June 9 – 13
Thursday, June 11 Opening Day on the Kenai and Russian Rivers
On Wednesday we received some great news. A friend of Brent’s from church had offered to take us on a cata-raft float trip on the Upper Kenai. Another dream come true! We left Montana Creek on Thursday morning and went to Brent’s in the morning.
We met up with Nate (Brent’s friend) and left Anchorage about 10:30 A.M. Unless you think that is a late start remember it never really gets dark this time of year this far north!
We parked the RV at Pastor Joes house in Cooper Landing and launched the “raft” at the ferry crossing just above the confluence of the Russian and Kenai. It was a bit crowded but not too bad.
It took a while to get used to fishing from the raft (a sixteen footer) but it is not that much different that form a boat in AR. Took a while to get the first fish but it was worth it. Brent got a 24 inch bow drifting and it was a beauty. We had actually seen a small fish jump and we thought it was the one he had but not so. I actually got the little one on.
We stopped at a good looking spot to wade and I got a bow about 18 inches and fat. Nate got a bow about as big as Brent’s.
Here is where things got interesting I have been to Alaska three times and have never targeted any kind of salmon. Well the red’s were thick and Nate had an eight weight he wanted to try on them. It was crazy. There was a deep hole full of fish and we all ended up with a limit.
You need to realize fishing for salmon after they enter the rivers is not “true” fishing. It is really snagging. After salmon enter the rivers they have only one thing on their minds –spawning. And while they can be aggravated into striking on occasion that is not how they are normally “caught.” To make it sporting to keep a fish it must be “caught, (snagged) in the mouth. Some of course some will “loathe” the idea of taking fish in such a manner. All I can say is don’t try it you might change your mind. (Gail and I just ate the fruits of our labor. Have mercy it was good!) Your opinion might also change when you see thousands of them dead after the spawn. They are not going to make it out alive either way.
Brent told me I would not believe the fight they put up. He was right. When the fish finally realized they were hooked there was no stopping them. The 6wt. XP and the stop a sub technology of the Abel were no match for these brutes. We did land a couple on the 6wts but we lost several more. The 8wt was a much better match.
We fished until 11:30 p.m. and it was still light! The last four hours on the water we didn’t see another person.
Brent and I fished the Russian Friday morning but it was crowded and the fishing was slow for bows. We managed a couple. I had planned on staying “down south” for the rest of the trip. But, Because of the crowds, which will probably not decrease because of a large run of reds, we may go back north to some areas we have not been too. May not do much more fishing.
We came back to Anchorage Friday and just took it easy today, Saturday. I have the privilege of dedicating Rosemary tomorrow at AWC. We are looking forward to it very much.