Land Of The Midnight Sun

Chinook
edited September 2005 in Catch Reports
Came up to Alaska about a week ago to do a little fishing and also to see the State
Fair. What a drastic change of climate from a hot and arid California to the wet and
cold Alaskan weather. Since I'm going to go fishing again early morning again - I will
keep my narrative short and let the photo journal do the talking instead.

Trip started with boarding a puddle-jumper at the Sacramento Airport.



The plane flew over the Sacramento River delta towards San Francisco.



The Sacramento River soon branched into various channels deep within the delta region



The salt ponds along the south San Franciso bay soon came into view. The red color is from
the brine shrimp which is harvested as food for aquarium fish.



Descending to land at SF International, we flew over the lagoons of Foster City



Then we boarded a larger jet for the 5-hour flight to Anchorage, Alaska

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  • feesh
    err, not trying to be rude, but where are the fishes?
  • Chinook
    edited October 2007
    Upon landing at Anchorage, Alaska, we descended down the stairs to gather our luggage.



    Picked up a rental car and headed to Qwennie's, a delightful Alaskan restaurant for a bite to eat.



    The restaurant inside was decked out like a museum with all kinds of interesting Alaskan wildlife mounts and artifacts



    On display in the restaurant was a 45,000 year-old bison skull of an extinct species.



    Then it was off in a rental SUV onto the Glenn Highway headed for the Matanuska-Susitna
    (Mat-Su) Valley as a home base while in Alaska.



    Turning off the Glenn Highway, we drove towards the small towns of Palmer and Wasilla.

  • sunburned
    Chill, dude :drinkers: . They'll be out over a series of posts - Chinook always keeps us on our seats waiting, and its worth the wait! :smt023

    Chinook - 'puddle hopper' is an interesting term. Never thought of them that way before, but it sure makes sense with the 16hr flights to the US from this part of town :roll: :wink:

    Cheers,
    SB
  • Chinook
    edited October 2007
    We stayed in the same condo last October and had such a lovely and pleasant time - we
    decided to stay in the same condo again. Our hosts, Harvey and Sandy are about the most
    thoughtful and friendly inn-keepers you will ever find.



    While unloading our luggage, I noticed this old moose anthler near the driveway amid the wildflowers.



    To haul ourselves around, we rented a 4-wheel drive Chevy SUV.



    Blackcurrant bushes dotted the woods by the driveway so I helped myself to a few.



    Wild tiger lillies were in bloom too

  • Chinook
    edited October 2007
    Next morning, we drove out to Willow Creek to check it out. It was cold (around 40-degrees
    Fahrenheight or 4.5 Celcius) so we stopped for breakfast at a restuarant bar by the creek.



    Lots of tame black and tan bunnies running all around the RV park resort by the creek.



    There was even a place to clean your fish by the river



    It was still too early for most fishermen to be awake at 7AM

  • Chinook
    edited October 2007
    We had a hearty breakfast in the cosy restaurant by the river.



    Then we decided to walk around the RV resort since it looked so interesting and well-laid out.



    Beached on the pebble-covered shoreline along the river were pontoon fly-fishing inflatable boats
    used by the fishing guides and their clients.



    Some of the pontoon inflatables had platforms on it so one can stand up to flyfish from the inflatable.



    We walked over to the fishing guide log-cabin but nobody was up and around that early in the morning



    Just around a small inlet of the river was a flat-bottom swampboat

  • Chinook
    edited October 2007
    One of the guides we met at the restuarant-bar told us that the silvers were plentiful around
    the mouth of the creek so we drove the few miles to the Willow Creek State Park.



    Lots of wildflowers dotted the landscape like this pretty blue wildflower.



    We strapped on our backpacks and took a short hike on a path at the State Park through
    the Alaskan woods to the mouth of the Willow Creek.

  • feesh
    hey, nice bunnies! :D are they wild?
  • Chinook
    edited October 2007
    As we hiked along the path in the woods, we helped ourselves to the highland cranberries that
    grew in profusion throughout the woods.



    Soon the woods thinned out and we could see in the distance the mouth of the Willow Creek.



    It was a gorgeous sight in the early Alaskan sunshine although the woods were still
    in shadows due to the thick canopy of trees.

  • Chinook
    feesh" said:hey, nice bunnies! :D are they wild?

    I think they are domestic bunnies but allowed the run of the grounds of the RV park. Extremely tame and will eat food from the palm of your hand.
    Chinook
  • Chinook
    edited October 2007
    The creek was running high and fast due to the rain over the past week so we started by tossing
    out Blue Fox Vibrax spinners. We used 9-foot IM7 rods, Daiwas/Shimano reels spooled with 15-lb
    copolymer line. The most Vibrax effective was a size 4 with a sliver blade and red/pink body. The
    Mepps Flying-C and Pixee lures were not too effective. The silver salmon were in the creek and
    every now and then, a big salmon would break water with a splash. Hooking one in a fast
    river was like trying to hold onto a freight train.

  • Chinook
    edited September 2005
    How to land a salmon without a landing net


  • feesh
    waoh! nice salmon! nice size too! i think landing the salmon that way can be considered animal fruelty :x .... :D jk :D
  • Chinook
    Here is a short MPEG video of the mouth of the Willow Creek


  • Chinook
    edited October 2007
    If you want to fish the remote lakes and rivers - the bushplane will get you there. Bushplanes are
    the "taxis" of Alaska and there are few roads into the Alaskan interior. Bush planes are common
    as wildflowers in Alaska



    Close to the Willow Creek is a bushplane charter service right on Willow Lake.



    It has a very distinct business sign - a bushplane mounted onto the roof of the charter service office-hanger!

  • Chinook
    edited October 2007
    The lake was smooth as glass and there were 2 bush floatplanes being prepped for takeoff to
    some interior lake with a few fishermen.



    Another floatplane was tied by the shore of that beautiful serene lake.

  • Chinook
    edited October 2007
    Heck, I better get to bed as I have to be up in 6 hours to terrorize the rainbow trout in one of the
    many lakes (I forgot which one) at a state park. Another of the wild snapdragons by the lake.

  • BlueStream
    Dude!! Puddle Jumper? I'm thinking Stargate Atlantis bro!! woohoo.. :D
  • Michael Lim
    Man.... makes me wish that I was there with my fly rod and casting out the dry flies to the rising trouts or salmons....
  • Chinook
    edited October 2007
    The condo unit of the inn where we are staying has a small pet herd of 6 reindeer. Very tame
    like puppy dogs and you can pet them. The reindeer's antlers were in the process of shedding its
    velvet covering for the annual rutting season.



    This is Granite, one of pet reindeer



    And Crystal, the prettiest reindeer of the group

  • Chinook
    edited October 2007
    One afternoon, Harvey (the innkeeper) invited us to join him for a walk together with Mica, one
    of the reindeer which was on a leash like a pet puppy.



    Harvey (a retired USGS Geologist), pointed out the various plants and flowers indigenous to
    the Mat-Su area of Alaska on the expansive grounds of his inn.



    The grounds encompass 19 acres and grizzlies ramble through it occasionally during the late summer evenings.

  • Chinook
    edited October 2007
    Up at 5AM and drove down to the Bradley-Kepler State Park a few miles of of the beautiful
    and friendly town of Palmer. Stuffed our $5 (Day-Use) fee in a Park envelope and into a pay-kiosk.



    We parked the SUV and began the short hike to Kepler Lake along a trail in the woods.
    The 8-LED headlamp that I had brought along worked out great in lighting up the trail as we hiked
    along in the darkened woods.



    Stopped for a few minutes to read a signboard on about the glacier that once covered the park

  • Chinook
    edited October 2007
    The lake was deserted so we picked a nice clean dock and began fishing. The fish was active and
    we caught our limit of rainbow trout in about 2 hours



    This rainbow vacuumed my bait offering of salmon eggs deep inside its throat



    A beautiful rainbow trout being reeled in to be netted



    Another beautiful rainbow fell victim to our salmon eggs offering

  • LuckySamurai
    Dude,

    Nice pics... u have any more fishing pics? How did the BKT go?
  • Chinook
    edited October 2007
    LuckySamurai" said:Dude,
    Nice pics... u have any more fishing pics? How did the BKT go?


    Thanks, LS. More pics will be posted. Just have been running all over every day - fishing in the
    morning and sight-seeing in the afternoons/evenings. BKT went well and passed out packs to friends.
    Regards.
    Chinook

    Awaiting for another Kepler Lake rainbow to slam into my baited offering at the end of my 8-lb test line.



    Another fat rainbow trout for dinner tonight



    Emile, family friend from New Mexico, was catching and releasing the smaller rainbows except
    for the ones he deemed fit for frying



    There were no one else fishing that lake except the two of us amid that serene and peaceful surrounding



    In-between bites, I helped myself to the wild cranberries growing by the lake near the dock we were on.

  • Chinook
    edited October 2007
    Michael Lim" said:Man.... makes me wish that I was there with my fly rod and casting out the dry
    flies to the rising trouts or salmons....


    Michael,
    You WILL definitely have a wonderful time. Lots of silvers, reds and dogs in the streams, creeks
    and rivers. There's fish in every pool of water - have to see to believe it. . Saw lots of hatches
    throughout the day especially when wind is not blowing.
    Regards.

    Another sassy rainbow trout that took our salmon eggs offering



    Tall water plants and weeds grew on the bottom of Kepler Lake which is typical of the fertile
    lakes in Alaska found within the Matsu Valley



    The trick is to not let the big rainbows get entangled in the weeds at the bottom of the lake



    There were a lot of wild rose bushes with big rose hips (high in Vitamin C) in the woods



    Blackcurrants were around in the woods by the lake but in profusion like the cranberries are

  • Chinook
    edited October 2007
    We caught most of the rainbows on salmon eggs. Trout love to dine on the eggs of all species of
    spawning salmon. Even a 14-inch rainbow will leap and fight hard in the cold Alaskan waters.



    The big ones will give a good account of itself before coming to net. We used spinning
    reels spooled with 8-lb test copolymer line and a size-6 gold trout hook.



    The trout destined for dinner that evening were kept on the stringer



    Wild mushrooms grew everywhere in that damp woods around the lake

  • Chinook
    edited October 2007
    So after a refreshing mornng fishing off a dock on Kepler Lake we packed up and headed down
    the trail back to the car park. We were only persons fishing that morning at that particular lake.
    The silence was only broken now and then by the honking of geese flying overhead on its way
    south to a warmer climate for the winter.



    The woods were loaded with wildberries of all species. Those which we could not identify, we
    left alone even though it looked inviting enough for a snack.



    The trail back to the car wound through the thick quiet woods.

  • Chinook
    edited October 2007
    A visit to a Musk ox farm was on the agenda in the afternoon. A big sign pointed to the turnoff
    from the country road to the farm



    Antique wagons line the grounds of the farm.



    The skull of a musk-ox greeted us at the entrance of the main hall



    In the shop was a musk-ox skeleton in a glass case



    A musk ox behavior poster for the curious



    The animals are bred for its very warm qiviut (fine wool-like undercoat fur) to be
    woven into sweaters, gloves, shawls, etc.



    The animals are combed as needed and one musk ox will only produce between 6-7 pounds
    of qiviut a year.



    Musk ox qiviut is 8 times warmer than the wool from sheep.



    The large expanse of the fenced pastures of the farm contained about 25 musk-ox



    The baby musk-oxen were cute and tame like puppy dogs



    The farm store where you can spend all your $$$ on the expensive qiviut clothing items.

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