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Walt Drechsler

Christmas smells a little fishy….

As the end of the year was approaching, the Pellucidar crew has been busy making ready for our Spring trip in 2019. We did not have a lot of plans for Christmas as it was on a Tuesday and we had no extra time off at work. That was all about to change!

My nephew from Texas was flying into Oregon for Christmas week. He sent me a text asking if I was available to join a guided fishing trip for steel head. Heck yeh! Im in. I took the week off and headed to Albany, Oregon the day after Christmas. We were to meet up with another nephew, Jake for a fishing trip on the 27th.

I arrived about mid afternoon and we spent the rest of the day getting my license and just general preparations for the next day. Our destination was still up in the air as we were waiting on a fishing report from our guide, Grant Scheele. ( He notified us later that afternoon the Alsea was the river of choice and we were to meet up at 0700 in the town of the same name.


We did a little visiting and a quick assembly line of PB&J sandwiches for the next day. A 4:00am wake up call the next morning necessitated an early night.

Morning came quickly but I was up before the alarm as this was my first drift boat trip and I was pretty excited. We picked up Jake at 4:45 and headed out to the town of Alsea. Stopping at the little country store seemd like a good meet spot and they had a little bit of everything. They were very friendly and had great breakfast sandwiches! The competition across the street did not seem to be giving them much trouble……


Grant was running a little ahead of schedule as were we.  He led us to the drop stop where we would leave a vehicle for the shuttle back from the launch point up river. We were fishing the “upper section” of the Alsea. Did not mean much to me but they seemed to have it all figured out. I was just happy to be along for the ride.

There are not many pictures from here on out. If you can imagine a world where you are surrounded by nature, good friends, lots of activity, and no cell phones…. Let that sink in for a moment…. Ok, full disclosure – we had zero service but it really would not have mattered. No one had time to deal with their phones so they stayed in our pockets. Almost Heaven! Grant kept us busy fishing and we kept him busy getting tangled in anything that looked like a good challenge. The Alsea is pretty narrow and it had been a while since I held a fishing pole let alone cast one. I spent a good part of the day in the trees. I think I should take up macrame when I get home. I felt so bad for Grant I started tying my own leaders later in the day.

The weather was perfect for fishing. Overcast but really no rain to speak of and the wind was calm. Could not have asked for a better day.


Grant was very patient and worked hard at getting us in the best position to catch fish. He also taught us a lot of tips and tricks along the way and made it a lot of fun. We had a number of strikes. The first fish Grant set the hook in and handed me the pole. It was a good fight with 2 or 3 runs down river. I had him right at the boat before he decided enough was enough. We had a number of similar situations where we had strikes but could not land the fish. Grant would run us back through any area where we had bites and finally Joe landed about a 8lb steel head and we happily took him home. Time flew by quickly and before we knew it our day was done, the boat was loaded and we were on our way.

We stopped by the store to grab a few extras then headed back to town. Jake filleted the fish and one of his fingers, Joe added some secret spices and then they threw it on the Traeger. The rest of the family joined us and we had a great evening of visiting and telling tall fishing tales!

I think all the stories from the night before had everyone in a fishing mood! The next day, 5 of us left to do a little trout fishing up at Foster Lake. This is a fairly local lake just outside of Sweet Home, Oregon. We took our time getting up, grabbing some healthy breakfast burrito’s, corn dogs, and breakfast sandwiches and headed out. I think we finally made it to the lake around 10:00 am. This was the day Century Link was down all over Oregon so it took us awhile to get our licenses. We finally found a Bi-mart in Sweet Home that had not been effected by the outage.

Weather was not quite as nice as the previous day but it really was not bad and we had a blast. Everyone caught fish and the scenery was spectacular.

Here is the gang…..

We just fished catch and release but throughout the course of the day we landed some pretty nice trout. We must have caught about 25 all total.

At one point Elani, my niece, had caught so many fish that she became complacent. Joe, her husband, said “Elani, you have a bite” and her response was “hold on, I’m taking a picture!” That turned out to be the quote of the day.

The water level was pretty low so the scenery was different from what you would normally see.


I was blessed to spend a few days with some of my nieces and nephews. What an awesome Christmas!

We are chasing a few leaks on Pellucidar this winter. More on that later.

Happy New Year!

Walt and Linda


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