About this blog

This blog is all about fly fishing for native trout. On it I cover trip reports, fishing tactics, conservation, the latest news about native trout species and much more. This site provides a companion to my web page Nativetroutflyfishing.com.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fall on the Kenai Peninsula

During late September my wife Alexis and I had the opportunity to tag along on a business trip my sister had to make to Homer on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. Given that my sister was going to be busy with a conference, Alexis and I were able to get in a bit of fishing here and there. The first spot that we fished was on our drive out to Homer on the Kenai River. My buddy Chris had lived in Anchorage for a year and as such helped to point us to a good side channel. As Sockeye Salmon were still spawning, matching the "egg hatch" would be the ticket. Alexis had never done this type of fishing so once we found a likely spot, I did a quick cast to demonstrate how to fish a bead under an indicator. My indicator only floated about 10' feet before it dunked under the water and I had a fish on! After a quick fight, I brought a beautiful Rainbow Trout to hand.

The Kenai River side channel

A first cast Alaskan Rainbow Trout

Spawned out Sockeye Salmon

Alexis' first cast Dolly Varden

Next it was Alexis' turn and a drift through the same spot resulted in a beautiful Dolly Varden on her first cast. From here the fishing did not slow much and our only challenge was the fading daylight. However, right before we had to head out I hooked into something big, which turned out to be a beautiful 20"+ Dolly.

Hooked into a fish

My big Dolly Varden

End of the line for a for spawned out Sockeye

That Dolly was the perfect way to end a quick evening fishing outing and to start our Alaskan adventure. The next day in Homer we decided to take a boat across the bay to do a hike to the Grewingk Glacier in Kachemak Bay State Park. It was a nice calm morning, with several whale sightings on the ride over. 

A calm morning on Kachemak Bay

Once we disembarked on the boat and started along the beach, there were several sea otters hanging out along the shore. The hike was nice and mellow, traveling through a coastal forest to the lake in front of the glacier.

Sea otters

Grewingk Glacier

Alaska never ceases to amaze me as a State Park there could easily qualify as a national park anywhere else in the country. After visiting the lake we hiked over a ridge, where we were greeted with an amazing view of the bay, before descending to the dock and taking the boat back to Homer.

The bay from the ridge

The next day Alexis and my sister were spending sometime together, so I had a chance to make a solo outing to a nearby river, which has a run of Steelhead, as well as Dolly Varden. It was an absolutely flawless bluebird day and after our outing on the Kenai, I had high hopes for a good day on the water.

The river

The river was a classic freestone, with lots of great riffles and runs and within a few minutes I was hooked into a fish. By the fight, it definitely acted more like a char than trout, opting to stay deep and take a few runs, instead of showing any acrobatics. Upon landing it, my suspicions were confirmed and it was a beautify Dolly Varden, fresh in from the salt water.

A flawless Dolly Varden

Gotta love the pink spots

This proved to be one of those rare days, where the fishing exceeded my expectations. Every likely spot had several Dollies in it and the only problem was that if there were any Steelhead around I was never going to get past the Dollies to catch them. 

A Dolly starting to show its freshwater colors

I covered about a mile and a half of the river in a few hours time and while I never thought that this would happen by the end of the day I was tired of catching 16" to 18" fish, as pretty much every cast was resulting in a cookie cutter Dolly Varden. Given how great of a day on the water it had been I had no problem calling it quits on what had been an amazing trip.

A great day on the water and way to end the trip