Needless to say, living on the houseboat made fishing very easy. There was a variety of species in the channel, including very large carp. Carp are bottom feeders and are pretty unappetizing. However, they make terrific crawdad bait. We had a crawdad trap that we would bait with a carp and simply drop over the side of the houseboat. After a couple of days, we would haul up a trap full of those ugly crawling bugs, boil them and devour them. We could just toss the shells overboard when we were done.
Salmon ran through in the spring, and my husband was able to catch one off the little salvaged dock we had attached to the front deck of the houseboat. He also caught trout, catfish, crappies and bass, though the warmer water fish were more plentiful across the channel on Sauvie Island.
Friends who lived on the main arm of the Columbia River had a completely illegal set line and came over once with a sturgeon which they cooked for us. The best sturgeon hole was next to the newly built nuclear power plant, and people were pretty dubious about fishing there.
We lived near Steinfeld’s, a pickle and sauerkraut canning operation. On a late summer night we would sit out on our deck eating fresh corn, drinking beer, and cracking crawdads, surrounded by an overwhelming smell of fermenting crops. Such was the houseboat life.