Cordova Silver Salmon

2010 Childs Glacier Copper River Cordova Eyak River Gayle Ranney Miles Glacier Pink Salmon Prince William Sound

The Eyak River near Cordova provided our first and last stops of the trip this year, and the silvers were definitely "in." They proved to be more cooperative early in the trip before we had had a couple of days of splendid, completely unusual, bright, sunny, hot weather. Some were bright as a dime fish just in from the ocean, and some were darker fish that had been in the water for a while. Typically, the bright fish proved to be the more aggressive and acrobatic, but we also caught some big, bucks that were decidedly reddish in color but equally as active. The river was pretty clear, for water that was often tinged with glacier silt, and not very crowded at first, but as its shores became more populated, we were glad that we'd gotten an early start.

We were able to boat out into spectacular Prince William Sound one day to a small, back-water area where the fish usually rest, and were lucky enough to find the hole filled with mostly silvers. A few pink salmon were still hanging around, but, thankfully, we hardly ever hooked them up. The silvers, on the other hand, were a different story.

As the tide was going out, and up until slack tide, they were eager to take our flies no matter what the pattern, or how they were stripped. Then, everything got pretty "slack" at slack tide. As we began to notice evidence of the incoming tide, however, the action picked back up with a lot of instances with more than one fish on a fly line. Brenda and Kate matched each other fish for fish the entire time we were there. Green seemed to be the color of the day with green head starlight leeches, and chartreuse everglow flies some of the preferred offerings. We kept just a few fish for Brenda to send to her mother, mostly because we couldn't haul many more down the beach to the boat.

Our fly-out day was absolutely unbelievable. The flight over the Copper River Delta from Cordova was breathtaking. We landed on a long beach that just beckoned us to go beachcombing instead of fishing. No way. Not only were there lots of silvers to welcome us to the small creek, but there were also lots of cutthroat trout for something different.

Bear tracks were absolutely everywhere, and we had our bear-spray at the ready, but we had no problems, mostly because we routinely hollered "ho-bear" at the top of our lungs. We left very reluctantly when the tide began to come in and took time for lunch on a huge drift-wood log right beside the plane. We'd have loved to hang around, but had to get the plane off the beach.

Our reward for a somewhat shorter fishing day was an amazing flight-see over one of the glaciers near Cordova. A true river of ice, it poured down from the mountains over miles and miles of area. The cracks and crevices, hundreds of feet deep, were glistening shades of blue. A couple of mountain goats were visible on the surrounding mountains.d It's something that you simply can't describe to someone else. You have to experience it for yourself. Our special thanks to Gayle Ranney, owner of Fishing & Flying!

We were lucky that day to be back early enough to also drive out to Childs Glacier to watch its dramatic calving into the channel of the Copper River right in front of us. The waves the icebergs generated were huge and the noise was deafening. A short hike took us over to the Million Dollar Bridge, which has now been restored since one of the sections toppled into the river during the 1964 earthquake. From there we had a view of Miles Glacier and its surrounding mountains behind its icebergs that floated down the river and under the bridge we were standing on. To top it all off, there wasn't a cloud in the sky so our views were unimaginable. We got back to the lodge just in time for another great dinner, a glass of wine, and some fish telling stories.

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