Lake Clark Sojourn

2012 Bristol Bay Kijik River Kvichak River Lake Clark Lake Iliamna

Lake Clark Air took off from Anchorage right on time, and we headed straight for the world-famous Lake Clark Pass because the weather was extra-good for flightseeing. Mountain top after mountain top and glacier after glacier appeared beneath or right beside us and  kept our cameras clicking like crazy.

All too soon, the plane exited the pass, and we headed across Lake Clark to Port Alsworth, the headquarters for our super annual trip. Our cabins were ready and so was lunch, so we were on the river in record time saying hello to the Arctic grayling just waiting for us. The water was very high, but not very dirty, thankfully, but even so it covered most of the small island we usually fish from. So, I checked out the scene and finally discovered an area where the gals could stand to cast into a couple of channels full of fish.

Margaret was the first to hook-up, which was no surprise because she's fished grayling before and had the technique mastered. The others weren't far behind. Even though the water was swift and much deeper than usual, they, too, hooked and landed fish after fish after fish.

At dinner that night we discussed our plan for the following day. If the weather permitted, we were scheduled to fly out for some sockeye salmon or rainbow trout fishing. It was not to be, however, because we woke up to rain and low ceilings. So, we went hiking instead to the Tanalian River Falls. The fishing there was also wonderful in spite of the high water that covered most of the places where we usually stand. Lisa and Maggie had double catches almost more often than not, and we tried and tried to get a picture with both fish at the same time, but weren't successful.

By the time we got home that night we were really pooped, but ready to head out the next day for our tour of some of the fishing spots around the lake. The wind was making it difficult to get to some of the places that we usually fish, but we caught several nice grayling at one of the small feeder creeks that was protected from the wind. Then, we headed down to the "pike pond" for our annual pike fishing experience.

The water at the "pond" was up in the trees along the bank, which meant we had to wade out farther than we wanted to in order to make a cast. Lisa had several fish interested in her yellow fly, but she had trouble setting the hook on them. Both Maggie and Margaret also had some hits, but the fishing wasn't nearly as good as usual. Finally, Jeff, our boatman, took them to fish from the boat, and they caught some fish that way.

Our afternoon at the Kijik River was also disappointing. High water was everywhere, and it was a chore just to reach the main channel. A few hits were all we had to our credit before heavier rain sent us home to a hot shower and a great dinner. Outstanding Cornish hen was the entre of the night, with a chocolate "to die for" cake. We usually have to get half-portions since the meals are so huge.

The next day the sun was finally shining and we piled in the plane to fly over to the sockeye river to see how the fishing was doing there. Although the salmon had been in just four or five days before, we couldn't spot any on our fly-overs, so gave up on that option and headed over to some of the lakes to pursue rainbows. The scenery was spectacular as we flew through high passes with some snow patches still showing while we dropped down to the glassy lake surfaces below.

Our pilot, Carlin, set us up on five different creeks on five different lakes that he fishes regularly, but the fish just wouldn't show for us on any of them. Still, we were having an amazing experience just seeing the hidden mountain lakes that earn the Lake Clark the moniker, "Switzerland of the North". At times our view extended over Lake Iliamna and down the Kvichak River to Bristol Bay.

Since our last day is shorter than there rest, we headed out early to interact with the grayling one more time before we had to head home. The water on the river had actually subsided a few inches, and it was noticeable because it allowed us closer access to the main channel. We took advantage of it catching like crazy with dry flies, ants, and nymphs. As usual, it was very, very hard to leave.

Hope that you can go along next summer!! Let us know and we can reserve a space for you.

~ Pudge



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