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Journal of Dan T. Cook - Fly Fishing the Globe

Traveling 75,000 miles around the world in search of fish and friendship.
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August 10, 2006 - Moose Pass, Alaska

The fishing in Alaska is ridiculously good and diverse. This past week was typical: Sockeye on Saturday, Silver salmon on Monday and Grayling on Tuesday. In between fish I even managed to take a shower and do some laundry (I'm sure you're proud, Mom!).

The weather finally turned nice on Friday. Sun and no wind for four straight days! After enduring (and when you are living out of the back of your truck, it IS "enduring") 4 straight days of rain, I took advantage of the change to get in some good fishing.

First up was a row to the west end of Skilak Lake to the outlet of the Kenai River. Salmon use the still water of the lake to rest before continuing upriver to spawn. As discussed in an earlier update, the Sockeye run was late this year, initially sending authorities into a panic. Well, the minimum spawn of 650,000 fish was met late last week and now they are estimating that around 2 million Sockeye will enter the river. Things have swung completely in the other direction. The limit is now 6 fish per person. I fished for about an hour and caught some aggressive males on Mark Conway's "No see um" pattern. The fly really works magic on the Reds.

On Monday I accompanied Mark to Bird Creek, just outside of Anchorage. This was more of an exercise in "combat fishing" than anything else. Plus, Mark thought it would be a good experience for me... help provide me with some "perspective" on that the next time I had a piece of water all to myself I would appreciate it properly. It certainly was interesting. I caught a couple nice Silvers, along with multitudes of Pinks and Chums. The crowd wasn't too bad (we each had 7-10 feet on each side) until the throngs showed up on the outgoing tide. Then it became a bit chaotic. Most people were unaccustomed to fly rodders and walked directly behind us during casting. Then, since the creek is only about 30 feet wide, every 5 minutes people were "catching" the lines of the people standing directly across from them. Finally, just upstream from me was a woman "long-lining." This entails allowing your line (in her case, 1/2 pound of fish eggs with a bobber the size of a volleyball) to drift in front of the person downstream. Her line not only crossed in front of me, but also the two people standing downstream from me! Most annoying was that she was continually catching fish and dragging them across my feet. Needless-to-say, she wasn't there "sport fishing."

Finally on Tuesday, Mark and I hired Scenic Mountain Air ( to fly us into some back country lakes for trophy Grayling. As some people know, Grayling don't grow to be that large. In fact, the world record on a fly rod is only 4 lbs. 8 oz. Subsequently, anything over 18 inches is considered to be "trophy" size. Although the fishing was slow and we battled a pesky wind, I managed to catch three beautiful Grayling. Each was over 18 inches with the largest being 20 inches. With the mission complete and the winds picking up, we called it an early day and headed back completely satisfied.

Again, if you are planning to come to the Kenai, I highly recommend Mark. His company, Alaska Fly Fishing Adventures & Outfitting (, specializes in guiding small groups on either fly-in or hike-in fishing trips.

Until I reach Australia, this is the home and office.

A nice male Sockeye from Skilak Lake.

A Silver salmon at Bird Creek. My quest for the 5 Pacific salmon species is now complete.

A pair of Grizzlies frolicking in the river... and in my intended fishing spot.

The fly-in drop off

A 20 inch Grayling

Another trophy Grayling




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