Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fly Fishing Adventures

Last weeks post brought a comment from a fellow fisherman by the name of Bryan McMurry.  He dropped a note introducing a book he wrote called "It's Not About The Fish".  Intrigue by the title and after looking at his website, I decided to order a copy.  Arriving on Monday, I just finished reading it today and it is purely delightful.  It is amazing how our experiences and philosophies are the very similar.  Although the book is about his experiences fly fishing, they apply to many experiences we have all had.  If you are interested in checking out Bryan's book you can see it at http://www.bryanmcmurry.com/.   

Bryan's fly fishing stories bring back a few memories of flyfishing in Alaska.  In 2002 we hiked over 6.5 miles up a well marked trail to Crescent Lake, south of Quartz Creek along the Sterling Highway.  Crescent Lake is well known for it's grayling, some being trophy size, and having never caught one, we were intrigued to have a chance at this unusual fish.  It took us about 2.5 hours to hike up to the lake outlet through a simply beautiful valley along Crescent Creek, which was rushing to meet Quartz Creek.  The hike brought us to the 2500 foot elevation through well documented bear country.  Making plenty of noise going up and down, I suspect the bears were focused on the salmon run going on at the Russian River as well Quartz Creek.  It still was pretty nerve racking.  We were disappointed to discover the grayling were not even close to the 16 inch range touted in all of the books and reference literature.  The biggest we caught could not have been more than 8 inches.  Still, the grayling is a beautiful fish with the sail like dorsal fin and the metallic platinum/rainbow colors. 

Our next fly fishing adventure in Alaska was in 2008 when we flew across the Cook Inlet to fish a remote small river called Polly Creek.   Hiring a charter airplane to drop us off on the beach we fished the first half mile of the river as it dumped into the Cool Inlet.  This promised to be a great place to ambush silvers as the came in on the high tide.  Because high tide was a good 8 hours away, we were relegated to fishing a few holes and the riffles between what was regarded as the honey hole, down to where the freshwater met the salt water.  It took about an hour to feel our way around the river and soon found the fish.  Here my brother Steve has a very nice Chum (or Dog) Salmon on his fly rod.  This was a very nice fish, maybe over 12 lbs however after about 15 minutes it snapped his line.  It was the prize hookup of the day. 

Having caught a few Humpy's that were sitting behind the rocks, we soon discovered the mother lode of Dolly Vardon trout.  These sea run trout follow the salmon runs into the streams and gorge themselves on the eggs of the spawning salmon that may end up free drifting in the current.  They are handsome fish with almost fluorescent orange spots and white lined fines, like a brook trout.  Locating them in a stretch of the river over 100 feet long, we used a pattern called the Egg Sucking Leech to fool quite a few Dolly's 14 to 20 inches long.  It was really fun to concentrate on our fly rod skills to catch another species found in Alaska.  If you notice, I have white tape on my glasses.  Prior to our plane ride, I had a pair of good Costa Del Mar interchangeable lens sunglasses.  Upon being dropped off I could not find my glasses, although I did have the replacement lenses.  Anyone who fishes these conditions know how important polarized glasses are for seeing fish.  Well, my brother Steve had a cheap pair of regular glasses as a spare so we removed the worthless lenses and using white tape from our first aid kit, taped in the polarized lenses.  Although not the prettiest, they did the job just fine and kept me in the game the rest of the day.  On the way back our pilot mentioned a pair of nice sunglasses that were left on the counter.  Not hearing it, it wasn't till the next day my cousins put 2 and 2 together and we went back to the Soldotna Airport to claim my long lost glasses. 

I am still healing and not as well as I would have expected or liked.  The Sportshow is this week and I look forward to seeing Ken and Judy Marlow from our Alaskan adventures as they are simply wonderful people.  Hopefully I can talk my brother into buying a nice boat this weekend!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can you believe that there use to be a bounty in Alaska on dolly varden? Now they are a prized species. Decided to pass on a booth at the sport show this year but plan on attending one of these days. I'll keep an eye out for you.


p.s. 4 limits of crappies today. All between 12-14 inches.