Summer 2003 Logs
July 9-10 Kanektok and Arolik Rivers in Quinhagak.
I can't believe I have only fished three times this summer. I apologize for not updating my logs, but the flip side is that if I don't
fish, I don't have anything to add. But thanks for all the concerned emails I got about the lack of entries!
Well this time again it was for work. Bummer, eh? This time I am scouting locations and possibilities for a sportfishing camp. I
have been tasked at work to work with our sportfishing subsidiary and to expand the operations. Double bummer...not!
It worked out well since I am also tasked with running our commercial salmon and halibut operations and Quinhagak is where my
salmon plant is located. I knew that our salmon plant had just been plugged with salmon lately so the I knew the fishing should
have been good. Well it was nothing short of spectacular!
The first day I am on the Kanektok River. There are 5 or 6 guide operations working this river. But its definitely not crowded.
Reds and chums were everywhere! The reds were hard to hook but that was mainly due to the fact that my fly line was too fast
sinking and I couldn't get a proper presentation. My guides didn't seem to have any problems hooking them. A bit frustrated a
pull out my ultralight with 6 pound test and put on a green pixie so at least I can catch the chums. As it turns out one of my first
fish I land is a sockeye that inhaled my 1/4 oz green pixie. Weird. But after that it was chum after chum after chum. Averaging
6 to 8 pounds, they were a blast on the ultralight! I also managed a very nice rainbow in the 22 inch range.
The second day I fished the Arolik. This is an exclusive river with a joint venture involving my company being the only people on
the river. On this day. I did not see a single person. The Arolik is about half the size of the Kanektok and the river is gin clear.
Though there were salmon in the river, the guides wanted me to sample the rainbow fishing. We toss flesh flies and tiny spoons
and manage several nice rainbows that ranged from 12 inches to 22 inches or so. Then as we start drifting down, the local
guides, Willard and Albert ask me if I had ever "moused" for rainbows. They set me up with a 5 weight fly rod and on the end of
my line is a fly that looks like a mouse! You have to be kidding I think. I try it for about 10 minutes but had absolutely no
confidence that this huge fly skimmed across the top would get any hits. So I hand the rod to Albert and say "show me how its
done." A couple of cast later Albert is on to a nice 20 inch rainbow. I had read about "mousing" in fly fishing magazines but
kind of thought it was like a myth. But as we float down, I managed to raise a couple of fish but no hook ups. As I start figuring
it out, I get another rise but in the crystal clear water I react to quickly and pull the mouse away. Then I notice that fly is going
to get snagged on a log....wait that is no log! That is a huge rainbow. It moves up to the fly and just smashes it! Fish on! After
a great battle I pull in a 26 inch rainbow. What a rush to see such a nice fish come up and grab this huge fly in crystal clear
water. I can't believe I didn't take a camera! But these rainbows were BEAUTIFUL fish with massive girths. You may have
heard about leopard rainbow trout. I know why they call them that. These fish were intensely colored with huge spots all over
them. They were the most beautiful rainbows I had ever seen. Don't worry, I will definitely be back and I WILL have my
camera. They tell me that in August, you can consistently get silvers to take top water flies. I CAN'T WAIT! I will be back!
June 16-19 Karluk River Kodiak
For work, I get invited to do a 3 day float on the Karluk River in Kodiak. They had some huge escapement numbers for sockeye
but the king escapement was the lowest in years. The water was crystal clear but very very low. I bet the river averaged only 2
to 3 feet deep. The bad news was it meant dragging the raft a lot of the time. The good news was that the few kings in the river
were stacked up in any hole over 3 feet deep. Over the two days that I fished I managed to land 4 kings and a nice steelhead. I
released all of them. The lure of choice in the clear water was a dark colored vibrax spinner in sizes 4 to 6. The black blade with
the green body seemed to work the best. I also caught fish on a roe and bobber rig. I went with a group and everyone caught
fish. Keith from NY had the hot hands landing 7 kings in one day.
The highlight of the trip was all of our bear encounters. I bet we saw 10 bears within a 100 yards of us. None of the situation
was threatening but its pretty amazing to watch these huge wild animals so close. The low light was the lame fishermen we
encountered. Before I started the trip, I saw in the rules that it was against the rule to harass other fisherman and monopolize a
hole. I'm thinking on an exclusive river like this, why would anyone even bother to write something like that? Well, I guess
there is a reason. We encountered at least 2 groups of fisherman that were just down right rude. One guy after making some
stupid comment just walks by our raft and runs right into our poles. Most definitely on purpose. Had I not been with clients
and my boss I would have buried him head first into the river bank with just his ankles showing so the bears could find him later.
You do not touch my equipment let alone abuse it like that right in front of me. Had he broken any of the tips (there were like 5
rods together) our group would have been half way down the river with no equipment. Not only is it not polite, but out in the
middle of nowhere with bears, had he needed help, I'm not sure I would have. Have a little courtesy. Alaska is a big place.
The hereder comes through again! Thanks Danny! Most of you that read my logs know that Dan France of Salmon Herder
Charters (www.salmonherder.com) is my go to guy for fishing the Kenai or the Kasilof River. This time he out did even his
normal great service. Vance, one of my regular fishing partner was moving to Las Vegas. He had spent most of his summers on
the east coast so though he is a pretty accomplished fisherman, he had never caught a king. So I book a trip with the herder and
we are on the Kenai before 6am. Right at 6am we put our lines down and 30 minutes later Vance is hooked up to a nice king.
After a good battle, Vance lands the nice chrome fish. 48 inches! Even before Dan had measured the fish, Vance already had
made his mind up to let it go. Whew...I was wondering if he even knew about the slot limit on the Kenai. His fish was right in
the middle so we had to let it go anyways. I was wondering if he would be disappointed but he looked to be the happiest 14 year
old I had seen in a while! He caught his on a K-16 kwikfish chartreuse tip, chrome body. After a few more hours, the action
was slow slow slow! Danny looks at me and says.."Wanna try the Kasilof?" I'm like "What today??? You bet!"
So one hour later we are drifting the Kasilof River. Vance definitely had the hot hands hooking 6 or 7 fish and landing 3. I
managed just one fish landed after 4 or 5 hookups! Ouch. But what a blast! Most of the fish I lost were on some wicked
takedowns bottom bouncing in 2 to 3 feet of water. I couldn't believe we were getting takedowns two feet off the side of the
boat in 2 feet of water directly next to the boat. The water was low but the fishing was great! Thanks again Dan, you always
make me look good.