Journal of Dan T. Cook - Fly Fishing the Globe
Traveling 75,000 miles around the world in search of fish and friendship.
July 31, 2006 - Soldotna, Alaska
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After fishing the Kenai River, I headed down the peninsula to Anchor Point. Anchor Point is conveniently located 15 miles from Homer, the end of the Sterling Highway. This area is incredibly beautiful, across the Cook Inlet and Kamishak Bay are towering peaks, glaciers and even a smoldering volcano.
The Anchor River is known for having a good salmon run, but I was there for the Dolly Varden. There are some 4-5 pounders in there, but I was only able to land a small one before a person walked up and began fishing just 15 feet downriver from me, basically eliminating the lower half of the hole. I gave the guy a whimsical look before moving up a bit to give myself some space. 10 minutes passed before a lady moved into a spot not more than 15 feet upriver. I became sandwiched between these two people who were applying a fishing technique called the "Kenai flip." This entails standing at the edge of the hole, flipping the egg pattern and strike indicator 5-6 feet up river, letting it drift 10 feet, then flipping it back up to the start of the run. While they do this, most people look off in the distance with a somewhat irritated look in their face, as if they were just instructed to take out the garbage. I thought fishing was supposed to be fun!?!? I guess if I stood there doing the "flip" I'd get a bit testy after a while too.
2006 was shaping up to be a disaster for the Kenai red salmon run a week ago. 500,000 spawning reds is considered a "poor" year. 7 days ago there were estimated to be only 200,000 reds. The Alaska Fish & Game promptly closed the season. Considering that thousands of people travel to this area to take home a cooler full of Sockeye salmon, this is BIG news. Hotel and campground occupancies plummeted. Discussions of a state of emergency were rumored to have taken place. Well... the season re-opened last night at midnight. Apparently the reds were just taking their time. While the current run of 650,000 is still considered low, the current limit is 2 fish per angler.
I took the opportunity to fish the confluence of the Funny River and the Kenai River, just steps from my campsite. The bite was on! Or at least the bite was on about half the time. "Foul hooked" fish are required by law to be released immediately. Below are photos of fish that had the sense to hit the fly before it hit them.
One large Sockeye used a tree floating in the eddy nearby to wrap and break my line. I promptly tied on another fly, hooked the tree, and after a furious fight, landed it and immediately released it off to the side, all according to the regulations!
I'm in the process of finding someone who will take me fishing for big halibut. In the meantime, I may do a fly-in to the upper Russian Lakes for big Rainbows. Until next time, have fun!