Dispatches from AK
It’s been about three weeks since I landed in Alaska. Lodge ‘opening’ has felt like an eternity. There have been a lot of chores to take care of in preparation for the long season ahead of us. With a lodge staff of over twenty (Guides and Pilots included) we have all been busy, painting buildings, sanding and oiling decks, mowing lawns, pruning trees.. the list goes on. Pretty much everything that has nothing to do with the rivers or fish. The trout season opened up here on June 8th – since then we have had some opportunities to get out on the home river and explore a bit. I have also been flown out to a few of our other destinations to scout and learn the systems.
This region had a pretty harsh winter and there is still a lot of snow in the mountains above us waiting to melt. The late, long winter has the rivers running higher and colder than usual – which is, at the moment making for some tough fishing conditions. On the Kulik, the trout have not really started to filter into the (40 degree) river yet – most of the ‘bows are still sitting in warmer water at the bottom of the lake conserving calories. There are some fish in the lower river and at the mouth but not nearly as many as there should be. The main event this time of year is the sockeye fry migration from the river to the lake. This large migration brings the ‘bows up into the river to feed on the large schools of fry making the push downriver. Fishing fry is one of the coolest types of fishing I have done yet. In the late evening when the fry really start to push you can see boils of oversized trout up and down the river. Trying to imitate a fry and convince a trout to eat it is not the easiest thing to do. Your fly needs to be only a few inches under the surface, the presentation is not really a traditional swing or a dead drift but something in between. The most effective drift I have found is to quarter your cast downstream throw a big upstream mend into it (to get the head of your fly facing upstream) and then feed it line as the current moves away from you – while constantly having just enough tension on your fly to feel the subtle grab. Absolutely bad ass when the bite is on and it all comes together.
I am looking forward for the season to get into full swing here in the next couple of days. We are going to finally have a full house soon and everyone will be busy on the water. Our internet connection is shitty at best and non-existant most days but stay in tune – when the water warms up (hopefully soon) the fishing should be off the chart.
One of the preseason duties I had: Build a sand bag wall to prevent erosion