8/28/2007Summer fishing in Alaska

 

I realize itís been a while since Iíve updated this page, but summer up here is short, and one doesnít spend too much time indoors in front of a computer when thereís fish to be caught!!

 

We started out with a whale-watching trip out of Seward in April.Not really fishing, perhaps, but we got to see some big things swimming in the water, so itís not far off.Plenty of sea otters, eagles and a few gray whales, along with some amazing scenery.

 

My next trip was to the Kasilof River for my first ever Steelhead fishing.I even managed to get one of the buggers, 27 inches and about 6 lbs.The friend I was with, who has been here in Alaska for over 20 years and normally out-fishes me 5 to 1, has yet to land one.

 

Early spring found us fishing in some of the local lakes for rainbows.We took a camping/fishing trip up to Talkeetna one weekend, and had some really good luck.Not too many in numbers, but the ones we got were fairly big.

 

A weekend on our annual trip to Brushkana River, up near Denali National Park, came next, fishing for grayling.Grayling are fun to fish for, as theyíre one of the few fish up here that will take dry flys.Although rather small (anything over 18 inches is considered a trophy), they have an enormous dorsal fin, or ďsailĒ on their backs.

 

The past 3 weekends have found me down on Quartz Creek, on the Kenai Peninsula, fishing for Dolly Varden.A kissing cousin to a brook trout, dollyís follow the spawning salmon up stream, gorging themselves on the eggs the salmon release.Egg imitations, or plastic beads above bare hooks are whatís used to catch them.The fly (or bead) is cast in amongst the salmon, hoping to attract the dolly.

 

The red salmon, who are spawning, donít eat once they enter the stream, so the bead usually passes them by.If you snag one, though, itís like trying to haul in an old tireóthey can run upwards of 15 poundsówhich usually means you lose all your terminal tackle and have to tie everything on again.The dollys are fun to catch, though, and I saw several around 24-25 inches taken.My largest was about 20 inches.Very good eating cooked over the open campfire!

 

I finally got hit by a drawback of doing too much fishing, with by face turned down towards the water, catching the reflected sunrays.I had a lesion next to my nose biopsied last week, it came back a basal cell carcinoma.Itís since been removed, and Iím on the mend.Time to find some good sunscreen!!

 

In between the fishing trips, there has been some hiking and other activities, as well as the mundane chores like mowing the lawn (4 times this year!).Other than that, summer is slowly coming to an end here.Itís in the 40ís in the morning and usually doesnít quite make it to 70 during the day.Still more fishing on the horizon, though.At the end of the month, Cecelia and I are taking a week long trip to Kodiak Island, somewhere weíve always wanted to visit.Itís a bit warmer down there, which means the fish will still be running!

 

More later,

Wally