Monday, August 11, 2008

This has literally been the coldest summer on record here in Anchorage. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s been in the 40’s with occasional snowstorms on random days – it’s been in the high 50’s to the low 60’s most days. Attach that to most days being cloudy and a fair amount drizzle and you have a bit of a dud summer. Now, it being my first entire summer up here – I don’t know any better. It’s Alaska, I’m finally local, and I’m sort of running on perpetual adrenaline as long as there is fishing, cycling, and hiking to enjoy. There are occasionally glorious days, like this past Sunday.

We were off for fishing in Bird Creek at 8:30 am, but along the way we decided to drive 20 minutes past it and hit Ingram Creek instead. It has just as many Pink Salmon right now, though not as many people. If there were more reports of Silvers showing up at Bird Creek we wouldn’t have entertained the switch, but it was really more of a question of where we wanted to catch Pinks. Along the drive down Turnagain Arm we pulled over for a minute to watch a pod of about 9 Beluga Whales. If you glance past the white bumps cycling in and out of the water you’d easily miss it. Even in all of the wildlife Alaska allows to be readily seen, this was a bit of a lucky coup I understand -- a good start to the day.

We geared up at Ingram around 9:15 and began the 5 minute walk to the creek. As we approached the creek, making noise all along in the thick woods, we were struck with a strong scent of something rotten. We quickly winced before agreeing that it must be rotten fish on the bank, which is either a sign of some random dead fish or carcasses of fish the bears have left after feasting – either way it meant there are fish in the creek so we were happy. As we starting to wind through the dense forest towards the creek, slightly off the main trail, we came headlong into the source of the stench – a rotten yearling black bear. It looked dead almost a month. We examined it a bit and decided the skull was a bit too small and maggot infested to take for bleaching and display. Maybe it was clipped on the Seward Highway before wandering in the woods to die? Maybe it surprised some fisherman that were packing? We shrugged it off as it is Alaska and all and headed down to the river, though I snapped a picture on my phone while we passed. You are practically elbow to elbow on Bird Creek and fully live the combat fishing paradigm, but here on Ingram we were entirely alone. Glancing at the narrow braids of water we could immediately see enormous schools of fish. The clouds yielded to a blue sky and 65 degree sunlight and we proceeded to settle in to catching an obnoxious amount of fish. In 3 hours I caught about 35 Pink Salmon while also squeezing in a break and a hike down towards the ocean. My record was 6 fish caught on 6 casts in a row. Too bad Pinks taste bad, though they are plenty big and have a lot of fight. Even though we motored home towards Anchorage with nothing in the cooler, it was quite honestly a postcard/commercial day for Alaska.

1 comment:

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

So where's the postcard? No, seriously. I'm sure you're not missing this place.