Fresh Fish? Touché!

About six months ago, Tara told me her dad wanted to drive out to The Dalles for a little walleye fishing and asked if I’d be interested in going.

“Sure,” I said, thinking we’d bait a hook, toss a line in the water, sit back, and wait. All from the comfort of the shore, because that’s what fishing is. Right?

Turns out Randy takes fishing a tad more seriously than I do.

“Seriously” meant chartering a boat for 8 hours and plying miles and miles of the Columbia River in search of walleye, and then hopping into his boat the next day for a few more hours of the same. Which, to me, was a helluva lot of fishing. But we had a great time.

Friday evening after work, Tara and I drove out to Rufus. This small town (pop.: 210) in Oregon is about two hours east of us, and I’d never heard of it before. My first impression was…well, I’ll let Facebook do the talking.

Screenshot 2015-05-11 08.16.36

No offense to banjo players, of course.

Actually, Rufus wasn’t that bad. It had one restaurant/bar. We ended up eating there four times. And the motel bed was really comfortable.

We were there for the fishing, though. Saturday morning we met up with our guide, Touché – that’s a nickname, but he never divulged his real one, so that’s what we called him. And it fit. He’s this white haired guy of 75 who has been fishing the Columbia River for 30+ years, so he knows his way around. Real nice dude, too. Very affable. We were on the water by 7 AM, and immediately got down to the important business at hand.

Fishing the Columbia River.
Fishing the Columbia River.

Drinking Bloody Marys.

After that, we got down to the other important business at hand, which would be the fishing. It didn’t take long before we reeled in a couple. Tara hooked a bass and I caught the first walleye (not bad for a landlubber like me). We spent the next eight hours going up and down a good portion of the river while Touché regaled us with humorous stories. The weather was damn near perfect – sunny, not too warm, very little wind. And sadly, very little fish, I guess. We ended up with six total, which was a disappointment to the others. I, on the other hand, was like, “Hey! I caught a fish! I rock!!”

A fish. Oh, I amuse myself sometimes…

Our guide's boat was pretty slick!
Our guide’s boat was pretty slick!
The important business at hand.
The important business at hand.
This is the life!
This is the life!

We ate dinner and then crashed early, since we’d been up since 5 AM. Fishing wears you out, even if you’re just sitting on a boat for most of the day.

Sunday we ditched Touché and went out on Randy’s boat – it was me, Tara, him and Cynthia, his girlfriend. We didn’t catch a damn thing.

Well, that’s not exactly true…

Say cheese!
Say cheese!

Before we headed home, there was one more place to visit. Stonehenge. No, we didn’t hop on a plane and fly to England. There is a full-size replica of the ancient monument in Maryhill, Washington. And this one is better than that stupid one on the Salisbury Plain, because none of the stones have fallen over. Take that, Great Britain!

Think of it as Stonehenge West.
Think of it as Stonehenge West.


Stonehenge in the Columbia Gorge.

We were back home by 2 PM.

And if you’re wondering about the walleye? It was delicious, sauteed in a little olive oil and butter and lightly seasoned with garlic pepper and salt.



Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

13 thoughts on “Fresh Fish? Touché!

  1. It’s amazing to wander around that version of Stonehenge looking at the names of the local kids who gave their all in WWI. That’s why the thing is there. The ages of those memorialized is heartbreakingly young.


  2. That fish looks delicious! I’ve only been fishing a few times. I believe I caught some blue gill, which are tiny but tasty.

    My kids were less than thrilled with the ‘choices’ of restaurants in places like Utah and Wyoming.


      1. Whereabouts? We visited their national parks and I did a number of posts of our time there in August and Sept. Of 2010 if you are interested. Have fun!


      2. We rented a condo for three nights in Park City. Tara grew up in Utah and I’ve been there, but never this particular area. We are looking for some good hikes if you have any suggestions.


      3. Well, if you find a hike out to the Great Salt Lake, let me know! We tried, but couldn’t get to it by foot. It was weird!


  3. Laughed out loud in the coffee shop and got looks TWICE.

    “No offense to banjo players.” And “Think of it as Stonehenge West.”

    Touche’ yourself, Mark! Glad you had fun.


    1. I made you LOL twice? Woohoo! Go, me!!

      I took a photo of a geoduck restaurant just for you, Jess. It’s literally right there in the name. I just need to post it at some point.


  4. Mark, even though that was a small town (pop: 210), it looked like such a charming little place. And although I’m a city boy, I LOVE to visit little towns like that. It’s funny because in as much as I feel comfortable in a city surrounding, I also feel very comfortable out in the country; in a wide open space.

    “No offense to banjo players, of course.” HAHAHA! OMG, I laughed at that!

    Great pictures! Love the ones of Stonehenge West!

    Sounds and looks like you had a great time, buddy!


    1. Ely is charming. Baker City, OR is charming. Rufus? Not so much. Unless you like old, boarded up grocery stores with faded signs and junked-up cars parked in the yard.

      At least my steak was good.


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