Sunday, July 27, 2008

Alaska '08 Day 44, Klutina River

Fri July 25, 2008

Our outfitter took two rafts, 8 people, down the river this morning. We had an extra guy in our raft and they had 4 people from the Princess Lodge in another raft with another guide (Pete).

Since they think the fish are just entering the river today we started only 4 miles up instead of yesterday's 14 mile start point . Bummer, not as fun of a raft ride today!

While we were fishing I saw a black bear down river on the other side. A couple minutes later we watched the bear try to swim across the river. He got about half way across the river, into some white water, and turned around. I guess it was too swift. I couldn't believe a bear would try to swim the river being that it is so fast. Bears probably regularly cross the river but at slower spots. Dusty thought the bear tried to come across where he did because he smelled us or our salmon roe bait.

Also lots of eagles again on the river today. When we crossed the Glenn Highway Klutina bridge this morning there were 3 bald eagles on the gravel bar west of the bridge.

Within the first hour on the first hole Mike hooked into a king and we got it a shore. It put up a great fight. A couple minutes after that Don got one also. I rotated down the shore to the lowest spot in the eddy and hooked up right away but the line snapped immediately. As soon as the line broke I watched the river, I knew the fish would probably surface and try to throw the hook. Sure enought a nice king tail danced across the river trying to throw that hook. After those three it was pretty slow for a couple hours. Evidently the fish move through in groups. I hooked again and lost it within 30 seconds and then had nothing for a long time. I took a break and our 4th man, Herbert, moved into the lowest spot on the hole. Dusty gave us 10 minutes and we would move to the next hole down further on the river. Within a couple minutes of Dusty giving us last call Herbert hooked up with a big king. Herbert didn't really know what he was in for. He hooked up and the fish took off and he didn't know what to do. Mike yelled to the guide, Dusty, and he was able to talk him through it. Dusty asked me if we should move or stay since I was the only one without a fish. I made the call to stay if we got 3 fish there were probably more. They moved me back to the lowest spot in the hole. After maybe 10 minutes I hooked a big king. What a great fight. You cannot bring these fish to shore until they tire. We let it run out in the current and tried to get the fish up. It wanted to stay down in the current. Dusty made a couple attempts to net it but the fish just wasn't tired. I fought that fish 10 minutes or more until it was tired enough we could get its head up and bring it into shore. Dusty got it in the net and it was a male with the big hooked nose and toothy beak. When the fish first comes head up out of the water and you see that beak and the size it just seems like a monster. In the end it was a great day, everyone caught fish and right from the first hole. Today made up for all the work yesterday for no fish. When the day was over it looked like most groups on the river were getting fish today. For me I got a chance at world class king fishing as we passed through this area on our way to Valdez. Most people pay a lot of money to fly up here for a week just to come here and fish this river. What an experience!

- Jon


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