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Author Topic: Finally going fishing in Alaska in less than a week!  (Read 1650 times)

mattitude

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Finally going fishing in Alaska in less than a week!
« on: July 17, 2015, 11:33:16 PM »
Ever since my uncle would tell me tales of his summers in Alaska fishing & adventuring with my cousins when I was around 8-10 years old I've always dreamed of going there myself by incessantly begging my dad to take me.  He did promise to take me there within 3 years back then but has always found an excuse not to every time I asked him to make good on said promise.  After joining the military I always had Alaska on my "dream sheet" but never got that assignment and the closest I came was flying back from AFCOMAC to Japan I had a 2 hour layover at Anchorage at like 3am so I couldn't see anything anyway.  Well my losing streak is finally over as on the 23rd I'll finally set foot outside of the airport and get to fish for a week.

I'm not going alone, I'm actually going as a guest with one of my hunting friends who picked up the tab for me because he knew there was no way in hell that I could afford it on my own and it's something that we both wanted to do but never did.  We'll be staying at the Rapids Camp Lodge near King Salmon ( http://www.rapidscamplodge.com/) and will be fishing not just for salmon & trout but halibut as well.  Physically I know this will be hard on my because of my disabilities but there is no way I'm not going to have an epic time.  I have a feeling that it will rain at least half of the time we will be there and the forecast calls for daytime temps in the 50's, which will be a huge change from the near 100 degrees I'm used to here in central NC.  Packing will take some thought as I have the summer mindset and don't want to make myself miserable by freezing my nuts off by being under prepared but other than that I'm pretty sure I have everything else under control.

I'm hoping to update this after I get back on 1 August with pictures of huge, awesome fish and scenery.  I know that I will have the time of my life and hopefully next time I'll get to make it a family affair.
North CarolinaMedically retired Air Force (17 years, 7 months & 25 days)

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    Mikee5star

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    Re: Finally going fishing in Alaska in less than a week!
    « Reply #1 on: July 18, 2015, 12:25:16 AM »
    Have fun, and good luck with the trip. Take lots of pictures.  I have not looked lately, but it has been a super dry year in Bristol Bay. Also was in the high 60's to low 70's earlier this year. Still not NC, but barely bearable for SW Alaska. 
    Wish I was still in the area. I lived 75 miles south of King Salmon for 5 years and flew through KS as a hub more times than I can count.
    Alaska

    booksmart

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    Re: Finally going fishing in Alaska in less than a week!
    « Reply #2 on: July 18, 2015, 05:03:27 PM »
    Enjoy, Matt! Sounds like a blast. :cool

    Mikee5star

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    Re: Finally going fishing in Alaska in less than a week!
    « Reply #3 on: September 16, 2015, 10:05:22 PM »
    Don't want to bug you Matt but I am curious how your fishing trip went.
    Alaska

    mattitude

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    Re: Finally going fishing in Alaska in less than a week!
    « Reply #4 on: September 16, 2015, 11:44:32 PM »
    Alaska was so much more than I expected it, but that seems to be par for the course for lower 48'rs who've never been.  I admit I slacked on my AAR, but thinking about it I'm having a real hard time putting the experience into words.  I've heard that the peninsula can have crazy weather but we were blessed with only a day and a half of drizzle and the rest of the days were cool and sunny.  It turned out that during our time there was actually supposed to between the salmon runs, and the completely empty lodge kinda proved that notion as it's hard to justify 9 grand for a week of only trout & char fishing...but luckily for us the silver run started 2 weeks early and we slammed them on our 3rd day of fishing. 

    The lodge is right on the Naknek river which is reportedly the premier trophy rainbow trout river in the world with more 30" class fish caught than anywhere else.  We were hitting the trout on our first day on the river in the rain (the planes were grounded for the poor visibility as they fly by sight) and dolly vardens left and right which was really fun.  The king run just finished but you could see giant red blobs hanging on the bottom of the river.  I was able to hook into one of them on a medium action trout rod w/12# test mono, a nice 25 pound female king.  It was a great fight and a successful release.  We hit the trout & char like nobody's business all day and even got to see a decent sized sow with 2 cubs looking to get some fish for herself...really cool to experience that.

    The next day we spent the morning on the Naknek again as the visibility was poor but was supposed to get better by lunchtime.  Trout & char were the name of the game and I managed to catch a small silver, which was the first fish of the year that the lodge caught.  After lunch we were able to fly out to a place called "the narrows" which was a small river between 2 lakes that was only about 300-400 yards long but is slap full of char & grayling.  The bite was on fast and furious for the first 45 minutes or so then it just completely shut off like a light switch.  It was like they were all talking to each other.  It was still a lot of fun and I even got to meet Ludwig who was an Austrian transplant from about 30 or so years ago who now has a small cabin at "the narrows" which just happens to be slap in the middle of nowhere.  I could tell that he enjoyed talking to people as he probably only sees clients from the lodge who fly into that spot.

    The next day we went to "the headwaters" which was only a few miles from the ocean and we spent the whole day out there.  The action was on fire off and on as the schools of silvers started to run for the season.  It was cool to see someone down river hook up, then the next person up from them, then the next...then it would die off until the next run.  We slayed the silvers with some pretty big.  We ended up keeping 30 of them and filled up the plane's pontoon with close to 200 pounds of fillets.

    We went back to "the headwaters" the next day but the action wasn't as crazy as the day before, but that's fishing.  We did get a mess of silvers but not the piles that we got the day before.  We were there up until lunch and we decided to fly to a different location a little more inland and see if we could spot any silvers from the air and touch down and fish there.  We did land in a very picturesque spot after seeing a few schools of fish and tried our luck there.  The bite was on and off, but we did land some pretty big silvers and a few dolly vardens.  The weather was beautiful and warmed up nicely.  We did catch a number of limits so it was a successful day.

    The last day we flew out to Larsen Bay on Kodiak island and the weather held out long enough that we didn't get wet despite the low dark clouds and the seas weren't rough so I didn't get beat up on the boat ride.  The flight to and from was amazing as we flew over the valley of 10,000 smokes.  There were glaciers everywhere and it was just beautiful.  The fishing was great as we caught quite a few cod & rock fish and I caught my first halibut.  There was a fish processor in the harbor and where the mates were cast netting herring I could look into the water and see the salmon rip through the herring schools, the violence of action was just something to see.  We were right at the discharge for the processor so that was a hotbed of fish activity, it was something that I've never seen before.

    We left on a Friday and I was really sad to go as it felt like the week just ripped by.  The lodge just so happened to be right next to an old Air Force station, King Salmon AFS, which was cool for me to finally see as throughout my Air Force career I've always put King Salmon on my "dream sheet" but never was stationed there.  Our last day in Anchorage before flying out was another beautiful weather day as it was very sunny and 75 degrees.  We had lunch at the Moose's Tooth and did a little shopping/sightseeing before getting on the plane and flying back to NC.  I was able to call one of my friends that lives just outside of Fairbanks and have a good conversation with him.  He was preparing to head out caribou hunting that weekend but he did say that I'm more than welcome to pay him a visit in the future and I hope to take him up on it.  The flight for me was very tough on me physically and no amount of medication made me feel comfortable.  All in all I had the time of my life and I hope to get back up there again.
    North CarolinaMedically retired Air Force (17 years, 7 months & 25 days)

    mattitude

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    Re: Finally going fishing in Alaska in less than a week!
    « Reply #5 on: September 16, 2015, 11:53:14 PM »
    Here are a few pics...












    North CarolinaMedically retired Air Force (17 years, 7 months & 25 days)

    Mikee5star

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    Re: Finally going fishing in Alaska in less than a week!
    « Reply #6 on: September 17, 2015, 01:00:20 AM »
    Very cool.  Glad the weather cooperated and the fish were biting.

    I can't tell you the number of times I have flown over the Naknek, and King Salmon rivers with out wetting a line.  Of course my line had 25 fathoms of gill net attached.   :neener
    Alaska

    MTK20

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    Re: Finally going fishing in Alaska in less than a week!
    « Reply #7 on: September 17, 2015, 02:10:12 AM »
    Outstanding!

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