2B | WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 2020 Miller Continued from Page 1B Yes, dad. That’s me. Thanks. Happy Father’s Day. Stop me if you’ve heard this one When she was the chairwoman of the Ore- | APPEAL TRIBUNE gon Fish and Wildlife Commission, Marla Rae of Salem used to cite the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and the, if not contradictory, at least mixed message in its mis- sion statement. To paraphrase, among the OLCC’s goals are “to increase revenues … and promote sobriety.” Not to nit-pick in these times of minimal staﬃng and working from home for employees at state agencies, but it seems as if the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has fallen into a similar con- tradiction. Exhibit A: “ODFW is putting the weekly Recre- ation Report on hiatus for a few weeks.” That’s been the boiler- plate on the department’s website since April 8. So you can’t get the lat- est information about where ﬁshing is hot or where trout are being stocked. Exhibit B: “If you do go ﬁshing, stay close to home, keep your social distance, and travel safe- ly,” the message con- tinues. Excellent advice that I’m trying to heed. But if you don’t know about trout stocking or hot spots, the alternative is to drive to lots of places looking for full parking areas. Human nature vs. self- preservation … don’t make me choose. Angling has become a pastime in which you wear a mask, and carry a ﬁshing rod with a mini- mum length of 6 feet. FISHING THOUGHT OF THE WEEK: My ex- wife picked up on the old line that “ﬁshing consists of a jerk on one end of a line waiting for a jerk on the other end.” Contact Henry via email at HenryMillerSJ@ gmail.com River Continued from Page 1B to the combination of warm weather and river ﬂows high enough to keep you moving. The BLM re- leases the permits in two batches during the spring onto Recreation.gov, so be prepared and act fast to get the desired date. Overnight permits cost $26 each and can include up to 16 people. (There are six diﬀerent river segments on the John Day that are permit- controlled, so take your pick. I’m focusing on just 44 miles, but there are charms on every section). It’s also important to watch the river’s ﬂow. Above 6,000 cfs, and it’s dangerously high. Below 1,200, and it’s pretty low, slow and rocky. We put- on at 2,600 cfs, and that felt about perfect. A toilet system is an- other consideration. There are no bathrooms at the campsites, mean- ing Leave No Trace is a must. And yes, that in- cludes your poop. You’re required to have a toilet system that travels with you to remove waste. They’re easy to ﬁnd on- line and at some river gear shops. Finally, once you’ve got the right boat, permit and toilet system, the ﬁ- nal step is getting a shut- tle. Trust me, getting someone to drive your car from the put-in at Thirty- mile to the take-out at Cottonwood is well- worth the $100 it costs. The shuttle provider I went with was Thirtymile Shuttles — contact them at ritarat- email@example.com. Hungry smallmouth bass: Lucy wanted to ﬁsh, and she was no longer going to accept any excuses My 5-year-old daugh- ter had endured a long and rough drive, a long wait as we packed the Jim Heck fly-ﬁshes for smallmouth bass on the John Day River while Lucy Urness watches on a multi-day rafting trip from Thirtymile Creek boat access to Cottonwood Canyon State Park in Eastern Oregon. ZACH URNESS / STATESMAN JOURNAL boat and ﬁnally, getting soaked by a thunder- storm on the ﬁrst river mile. I rigged a blue fox lure onto her pink ﬁshing rod and helped her toss it into the water, not really ex- pecting her to catch any- thing right away. “Dad!” she said a few seconds later. “I think I’ve got a ﬁsh!” I ﬁgured she’d snagged the bottom and grabbed the rod, but instead of the dull pull of a snag, the line was alive. I quickly hand- ed the rod back to her. “That’s your ﬁsh!” I said. She reeled it in, and I helped her bring a dimin- utive but feisty small- mouth bass into the raft. It was our ﬁrst but no- where close to our last ﬁsh of the trip. I’d heard bass ﬁshing was good on the John Day, but it was downright hot during our ﬂoat, as we landed a ﬁsh about every ﬁve casts. My pal Jim, ﬁshing with a popper on a ﬂy rod, caught the biggest of the group — a few maybe in the 16- to 18-inch range. We saw larger ones swim- ming near the boat. Lucy caught and land- ed three ﬁsh, and fought many others, establish- ing ﬁshing’s place as her new favorite thing. “This is a good sign,” said Jim, after Lucy pulled in that ﬁrst ﬁsh. A long trip ﬁrst day Due to the holiday, our oﬃ ce hours and obituary placement times may vary. Please contact us at 503-399-6789 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further details. Lucy’s ﬁrst ﬁsh was a great moment during a long ﬁrst day. The road to the new Thirtymile boat access was rough and took forever, leading to a late start. As soon as we started loading the raft, it started to rain. But once we were on the water, the scenery OR-GCI0431230-01 Simple Cremation $795 Simple Direct Burial $995 Church Funeral $2965 SALEM 275 Lancaster Drive SE (503) 581-6265 TUALATIN 8970 SW Tualatin Sherwood Rd (503) 885-7800 PORTLAND 832 NE Broadway (503) 783-3393 TIGARD 12995 SW Pacifi c Hwy (503) 783-6869 EASTSIDE 1433 SE 122nd Ave (503) 783-6865 MILWAUKIE 16475 SE McLoughlin Blvd (503) 653-7076 Privately owned cremation facility. A Family Owned Oregon Business. “Easy Online Arrangements” www.CrownCremationBurial.com OR-GCI0348841-02 John Day River: Thirtymile to Cottonwood In a nutshell: Multi-day wilderness river float through desert canyons. Length: 44 miles Difficulty: Class I rapids, but very remote so a swim could lead to major problems Boats: Non-motorized (raft, drift boat, kayak, canoe, SUP) Permits: Required between May 1 and July 15. Must be purchased in advance at Recreation.gov. Camping: Plenty of established campsites along the river. Campﬁres not allowed after June 1. Traveling toilet system required to haul out waste. Shuttles for Thirtymile: Thirtymile Shuttles, email@example.com or 541-980-0328. Additional information: For more information call the BLM Prineville Office (541-416-6700) or see: https://www.blm.gov/visit/john-day-wild-scenic-river. made up for it. The long road deposits you right in the middle of the John Day’s iconic canyon- lands, and as the river curved around every new turn, we entered a new and more spectacular wall of layered basalt, en- casing the river in walls that rose thousands of feet high. Even so, we had to row. On a three-day trip from Thirtymile, you have to make at least 15 miles per day. And while the John Day does move along, with occasional rapids, there are plenty of slow spots where you need to dig in and row. After the late start, we stayed on the river until around 5 p.m., looking for established campsites that were mostly located below clusters of juniper trees that provided shade in the otherwise barren canyon. We didn’t have to wor- ry about getting baked by the sun on the ﬁrst day. But that would change with day two. Bright sunshine, lots of ﬁsh and lots of swimming The second day ar- rived with bright sun- shine and quickly warm- ing desert air. One reason the John Day is such a be- loved trip is the weather is typically warmer and drier in the late spring than rivers in Western Oregon. On our second day, it lived up to the hype. We made a camp breakfast of scrambled eggs and oat- meal before loading up the boat. As we did, the river ranger stopped in to check our permit. I’m always happy to see rangers enforcing permit limits, and the ranger who visited us was friendly, checked out pa- perwork, and headed downstream. “You’re going to enjoy the next few river miles,” he said before leaving. He was right. We ﬂoat- ed around a horseshoe turn and below steep can- yon walls. When it got too hot, we jumped into the river, and even ﬂoated with our lifejackets through the rapids. When clouds covered the sun, we focused on ﬁshing. Lucy was outraged that we didn’t keep the ﬁsh to have for dinner, and that might have been a mistake. I’ve never cleaned or cooked bass. Other boaters we passed said the ﬁsh tasted good. We ﬁshed two ways. Jim tossed his ﬂoating ﬂy into the slow eddies of marshy water along the river edges, while Lucy kept her spinner in the deeper water, basically trolling as we rowed downstream. Both meth- ods worked well, but the bigger ﬁsh were in the marshy water. That night we camped above a rocky beach, once again, below juniper trees. Campﬁres aren’t al- lowed on the John Day af- ter June 1, so we roasted marshmallows over the camp stove. Final stretch and ﬁnal thoughts The last day brought more ﬁshing and swim- ming, and a ﬁnal 15 miles of rowing. Gradually, power lines become visi- ble on the tops of the can- yons and the sensation of civilization closes in. The take-out is a busy boat ramp full of kayaks, canoes and rafts all trying to get oﬀ the water. Not everyone was happy. The canoeists who’d lost their keys were trying to ﬁgure out how to start their car. Another person had mis- communicated with their shuttle driver, and had ar- rived to ﬁnd his keys locked in his car without a spare. (Tip: always bring two keys, one for you to keep on the river, and one for the shuttle driver to lock in the car. It helps avoid these calamities). But mostly, the sad faces were due to having to leave the canyons of the John Day River. As for the new ﬂoat be- tween Thirtymile and Cottonwood Bridge, I’d say it presents a nice new option for people with less time and small chil- dren, but with only three days, we also felt a bit hurried. Four days and three nights would have allowed for more ﬁshing time. But such questions are a luxury to consider. Just the chance to enjoy the John Day canyons, whether for three, four or ﬁve days is a glorious thing not to be missed. Zach Urness can be reached at zur ness@StatesmanJour- nal.com.