Buoy Ten

There is an imaginary demarkation where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, marked by a floating red buoy known by locals as Buoy Ten. On a hot day in late August, to the west side of this you will find calm, peaceful water. To the east…. chaos.

The ocean-side of Buoy #10 is a no fishing zone, the east side, however is fair play for salmon beginning their run up the river. Here to greet them you will find hundreds upon hundreds of boats trolling planer boards and anchovies. It is an epic mess of fishing lines, outboard motors, alcohol, and chippy captains. Yet, amazingly, they all seem to have it down to an art.

If you can take your attention from the nautical circus that surrounds you and look beyond it, there is much to appreciate…

While this is not necessarily a life experience I will endeavor to relive, I am glad I got to experience it. It reminded me of a deer camp where the goal is simply to drink beer and play cards, the difference being you can actually catch salmon while doing these things and you can’t necessarily kill a deer, so one could argue this is more productive.

More than once out there I found myself wondering what it would be like to have a fly rod in hand, and a few less floating neighbors. But after dragging a couple of coho to the boat, I decided I would really just rather have my two-weight, a solitary mountain stream, and a ten inch brook trout. Like most things in life, I preferred to be on the quiet side of Buoy #10.

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