SFR Anchorage over Memorial Day

Discussion in 'Trip Reports with Pics' started by Trevor, Jun 3, 2005.

  1. Trevor

    Trevor Member

    Oct 18, 2004
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    Poulsbo , WA
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    *warning - may contain brief references to gear and bait*

    Well, my first trip to Alaska. It turned into more of a "spend time visiting" trip than a hardcore fishing trip, but we did manage to get some fishing in.

    Wow! That place is as gorgeous as I ever imagined. Dramatic peaks and miles on end of water. If I go to heaven, it'll look alot like that.

    First impression... Well, it was dark (10 pm) when we left Seattle and about halfway up there, the sun started coming up again... I know, land of the midnight sun and all, but it was still a trip for me to actually see it. We got in at about 2 am and it was like twilight. The thought crossed my mind, "Man, I think that I will kill myself trying to fish from first light to last..."

    We flew in early on Friday morning and after a nap and some general visiting, we geared up and headed out to the Kenai Peninsula in the afternoon. We stopped along the way to watch the Bore Tide along the Turnagain arm. It was interesting. A single wave created by the tide working it's way down the arm. Stopped first at Beluga Point to watch it. Saw some Dall Sheep on the rocks above us. Tre' cool. The tide was anticlimatic as it was a small one, but I did get to see it. Saw a bunch of eagles on the drive up the turnagain arm feeding on the hooligan (smelt). Saw a moose on the highway that stopped traffic. We stopped and looked at the upper Kenai (which was closed to fishing at the time). Gorgeous water. Generally was a cool, relaxing afternoon. We got licenses and settled into a hotel for the night.

    Saturday morning. The Kasilof river for Kings. I brought a Spey rod, but didn't use it. We went with a guide (John from Troutfitters). He rigged the three of us up with gear and bait. The fishing was spotty. John said that it was still a little early. Many boats got skunked, but we had a good day. I got into a King within the first hour, played it to the boat for about 5 minutes, and it came unbuttoned before we could take a stab at netting it. Didn't break off, just came unbuttoned while rolling around. 3/0 gamekatsu hooks at that. I was surprised. My wife hooked and lost one similarly. Dad finally got us going by landing a nice Buck that was at least 35#. Shan (my wife) ended up with a nice 20ish pound buck. (Not sure about actual weights, but the guestimates are close.) I ended up with no fish. I did get a National Geographic memory that will stay with me for a long time of an eagle dropping from 50 ft or so to "hover" at about 8 ft before dropping again and nabbing a 20+ inch dollie. So cool! We were off the water around 3 (not bad for a halfday trip). Was a great day in spite of not opening my rod tube. We headed back to Anchorage to cook up some fresh salmon.

    I think that the biggest thing that that day did for me was help me get over my Kenai fixation. I have wanted to fish there as long as I can remember and can check that off my to do list. It is definitely the place to go to target large fish with gear, but not very fly fishing friendly. It was crowded both with boats and people on shore in the prime locations. That and I would trade a 20 inch trout on a flyrod any day for 20 lb salmon on gear. It's more effective for fishing most areas, but there really isn't much of a thill for me in catching fish on heavy gear other than filling the freezer.

    Sunday Dad rented a plane and took us out flying to see some of the country. The weather was limiting on where we could go due to VFR, but it's a great way to get perspective. It is fantastic country. What is so amazing to me is the lack of man made anything. Here in Washington, it's tough to look anywhere and not see signs of man even in the mountains. Forest roads, powerlines, firebreaks, etc. Alaska, however, so little is developed. You can look onto country in just about any direction that would look little different than it did a thousand years ago. We flew near Mt. Susitna, over the Susitna river and the little Sue. There was one spot where Alexander creek empties into the Susitna that had plenty of life. At least 8 float planes and a score of boats were down there to fish the Kings. Interesting in that you can only get there by air or a VERY long boat trip, but there was still a small flotilla after the Kings.

    Also fished Ship creek in Anchorage (with an 8 weight single hander) during off hours. That place is nuts (talk about combat fishing!) around high tide. I got one on. He hit a very heavily weighted Popsicle on a dead drift. Came unbuttoned after just enough time to know I had a small king on. Again, didn't break off, just came unbuttoned. (I don't know what I'm doing wrong.) Dad had another on that broke off that hit a big orange egg imitation.

    Monday we hiking up the Eagle Creek Canyon. Epic, stunning, beautiful...

    Another trip with a fly rod late in the day yielded not a bite.

    Coming home was uneventful.

    Dad will be closing soon on a Cessna 185 on floats, so that should open the fishing up for the next trip. Maybe early August for trout... :thumb:

    I'll attach a few pictures:
    Dad with his King
    Shan with hers
    Mt Susitna from the air
    Susitna river from the air (just so one can appreciate the amount of water up there)

    Attached Files:

  2. cmtundra

    cmtundra New Member

    Oct 1, 2002
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    Tacoma, WA, USA.
    Sweet Trevor. Thanks for sharing your 1st AK experience. You're making me homesick. Your description of the flight in reminded me to the "T" of my first flight to AK as well. Glad to hear y'all got into some kings, especially for the time of the run and all. BTW, you can definitely fly fish the Kenai. I know it's big water and all, but you just adapt tactics. When my buddies & I ff the Kenai, we normally have some split shot on the line & bounce the bottom with the weight so the fly is a foot or two off the bottom. I know it's not the purist way, but it works. It's a great way to nail some fat bows with egg patterns. Sure, you can do the same thing with gear but whatever works I guess. Thanks for the pics too!
  3. Curtis

    Curtis New Member

    Apr 14, 2004
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    I am jealous, glad you had such an enjoyable time!