Can’t stop fishin

28 07 2011

Well, after a rowdy week on the Kenai chasing reds (and doing quite well I must say), I just couldn’t shake the fish fever.  Sunday afternoon, Ronnie and I headed north from Houston to my favority, Montana Creek.  A few years of rust were still evident in Ronnie’s fly skills, but after a handful of casts, he seemed back on track.  I was hoping for more kings in the river that might have suggested an early egg-bite, but we saw very few, and bead-fishing didn’t produce even a sniff.  Ronnie managed to produce this 15-16″ beaut on the wooly, and missed a couple on the caddis.  I finally fooled one grayling into taking it, but as soon as we felt like we were into fish, we were out.  We totaled probably two hours of fishing, and only these two to hand.  But it was nice to get back to Montana, and within a few weeks, the trouting should pick up nicely.

Russian Bears

19 07 2011

I’m ruined.  The last several outings on Lower 48 rivers found me almost exclusively using dries.  After some success through Canada with sulfurs, it’s been difficult to put away the topwater stuff.  The same has gone for the Russian.  I’ve hit my favorite river a couple of times since we’ve been in Alaska, and have had pretty good results on the elk hair caddis.  In between salmon runs conventional fishing (dries, streamers, nymphs) is as or more productive than the usual battery of Alaskan salmon stream fare of eggs and flesh.  I haven’t landed anything over 18″, but I’ve been catching just enough to keep my fishing dries.  I could probably hook up more often with underwater stuff, but on top is just too much fun.  Early morning and late in the evening, as usual, have produced the most fish, but the bruins seem to travel a little more during that time as well.  Here are a few that have kept me fishing at more sensible times.  I think I’ll put the Russian on hold until after salmon fishing is shut down and the egg bite is in full swing, but it’s still been as fantastic as I remember.




Glorious Paxson

8 07 2011

It is by a river that I would choose … to revive old friendships, and to play with the children, and to confess my faults, and to escape from vain selfish desires, and to cleanse my mind from all the false, foolish things that mar the joy and peace of living.”  – Henry Van Dyke, Little Rivers


It’s that time again.  The third annual good old fashioned family Independence Day vacation to Paxson was definitely another success.  For the second year in a row, the weather was a little foul, and this time, the cold and the rain didn’t thwart the throngs of mosquitoes from joining the party.  Regardless, we all had a fabulous couple of days, good rides to and from town, and the usual battery of large, hard fighting grayling.  Because we had two newcomers to the “gentle art,” Grandpa and I didn’t fish as much as we guided, but the results were the same as in years past, and putting new anglers on fish was more rewarding that hooking them ourselves.  The newbies were, of course, Gigi and Rosemary.  Gigi was just coming off a less-than-stellar introduction to fly fishing, and was in the mood for some real casting, drifting, and naturally, catching fish on the fly.  She is a natural.  The first, and usually most productive hole was invaded by a large family of humans that forced us to head upstream from our favorite spot to another riffle chock full of suicidal finny prowlers.  Her most successful approach involved drifting a PT nymph under an indicator, and she landed two 16-18″ brutes like a pro.  Congratulations to her, and hopefully, we’ll be able to get her out a few more times before the end of the summer.  The other novice angler, coming off some early lessons with the rod and reel in scattered bathtubs throughout the south, was none other than my little Sugar Bear, Rosemary.  We set her “Cars:  The Movie” Zebco up with the same nymphing rig, and Grandpa helped with the casting and the hookups.  Once the first grayling was on, a heart-pounding fight ensued, and with a little help on the reel from dad, Frog landed her first fish.  She was more than happy to let me hold the fish while she examined it (misdiagnosing the predator as a salmon), and within seconds of the release, cries of “want another fish” rang throughout the Gulkana Valley.  After one more, Rosemary seemed content to play in the shallow shoals, and the fishing for the trip was complete.  She has now correctly identified her catch as grayling, and is telling everyone.  This, of course, will not be her last outing, but it was one to remember indeed.

She’s got the stance …

… and the pose!

Rosemary’s determination is almost scary.

Still concentrating on the fish.

This hole wasn’t as productive as some of the others.


10 04 2011



Russian River, Cooper Landing, AK
Last day of fishing the Russian, no fish, but an eagle for company.

Russian River, Cooper Landing, AK
Darren finally caught the elusive 22 inch bow to best Doug’s 21.5″ (sorry Dad, he put me up to it).

Quartz Creek, Cooper Landing, AK
The Queen B with a pretty 19 incher.

Montana Creek, Talkeetna, AK
August was a good month (as you can see by this 24″ beauty).

Montana Creek, Talkeetna, AK
Even Heavy D got in on the Alaskan Boz


22 06 2010

We’re baaack.  My first post in a while has been quite a headache, and I think that the fish photo sort of speaks for itself anyways.  Suffice it to say that this is only the beginning of a new summer in Alaska, a new round of piscatorial conquests.

Paxson: God’s Country

7 07 2009

July 4th weekend promised to be a good one when Bregitte and I received the news that Grandma and Grandpa were going to rent a cabin for a couple of nights. Grandma was thrilled that we were going to go fishing while she got to watch little Rosemary. Thursday night found our little family at Paxson hours before the grandparents, so I did a little fishing. The cabins were right on the Gulkana River (we went to sleep listening to its turbulent rush soothe our souls). I had passed up the Gulkana many times in favor of the Tangle River, but I soon learned that had been a mistake. With a pink egg pattern around midnight, I was hitting greyling nearly every cast. I have no proof, but I could swear that I pulled in a feisty 20 incher! I thought at first that it might be a dolly, but it was a whale of a greyling. The next day brought around Grandpa Tony’s first experience with the fly rod. Within minutes he had a perfect cast and was catching smallish to decent greyling on the Tangle River. Grandma and Baby Mama soaked up the sun on a warm Interior summer day. Saturday, we decided to go a little ways north and check out Summit Lake, headwaters of the Gulkana. Again, the weather was hot and gorgeous. A little breeze kept the bugs off, and again we hammered the fish. Tony and I caught greyling until we were sick of it, and then caught more. Many of the fish were in the 17-18 inch range, very large for greyling. Majestic mountains looming in the distance, hot sun keeping the mood light, and plenty of fish and family fun made it one of the best Independence Day weekends we have ever had. We hope to make it tradition.
It doesn’t get better than this!
Grandpa’s first fly-fishing trip. I think he’s hooked.
One of the bigger fish.
What its all about.

May in the Valley

6 07 2009

My buddy (my boss, too) Matt and I decided to welcome the summer with a trip to Kepler Lake.  This post would have come sooner, but my camera was in the tank, and, well here it is.  We had super weather, and a few fish.  Matt, Jason, Matt Jr. (Matteo), and our buddy Randy camped out Friday night, and Matt’s daughter Kaity and youngest, Jeff fished with us both Friday night and Saturday.  The fish weren’t as plentiful as we had hoped, but most of us had at least a bite or two.  I believe the total take was five beauties, and I hear that they tasted delicious! No trips to the emergency room, grrreat success!
Kaity goofing around
Jason and the catch
Jason, Matteo, and Randy on the hunt
Randy and I taking in the summer sunset