A couple of our best friends, Amanda, and I flew out to King Salmon and then waited for the weather to clear. That is pretty typical in this part of Alaska. When it finally cleared, we hopped on a float plane and were dropped off at Brooks Lodge. We opted to camp for $12 per night per person instead of renting a cabin for $615 per night per person!We immediately got into some fish. They were big and plentiful. They took beads, streamers, nymphs, and pretty much anything that you could drift in front of them. The river was busy with other anglers, guides, and the four of us. You could sight fish to twenty inch rainbows all day. The falls were behind me. It made me slightly nervous to look away from where a majority of the bears were feeding. Luckily, we had a crew of four, so someone was always watching out for bears.We weren’t the only ones fishing on the river. The bears were never threatening. A few sub adults would cruise by curiously and be kind of annoying. When the big bears came through, we all gave them a lot of space. The most nervous was when a mom and cubs were on our trail. We took the long way home that night.While out there, we had to check out the Valley of 10,000 Smokes. It was much more interesting than I thought that it would be. I was really glad that we did the tour. The weather was great for our whole trip. Good weather, good friends, and good fishing. It doesn’t get better than that. If you are ever in Alaska, it is worth it to go visit Brooks Falls, even if it is just a day trip.
I get it now. When we first moved here, I was excited to fish the world famous Kenai River. I wasn’t very successful. It is hard to walk and wade the Kenai. It is expensive to hire a guide every time I want to go out. The most logical thing was to buy our own raft. Now I get it. The Kenai is a magical place when you can access a lot of it whenever you want.
I woke up feeling slightly defeated knowing that we were leaving on this day. We had not caught a fish. Most of the fish were in the lower half of the river. We were up at the upper portion of the river. We had not fished above the bridge yet so we thought that we would give it a shot before our trip to the airport. There was so much good looking water, but just no fish. That isn’t entirely true. We saw a few fish. Sight fishing to these beasts is quite exhilarating. We walked and walked. We fished and fished. Nothing happened. We gave up. We headed back to camp to have lunch, pack everything away, and head to the airport.We arrived at the infamous nine mile bridge. There were a couple of guys fishing it that had been there since about 5 am. They were taking a break, so I stepped in. I had a couple of follows from some big fish which made my heart race. I switched to a fly that I have to most confidence in. We call it, “The Magic Fly”. I was working it hard. A guide stepped in and told me how few fish were caught on the flies from the bridge area. He also handed me a fly that he thought would work. It looked very similar to my magic fly. We laughed about our taste in flies. It gave me a little more confidence. In the 11th hour. I hooked up.It all came together. Caught, pictures, release. Now I can return home with a smile on my face. Now we are planning our return for next year. Hopefully, just like this steelhead.
We woke up late after our adventure the previous day. We were happy to be warm, dry, and safe. We had another meal out of an aluminum bag by adding hot water. Just like all of the other meals we have been eating. Today’s plan was to drive to the lower part of the river where we had seen a lot of fish the day before.Driving to the takeout part of the river, we saw a grizzly bear crossing the road. There may be snow on the ground, but the bears are out and about already. It was a good reminder that life goes on that way it always has whether we are here or not. The signs of life and death were everywhere. New growth with old skulls.So we fished. And fished some more. The spots looked good. We even saw a few fish. We hooked none and didn’t talk to too many other successful anglers. The fish were spooked and waiting for the rain. We had nice warm sunny days which are apparently terrible for steelheading down on the Situk River.Luckily, we had an early return to camp where wine and more fishing was waiting for us. We were not roughing it! There were a lot of fish right at this bridge. There are usually some people fishing there, but occasionally, the pressure drops and you can have it to yourself for a while.Once again, we were fishless. There was only one more day left. We were not feeling hopeful.
Hike 21/52 was out to Lynx Lake Cabin #1. We planned on skiing, but the beautiful weather meant more ice than snow. The cold temperatures at night made for quite an uneven surface. Walking was more productive. So we walked.
Hike 19/52 was to Beach Lake in Chugiak. We have been here before in the summer and caught some trout. This time, it was snowy and everything was frozen. We had never walked out to the “beach” so we thought that we would check it out. There are lots of dog sled trails and icebergs moving in and out with the tides. As usual, we didn’t see anyone out there and that was fine with us.
It has been a rather warm fall, but the snow is here to stay and we are acting accordingly.The sunrises and sunsets are incredible with our shorter days and longer nights.The walks with the dogs require us getting more and more bundled up as the temps drop. The dogs need to keep moving to stay warm.We are able to take our fat bikes to more locations as the snow settles in. This is the Middle Earth trail in Kincaid Park. One of our favorites.Lando braves the cold runs with me and never complains.
Booties are sometimes necessary for skijoring.