A friend is moving out of Alaska after 40+ years, needed some help driving a vehicle out so I jumped on the chance. Caught Jet Blue out of Portland for the great price of $102 one way to Anchorage where Dave picked me and my 14-year old grandson up at 11:30 p.m. The kid was fascinated by the twilight all the way to Kenai, arriving at 3:30 a.m. to a sunrise over the lake at Dave's house and his first of many moose sightings.
The first couple days were spent driving to Homer and stopping by my old house to show the kid where his mother was born.
The kid spent some time on the lake at Dave's, finally figured out the key and got several nice rainbows, the best landed was 19" with a larger one LDR'd.
3rd day involved a saltwater charter combination trip for Kings and Halibut out of Seward. Left the dock at 0630 on a nice 31' tri-hull with 6 clients.
Suspension seats, twin 310 h.p. Volvos, Shimano rods and reels. Nice. We started out about 5 miles offshore, SW of Resurrection Bay in 160 feet of water. After a bit moved to 550 feet and the bite was on but cranking them up was not fun. One of the party caught 6 or 8 cod before getting a Halibut, I thought he was going to quit when he finally got one. After everyone had a Halibut we went seeking Kings. Captain said May was on fire but the last couple weeks had scattered them and it was tough. Hayden caught the first one but it slowed down and after a couple hours we got another. Action picked up with 30 minutes of frenzied action jigging for rockfish with light tackle in 40' of water. I'd like to do that with a fly rod. Back on the hunt for Kings, picked up a couple silvers, the first of the season for the boat.
Nothing big, but the big Halibut don't eat well and at $9/lb. to ship home, I'm glad we didn't get a 100+ lb'er.
Two days later the real fishing starts; Float the Kenai Canyon with my old pal Dennis Randa, Randas Guide Service. 40+ years on the Kenai and one of the few who'll take you through the canyon. Unlike the combat fisheries upstream at the mouth of the Russian and the Zoo below Skilak Lake, the Canyon is pretty quiet, saw one other boat that day. 6 miles of river exits into Skilak Lake which then requires an 8 mile run to the takeout. The glacier at the head of the lake can generate some big winds in a south east blow and the lake gets nasty, hence the lack of traffic in the canyon.
On a dry from under the bushes off my shoulder.
Hayden's Leopard, just coming off the spawn. Note the ragged dorsal.
These fish will add 30% weight in next 6 weeks. Saw one pod of Sockeyes coming through.
With the river at 140%of normal seasonal flow, swinging space was limited, but I got a chance to work out the Meiser when we stopped for lunch.
This boy got into the 6000 cfs flow and deep into the backing in a split second.
Sexy water @ the braids @ mouth of Skilak Lake.
Heading for the takeout.
Dennis was disappointed we didn't get a 30"er; lost one that may have come close but the kid caught > 25 fish from 16"-24" and that is not a bad day on any river.
Part II to follow.