Posts Tagged ‘salmon’

I spent two days with the 4 weight on a small creek casting between bright red fire trucks. Trying hard not to hook one of the bright red beasties and trying even harder not to break off and re-rig. When they’re fresh and chrome they’re worth the fight, now they’re just a nuisance keeping me from the real prize.

My timing was good. Found them everywhere I thought they would be. Tucked in behind the spawners they were easy to spot. Most were scrappy but a few made the old Hardy sing a little tune.


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Just a small sample of what Alaska has to offer. Razor clams and sockeye salmon. Next month we’ll try to grab some coho salmon and wild mushrooms.

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What: Savor Bristol Bay – 2010 Kick-off Celebration

Where: South Anchorage Farmer’s Market

When: June 19th 9am – 2pm

Get ready to Savor Bristol Bay this summer! Join Trout Unlimited as we celebrate the start of the Bristol Bay fresh salmon season. Test your taste buds as three local chef’s step up to the grill for a Salmon Cook-off (you get to vote!), learn tips and tricks on how to fillet salmon, and bring your kids to do fish printing! Also be sure to stop by the Trout Unlimited booth to learn more about how you can help protect Bristol Bay.

9:30-10:30 Fillet Demonstration

11- 12:30 Bristol Bay Salmon Cook-off

10- 2 Kid’s Fish Printing

Contact: Nelli Williams nwilliams@tu.org or 230-7121

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Tuber and I have been at this two-hander thing for little over two years now. Since early 2007 to be more precise. We both started out picking up more rod than we needed for the waters we fished. Back then we didn’t know better but we didn’t care. We had to get out there and see what it was all about.

We both came at it from different angles. I stumbled upon two-handers on the internet and he was lucky enough to have two buddies who were a year ahead. Now it consumes us and we can’t stop talking about it.

We are probably the only two people who have ever thrown a two-hander on the Anchor, Bird, and Ship. I know I am probably the only person who has worked the two-hander at the peak of sockeye season in Southcentral. Not exactly the proper stage but it’s water and it was what we had to work with. If you’ve ever fished those waters you know it doesn’t take much more than a nine footer to cover every inch of water and then some. To say the two-hander was overkill would be an understatement. The Anchor was probably the worst place to apply the art. Most of the time we just flipped the tip. Bird and Ship weren’t much better but at least you could stretch one out there once and a while when the tide was in. We usually ended up fishing water others wouldn’t or couldn’t.

We got some stares and some funny looks for sure. Thirteen feet of rod and fly line thick enough to winch a jeep out of the mud flats is strange if you didn’t know any better. It was fun and we felt like pioneers.

Lucky for us we’ve been able to find some proper water to apply the down and across. Like the stretch of water we go back to every spring and the new piece I discovered this year. And the old water that’s new water because we can now look at things from an entirely different angle.

This two-hander business has changed everything. I find myself fishing the single-hander and throwing spey casts about half the time now. It’s opened up new water and has made those tough spots easier to fish. Now it seems as though there is no piece of water we can’t fish.

At first we knew very few people who ever used a two-hander on the waters we fished. We never saw another person swinging the big stick. Now it seems more and more folks are toting along a two-hander. There aren’t many but it’s growing. I’ve never actually seen someone outside of our crew making the casts and taking the steps. It’s equivalent to a big foot sighting I suppose. I’ve seen a few pictures but have yet to run into someone on the water working the two-hander.

I think that is cool.

A little over two years into it and I’ve managed to collect a few things. A lot of it is gear but a big chunk has been knowledge and experience. I started out barely chucking the head of a Rio Skagit 450, a 10 foot cheater, and a 10 foot T-14 tip on a Sage 7136 Z. I now know why the 450 wasn’t cutting it for me on the 7136 and what it takes to chuck a giant bunny leech (if you don’t know yet I’ll give you a clue – short, fat and more grains per foot). Now I’ve got the 7136 loaded with Airflo Ridge, Compact Skagits heavy enough to launch a dead chicken, and a shit ton of zip lock bags of custom made sinktips. I’ve also managed to pick up two more sticks more appropriate for the waters I fish. The 6126 Z helps bring some smaller water in to play and makes tangling with the everyday fish that much more fun. A new addition, the 6110 Z, makes brushy bank channels and brushy freestones where trout like to hide accessible and a blast for swinging sculpins and leeches.

A few thousand casts later and I can now make the cast more often to get me fishing. I know a little more about how to fish a swinging fly and not just leave it up to chance.  What keeps me truck’n along is  looking for more pieces of water and opportunities close to home to swing up more rainbows, more steelhead and that first king on the two-hander.

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This chum never had a chance. Princess gets what princess wants.

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Due to a mix-up at the campground entrance…got a better camping spot out of the deal.

Cut an hour plus hike into one kickass 15 minute bike ride.

Shared a beautiful piece of water with friends.

Got to show one of them for the first time.

Threw a few dries and buggers.

Caught a few.

Watched hundreds and hundreds of salmon swim by my feet.

Stood in the middle of them as they nervously rushed by.

Brought a few home.

Grilled one up the next day.

Makes for a good day wouldn’t you say?







The past couple of weeks have been hectic. Both sides of the family are due in town in a couple of weeks. Been heavy into harvest mode gathering up the necessary fish and game for the summer backyard bbq sessions. The hands and fingers wear the signs of use and abuse.

I’ve been sampling the goods heavily. I feel it is my duty as a good host. Have to be sure that what I’m serving up is worthy of the effort.

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Around the corner

Late summer 2004 | Photo by D. Yi

Pulling into the middle of August and the salmon are beginning to spawn. The activity is light at this point with the kings kicking things off first, but any day now the sockeye are going to drop and all hell will break loose. At the height of the spawn there are loose eggs everywhere and you can find them stacked in every place imaginable.

In the midst of the drop, the rainbows and dollies go crazy snatching up any loose egg not secured in the river bottom. The buffet line is huge and more than enough to go around. At this point, the fish have one thing on their mind and that is to stuff themselves full of egg chow.

Although in the past I’ve never fished anything but a bead, I imagine throwing anything but would be futile at best. At least that is what folks have been telling me.

Fish on every cast ain’t a myth and at times, like last year for example, it can get a little stale.

Fell for the bead | Photo by T. Satake.

I’m still holding firm to my commitment of not using beads. Now it’s put up or shut up time. I’m planning to fish throughout the spawn when I can and am coming armed with what I hope will pull those fish away from the bead.

We’ll see how this goes down.

The positive side of all this is that I carry much less gear than I used to. No more multiple boxes of beads, along with split shot, rubber bands, toothpicks, and indicators. I used to rattle when I walked. Now I just carry a box of streamers, a few sink tips, hand tied leaders, and tippet. I gotta say it’s kind of nice!

Folks around town are stocking up on beads and the chit chat is centered around when the big drop is going to happen. At the fly shops it is non-stop talk about bead size, bead color, and where to throw a bead.

And then there were two. Collectively the crew decided to pull beads out of the bag of tricks. I seem to recall some bold statements by a few members. It seems as though a few of us have decided to use again. In the face of adversity it was just too much to handle.

No doubt about it...these things work well...too well. | Photo by D. Yi

Story goes that some rather large trout in a small stream up North refused every offering. It’s not surprising since the salmon are spawning and are keying in on eggs. Why they were carrying beads in the first place surprises me. In the end these boys decided to rig up beads and proceeded to hook one fish after another. These boys will go nameless until I can get the story straight from the fisher’s mouth.

Jay on the other hand is fishing this weekend and without hesitation said he was going to throw beads. Damn fool…after all that talk.

Well Tuber…looks like it is just you and me.

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