Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Alaska trip #4: Fly-in with my daughter and grandson

The highlight of my fantastic trip to Alaska, has to be the day trip we flew in to a small pike lake, near Anchorage.
My grandson, Abe, had not experienced flying in a float plane, or caught a fish on a fly-especially one tied by his grandpa...
...that was all to change!

We spotted several moose in a big meadow, from the plane, and the pilot was nice enough to bank the plane so we could get a closer look.

This is one happy boy!
I would make the cast and hand the rod to Abe so he could strip the gurgler himself. He caught-on fast and then learned to lift the rod and set the hook. Fortunately, he learned all this before the biggest fish of the day ate his gurgler!
He played the fish like a pro and we had the pike along side the boat in no time.

Abe was nervous about getting too close to those nasty teeth, but managed to hold on long enough for a picture. What a great experience for all three of us, and I can still hear Jenny, my daughter, laughing with joy over her son's fish.

Oh, Yea! Maybe the best eating fish in Alaska, in addition to being a great top water fish!

I can't wait to get back up there next year!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Alaska Trip #3: Grayling and 4 wheeling into the bush

This is a fishing trip? Yikes! I soon realized it was an excuse to take the
4 x 4's out............. and get them stuck!

Fortunately, this was the worst part of the bog, but it was a killer. After getting a winch in position, we were able to keep moving, however, the winch was needed many times before we reached our camp site some 15 miles off the Glenn Highway.

Finally, we arrived at our destination, a beautiful stream with plenty of big grayling waiting to pounce on a dry fly.

Just before this picture was taken I jumped a big caribou grazing near the stream. What a site!

Since spring was late this year, only large grayling, of 15" or larger, were migrating through the stream, with their smaller cousins following them in the weeks to come. A well placed dry fly brought solid rises, and this grayling was the largest I caught-nearly 20 inches long!

Later that evening, as we sat around the campfire, a bit of wild Alaska unfolded before us. A bald eagle dropped like a rocket, and nearly missed a low flying seagull.

I am grateful to my daughter, Jennifer, and her husband, Harold for making this special trip to the "bush" a memorable and exciting experience.

Alaska Trip #2: Sheefish-The Holitna River

This sheefish was about the largest we caught on the Holitna River.

It weighed in at about 17 lbs.

Big sheefish caught with a Gray & White Slideball slider!

The head of a snook, the body of a white fish, the mouth of a tarpon. Yep, it's a sheefish!

...Yep! The Slideball....again!

This is a typical 12# sheefish, which we caught one rainy morning. We lost track of the count, and it was great fishing with buddies who didn't count fish. Fish were still busting smolt as we motored away, totally content and satisfied with our success.

Note the jumping sheefish, in the background. There were many fish, like this one, chasing smolt, all morning, and our casts need only reach 40-50 ft. to bring a strike!

My old buddy, Tom Ross, and new friend, Mike Scott, had a fantastic trip to Sleetmute and the Holitna River. It was a trip of a lifetime, and I am thankful to them for making it a reality for this old fly fisherman!

Alaska trip #1-More Pike and Sheefish on the Holitna

We discovered this slough accidently, while exploring the upper Holitna. Our largest pike were taken here.
This fish is about 10 lbs.

The weather was beautiful...for a while. Good populations of moose and golden eagles were found all along the Holitna River, in addition to a black bear with 2 cubs.

Gurgler caught Northern Pike!

The teeth on a pike are impressive, and we had a number of punctures and cuts which gave us even more respect for this vicious preditor! The strikes were usually impressive, sometimes launching from 10 feet away to crash down on our gurglers!

Pike with big Gurgler!

A quick change to smolt patterns and we were ready for sheefish.....
....the first pod of sheefish we found were somewhat small, but a second pod, some 25 miles up river, held bigger fish. These fish ranged between 10 and 20 lbs.!
Since the weather was overcast and raining, the sheefish fed continuously through the day, giving us all the fish-catching we wanted! Normally, sheefish feed in the low light of morning and evening. My new Slideball slider, in gray and white, seemed to entice the larger fish from the pack, with many around 15 lbs. The surface strikes were a blast.

Sheefish with Gray & White Slideball Slider

This new easy-casting Slideball slider was deadly on the big Holitna sheefish!