The first 15 minutes of the trip lived up to every expectation. I had steeled myself for hover fishing’s requirement of monklike concentration: Fishing in 25 to 50 feet of water, you lower an egg rig slowly until you feel the bottom, then crank the reel handle twice to lift the bait off the bottom. From there, it’s just a matter of holding the rod absolutely still, cradled in your hands with the rod tip 6 inches from the water, and watching for the subtle signal of a salmon mooching an egg several fathoms away. On our second drift, my rod doubled over. Forget the nuanced take of a hover-hooked salmon—the rod tip plunged under the boat. When I set the hook, the fish felt solid, like a living thing carved from the basalt cliffs that crowded the Columbia River.