In Alaska, it is amazing how fast the summers go by. Not that surprising when you consider the heart of summer to be the months of June and July. We are already into August and there is a noticeable change outside. The fireweed is beginning to bloom and the weather is showing more clouds and rain than sunshine. Soon September will be here with October right around the corner…then snow and darkness. Maybe I should give my brother a heads-up that we will be moving to Oregon this year.
September Termination Dust | Photo by J. Kim
We aren’t the only ones to notice this change. Rainbows and dollies know this too. They probably know this better than we do. As fly fisherman, we try to capitalize on this because we know it only gets better from here.
Just like a trucker, rainbows and dollies LOVE steak and eggs…the greasier the better. With the mass influx of salmon into rivers and streams, it is only a matter of time before hormones kick in and salmon begin to “get their groove on.” Salmon will lay thousands of eggs before they keel over and die from now until late in the fall. Their rotting flesh (steak) and eggs that don’t make it into the stream bed will be the main course at the Gravel Bar Diner. Rainbows and dollies will gorge themselves knowing that winter is around the corner.
Last September, J. and I made a float down the Kenai River serving up steak and eggs to see if we could entice some of these trucker rainbows and dollies. We borrowed a friends cataraft for the day. We drove separately…me towing the cataraft. After dropping of J.’s truck at the take-out we drove up to the put-in.
Safely on the other side | Photo by J. Kim
J. and I managed to catch a few nice fish that day. J. even managed to get on the sticks a bit…something I don’t recommend to anyone. Rowing a cataraft, raft or drift boat for that matter takes a bit of skill and know-how. For the most part you try to stay in control and row away from obstacles. Basically look like you know what you are doing. Not J.. He had us spinning like a merry-go-round. He’s a good friend but da-gone…he will never touch the oars again in any boat I ride in. Not only did he have us spinning like a top, with J. on the sticks we nearly missed our take-out because we were coming in too hot and J. wasn’t paddling to shore. If it wasn’t for yours truly jumping out of the speeding cataraft into waist deep water at the last minute…one of us…not me…would be hiking back a few miles to the truck.
Hello Dolly! | Photo by J. Kim
Truck Stop ‘Bow | Photo by J. Kim
Oh…I forgot to mention one last thing. Once I got my heart rate to drop back down to a normal level after safely pulling the cataraft onto shore and pulling it 100 feet back to the take-out. I asked J. to drive back to the put-in and bring the trailer back. You should have seen the look on J.’s face after I asked him that question. I just shook my head, “You’ve got to be kidding me right?” J. left his truck keys in the glove compartment of my truck…back at the put-in. Wait…it only gets better.
J. managed to hitch a ride back to my truck from a nice family who took pity on us. We pulled the cataraft back onto the trailer and was just about to head out when someone flagged us down. Apparently, leaving your keys in your buddy’s truck at the put-in is not so uncommon. Go figure. Maybe someone should put up a sign at the put-in that reads, “Got Keys?”