Return for the Kings.

Having successfully caught a King Salmon on the fly, I wanted to show me friends why it is so exciting. We headed back down to Anchor River and fished until nearly midnight. Hardly needed headlamps.Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 8.47.56 AM.png Unsuccessful on day one, it did not matter with a “sunset” like this. Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 8.47.06 AM.png

The next day, the river was closed to fishing so we got to explore Homer and the Homer Spit. Homer is in the news lately because of the fight on immigration that it is battling.Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 8.48.14 AM.pngScreen Shot 2017-07-26 at 8.48.24 AM.png

The next day, the river was back open and we hit it early. We spent a few cold, almost dark, hours practicing our casts, and hooking and losing a couple of fish. Then it turned on. We found the right spot and the right time and we crushed it. The freezer is starting to fill.Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 8.48.35 AM.png

Fly Fishing for King Salmon.

After the madness of Memorial Day, we headed south to the Anchor River to see if we could catch a King Salmon on a fly. The patriotism of the bald eagles were in full swing.Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 10.11.16 PM.pngThe night before we fished, we got to spend some time by a campfire doing the usual things. It seemed like a good omen.Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 10.11.28 PM.png

The evening was lovely.

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 10.11.44 PM.pngThe next day, we had a hook up! Hanapa’a.Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 10.11.54 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-06-19 at 10.12.37 PM.pngThe eagles were vigilantly watching to see what would happen.Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 10.12.09 PM.pngWe did it! We landed one.Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 10.12.15 PM.png

That gave us plenty of time to explore the beaches in the area. What a beautiful spot!Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 10.12.24 PM.png

Steelhead Fishing in Alaska.

This was my first attempt at steelhead fishing since moving to Alaska. I have been talking about it and hearing stories for a while. I was told that we should have pumpkin pie for breakfast to keep the fish gods happy.

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Finally, it was time to make the four hour drive to the place I have been hearing all about, Anchor Point. Ninilchik River, Deep Creek, and the Anchor River are all on the road system and have great access. This means nothing if you don’t know anything about the area. The first stop was the world famous Fly Box.Screen Shot 2016-10-20 at 9.06.26 AM.pngOnce we had the hand drawn map (it costs extra) and the magic flies, we were on our way. The first stop was the Anchor River. Mark and I took a lot of selfies.Screen Shot 2016-10-20 at 9.06.59 AM.pngWe both caught some fish right off the bat and felt pretty good about the trip we had made. They were not however, the Steelhead that we had come looking for.Screen Shot 2016-10-20 at 9.07.38 AM.pngScreen Shot 2016-10-20 at 9.08.15 AM.pngScreen Shot 2016-10-20 at 9.11.31 AM.pngNow we were in an area that they apparently don’t like people getting too close.Screen Shot 2016-10-20 at 9.11.59 AM.pngI know why they don’t want you around. Because they really do have big fish in Anchor Point! My very first Steelhead and I could not be happier.Screen Shot 2016-10-20 at 9.10.12 AM.pngOf course we kept fishing and kept getting luckier and luckier.Screen Shot 2016-10-20 at 9.12.59 AM.png

I was feeling pretty chuffed by the time #3 grabbed a hold of this magic fly.

The next day, we got up feeling like we might know what we were doing. The lack of pumpkin pie for breakfast proved us wrong. The next day, all of the fish were gone. So we left. Ready to return next year. I am starting to feel like the fish themselves. I will be returning to the same rivers around the same time each year.

House Swaps.

It has been a busy end of the summer. I love the fall for fishing though. This monster trout was gorging on salmon flesh. Quite a memorable fish for me.

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Small crowd at Bird Creek in August.screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-12-52-14-pmAmanda completed her first marathon.screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-12-52-31-pmWe still had some nice weather along the coast.

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We moved out of our house that often had moose in the front yard.screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-12-54-10-pmBut we bought this house and put a fish in the front yard. screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-12-54-21-pm

Mostly, we bought it so the dogs would have a big back yard.screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-12-54-34-pmThe trails nearby also are fantastic.

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I love fall fishing. screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-12-55-26-pm

Just Another Creek.

We headed up the Parks Highway (names for George Parks, not Denali National Park, even though that is the direction it heads) to follow little blue lines that we had seen on Google Maps. We found a place where the power lines cross the creek. This is usually a good spot to access the water.

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Many other places I have fished have lots of private property preventing a person from accessing the water. Here, you really just can’t get to the water. The bushes are too thick, the mud is too deep, and there are no trails. It is perfect. When you do get to the water, you might be on a cliff too high to fish properly. The other side of the river always seems to look better than wherever I am standing.

Plus, there is the added bonus that I am always looking over my shoulder for wildlife. Maybe something to see that is cool, maybe making sure that nothing is going to attack me. Either way, I feel like I am always looking out for something. We found a piece of water that looked like it would have some fish. The water was higher than we wanted though. It was muddy. There were hardly any bugs (except the mosquitoes). There had to be fish here.

It was too early in the season for anything salmon related. No eggs yet. No flesh unless it was left over from last year. These are meat eating trout. It was time to swing some streamers. The bigger and uglier the better.Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 2.36.34 AMSomehow, we fooled them again. Total solitude. Hungry fish. The fear of being attacked by wildlife overcome. Mosquitoes swatted. Headed home, we felt accomplished. Rugged. Alaskan like. Bear spray safely in the car unused, we stopped by Starbucks for our usual chai lattes. We aren’t that rugged.Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 2.36.56 AMAs the fishing season starts to heat up, my heart races more and more before each adventure starts. Every time that we step outside, I am amazed at what we see.

Fly Fishing at Beach Lake.

With a day off, we wanted to fish with our friends. We loaded up 4 people, 3 dogs, 2 float tubes, and 1 canoe. We arrived at Beach Lake to see fish rising, no wind, and mostly cloudy skies.Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.42.05 AMFly selection began on shore. The mosquitoes were not terrible, but very present. We saw some tiny grey bugs flitting around, but I had left my Colorado style size 20 and smaller box at home. Should have brought it.Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.42.22 AMI used a black gnat fly that worked best all day. It was smashed on the surface, but even more productive while being slowly stripped just under the surface.

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The views were incredible, like they always are here in Alaska. Looking down, I saw fish in the net, or rising all around us. Looking up, we saw terns, eagles, loons, amazing mountains, and float planes. It never seems to get old.Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.42.52 AMThe wind picked up and fish stopped rising. We traded tips and tricks while not thinking about how quickly the weather can change and shut down a good day of fishing. After a while, the wind died down and the hot fishing resumed.Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.43.05 AMThe only thing better than having stinky hands and cold feet was the burger at the local pool hall after all of it. Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 8.43.25 AM