Kenai River Drift: Jim’s Landing to Hope, AK
August 6 2011
We spent the day drifting down the Kenai River fishing for salmon with our guide Jason and his guide outfit “Angle 45”.
Kyle lined up the trip for the Kenai drift. As I said in an earlier post, thank goodness we had Kyle. He did a great job setting these up.
A little back story… I sent an email to some friends suggesting that if I am lucky on this trip I would catch a Sockeye salmon on my own and if I am REALLY lucky I would catch a rainbow trout.
I’ll be fishing the Kenai River tomorrow with my family. Currently, the Kenai is full of Sockeye Salmon. The Salmon, as their life cycle ends, are turning a deep scarlet red as they travel home towards their spawning grounds. If I’m lucky I’ll snag one of these salmon and release it back into the river so it can continue it’s journey. If I’m REALLY lucky I’ll catch a beautiful rainbow trout which should be getting fat by following the salmon up river and heisting their eggs.
We met Jason at 5:30 AM on the river.
Unfortunately, my hands were pretty cold and I couldn’t cast the flyrod with either of my hands. Frustrating. I chose to make the most of the situation and scout the river as the sockeye moved upstream. They really are amazing. The clear blue of the river with the scarlet of the fish hovering and continuously moving upstream is something like a peaceful alien encounter.
There wasn’t much action early on. Even our guide was missing fish. I was thinking that this might go down as an epic failure. We stayed persistent.
Brendan using the ‘snag’ technique.
A note here about Michels day. Well, some back story first…
I have fished with her dozens of times. From Venice in Louisiana to Greece to Australia and New Zealand. She is a great fisherwoman. She gets what I call fisheye. It’s like the eye of the tiger but eye of the fish. You can see that she loves hooking & landing fish. In all the times we’ve fished together she has caught more fish than I have.
For some reason today, she didn’t end up netting a fish. She hooked into several.
And man, her persistence and perseverance were amazing. She had the right technique in the right spots at the right time. Not to mention, she helped film video and take pictures.
We’ve been on the road for a long time and she has been amazing. Hosting my family, helping me, keeping a good attitude, all the above. The perfect mate for a trip like this. And she’s frickin 7.5 months pregnant! Amazing! I am already a lucky boy that she caught me in her net…
Finally, Kyle snagged a Sockeye and Brendan pulled in a nice “chrome” female.
Michel actually had a sockeye take her pole from her!
I decided I needed to take another shot at this… I propped myself up against the boat and found a way to toss the line into the current and attempted a ragged technique to snag something. More harlip prayers…
Jason was working with me and wouldn’t you know… I hooked one!!
Not sure if I’d be able to reel Brendan came to help if needed. Well I wore that salmon out with my jury rigged approach.
Very special for a boy like me. To come all the way up here and net a fish like that is so fun. Us. The river. The salmon. My kind of creation.
That was enough for me. Kyle kept snagging reds and finally hooked a freshy that we ended up keeping.
Later we continued the drift and used plugs to try for some rainbows and dolly varden.
They were hitting. This was much easier for me. Just trolling off the side of the drift boat.
and netted a trophy Rainbow!
I hooked and…
A nice rainbow.
Afterwards we went to Jasons house in Hope. Real Alaska. He filleted the salmon and made sockeye sushi. Epic.
We left Kyle to do more fishing as we made our way back to Anchorage. I fly to San Francisco tomorrow for a doc check up.