Cordova Silver Salmon Spectacular

2011 Bear Copper River Delta Cordova Mike DeYoung Silver Salmon Silver Salmon Spectacular Silvers

Cordova was bright and sunny this year when we arrived, and we headed out to one of our favorite bays for silvers. The tide was bringing in the fish and we were there to intercept them. It wasn't long before we started catching fish. Mike DeYoung, the famous Alaska photographer was there to chronicle some of it for his and my new book, and the silvers definitely posed for the camera after we promised to make them a star. Much fun was had by all but the silvers, which went to fish heaven soon after their picture was taken. An extremely high tide forced us to leave before we were ready, but we took the boat out whale-watching on the way home and watched the porpoise play.

 

The next day was rainy and miserable, but we spent it on the Eyak River casting interminably for the fish, which seemed to have made themselves scarce. Often, the first fish of the season come in from the ocean and scram right up to the spawning grounds without stopping to rest a bit where we can get at them.  By the time we "called uncle" we were ready to head back into town for a coffee. We also made our annual trip into the Copper River Fleece shop www.copperriverfleece.com and had a ball trying on all the wonderful jackets, vests, and more.

Day number three saw us in the small plane flying out over the incredible Copper River Delta for some flightseeing on our way to a small creek where the silvers were reported to be making an appearance. It was an absolutely gorgeous day with the mountains ringing the Delta bright with some new snow. We landed on the beach well above the pounding surf (the result of the previous day's winds), and headed over to the creek. Bear prints as well as deer, and weasel tracks were all over in the sand, and we made plenty of noise to make sure they all knew that we were there. The fish, however, never made an appearance even though we tried lots of different flies, and hiked up and down the creek. Our guess was that they, too, had headed straight up to the spawning grounds, having come in on the highest tides of the month. Our consolation for the missing fish was to get an incredible flight-seeing trip over the Sheridan glacier on the way back to the lodge. Just seeing some of the deep blue crevasses in the river of ice coming down the mounting was breathtaking. The storm was back the next day wilder than ever with fifty-mile an hour winds and high seas, making silver fishing impossible. We settled for some fun fishing for cutthroat trout in a small lake somewhat protected from the winds. The same situation presented itself the next day and the cutthroat were again our salvation, along with fat and feisty Dolly Varden char.   

 a hike over some treacherous terrain to access. Many, many pink salmon were still in the water, but a little serious scouting discovered a few early silvers making an appearance. Some well-placed flies eventually connected and the fish displayed the spectacular acrobatics they are so famous for. Shaking their heads like crazy in an attempt to dislodge the fly, they leapt and splashed and zoomed across the water. Only a couple managed to get away using such tactics.

Because the winds continued blowing and the rain continued falling the next day as well, we returned to the same creek for another try at the fish. There weren't as many silvers as the day before and our hook-ups seemed not to be as solid because the fish we did connect with managed to unbutton.

The boat ride back to the lodge that day got rougher and rougher as the winds increased and we were all glad to be back on solid ground. Once home we learned that the storm had now taken on an even more ferocious face. The blow was now referred to as having "hurricane-force" winds and the rain was coming down in sheets. The Alaska State Ferry got canceled for the third time in a little over a week, and stranded passengers hung-out at the lodge drinking coffee.

We got up to similar conditions on our last day, and while some intrepid bait-anglers braved the elements, fly anglers pretty much hung-around and tried to wait out the maelstrom. We certainly can't list this year's trip as one of our best, but was still wonderful to see the mountains, the glaciers, and the swans gathering for their fall migration.



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