As real Alaska residents we are allowed to put a net into the water and scoop out fish. We previously did this for Hooligan. Now it was time to do it for salmon.
ADF&G: This popular fishery takes place from late June through July in the marine waters of Cook Inlet just off the mouth of the Kenai River. Since 2003, Alaskans harvest between 130,000 and 540,000 sockeye salmon annually in this fishery.
The Kenai River is a large glacial system draining the central Kenai Peninsula. The river begins at Kenai Lake near the community of Cooper Landing and flows approximately 82 miles down to its mouth in Upper Cook Inlet, near the community of Kenai. The City of Kenai is approximately 160 highway miles south of Anchorage.
We loaded onto the boat on this rainy day and stuck our nets in the water.We held the nets in the water until feeling a thrashing fish. Then you quickly lift the net out of the water and into the boat. Your crew pounces on the fish (or multiple fish if you are lucky) and swiftly kills and bleeds them.
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.The night before we fished, we got to spend some time by a campfire doing the usual things. It seemed like a good omen.
The evening was lovely.
The next day, we had a hook up! Hanapa’a.The eagles were vigilantly watching to see what would happen.We did it! We landed one.
That gave us plenty of time to explore the beaches in the area. What a beautiful spot!
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.Fly 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.I 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.
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.The 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.The only thing better than having stinky hands and cold feet was the burger at the local pool hall after all of it.
We woke up in Telkwa and packed up the tent. We weren’t sure where we would end up, but thought we would ask around in Smithers. When we got to Smithers, we were in heaven. It is like a small german town with delicious pastries at the bottom of a ski hill. We got some advice at a fly shop on a great place to catch trout. The only problem is that it was 2 hours back the way we just came from. Still, this trip was an adventure, so we decided to do it. We drove back past Telkwa, past the largest fly rod in the world in Houston, and turned left at Topley. We saw our first bear on the way to Topley Landing. There is an enormous hatchery in Topley Landing and spawning beds that are over 4 kilometers long. The spawning beds are perfectly constructed for salmon. They are the right depth, the right water speed, the right water temperature, and they are enormous. The entire thing is a place for salmon to spawn. The rocks are all the perfect size and the fish lay millions of eggs. Needless to say, the bears also love it there. Unfortunately, we were a couple months too early to see all of it occur.
We found the perfect fishing spot that we were told about in Smithers. It was under construction. There was a big backhoe beside the river. The road was closed to vehicles. We weren’t allowed to be there. In order to get all of the water for the salmon spawning channels, the hatchery does stream maintenance on the creek to ensure that they have water when spawning season begins. The one day we couldn’t fish was the day we were there. Not to be deterred, we headed to the town of Granisle to see what we could see. The short answer, nothing. When asked about hiking, we were met with blank stares. Granisle is a retirement community. It used to be a mining town. When the mines shut down, people stopped working. Most people left, but some stuck around doing whatever odd jobs they could find. Our campsite was near Babine Lake so we took the canoe out and fished for sockeye. Everyone else was using motorboats, down riggers, and giant flashers, we just had a good time.
This is low tide at one of my favorite places. Just a few minutes from the ever popular Hiram M. Chittenden locks in Ballard is a tiny little beach that some berry pickers, bud light drinkers, and myself know about. The fish swim by in large numbers, but the people have their noses pressed to the windows at the fish ladder at the locks. Today, I saw some huge Chinook Salmon and it got me pumped for the future. Mostly my fishing future. When I first moved to Seattle and lived on a boat in Ballard, I would walk down to this beach with Lando and let him run around off leash. He loved it when the geese were visiting.
The beach is a lot different here than it is in Hawai’i. Here, we have real tides. Here, the sand isn’t quite as fine. Here, people aren’t laying around in bikinis every day of the year. Here, however, we have salmon and trout. Dan and I took the ferry from Edmonds to Kingston in search of either salmon or trout.
I’m on a boat.
We saw a couple fo fish jump, but fishing close tot he high tide is tough. There isn’t much room for a backcast and the neighbors wonder what you are doing. They are protective of their clam digging beaches. We saw a lof of signs telling everyone that they were on private property and you aren’t allowed to take their clams. It doesn’t sound like much fun hunting things that can’t run away very quickly.
There are lots of little beach houses that are very close to the water. I am guessing that they belong to the much larger houses up the hill from the water.