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Alaskan Report (with a few pics)

 
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Done
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Joined: 24 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 8:00 pm    Post subject: Alaskan Report (with a few pics) Reply with quote

Well, I've been patiently waiting out the winter here and summer is just about to hit full swing. That's right...it pretty much goes from winter to not winter and back to winter fast. By the end of June it'll be full summer, by the first of September fall will start, and by October we'll be back to winter. Anyway, on to the fishing!

I have no idea how the winter cycle here affects fishing. I know a lot of local lakes are starting to thaw but I had no idea if the fish would be biting. My thought is that if you can catch them ice fishing then they should be catchable anytime the ice is broken.

I went to a local stream and was the first to arrive. The air was around 50-some odd degrees but I was greeted by a suprising amount of ice:



I started off throwing my old standby of a #16 hare's ear nymph. Nothing. Then on to a brassie...nothing. Ok, so let's try something else... I've been tying several patterns trying to build my limited skills. The first streamer I have been tying really well is a black nosed dace. So, I tied one on and still had no luck whatsoever. I could actually see schools of Grayling camped out under the bridge but they were hugging the bottom and not interested in anything I was throwing. I had one fish swirl a streamer right as it hit the surface. I used that as my cue and tied on several dry standbys to no avail. There were massive chunks of ice floating by and the water was completely frigid. Luckily I had layered my legs pretty well. My t-shirt SUCKED but my legs were ok. Later on I would learn how much it hurts the hands & fingers to hold little squirming chunks of ice.

Eventually I ended up back with the black nosed dace. I started casting across the deeper holes and slowly stripping the streamer back. The water was gin-clear and I was able to see a shadow move up and out of the rough water to turn on the streamer. Finally, a fish was brought to hand, breaking the seal for 2011.

After that I had no more luck and eventually moved to the opposite side of the bridge. To either side of these tunnels the fish would stack up between 3 and 5 feet deep.


After this the bite was on. I eventually switched to a Mickey Finn streamer that was really hot. Although not nearly the biggest, here's one that fell for the streamer:


Here are some more shots of the creek:


In the following pic, you can barely see a man standing in the background as a size reference to the massive ice chunks.


It may be hard to tell from the pics, but the water was crystal clear. Several times I would see a large grayling cruising and cast just in front of him to have him tear it up. Eventually the streamer lost its magic and I switched to a bead-head copper john. In the end I lost count at over 15.

On a side note I've been trying to get a partner to get out and hike/fish with. The wife is not adventurous at all, and I'm not a big fan of getting into an emergency situation by myself. Last year, there were at least 2 guys that ended up out in the woods for several days before rescue found them. So I've been trying to reach a comprimise in not taking anything I don't need, but also having all the key survival elements in my vest or backpack. Today I didn't pack a sidearm or my bear spray as I'm skeptical to the bears. I haven't seen any since moving to AK, and surely it wouldn't happen to ME. This place is close to home so I didn't bother with a gun or spray.

Then while fishing I started talking to another guy that lives about 5 miles away. He told me that on the same flow, about 5 miles downstream 2 weeks ago he was hiking along it in a heavily forested area. He was in a bend and the ice was still pretty thick. He heard a loud crashing noise at the top of the river bank and looked up to see a grizzly come running down the hill at him. He started waving his arms and yelling (what you are NOT supposed to do) because he didn't have spray or a weapon. As the grizzly came running onto the frozen creek the ice smashed under her weight and she took a cold dunk then ran back into the woods. I asked him if he $H1t himself and he said, "I know they tell you don't run, but I've never run so fast in my life! I barely slowed down when I dropped my buddy's Sage rod he let me borrow."

So, yeah, not the place to be taking chances or shortcuts. I now have immediately-ready bear spray holstered to my fishing vest so it can be fired from the holster, and I'm debating on the sidearm. The .460 is high on my list because a 12 gauge is just too bulky.
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Purple Squirrel
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Joined: 02 Feb 2009
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Location: "The difference between fly fishers and worm dunkers is the quality of their excuses." ~ A

PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Snowbass, nice pictures
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fishhawk
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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice work. And I thought it was bad having to worry about snakes.
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jeubank3
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Location: the gump

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

awesome stuff. i need to get up there. if anyone esle is game, i'll pay for food if you pay for gas Wink
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gmreeves
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice. It looks like the grayling are a little bigger than last year.
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Bamaspot
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome!
Pics are stellar too.
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Wrazor
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Joined: 01 Sep 2009
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Location: Near small creek, Alabama

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Extremely good reporting and pics. Thanks for sharing. Hope you never have anything to report when it comes to griz!
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DirtyWhiteBoy
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Joined: 06 Jul 2006
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Location: Poverty Ridge, AL

PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2011 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Enjoyed the read and pics. Smile Stay strong, SB.
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