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DocEsox

New Board...2007 Fish Review in Pics...very long

23 posts in this topic

Have bad insomnia so was up late last week and kind of threw together some of last years fishing pictures. Thought some of you might enjoy them...from Texas, Montana and my home in Alaska.

Couldn't quite wait for the snow to clear home here in Alaska so in February last year I headed down to Corpus Christi, TX to do a few days of fishing for a trophy speckled trout. I took my stepson with me and we had a great 3 days fishing with Jay Watkins, a guide I met many years ago while there in the air force.

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The first few days were off and on for specks but we hammered the redfish....what a hoot they are. Finally on the last day we got into specks pretty good. I must have caught near 50, when, yes, at the last ditch stop I finally caught my toad....a 28 inch hen....snapped a few pics and put her back in the water to fight again.....great time:

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The season started in late April in Alaska, fishing the Talkeetna River about 3 hours north of Anchroage with my stepson, Alex:

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We begin with some small dolly varden (a char)

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Moved into some of extremely colored Alaskan coastal rainbows:

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This was followed in early May by a trip to the Kashwitna River which, just like anywhere else, was very tough fishing and we only managed a few on the float until we got to the confluence with the Big Susitna River....not everyone's morning drive has Mt. McKinley prominently sitting in the foreground:

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At the mouth of the river I decided to get away from conventional wisdom and changed to a large 4-5inch green sculpin pattern.....on the first cast it was demolished by a 40 lbs king salmon which I managed to hold onto for about 30 seconds on my 5 wt flyrod.....but I gave the guide one of those flies and he said the next night he came up and caught 15 kings with that fly in the one evening....screw convention....I did manage a nice little jack king there and about a dozen other trout:

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After the first two trips Alex had his wisdom teeth extracted....pay back for the fish!

In June did 2 floats down the Willow River as some of the first king salmon of the year were showing up:

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Near the get out point, due to flood waters last year there is a inpenetrable logjam which stretches for 600 yards solid on the Willow...my friend and guide Mike figured a way around it....but it required some skinny portaging:

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Some cabins left wiped out and one in the middle of the river after the flooding:

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While going to and from this last fishing trip I had about an hour to stop at a local hole where a few king salmon had been moving through...fortunately was able to tag one after 30 minutes (which garnered me some hard stares from the rest of the crowd who had been there for hours without seeing a fish...hey...I thanked everyone. Bled it, bopped it and filleted it and it was on the plane with me that night to a family reunion in Montana where everyone had very fresh king salmon the next night.

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I spent two weeks at my parents and inordinate amounts of relatives on Flathead Lake in Montana every July. We get to set off fireworks .... anything short of a thermonuclear detonation is okay....fish and increase our chances of getting skin cancer....the fishing can be pretty fab there also. These first set of pictures all on a single day fishing the Missouri River below Holter Dam....it was dang hot too:

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These next group of fish all came from the stretch above:

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After a quick lunch at a local dive in Craig we fished a backwater I know and picked up some brownies with the bows:

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My brother in law and I then spent a day driving way out in the bushes to the extreme northwest corner of Montana where the ONLY native strain of rainbow exists....in the small upper reaches of the Yaak River. These are Columbia Basin Redband Trout....oncorhynchus mykiss gairdneri.....we caught several of the cute little devils and some westslope cutts also:

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Spent the only other few days I fished treading up and down the Swan River and trib to Flathead Lake...have been fishing it since I was 10.....over 4 decades. It still has a very strong, nearly untouched, run of the threatened bull trout. What has endangered the bull trout in the Swan was introduction of nonnative brook trout 100 years ago....as the brookies will hybridize with the bull trout and in some streams there are no pure bull trout left. They fish and game would love for everyone to smack all these hybrids on the head but know that most people can't even tell the brook trout from the bull trout...let alone the hybrids. Here's one of the biggest hybrids I ever caught.....has intermediate markings from a bull and brook but the easiest giveaway is the dorsal fin is mottled.....pure bulls have absolutely no marks on their dorsal fin....if you are into taxonomy, as I am, there are several other characteristics too. I have had F&G wardens question me on a kept fish....some of them don't know the difference:

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The second pic above is of a young bull trout....we all know what brookies look like.

Here's a few other Swan River pics:

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This big hen was unfortunately gill hooked and bleeding and did not revive....she did herself well on the dinner plate:

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It was back home to Alaska and the annual trek on Montana Creek in the Mat-Su valley with my good friend Corby, the pshrink.....nicest guy....plus I can run faster than him so the bears will always eat him first. From those not familiar with Alaskan waters everything is connected to the salmon runs....here is a picture of 3 different species of salmon...spawned out, rotting and doing what they do (a king, a chum and a pink) they smell great too:

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The chum, or dog salmon were ready to go and gave quite the tussle on a 5 wt rod:

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Spawning chums:

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A pink, or humpy salmon all morphed out:

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Matching "the hatch":

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We started coming across alot of these bruin prints and decided to head back after a little lunch:

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Tried to tell the pshrink it wasn't good to be marking territory with the bears around but I obviously got nowhere:

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That moved me into August where I took a break from "my" fishing and took the family and a close friends out for some silver fishing on the nearby Little Susitna...the silvers were in and big...the kids had a blast:

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Keeping everyone hooked up and happy (notice the only guy in the water is me) gave me only 20 minutes to cast...fortuantely I picked up my 2 silver limit in that time....very fun

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My daughters first solo silver:

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Back at the landing for the gratuitous group picture...actually my best friend and kids with the biggest silvers:

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The next weekend my boss invited me on a "Blast N Cast"....we headed out in his homebuilt landing on a high mountain bluff below MT. Redoubt, an active volcano, behind the airplane:

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Even his labrador, Eider rides with ear protection on:

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Bob, Eider and I set off in the thick bushes (hoping the bears wouldn't eat us) and shot several extremely good tasting willow ptarmigan...the state bird....the little buggers turn snow white in the winter:

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We had some lunch and then hopped down in the plane to a small grass, dirt landing strip on the Kuskatan River for some afternoon silver fishing...spectacular scenery along the way:

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Here's the 3 silvers I kept out of a dozen or so hooked....it was great fishing...

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On the way out I took this picture....little reminders of the teddy bears which are everywhere:

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At this point I broke for a few weeks and actually worked so I could pay for my ongoing fishing addiction. This brought us into September and the always necessary halibut trip...went with some friends out of Homer and up until the last hour it didn't look like we were going to get anything bigger than around 20 lbs:

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Beautiful view of Mt. Illiamna across the water....another active volcano:

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Then we got lucky....nailed one about 35 and then grandma came in at 135 lbs...caught with a group effort.

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You have to admire the choice of names for the gals who fillet these things....you don't want to mess with Becky cause she can gut you in about 5 seconds:

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Cheek meat is the best:

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Now were cooking again....the reds (sockeye) are up all the streams laying eggs and the trout fishing is starting to go crazy. A good friend took me to his "secret spot" and made sign a blood oath if I ever revealed it. Small stream off a big lake on the Kenai Peninsula...difficult to find and totally infested with brown bears....there was bear [PoorWordUsage] every two inches on that stream and you could hear them everywhere in the bushes around us....always a bit eerie as you fish with the chance to become bear [PoorWordUsage] at any given moment....the fish were mostly dollies, beautiful color and dumb as a box of rocks in their little stream:

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About this time we came across a freshly steaming bear dropping and decided to turn and head back:

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A week later found me bouncing beads on Quartz Creek which is a trib to Kenai Lake and runs right along the hwy. The reds were in thick and so were the dollies right behind them:

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The following friday I was floating the upper Kenai River with my pshrink friend and a guide I have known for many years. The fishing was fabulous and I lost count after 50 fish.....dollies and rainbows:

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This one I caught at the launch waiting for the guide:

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Right after shore lunch this teenager showed up giving us some real attitude:

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We spotted this old boar eating crow berries along side the lake:

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The next weekend I bounced around Quartz Creek:

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Forced myself to work another week then back down floating the upper Kenai with another friend:

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That last bow did me in.....5 wt flyrod....a healthy 11-12 lbs and I had to quit fishing cause my shoulder was in so much pain....had surgery on it 5 weeks ago....hopefully it will be ready by summer

Hope you enjoyed 2007 in review.

Brian

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Loss for words...Looks like an amazing year of fishing! I would definatly like to get to alaska sometime in my life. A ton of great fish and amazing scenary. Its a good thing you didnt become bear(poor word useage) grin.gif, Hope this year is just as good or better for you.

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Any Catfish? (just kidding) Those photos are great!

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looks like you guys had a awesome trip.

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I sure wish we were related and I'm too old to be adopted! Great fishing pics and stories! All the Alaskan fish are just gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.

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WOW!!!!!

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Nice pictures!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

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your one year of fishing seems to eclipse my enitre lifetime of angling. impressive.

Thanks so much for sharing with us.

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Nice pictures. I had similar luck last year on the lower Laguna Madre, however that was the extent of my travels.

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thats probably the best set of picture I've seen in here. WOW

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That was totally cool. Thank you for sharing those beautiful pictures with us.

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I agree with everyone else, what a set of photos and what a year!!! One thing though, you might want to put a 56k warning on there for the guys using dial up. JK They will just have to wait hours for these pics to load, cause they are worth it.

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Those pictures are awesome. When you catch a salmon that is almost near the end of its life, are they safe to eat?

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They would be safe to eat but once they color up and change physically the meat gets mushy, white and not very tasty...unless you are a eagle or bear. Some moreso than others, when kings just start to flush with pink their meat usually starts to head south, whereas male coho which are all red can be quite firm still.

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In my opinion, the best post I've read on this site. Those pictures were truely priceless! I hope to make a trip to Alaska once in my life and catching just a fraction of the fish you caught would make my trip.

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I feel so insignificant... Thanks for sharing!

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Awesome stuff..... GREAT pictures, I'll have to agree, one of the best posts ever.

Thanks

Mike

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Some awesome looking release shots with those trout. If you don't mind, what area were you fishing in Montana? I have been to MT every year of my life, and done lots of fishing out there.

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Fishcast.....a good number of the pictures....all of the brown trout are from the upper Missouri....between Craig and Holter Dam. The others are primarily from the Swan River....most from the Swan above Swan Lake. While in the Air Force I was stationed at Malmstrom AFB and lived in Great Falls for several years, extensively fishing the Missouri.....also fished the Beaverhead a great deal and the West Fork of the Bitterroot (use to work a job 4 days a month at the Job Corp which is located up the Bitterroot from Darby. Love fishing Montana. Still know areas of the Swan where 100's of bull trout wander through in August.....they are protected now so we don't target them but have the occasional incidental catch......have caught some darn big bull/brook hybrids which I cull onto the dinner plate.

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I wish I could have a fishing year like that. I would love to get up to Alaska for some fishing.

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I can get only half the pictures to load. Still, from what I see an amazing year. Thanks for sharing!

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Those are some amazing pictures, congrats on a great year!

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Great post. I was able make to Alaska the last three summers. The first trip with the wife for 12 days. I was hooked. I told her that I was going to do this every year. (She goes to Mexico every year with her girlfriends it's only fair, no desire to go there) The next year with my brother and some friends. Last (2007)year she gave me her frequent flyer mies and I went by myself. I have some friends that live in Anchorage and have a cabin on the Kenai river. I spent 3 days in Homer two halibut charters there, That Becky is really fast at filetting halibut. I also fished the pond on the spit and caught two silvers. Then I floated the Kenai with my friends. The best fishing trip I've ever had, hands down. The best ever. Everybody says they want to do it at least once in their lifetimes, that's not enough. People ask me what I like better, Minnesota or Alaska, two completely different places. Alaska is so big, it's mind baffling how anything can be that big. Every place you look is a picture. In 3 trips I've taken over 2700 pictures, digital cameras are great. All of those pictures you posted Doc were great. brought back a lot of memories. Thanks

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