FC: Alaska 2011
1: July 23, 2011 We left Blythe on a drive to Los Angeles, the first leg of the long awaited salmon fishing trip.
2: July 24, 2011 We spent the day traveling from Los Angeles to King Salmon.
3: When we arrived in King Salmon, we were greeted by Jon from Katmai Lodge. He gave us a short ride to our "inn" which was walking distance from the airport, but the ride was nice since it was raining. We checked into our room which was a detached cabin and a little more rustic than we expected. We got our fishing licenses at a nearby gift shop and ate a nice meal in the King Ko diner. We slept well, ate breakfast at the diner again, and received a call from Pete that we were ready to go to the Nushigak.
4: After a long delay in the Branch Air terminal waiting for the fog to lift, we took off for the Nushigak River in a float plane.
5: Flight to the Nushigak River
6: We had a quick lunch and headed out for an afternoon of fishing. Dad caught the first fish, a king, which we threw back. While being out for about three hours, we caught thirteen salmon, four of which were over twenty pounds.
7: We returned to camp cold, but content with the day. We had an enjoyable dinner with some interesting gentlemen and headed off to bed at 9:00, sun still out.
8: We had a "light" breakfast of biscuits and gravy, then headed out to fish. We fished by Anna's hole and found an aggressive group of silvers, landing six within the first hour.
9: We tried "catch and release", but I kept waiting too long and landing bleeders. I had to go in the penalty box and couldn't use bait. We fished from the bank for a while with some lures, on which Dad caught a really nice net. It was the catch of the day! We decided to fish kings, but didn't land any keepers. We headed back to dinner and saw a moose with two calves and a bald eagle on the way back. Brent was excellent at pointing out wildlife. We arrived to find the generator out, so Dad tried to assist. We went to bed earlier since there was no power. Hot showers had to wait!
10: We ate breakfast and headed out to fish. It was the first day that it was warm and clear. We stopped just below Anna's point and had four silvers by 9. We decided to only keep the bleeders. After lunch we decided to fish kings. I caught a 29" king just down river from camp. It took at least ten minutes to get it reeled in; I had learned much from trying to "horse" it in on previous attempts. We headed back to fish silvers, throwing a few back, and then ran into a dry spell. We eventually found a spot and Dad landed the last fish of the day. On the way back to camp Dad said, "Great day on the Nush!", and I agreed!
11: July 26th - Day 4 on the Nush
12: After breakfast we headed out in the fog to our usual spot. It took a bit to find where the fish were holding, but Brent eventually did. | We had six silvers and one king by lunch. The silvers are fun to catch since they are full of acrobatics, jumping and darting around. The kings dive and drag, requiring persistence and strength to bring in. We ate lunch and quickly caught our remaining four silver when we headed back out. I ended up in the "penalty box" again and had to fish without bait. We tried trolling for kings, to no avail, on our return to camp.
13: Ken, the guide, greeted us when we arrived back and was by his own admission inebriated. We were welcomed, however, by the good news that the generator was fixed. The hot shower was a treat! We had a spaghetti dinner and played cribbage with Brent and Anna. We stayed up until 10:00 that night - so late!
15: We woke up late on our last day on the Nush - 7:00. Being the only guests there was a little strange, but didn't affect the fishing. Heading out to the usual spot, we had six in the box by 10:00. We were trying to make the fishing last until 1:00. While on the shore I found this neat mushroom growing upside down in a tree. We ate lunch out and continued fishing. I caught the last fish, a bleeder at 1:00.
16: We had a thirty minute ride in the float plane with a crabby pilot. There seemed to be some belugas swimming in the bay below. | We were greeted by a plethora of bugs, as well as many of the guests we met at the Nushigak
17: We got settled in our room and joined the other guests for dinner. We had a 5-star meal and listened to the days adventures. I wasn't sure what to think about the next day's "bear watching" after listening to the other guests!
18: That is "bear watching" - looking over your shoulder to see where they are coming from. It wasn't exactly spectator event.
19: Margot Creek was a busy location, both with bears and fishermen. It was all catch and release which seems pointless. I failed to see the fun in that!
20: We had a day of fishing on Nakneak, not very productive though. We trolled for a bit and then fished from the bank. Dad landed a jack king which we kept. I hooked a nice king that got away, but also a jack king. With two in the box, the fishing came to a halt. We tried trolling, bank fishing, and a variety of lures.
21: Even though the fishing was lousy, the company and meals were nice. We laughed and laughed at dinner with a couple from Denver that we met, staying up until 10:00!
22: We sat around the last day, waiting for our departure. The fact that the fishing stunk made it easier to leave. It had been a wonderful trip! | We took home three fifty pound boxes of fishes - not bad for a couple of rookies! We shared the leftovers with the couple we met from Denver. They were excited since Margot Creek was only "catch and release". We ran into a man we had met in LAX on our flight out, and he was kind enough to share some smoked salmon with us. We tried to sleep on the way home, but arrived safely yet unrested.
23: To say it was a wonderful trip would be an understatement! The scenery was beautiful, the fishing was amazing, but the company was better than both. It was an opportunity of a lifetime to spend a week with just Dad. We had great conversations and a lot of fun. It was worth waiting for and far beyond any expectation I had of salmon fishing. "Thank you" seems inadequate!