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How I Dealt With The Great Flood;

Posted 12-13-2012 at 12:04 AM by Hardyreels

After handling all of the disappointments between April and September I was ready for the fall fishing season. Fall in my part of Alaska is beautiful in more ways than one. The rivers and creeks are nearly deserted, all of the people who came to fish for salmon have long since went home and there you are. There are still a few silvers in the rivers but most are way up to the head waters doing the work of reproducing the stock. Many of the trout that went up with and behind the salmon are beginning to drop back down with the shorter days and lowering water levels. As the days grow short the nights are cold causing the many glaciers to slow down the runoff that feeds most of our rivers. The trout seem to know when it's time to get out of the skinny water in the high country and the fishing is good. Grayling and Dolly Varden Char round out this fall triad of hungry fish.

Unlike other years I had some people coming to fish with me this past fall and I spent the first 2 weeks of September scouting my little niches to be sure the fish were present. On the thirteenth of September I made a trip to a very productive river and checked things out. It wasn't my intention to try catching all I could because the plan was to bring some folks from out of state there in 6 days. I have learned that it's best to move after I find the fish where I thought they should be rather than stinging them all with a fly then wondering why someone else can't seem to catch a thing on the same stretch of water.

I did get a few of these and they were all very healthy and strong, things were looking up.
Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

I had spent the entire season fishing with a 1981 Hardy 13'9" spey rod that I had began to suspect I had underlined. On the 13th of September I had the big stick from Winston along and so I lined it up. As Homer Simpson would say 'Doh' what the heck had I been waiting for. I am not a master Spey caster but when you hand me a rod & reel - line combo that is matched I can make it sail and the 15' Winston is a rocket launcher by my judgment. I have put out some really long casts with the Hardy and even with my LL Bean 13' Streamlight but the Winston will reach out as far as my timing will allow and do so with very little effort. It is what I caught the trout on that day and you can take my word that catching fish was fun even though my rod was a 15' with a 875 grain long belly on it. One thing for sure, as long as the 10 pound tippet and knots held you didn't have to soft shoe any fish.

Click the image to open in full size.
The Winston is the rather large rod & reel on the right there.

By 4:30 in the afternoon the sky's looked threatening and there had been rumors of rain that day so I decided to do a short upstream run to look around and then to head the 7 miles back to where I'd left the truck and trailer.

Looking up river;
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And down;
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What I didn't know and neither did anyone else was that it was going to rain and rain hard until October 5th. I really regret not venturing out to photograph the rivers and creeks at flood stage. I did go all the way to Talkeetna but never took a photo. I guess I was in shock, that's my only explanation. I had never seen so much water in the Parks Highway creeks in the 8 years I've been living here, and since it was a 100 year flood I guess that no one else had either.

All was surly lost! To punctuate the poor salmon runs and my having obligations that kept me from fishing as much as I would like during June, now my fall was a flood. Not just a flood but high water that would last until the big freeze. There would be no grayling - trout - char - or late silvers, no not a one. Then just before giving up I thought "what about the creek right down the road". Being a lake out flow it may be high but it won't be muddy.......

I was right and I was done feeling sorry for myself, Boss approved of the days we spent there also.
Click the image to open in full size.

This little gem is a place I often sneak away to and never tell a soul. Within no time I had caught enough rainbow trout to put the stars back into alignment.
Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Average size for fish here is between 9 and 13 inches but 2 years back I was ambushed by one 17" long, so it can happen. In the spring time it fills with fish from the lake and some from the Inlet that spawn there. I am going to continue this in a 'Part 2 called 'The Small Streams That Saved Fall'.

Please take a look, there will be more pictures........


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