Hope is a tiny, old-fashioned little town hidden away along Turnagain Arm south of Anchorage. The atmosphere is laid back and quiet most of the time, at least until the pink salmon start to appear in Resurrection Creek. Then, this pretty little fresh-water stream that dumps into Cook Inlet right in front of the historic Seaview Café draws lots of anglers to its banks-- us included.
Our single day fishing excursions to Hope are always lots of fun. It is the perfect place to teach people how to fish with a fly rod for the smallest of the five species of Pacific Salmon that call Alaska home. Outfitted with chest-high waders, boots, & a wading staff we take to the water with 9-ft fly rods, floating line, & pink flies. Showing folks the basic "stop in the back & stop in the front" technique of casting and the clinch knot to tie on their fly takes only a short time, and soon they are launching their flies in among the swarms of fish swimming in front of them. Hook-ups (not always in the mouth) begin to happen fast & furiously, accompanied by shouts of "I got one!"
Now everyone needs to learn how to set the hook and then let the fish play before they try to bring it in. These steps take some time, and it's a good thing they have lots of cooperative fish to help them learn. "This is so exciting," one of the women says, and the others quickly agree. Landing the fish & holding it for a picture are the highlights of the day, of course.
Quite a few people took advantage of the fishing days at Hope this year. Some had taken my beginning fly fishing class this spring, some wanted to see how to catch salmon with a fly rod, and some were just trying it out to see if it would make a good way to spend their up-coming retirement. Every fish they caught was returned to the water un-harmed. Everyone understood that the fish were too far into their spawning cycle for the meat to be good eating.
Although there is a very small run of silver salmon in Resurrection Creek, we seldom catch one. This year we saw a couple of silvers mixed in with the pinks on two of the three days we fished. Try as we might, we never caught them.
The learning/practice days that we do in Hope each year are always a highlight of my summer. We'll be back next year to do it all again.