Alaska Trip....this weekend! - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 09-15-2005, 11:31 AM
fishhead fishhead is offline
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Alaska Trip....this weekend!

Hi guys! Well the year long wait is FINALLY over again and this weekend I fly out from RDU to SEATAC in Seattle for an overnight tourist visit and meet my Bro-in-law his business partner and friend and after a delicious meal at Ivar's House of Clams on the waterfront and then fly out early Sunday to Ketchikan, Alaska. Then we either floatplane or ferry over to Prince of Wales Island for a fantastic week of fishing for Silver Salmon in the rivers, streams and cricks around the southern half of the island. This is my 6th trip and only my third time up with a fly rod in tow. Most of the time is spent slinging hardware with spinning and casting gear. The first year with a fly rod- an 8 weight with a SA large arbor reel and I had just bought it and learned to "almost" cast with it. Then once in the rivers I had to roll cast almost exclusively because of my casting ineptness or heavy tree and brush cover right up to the banks of the waters we fished. One creek had an open area near the mouth but the wind blew me out and I had to resort to slinging hardware to catch fish and avoid the frustration. The last two trips I only managed to flyfish very sparingly due to various reasons and lack of skill the first year being the main one. The flies used are typical AK fare- anything big and pink or egg patterns and Egg Sucking Leeches being the single most effective fly. After the morning limits were caught and processed into the freezer by the group, I'm able beg the vehicle and go solo with my fly rod back to the rivers to do my own thing even though my skill level was low and time short, not to mention the bite was off after 11AM each day. I did dedicate at least one full day last year to nothing but flyrod and managed to fall into a honeyhole near some boulders and caught a limit of 6 Silvers in the 10 pound range in short order. That was my personal best day of the trip as there is just no comparison between longsticking and featherchucking versus slinging hardware and cranking the fish in. Having used my 5 weight only all year for Bass and panfishing the local waters, I feel much more comfortable with a flyrod and have also pulled out the 8 weight to cast in the front yard every now and then. It is a 9 ft 8 weight with a SA large arbor with Orvis Yellow Wonderline for Stripers and a ten foot tapered leader with a short 10 pound mono tippet. Sometimes a little extra weight is added if the fly isn't heavy enough to sink into the zone. So.......any last minute tips, advice, fly choices or jealous envy comments (lol!) are welcome. What would you more experperienced guys and gals do in my place?

This pic is from 2 years ago same place I'm going this weekend. Same rig.

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  #2  
Old 09-15-2005, 12:58 PM
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EddieF EddieF is offline
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I am so jealous, that sounds like an amazing trip. How big is that fish you're holding in the picture from a couple years ago?

I have nothing to offer, you're more experienced than I am. Just wanted to say I'm jealous.

So does an 8wt make it easier to cast in wind than, say, a 5wt? And is it the heavier rod or heavier line that makes the difference?

Take lots of pictures.

Ed.
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Old 09-15-2005, 01:22 PM
fishhead fishhead is offline
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Lines, rods, reels are matched by weight..

As I learned from reading and shopping and then first hand by swapping my 5 wt reel with the 8 wt reel with appropriately rated line and BOY! what a faux pas! ( all you experts can stop laughing now!) the 5wt rod would not carry the 8 wt line as it bent like a willow twig and the line just flopped everywhere but right. I thought I could "cheat" on this trip and take my 5 wt rod (which I use every week) with the larger reel and not have to swing the slightly heavier 8 wt rod. Nope, it don't work that way. I keep the 5 pound dumbell at work for strength training the 165 pound dumbell who is typing. LOL! The heavier rod can cast in the wind better because of its stiffness but sometimes the wind was blowing constant over 20 mph and gusting. The line would just go out a little ways and puddle a spaghetti mess right in front of me or blow off to the side 30 feet. This fish is right close to 12 pounds but fought like 25. In the air! left 50 yards! In the air! Right 80 yards! Repeated several times until landed. Hoping to use the flyrod much much more next week. The forecast is calling for rain and a whole lot of silver!
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Last edited by fishhead; 09-15-2005 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 09-15-2005, 02:47 PM
Jere Eshelman Jere Eshelman is offline
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Fishhead on PWI

I have to tell you that seeing this post makes me think back on the years that I spent time on the Island in the spring time chasing chrome of a different sort. The stories of thier fall runs of silvers entrigued me but this is my hunting season comming up, and we have to set our priorities. Have a great time fishhead.
Jere
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Old 09-15-2005, 03:25 PM
fishhead fishhead is offline
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Thanks, Jere......I'm gonna guess....

you were chasing steelhead??? There is a small fall/ winter return but most action is in the springtime.

A short story on the Klawock river steelhead....I volunteer at one of the local Hatcheries helping count and separate Salmonids as they pass the weir and ladder into the lake with one of the fisheries biologist, Peter, who is a Tlingit (pronounced Kling-it for those who may not know) and works at the Hatchery. So he, also a flyfisher, tells me of his last December Steelheading trip to the mouth of the river and by standing on a boulder is sight fishing to spot one to cast to. Then he hooks up and chases this big Native beauty for 25 minutes up and down the river and he is in and out of holes, riffles, pools, and splashing like a bear following his fish. Then at last he brings it to hand and has it. ....pause.......WOW! Peter, how big was it?, I ask. He holds out his hands ......waaaayyy far apart and says it measured 42 inches! JEEPERS! I almost fall over backwards, literally, recoiling from the impact of his statement and imagining the length and girth of such a beast! WOW! Incredible!, I say.....Did you get a lot of pictures of it?


I hope you guys are sitting down now....



No......He says.........."I ATE IT!"



Inside......I just go ...."AUUUuuuggghhh!" "ohhhhh noooo" I'm dieing on the inside at hearing that but outside.......we both have a somewhat weird laugh together......

The culture thing of the Natives is Catch and Eat with thanks and respect.......but man .....not even a single photo was killing me. ... a 42 inch steelhead would be a lifetime fish; for me anyway. And perhaps after 25 minutes it would have not survived a release being too taxed,spent and fatigued from the fight. Who knows?

Steve
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Old 09-15-2005, 04:01 PM
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EddieF EddieF is offline
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That's an interesting juxtaposition of the American Indian subsistence culture and the clear, pure sport of fly fishing. Does that make sense, what I just wrote? I understand subsistence for Natives -- even to the degree of taking whales. But it seems to almost conflict with the method he chose in this case.

Anyway, he's entitled, I don't begrudge him. I just thought it was interesting.

Ed.
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Old 09-15-2005, 04:05 PM
Jere Eshelman Jere Eshelman is offline
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Shhhh....You should not mention those fish. The state allows 2kills/year of fish over 36".... I have some pictures of fish up to that 42" mark from those rivers, and the smallest measured 27" during my years of fishing that Island. Have fun. Jere
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Old 10-01-2005, 06:39 PM
M. saxatilis M. saxatilis is offline
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Hi guys,

This thread hit pretty close to home for me. I have been living/working on Prince Of Wales for the past three summers now and have taken a great interest in the condition of local steelhead populations. During the spring I perform snorkel surveys in many streams that support these fish and seldom do I count a fish over 36". They are there, but few, few, very few and far in between.

The susbsistence harvest of steelhead is a whole new can of worms there. I have mixed feelings about that one, none of which will be discussed here. I am really happy that these fish are coming out of the Klawock river and not some of the other watersheds on the island. Best to keep the wild genes spawning!

All else, that is a pretty sweet Coho you have there. I might be inclined to ask where it was caught however, I think I recognize that skunk cabbage behind you in the photo.

Happy fishing.
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Old 10-03-2005, 02:42 PM
fishhead fishhead is offline
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OK- you got me, the skunk cabbage is....

the one on the right side of the trail as you leave the POWHA hatchery going behind John's house and heading towards the mouth. My buddies nickname all the holes and this particular spot in actually off the river about 20 feet where the feeder creek feeds the river just below the hole we call the "boat ramp" because of the rock formation that comes up out of the water like a ramp when the river is not real high. The boat ramp is the first area after the rocky point which is just barely below the 300 foot marker. So now you can say "I knew it!". I'm actually sitting / kneeling in the the creek area that you cross to continue on the trail. Haven't targeted steelhead in AK as our trips are always with the Coho return. I worked with John, Sadie, Joyce, and Charley this past trip and got to say hi to Peter the Native fisheries guy who had caught that monster steelhead a while back. he was on his way to count sockeye in feeder creeks up around the lake I think. Nice to hear from an Islander. Bet you see an innummerable quantity of humpies and lures if you got in the river right now.
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