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March First 2011;

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It was daylight at 7:00 Am this morning and the sun actually rose above the eastern horizon at around 8:00 the day is 5 minuets and 43 seconds longer than yesterday. This is a good time of year here. However there always seems to be a fly in the ointment and the fly for the past three days is once again wind! The months since last October until today have been filled with extreme winds and some clocked to 90 mph. Even though the sun is shining bright and warm the wind is keeping me indoors. The good news if there is an upside to this is that the wind has put down some very nice dead trees that have been keeping the home warm since January. I thought I had a good wood supply but thirty days of sub zero weather between Thanksgiving & Christmas knocked it down fast. So I will spend this afternoon splitting logs and no I don't have a gas splitter..........

When you look out and see the ice on the ground (we have had very little snow) and hear the wind howling at 45 mph through the birch trees it's hard to believe we are only 60 days from breakup. breakup is the word for ice out in Alaska. Last year by May 5, I was out on Hewitt Lake at the cabin and had made the trip by boat so it won't be long now. By the end of May the kings will begin to show and by June 21, they should be in hard. I like to think that it's time for a good return on them because for the past three years the counts have went to the basement. It has taken me 6 seasons to figure some things out but this year I have a plan to put kings on the beach. Six years may seem a long time but I have spent a lifetime figuring some things out and some still remain a mystery. Fish generally can be deduced and rivers can be charted so that I am not just firing a shot in the dark when I head out for a trip. In all the travels along my regular haunts time has played in my favor and I expect to see some benefits this season. There is an almost measurable level of anxiety as the days pass leading up to seeing that first swirl or breaching king salmon.

Flies, I always seem to need flies. There is no need for too many this year but what is needed are specific. Big Skykomish Sunrise and Freight Train patterns and a few big red and white marabou flies will be needed for the kings. Last year I fished with some really fancy flies for them and I hung a lot of those beauties on submerged logs. king salmon tend to congregate around log jams so if you want to have a shot you have to risk the fly. Spring flows on the rivers are not conducive to wading over there to get your fly back so when your hung the fly is a goner. It is this that will keep the king flies simple, heck I met a guy from Laos who could charm king salmon out of the water using a big Gamakatsu hook with a shank of red yarn tied to it. I mean tied to the hook with a square knot in the yarn! Now that is just kinda humbling when you are fish-less using a fly that took 20 minuets or more to tie. This does not mean an end to my fly tying as I know it but I will be a lot more practical before pitching flies like these into those high roiling waters. None of the flies below are in my boxes any longer, they were all hung in the river and many more too.


I hate losing flies! For more years than I can remember I have been pretty free at telling people that "I don't lose flies" and until I started after King salmon I did have an excellent record of keeping my flies. Swinging right along the bottom in water where you can only see the top 8 - 12 inches on a good day changed all that for me. The flies in the pictures are a little over the top for dredging deep semi muddy rivers so I'm gonna change up my approach to king salmon flies this year. don't get me wrong I love catching a fish on a work of art but I gotta be reasonable at this least I loose my marbles when number 4 snaps off on some unforeseen log. When I come up with my 'expendable patterns" I'll be sure to post them in this document collection.

Well it's 11:00 Am and those logs will not split themselves, the beauty of not having a lot of snow is I am using a 4 wheeler and a freight sled to gather trees for firewood. Down in the woods there is only about 8 - 10" of snow even in the areas where it drifts. With all the wind the high ground around the house gets swept clean fast. just 5 days ago we had rain on top of what snow was here and that really made it nice. The pictures below were taken Sunday. I needed to cut some trees then but when I went out back this momma moose and her yearling were resting down back. There have been a lone pregnant cow, a cow with twins, and this pair hanging around our woods for a couple weeks now. This is like a safe zone for them. No snowmachines or disturbances in the woods out back and we know that as long as they sleep here they aren't crossing the roads. Many moose get hit here, last year there were 1760 moose killed on the roads here.


The pictures were taken from the back deck, no close ups because I wanted them to rest here. They stayed till right before dark so there was no wood cut. I have been dropping live trees also to supply wood for next winter. When you cut the big live birch at this time of year they are budding up in the crowns and running a chain saw is like ringing a dinner bell for moose. They learn that where they hear saws running they may find fresh browse that normally is 50' high in a tree. Pretty interesting how they show up within a day or two of you cutting trees. I first noticed this out at the cabin. there some fresh browse can mean life or death to a moose mired in 6 or more feet of snow. hard to believe they survive it.

That's all for now gotta go to work.

Updated 03-20-2011 at 12:09 PM by Ard



  1. mcnerney's Avatar
    Ard: That is interesting that the moose will show up after hearing a chainsaw!