On Wednesday things didn't quite go as planned however on Thursday we were able to get on our plane and even though it was delayed by an hour for "technical" issues we finally made it to our destination. So we got off the plane at around 1:00pm, got reunited with our waders and flies, got our rental van that would double as our tent for our stay and headed down to the river. On the way to the river we got an Alaskan welcome by a brown bear that was working his way across a meadow.
An Alaska greeting...
After the bear sighting, we made our way to the river, rigged up our rods and started hiking in search of the money water. After putting a few miles behind us on the trail we made our way down to the river where we could see a few steelies holding. Definitely a good sign!! Blake got things kicked off for us and within the first half hour landed a beautiful chrome steelhead on a nymph.
Blake getting things going!
After this we hit a bit of a slow spell. The fish were there, but they just weren't being overly grabby. However Chris was about to change that as he threw on a big Dolly Llama (big streamer) and stated stripping it across the pool. It didn't take long for this to piss one of the fish off, about three strips as a matter of fact and Chris was tied into a big albeit a little dark steelhead. The fish did give him a bit of a run for his money, but Chris won out and brought the brute to hand.
Although Chris did manage to get a few more fish to chase his fly and Blake hooked up with one other fish things really slowed down so we decided to head upstream to do a bit of exploring. However the rest of the day remained much the same, with me hooking and losing one and Chris getting another dark fish and before long it was time to head back to "camp," for dinner and some sleep.
Back on the trail
A great end to a great day... Oh yeah this was taken at 10:00pm...
So with the end of the day upon us, we re-rigged our rods organized our gear and set our alarm for 4AM to ensure that we would get our pick of spots on the river. As it always does, 4AM rolled around very quickly and within short order we were on the trail and on our way to the river. While I hadn't landed a fish on Thursday, I was hoping that Friday would treat me a bit better especially being that we were the first ones on the river and there had been a good early morning tide for the fish to push in on. It didn't take all of that long before Chris hooked into a fish, however it was a chrome rocket and wasn't didn't want anything to do with him and tossed the hook after a short battle. As Chris recovered from his tussle, I moved into position and after a handful of casts my indicator shot under and I had a fish on! This fish was also a chromer and acted to part displaying all of the aerial acrobatics that you would expect from these fish. However I had a good hookset and before long my switch rod over powered him and I brought the fish in.
My first taste of Alaskan chrome!
This same process played out again shortly after releasing this fish, with Chris tying into and losing another fish and me being fortunate enough to hook into another fish and have it stay buttoned long enough to being it in. Things didn't stop here either, as the wave of fresh fish continued to push into we continued to hook up and be 7:00AM we had already hooked seven fish between us and I had personally brought three in and lost one other right at shore. As the tidal push thinned out, we spread out a bit with Chris moving upstream and getting chromer and another dark buck on the Dolly Llama and earning the nickname the "red dragon" slayer. Blake and I took turns fishing the honey hole for a while and he pulled a nice chrome fish out for we regrouped for lunch.
I have to say that "lunch" was more of an excuse to rest the hole than anything else and of course it paid off with one of us hooking up within a few casts, but losing the fish. There was a definite mid-day lull in the action and as such Blake and Chris decided to head downstream to try the pool below us. This move was apparently well timed as within a half hour the next albeit small tidal push of fish worked its way in. While the numbers may have been smaller for this push the size of the fish was not and Chris managed to pull a beautiful 15lb hen still carrying sea lice out of the hole.
Chris with a slab of freshly salted chrome!
Although I had and idea that either Chris or Blake had just gotten a fish as I could here all of the commotion, I didn't have enough time to figure out for sure as I quickly found myself tied into my own fish. I knew that this fish had a bit of size on the others that I had gotten right away, as I quickly tore through most of my fly line and finally came shooting out of the water. Have just released his a couple of minutes ago Chris came running upstream to help me land mine. When we got it in he had to do a bit of a double take because this fish was very nearly the twin of the fish he had just gotten. We snapped a few pictures of this beauty, then sent her back into the current and to continue her journey to start the next generation.
My big fish - note the sea lice by the anal fin
Although we did hook into a few more fish after this one, this would be the last on landed before we had to grab the trail at 3pm to make our way back to the airport for our flight home. However with over 20 fish hooked throughout the day and somewhere around 10 to hand I would have a very hard time complaining!
Gotta love Alaska!
Our ride home... The salmon thirty salmon!