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Old 11-09-2013, 04:42 PM
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Default Another Season Comes to an End;

It's been another difficult fall, the weather was good, almost too good. The streams and rivers remained pretty full all the way to the end of October and because of that the fish didn't move in a predictable way at all. Trout, grayling and char follow the salmon to their spawning streams every year. There they spend the summer and fall first eating the eggs that spill forth from the gravel by the tens of thousands, these are the eggs that fail to be deposited well enough to hold them fast in the current. After all the spawning is finished the trout and their friends begin their migration down the creeks to the rivers where they will winter in the deep waters safe from being frozen in at the head waters. With a late run of silvers this can take until now, November. We had a good strong silver return and right up until 2 weeks ago I was watching fish working at their nests and spawning.

All of this was more than a little perplexing as I hiked many miles to find the fish as they would be dropping down the rivers and creeks. I have talked to very few people who claim to have had fabulous fishing here in the valley but some must have hit the drop and had some good fish to show. It just wasn't me, not for lack of effort for sure but I missed. Yesterday although very cold I thought to take one last swing at them.

When you drive North and can see Denali over 170 miles away you know a couple things, it's clear, and it' clear because it's 17* out there.
Click the image to open in full size.

I took my regular parking spot and before I even saw the river I saw signs of things to come.
Click the image to open in full size.

From where I park it is a one mile walk through the woods and flood plane to reach the water I like best to fish. When I walked to the river bank I could see that perhaps this would be only a walk because the water looked pretty hard to fish.
Click the image to open in full size.

I couldn't just not fish, even if I were to draw a blank I couldn't just go home. So I went to the big river, and there the conditions told me the plain hard truth, it's over Ard, go home.
Click the image to open in full size.

Now, I had with me a rod that took a long time to put together. all told it took almost a month and 94 dollars more than I had bargained for before I had an as new Hardy Swift in the 11'6" size. I intended to cast this rod however I must admit that I wasn't able to get much of a feel for it yesterday. That was attributable to a several things, one was my hands were really cold and the shelf ice prevented me from getting into the river. The big factor were the ice flows, averaging 3 - 4" thick and some the size of a 4 X8 sheet of plywood coming down the river meant that getting in the water could be dangerous too.

Here I was in the river, looking up you can see Denali off in the distance and that slab of ice coming down the shore line is what I'm talking about.
Click the image to open in full size.

About a quarter mile down river all that ice was being driven against shore at a big right hand bend and you could hear it grinding like some sort of mill down there. But I did what I could, I held out hope as the sun did that low slow trek across the horizon.
Click the image to open in full size.

I got to try the rod and although it is way different than a real 2 hander I believe I'll be able to work it well on medium size creeks and low water rivers as well. It is so light that my Cascapedia seems a wee bit heavy for it. Great, I need another reel, I was really hoping this would make a good home for my old reel...........
Click the image to open in full size.

Although the season is over for the rivers to the north I have a few spots where I can still scrape up a few fish until things get really ugly out there. I'll be heading to one such gem tomorrow to see if this guy has any larger friends sharing the run with him.
Click the image to open in full size.

The fish in the stream in question are also migratory and there is no telling what I'll find there tomorrow, it's supposed to be 40* on Sunday

Ard
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Old 11-09-2013, 05:27 PM
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Default Re: Another Season Comes to an End;

Great report and pics as always Ard. Too bad you missed the drop, didn't get a chance to really exercise your new build or take much home. Where was boss? I missed him in any pics.

I don't envy you the long darkness to come but there is always another spring to look forward to - I am.

Jim
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Old 11-09-2013, 05:50 PM
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Default Re: Another Season Comes to an End;

Hey Jim,

Oh he was there, he was real careful about not getting wet, he's pretty smart about that when the ice forms. You can see him in the shadows heading down the side of the river to check things out in this picture.
Click the image to open in full size.

Our past few trips old Boss has done a lot of snooping along the shores. With the water dropping he has more ground to cover. Still he never goes too far and always checks in every few minuets

PS; I didn't build that rod, I bought it used for 250 dollars but the receiver on the reel seat was broken. I sent it back to Hardy and had to wait for a replacement to come from the UK.
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Old 11-09-2013, 05:53 PM
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Default Re: Another Season Comes to an End;

Nice write up Ard and great pictures! I won't tell you the temp in Denver today However, I didn't get out fishing.
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Old 11-09-2013, 06:04 PM
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Default Re: Another Season Comes to an End;

I would like to "walk in your shoes"..........and see your country......I have only seen the silvers in skagway, in mid september...........you are living in paradise my friend...I envy you........ here in north carolina, I have seen the "northern lights" only twice......a beautiful pink display......a moment my family will surely remember!!!
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Old 11-09-2013, 06:30 PM
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Default Re: Another Season Comes to an End;

I read James Michener's "Alaska" a few years back and can see by your pics the country is about to shut down it's waterways to boats and jacket-less weather, burrrrrr... but ah! ...the dog-sledders will be happy to run the winter highways covered with snow and ice and maybe even a guy riding a bike with his poke down the Yukon will find a better go of it.

The fish will be thanking you for the rest. Now you'll just have to wait for "opening day"! Remember those ?

Time to tie flies and tune up the rods reels and the boat and recall all those great times you had in the past season. Ain't it great.
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Old 11-09-2013, 06:41 PM
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Default Re: Another Season Comes to an End;

Beautiful scenery there, seeing something 170 miles away, amazing. I got to cut the yard, changed the oil in the weedeater and cleaned out a garage. I'll take your day.
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Old 11-09-2013, 06:51 PM
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Default Re: Another Season Comes to an End;

Ard,

Sorry to hear the outing wasn't what you expected. By my estimation, just being there and walking in such a beautiful place would be a great moment in itself.

If you need a break this winter, give me a shout and head on down here. It rarely rains, so it might seem like a foreign land to you (well, LA certainly is).

The most fishable and accessible water is a short ride to the beach. I fished it on New Year's Day this year in the bright sunshine and no crowds.

-Eric
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Old 11-09-2013, 06:54 PM
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Default Re: Another Season Comes to an End;

Maybe next winter Eric, we are talking about going to Oregon for a week at birthday time to fish for steelhead. I would love to escape to Southern Cal. for a few days in mid January This year I have to finish the interior at the cabin and that will take care of my winter pretty much.
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Old 11-09-2013, 07:25 PM
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Default Re: Another Season Comes to an End;

Ard,

That sounds good. You're welcome here anytime.

Is it just me, or does the trout in that last photo have a big ol' smile on his face?

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