Rep. Dicks Limits On The Cowlitz

Watch out, Brian Baird. When legislative boundaries are redrawn after the census, U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks might be tempted to try and extend his district over to the Cowlitz.

Washington’s fishin’ federal politician found good fishing on the river this past Monday with Tony Floor of the Northwest Marine Trade Association and Carl Burke, a sport-fishing industry lobbyist, limiting with a pair of low-20s spring Chinook.

PAIR OF COWLITZ SPRINGERS FOR U.S. REP NORM DICKS. BODYGUARD CARL BURKE STANDS BY. (TONY FLOOR)

The crew also picked up 18- and 14-pound springers, plus a pair of steelhead.

They were fishing below Mission Bar out of Burke’s sled, Floor reports, and Dicks was running a fluorescent pink shrimp behind a Jet Diver.

“He is prepared to claim the Cowlitz River as part of his 6th Congressional district!” joked Floor in an email this afternoon.

The 69-year-old, 17-term Democrat has represented the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas in Congress since 1977.

But he can often be seen fishing outside those boundaries — especially when Congress is in recess.

After the bruising health care debate, Dicks kicked off his two-week break by participating in last month’s Anacortes Salmon Derby, up in Rep. Rick Larsen’s 2nd District. He took 11th place with a 17.10-pounder.

TONY FLOOR AND REP. NORM DICKS AT THE ANACORTES SALMON DERBY. (LARRY CARPENTER/MASTER MARINE)

He was actually leading the derby at one point with that fish, reports the Tacoma News Tribune, but fell out of the money. Still, it won the Congressman a Scotty Downrigger, according to organizers.

The TNT reports that Dicks is a “life-long moocher,” a reference to the herrring jigging technique pioneered by Japanese American anglers in Seattle, but had to downrig that day as he was fishing with a known salmon troller, Larry Carpenter of Master Marine.

A staunch advocate of sport fishing and mass marking of hatchery fish, Dicks can often be heard on Northwest Wild Country Radio and appeared last January on The Outdoor Line.

So what’s fishing with the Congressman like? Earlier this year, Floor wrote:

Fishing with Norm is like riding on the space shuttle, from lift off to 100,000 feet. The floating in space part comes at the end of the trip. In order to ride with Norm, I take 10 swigs of Geritol, 14 chocolate bars and hibernate for a week prior to the trip. Following the trip, I hang upside down in the closet for 24 hours inducing a coma reaction for two weeks. He is high energy and the man loves his salmon fishing. Passionate? Try a positive application of fanatical. Every fish is “I got ’em, boys! It’s the big one!!! Get your gear out of the water!!!” Somebody, help me now.

The Cowlitz trip came at the end of Congress’s recess. Floor says he got a call from Dicks on his way to the airport and back to D.C.

“‘It was a marvelous beginning and end to my break,'” Floor says Dicks said.

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