Saturday, November 08, 2014

First installment

Timeliness is inherent in the idea of blogging- it is, after all, a web log in concept and writing about things past, unless inspiring a current thought, is contrary to the idea of a "log". That's not working so well for me right now- here we are in duck season,  past our big game hunts and nearly to quail season, and I'm going to talk about September, when so many good things start. Regardless, and getting back to the last post, a while back A, Dad and I headed up to Alaska for another week of silver salmon fishing, as suggested in the post below.

If you hit the "fishing" label on this blog you'll see accounts of other trips or thoughts inspired by those trips, and I'm not sure I have too much new to say. The area is lovely, the air clean and crisp off the spruce forests, glaciers, and sea. The people are generally friendly, the town small and visiting fisherman apparently a welcome supplement to the income from commercial harvest. Traveling a couple thousand miles to catch fish is considered perfectly reasonable if one is so unfortunate as to not live a stone's throw from the ocean. This year we ran into a couple of groups from Sweden, who presumably live within a relative stone's throw of an ocean, just not one with silver salmon.

We arrived on the tail end of a big rain event. In a place where precipitation is measured in scores of inches (or multiples of feet), that means quite a bit of water. A few years ago, we saw seven or eight inches in twenty-four hours, but this was bigger. Fortunately, as we got there the streams were coming down and full of fish. The first couple of days saw rain, and sideways rain, but our last three days were nearly completely sunny, unprecedented in our ten or so years up there for the season. Further, the streams had dropped considerably and still had plenty of fish in them, so we did well.

One interesting thing about fishing for silvers is that there is a cycle in terms of the size of fish, apparently much like grouse or hares cycle in population. Last year, the fish ran the smallest we had seen them and it got me worried about things like the commercial herring harvest, and long term effects of oil spills and purse seines and all sorts of other things. All that bears watching, but this year the fish ran large, nearly the largest we've seen in twelve years.

A caught a limit, 3 fish, that totaled 38 pounds in the round- two thirteens and a twelve. In terms of sport, this translates into fish that can pull you around the river and that require some care in playing and handling.

That's my Dad with a fifteen pound silver, which is a conservative weight, as it bottomed out a fifteen pound certified Boga-grip, so there may be some change involved. Second biggest fish any of our parties have ever caught up there and Dad's only fish on that tough day. Still, a bright fifteen pound cock with sea lice on him goes a long way toward beating a skunk. Here's a closer look:

Damn big fish.

Wait- what's that? A moose by the side of the road? Must be up North!

We had a couple of good hikes, one of which came after I mis-remembered the trailhead necessary to take us into a particular stretch of stream.

We managed to get on the right trail and to get into some fish.

Mostly, though, this trip was sunny skies and fresh silvers just up from the salt water.


This curious little fellow came out of the alders to check us out at close range. With any luck at all, we'll head back up there next year. I still haven't caught enough silver salmon on the fly rod.

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