really brought back the memories of the trips, and how many fish we actually caught.
That's what I'm looking for right there!!
Thank you for your response.
 
DOKF

DOKF

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Oct 4, 2020
Messages
109
Keep us up to date with your adventures. I have found it is more fun to teach and look after my kids than it is to fish personally. Even if I don't get much opportunity to wet a line myself, it is magical to see him fishing.
 

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DOKF

DOKF

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Oct 4, 2020
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109
I might add that I still don't know what I am doing exactly, but my son respects that and still looks up to me for it.

We enjoy the time together; stopping for donuts, blueberries, or chicken on the way up to Mt Hood helps.
 
BadTaco6

BadTaco6

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Joined
Apr 17, 2021
Messages
4
Last spring conditions prompted me to attempt re-introducing fishing to my youngest before he aged out of interest (he was 18 ..). In some sense, the pandemic was a blessing in disguise for me (us?) in that it provided the impetus for some quality shared time. Since then, we have religiously hit the water weekly.

Starting out at St Louis ponds, we both started learning how to fish in Oregon. I learned to fish for steelhead and trout in BC, and had to adjust to the local nuances. We were modestly successful in our first few outings, catching only enough fish to keep coming back for more. Slowly, we graduated to larger lakes (Trillium, Lost, Harriet, Hagg), and then introduced fly fishing from the boat (canoe).

After some moderate success on the lakes, we then attempted some stream fishing (Breitenbush, Santiam, Deschutes) to again moderate success. Several outings on the Deschutes came to naught, but the Breitenbush was generous to us.

I was only a step ahead of the boy (man) a year ago, but he has caught up quickly. Some days he outfished me, some days we were evenly skunked. But every out was a fond memory to be enjoyed by us both. Even just quietly sitting in the canoe became transcendental. Magically for me, my son has started to to think and explore fishing independently on our outings, although he still wants to and looks forward to heading out to the water with me. Even if we are doomed to come back wet and stinking of n-butylthiol.

We have graduated from St Louis, Commonwealth, and Prospect, and relish the successful days all the more for the less than fish days. It is always a good day as we start out to the water regardless of how many fish we bring home.

Another trick I learned, was to freeze most of the fish caught (usually too late to eat by the time we came home) and to then have a big fish fry or smoking later. The stored stash really brought back the memories of the trips, and how many fish we actually caught.
I think I might take them to St. Louis Ponds this weekend. I'm betting it gets busy though.
 
DOKF

DOKF

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Oct 4, 2020
Messages
109
St Louis ponds do get busy .. But you'll probably still find some space. Good luck!
 
C

cchinook

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Joined
Jan 7, 2007
Messages
147
Location
Portland
I have mostly ever fished for trout. I've caught one salmon on the Sandy River years ago but someone else did the setup. Just handed me the rod and turned me loose. Although I was the only one on the bank out of 20+ guys around that caught one. Now I just wish I could remember the setup!! I haven't really caught anything other than trout and most of that has been from throwing out random things and something happens to work.
I haven't fished specifically for anything, because I'm not sure how to target different fish. I'm trying to research now that because want to know how to target different fish and what to use for each. What to use on a river vs a lake, when to use bait, spinners, lures, etc. So much to figure out. I think I'm trying to learn too much at once. Like you've each pretty much said, pick one type and focus on that.
One of my issues is I'm super impatient. I want to know now and feel like I should already know since I've done it for so long. I need to slow down and learn.
I have some long commutes so if anyone has suggestions on podcasts or ebooks I could sure use those.
I carry a rod and a small box of tackle in the truck all the time now with the thought of having it available if I'm in a spot I can use it.
I appreciate the responses. I'll take any and all tips, tricks, and advice. Thanks guys.
Fishing for salmon and steel can be hard for younger kids , they do not have the patience . Believe me , I know . But in the long run it is worth it .
Springers will be in the Sandy end of May , coho end of Aug . into Oct. Go to Oxbow Park , at the drift boat launch . Spinning rod and reel .
Rig with half ounce banana lead , 4 foot mono leader to a Blue Fox #4 spinner in different colors . Simple set up . 15 lb. leader . Pitch those spinners !
 
T

tdspence

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Apr 20, 2008
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hillsboro
Addicted fishing has good videos on YouTube showing a lot of different techniques. They are relatively local too.
 
R

realradiobrian

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May 6, 2021
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So, I was you when I moved to the PNW in 2005. I knew nothing but worms and bobbers and bass baits being from the south and in Florida I just threw out a cast net on the beach and fished with what the fish were eating. I just moved to Eugene from the Tri-Cities, WA so around here I am just learning and exploring. I hit Dorena Lake and caught a rainbow, it's stocked. McKenzie is your gateway to a ton of lakes and spots and the river is great to float. I used a water bobber and fly. To set that up - Get clear water bobbers, stopper (barrel swivels work, small bead, etc), then make a leader with light 4lbs test with a fly. The leader needs to be at least as long as your fishing rod. When choosing flies, most shops have someone that can help you with which pong or river you're targeting. Otherwise, go-to flies to have in the spring on stocked lake are olive, brown and especially black wooly buggers. Beaded top versions, spinner blade versions, plain janes with sparkle in the tail. Small flies are also essential, talk to your local store's expert and if the store doesn't have one, you're at the wrong one. Remember to check regs for barbless hook requirements, etc. That's more for when you're fishing with spinners and spoons like Lil Cleo's, Blue Fox, Panthers, Kastmasters, etc. All very effective options. Don't use powerbait or worms, it kills the fish if you don't keep them. You can tip your spinner with a worm, but the difference is how the fish are hooked - they swallow baited stationary hooks down their throat while flies and lures hook the lips.
 
R

realradiobrian

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May 6, 2021
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Another place to take kids for an EPIC weekend is Tucannon near Dayton, Washington. It has a series of five lakes all fully stocked with catchables and jumbos with a camp store nearby called The Last Resort. They offer rv spots, cabins, but the best part is the dispersed camping off one of the national park roads past the lakes. We have easily caught over 100 fish each every day, tossing back all the smalls and still keeping our daily with the jumbos. (You can't do that bait fishing, use the fly and water bobber set up). It is very busy on Memorial Day weekend, 4th of July, but they stock the lakes to epic results even on those weekends.
 
D

Dean

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Sep 28, 2020
Messages
25
I think I might take them to St. Louis Ponds this weekend. I'm betting it gets busy though.
It for sure gets busy, but I've never seen it so full you can't find a spot to fish. It's engineered to maximize bank access, and it's VERY kid-friendly. You drive right up to the lake, get out, and start fishing.

Take a look at this map:

1620591422231.png

I have never seen anybody catch anything in pond 7 for what it's worth. Pond 6 seems to be the hot spot more often than not (when you go there, everybody will be fishing pond 6 almost guaranteed and I've seen plenty of people limit out their entire families there). There are two prominent points on pond 6 that tend to be especially productive from what I've seen:

pond6.png

Now, in terms of how to fish it: grab a couple different types of power bait (and power eggs possibly) and try fishing both the bottom (I tie something similar to a Carolina rig to fish the bottom; but with power bait on a hook in stead of a plastic bait) and the top (with a bobber). Switch it up, try different sizes of bait on your hooks, try different colors, etc. Just keep hammering away until you find something that works.

Right now the bite is slow during the hotter parts of the day. So, if you can, get there on a day when it's not too hot or try to get there early (easier said than done with kids). Be sure to keep an eye on the Stocking Schedule. They stock it almost every week but as you can see first week of June is going to be a giant one.

OK - and in terms of fishing with kids, here are some things have helped me that might or might not be useful to you:

- Make sure you have comfortable folding chairs for them. I don't even bring a chair for myself usually but my kids aren't as spartan as me.
- They aren't going to love it until they catch their first fish. Then they will be addicted. But just be aware it's going to be an uphill battle to that point.
- Pack snacks and treats they don't usually get every day (for example, I pack Gatorade and skittles which is a rare treat around my house). I like to make a goofy production of it like "party dad's got the SNACKS, boys!".
- It's often a good idea to fish an area yourself BEFORE taking your kids along so you can get an idea of the lay of the land, try to figure out what works, etc.

Anyway, don't give up. I believe in you, BadTaco6. ;)
 
I

Itsahobby

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Mar 5, 2021
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I am new to Oregon, but I can tell you, time on the water is one of the top things to learning to fish.
 
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