This much anticipated trip to a seldom fished spring creek in interior Alaska proved to be an unexpected disappointment. We were too late, and the grayling had already headed down stream into the main Nenana river, moving toward their wintering grounds.
We had loaded up the boat and taken the short ride from the town of Nenana to the creek and the comfortable little cabin that awaited the six of us. By the time we were settled, it was getting too dark to see the trail clearly and we decided to wait until morning to fish.
The morning was gloriously sunny, the fall colors were absolutely brilliant, and the pungent smell of the woods greeted us as we set out to fish. The water was high and a little dirty, and some storm clouds were gathering north of us, and those conditions were responsible for the lack of fish, we thought at first. Nothing worked--not dry flies, not nymphs, and not even streamers beneath a small split shot. We hiked down stream managing the rough trail with our wading sticks, fishing different spots along the way, but the story was the same everywhere.
A roasted chicken dinner, a glass of wine, and a warm fire all made for a fine evening in the cabin later, and we went to bed hoping for better fishing the following day.
It was not to be. After another day of disappointment with just one fish, we decided to cut the trip short and vowed to give this lovely little creek another chance, only much earlier next year. Some went off to visit Denali National Park and Mount McKinley just a few miles south of us, and some headed over to the Denali Highway for some hiking. They may not have had fish, but they had some gorgeous, fall weather to enjoy, and they took advantage of it.