...and the aged!
I treated my dad to a very unique experience today...floating down the Kenai River in the fall while all the trout are gorging themselves for the upcoming winter. What that translates into is great fishing! I thought about just going down and fishing form the shore but I took some good advice from an even better friend and decided to splurge and just go for it. It was WELL worth it.
We drove down and met our guide Mike at 8:30 and were in the water by 9. Unfortunately, the only day we could go was a very wet day. It was also only about 40 degrees so it made for a cold adventure. We were relatively prepared so our clothes held up and we stayed pretty dry. And as Mike said, "The fish don't care. They're already wet!"
After a few first lessons, we were drifting downriver and Sam was the first to catch a dolly varden. It was on the small side but still very beautiful! I think Sam caught the next fish too but we didn't get a picture of it.
Then it was Dad's turn to get in on the act. BUT this time was VERY special. We stopped and anchored at this nice hole where Mike saw a few silver salmon...a bit early for the second run the season. We traded in our fly rods and started casting toward the shore for 15 minutes or so but with no luck. At one point Mike told us just one more cast and we'll move on. About 5 casts later, he yelled at Dad to set the hook and when Dad yanked up, he had hooked a VERY nice size silver salmon. The fight was on and it was a dandy. The salmon (a blushed buck) was happy to give us a show and jumped out of the water several times trying to shake the hook loose. Dad kept the line tight and before long, Mike was able to net this beauty...
I like this one Sam took of Mike holding Dad's silver. We estimated that it was probably close to 15 pounds.
Well at this point, I was happy to call it a day because Dad was as giddy as a schoolgirl and Sam had caught his fish. ....buuuuttttt....I kinda wanted to catch a fish too and the thought had crept into my mind ...."what if you don't catch a fish?" Certainly Mike wouldn't let that happen, right?
Well, not much longer we pulled up to a GREAT spot again and were working it hard for any trout or dollies. I got the strangest hit on my fly and I tried to set the hook and the only way I could describe it was it was like I had snagged a fish in the tail. It just didn't feel right or fight ...initially. THEN the fight was on. I knew it was a big fish. It only gave me a few small jumps but before long, we got it in the net and Mike looked at it for a while and finally said "it's a SILVER!!!"
Well, now I felt like I found my groove. It wasn't long after that that I had my next big hit and the best fight of the day (for me at least). I landed a BEAUTIFUL dolly varden! This first picture is Mike doing the typical guide photo-op...holding the fish way out in front, close to the camera to make it look as big as possible. Be sure to click on one of these pictures. It really is a beautiful fish. You can also see that it's had a hard life by the obvious scars on its back.
Well now I was just showing off. Again, I was the next to land a fish with a rainbow! It was a not the huge beast I was hoping for but by this point, I was MORE than happy with what I had already been blessed with. I happily reeled in this nice fish and posed for a few pics.
Not to be outdone, Dad quickly landed another rainbow.
an the end, we each had caught 3. I caught one of each; a silver, dolly, and a bow. Dad caught the biggest silver, 2 rainbows including the biggest bow of the day. And Sam caught 2 bows and one dolly...plus a couple more quick releases. ;)
We decided to take our salmon home for dinner for the ladies. Lisa was EXTREMELY jealous that she didn't get to go. I am going to try and get her out on the Kenai sometime this month. It is DEFINITELY worth the money.
The salmon was a very pleasant and delicious surprise (so I was told). Sam came over and helped us prepare and grill my salmon. Dad is going to take his home to share (and show off) for his friends. We had a fun night of grilling and laughter...a perfect ending to a perfect day.