Day – 2 Arrival

17 08 2018

Day 2 – I woke up bright and early to catch my next flight out of Anchorage to King Salmon.  Our flight was delayed by half an hour because of rain and fog.  I was beginning to think I would never see the sun again.  Saw this sign at check in.  Made me realize that I am not in Kansas anymore.

After that I boarded the Saab 2000 with the rest of the Steelhead Alley Outfitters gang for our 1 hour flight to King Salmon.

The view was rather impressive.

After we landed in King Salmon things got interesting.  It was still raining and there was no set time for us to be picked up and flown out. We were taken to “Eddie’s” the local bar to wait for our pickup.  This is about the only place in town to eat or get a drink.  I honestly don’t know how the locals could afford to drink or eat there.  I got 2 slices of French Toast for breakfast and it was 7.95.  Doesn’t  seem that expensive but the 2 slices were once piece of toast, cut in half.  The local grocery store was selling a cooked rotisserie chicken for 35 dollars.  Don’t even ask what a case of beer goes for.  So we ate and waited for our call up.  About 2 hours later our plane arrived and I was in the first group out.  We would be flying to the lodge in a de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver.  They built over 1,600 of these planes starting back in 1947 and there were approximately 900 of them still flying.

We took off and started our flight north.  The fog was getting thicker and visibility was getting worse.  At one point we were flying at around 100 feet as the pilot tried to spot a path between the fog banks and hills.  About 20 minutes out and 10 minutes from the lodge he couldn’t see anymore and turned around.  Needless to say my heart sank.  This was not how I wanted my trip to start.  Once we landed we were taken back to Eddie’s where the rest of our group had a look of surprise and disappointment on their faces.  We were told it could be awhile and even started to look into renting motel rooms just in case.  About 2 hours later I was picked up for round 2.  Back into the Beaver we went.  This time though we made it a little farther than the last time.  Once I saw the Alagnak River I knew we were home free.  The pilot would be able to follow the river up to the lodge and land, which he did.

Finally!  After many years I was actually going to be fishing in Alaska.  Even though it was raining I just stood there for a moment and took it all in.

All that was left was to move my gear to my cabin and wait for everyone else to show up.  It took a few hours and an extra plane but everyone was able to get in and the clients already there were able to get out.  Around 6:30 we were all served dinner which was followed by Bear Class.  That’s right, Bear Class.  We had to learn what to do and what not to do in bear country.

Don’t run.

Make lots of noise when walking along the shore and in tall grass.

If you have a fish on and see a bear just break the line and back away.

If you see a bear yell out so that everyone in the group knows, especially the guide.  The one with the shotgun and bear spray.

Enjoy your stay.

 

Next up…..The fishing begins.





Day – 1 Liftoff

16 08 2018

After several years of trying and two cancelled trips I finally made it to Alaska.  All during my initial Flight, of which there would be four, I kept thinking that this couldn’t be actually happening.  Especially since my first flight was an hour late.  Once I landed in Seattle I had to haul ass to the other end of the airport to catch my connecting flight to Anchorage.  They had already started boarding when I arrived but I made it with a few minutes to spare.  I even got a “Good Luck” and a fist bump from a TSA agent.  He originally gave me a stern and menacing look when he asked what was in my rod case.  He was probably thinking it might be a rifle.  I told him fishing rods and his whole demeanor changed.  From then on it was “where you going?”, “What are you fishing for?” and finally a Good Luck Fist Bump.

The flight itself was pretty uneventful.  Quiet time to read and an occasional look out the window at the scenery.

9 hours later and two different planes and I was finally in Anchorage.  Nothing left to do but get some sleep and fly out to King Salmon the following day.

Next up Day – 2, Arrival.

 

 





One Last Trip

30 07 2018

Went out for a quick morning trip this past Sunday.  It was my last trip for July and last time fly fishing before Alaska.  I didn’t have very high expectations but I wanted to get in one last hike before I spend a week literally inside my waders.  I took my back-up Ross Essence 7wt to try and see if I could find any willing carp.  I found a few but on one occasion I was Carp Blocked by a Gill and on another I made a really bad cast and spooked both of them.  No big deal.  In a few more days I will bad casting to streams full of salmon that will be a little more forgiving of my bad casting.  I’ll report in after the trip with lot’s of pictures and stories.





Fishing and Tying Sunday (7/22/18)

23 07 2018

This past Sunday I woke up to do my usual fly fishing for just about anything.  I wondered what the water was going to be like with the on and off rains we had the last few days.  Turns out the water wasn’t bad.  The only problem was the double digit NE winds making sight fishing nearly impossible.  So much for an accurate weather report from my weather app.  Before I left it said NE winds were around 5 mph and it was dead calm around my house.  Apparently 10 miles south it was different.  I gave it a shot anyways and on my first cast I landed a decent bass.

After that I didn’t hook or see anything.  I gave up after about an hour and headed home.  I had flies to tie and I was running out of time.  I have plenty of streamers for my Alaska trip but I needed to tie up some surface stuff for the Grayling and Rainbows.  Originally I was going to take some mouse patterns but the guide told me no to bother.  He told me once the salmon move in the Rainbows set up behind them to feed on the eggs and anything pink.  So pink it is.

After that it was on to the smaller stuff.  I just got a box of Firehole Sticks barbless hooks and I wanted to try them out.  These things are stupid sharp and they should work out well.

The guide told me to tie up Caddis patterns that float high in the fast water.  These should do the trick.  I tied up some stimulator patterns as well.  I really don’t need that many, I”m not going to spend that much time chasing Grayling.  I Just want to catch a few nicer ones to cross off my “caught fly fishing” list and possibly have a replica made.  They catch a fair number of them on beads as well while fishing for the Rainbows so I don’t need to get to crazy.  All that is left for me to do now is arrange all my gear to make sure I have it all covered.  Weather permitting I may go out fly fishing one last time but I don’t know for sure.  MY OCD is kicking in and I’m afraid of losing or breaking something between now and Alaska.  I should probably just stick to catching walleye for the next few weeks.

 

 





Time to get the boat ready.

9 04 2018

Not that it really needs a lot of attention already but since I just booked my airfare to Alaska I figured it was time.  Fortunately for me I keep my boat in the garage so it doesn’t suffer the winter abuse like other boats in storage.  Never ceases to amaze me how many people forget things or wait until the night before the first trip.  So without further adieu….

  • New Registration stickers
  • Charge Battery
  • Fresh Rec Gas (Ethanol free)
  • Start Engine
  • Check Trailer Lights
  • Boat Plug in
  • Put all the lures I bought over the winter, that I didn’t really need, away
  • New Leaders
  • New Shanks
  • Put new Snaps & Swivels away
  • Check Tire pressures
  • Grease Hubs

In total this should take me about a whole whopping 60 minutes to do.  I’ll probably complete all of it one night this week or Saturday afternoon after I’m done collecting bugs for The Friends of the Rouge Saturday afternoon.  Weather permitting I might go out for my trial walleye run Saturday evening.   Providing the weather cooperates and we actually get the warmer weather they are forecasting.  The never ending winter has to end sometime.  The fish are in, lot’s of eaters right now but they have been finicky because of the ever changing weather patterns.

It’s time.

 





Tying Bender

25 03 2018

Finally, a weekend all to  myself.  Since I lead such an exciting life I pretty much stayed in all weekend and tied flies.  Alaska is only 4 months away so I need to get cracking.  It may seem like that is a lot of time but warmer weather is right around the corner and soon I will be chasing walleye after work and everything else on weekends.

Before I got started I made up quick trip to Schultz’s Outfitters to pick up some more pink.  They also got some of the new waterproof Plan D articulated fly boxes so of course I had to buy one and fill it.  I really like these boxes.

Once that was full it was on to filling a regular old Plano box.  Not as fancy but it serves its purpose.

Here are a few close ups of some of the flies.

More to come.  Still need to tie up the top water stuff for the Rainbows, Grayling and Coho’s.





And so it begins…..

16 10 2017

Recently, I put down a deposit on a trip of a lifetime, a Fly-In Fishing trip to Alaska.  This is a trip I have wanted to do for a long time and has been cancelled a couple of times.  My Dad, brother and I were supposed to go a couple of years ago but when my Dad got his cancer diagnosis we had to cancel.  The real kick in the teeth, for that trip, came a week after his funeral when one of the guides I booked called me to see if my Father and I wanted to re-schedule.  He felt terrible after I told him that wouldn’t be happening.  Susan and I had made plans to go this past summer but once again fate kicked me in the nuts and that trip didn’t happen.  Now it’s just me, I’m flying in by myself to fish at a lodge on The Alagnak River.  I will be with a group of other people but I’ll be free to do whatever I want, or whatever the guide tells me I can do.

Since this trip is next August I  have plenty of time to get the gear together I am going to need.  Thanks to my severance check I was able to go on a spending spree.  I picked up all the rods and reels I will need to tackle just about any fresh water fish in North America.  I still have to pick up a dry bag and carry on rod case but I have time.  What I really need to get started on is an arsenal of Alaska Flies.

Fortunately they gave me a list of suggested flies.

Fly Sheet

Because of my affection for egg sucking leeches I already have one type out of the way.  It’s everything else I need to tie up.  My imitations have always been about flash and matching the local food source.  Now the prominent color appears to be pink and a fair amount of flies imitating the flesh of decomposing salmon.  Sounds disgusting I know but when in Rome…..

So without further adieu I give you the first of many Alaska flies.

My First Flesh Fly imitation. Thankfully it doesn’t smell like a rotten salmon.

This one is Called a Chum Slumber.  Don’t quite understand the name but it is very pink.  It is an easy tie though.  Gotta appreciate that.

Next up, Hareball Leeches in Fucia and Flo. Pink.   Stay Tuned.