Thanks Thanks:  3
Likes Likes:  49
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 19
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    West of Houston, Texas
    Posts
    956

    Default Bucket list fishing the Denali Highway

    My job brings me to Anchorage a few times a year and I usually donít have much time off to get out and experience anything even remotely fishing related. So this time, when I had a free weekend, I immediately set about plotting and scheming for a trip Iíve been planning in my mind for years. Flies were tied, gear was checked and rechecked, and maps were studied. This time it was actually happening. Finally the day arrived to depart.

    The flight was long as usual and I was happy to be on the ground with some time to walk around before going to bed even though I was worn out.
    During the work week, I impatiently counted down till I could head north. The scenery sure sucks here.

    On Friday, I finished my obligations to ďThe ManĒ and semi-frantically drove north.


    My planned camping area, chosen after studying online forums, guidebooks, and maps, was a campground that was chock-full of tourists in giant motor homes and some tents with screaming kids and barking dogs. Not my scene by a long shot, so I made tracks for better accommodations.

    Good thing I had plenty of this.

    There were loads of these to snack on as I pondered the day ahead.

    The next morning I woke with the sun and brewed some instant coffee to go with my instant breakfast and headed to my first targeted stream full of anticipation and angst. One of my tentís 2 poles broke in the night and ripped through the fabric so I was bummed, but not upset. Too many good things to look forward to. I read online about all the easy-to-catch runt graylings and figured that even if the articles exaggerated, I hoped to be able to fool a few since I suck at fishing.

    The first one came as a surprise on a dropper nymph as I was getting the kinks out of my casting. There would be plenty more. Each one a beautiful array of iridescent blues, red, indigo, silver, and orange. I couldnít believe I was actually interacting with these beings.





    A few ate the elk hair Caddis I was using as a dry, so I decided to try my favorite ant and see if that would work on some larger specimens.

    Yep.
    This one had been attacked by SOMETHING.
    The day continued in a glorious series of walks between holes, stopping to watch birds and scenery, and of course, catching dozens of these.


    Everywhere I looked, I was surrounded by ridiculously and relentlessly breathtaking sights.









    I wound up hiking a few miles farther than I had planned and after banging my shin on a nasty, sharp boulder as I slipped in one run, I decided to call it a day since it had already exceeded my fevered daydreams of years past. It was time to settle in for another night before starting the next work week. I decided to go further up the highway and see whatís up there. The answer was LOTS of campers and not many camping spots thanks to the start of hunting season this weekend apparently. I was lucky to find a spot isolated from everyone else and set up camp in the back of the rental since my tent wasnít operational anymore.

    The next day (today) would be a LONG drive back to Anchorage with lots of tourist stopping to take photos.
    The morning would be cold and crisp.
    Even the morning sunís rays were frosty in these dying days of summer.
    So I settled in and slept like the dead after living a day Iíve played over and over again in my head without ever actually experiencing it. Now itís over. And a new dream takes form...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    ďItís all in the reflexes.Ē

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Eastern Iowa, Southern Driftless
    Posts
    7,916

    Default Re: Bucket list fishing the Denali Highway

    Thanks for sharing. Nice grayling and I got a chuckle out of the Deet pic. When in AK I have found myself pondering if drinking a shot of cutter might help keep the skeeters off me.

  3. Likes Joey Bagels, mcnerney liked this post
  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    West of Houston, Texas
    Posts
    956

    Default Bucket list fishing the Denali Highway

    In case I donít mention, itís an ugly place. No one should visit. Ever.
















    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Joey Bagels; Yesterday at 07:31 AM.
    ďItís all in the reflexes.Ē

  5. Likes mcnerney, tcorfey, jeepster II liked this post
  6. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
    Posts
    17,939
    Blog Entries
    140

    Default Re: Bucket list fishing the Denali Highway

    Happy for you buddy!

    A whole lot of that looked familiar to me even the fishes Were those "runt grayling" in that spot where the little river flows from the upper lake to the lower one? There are usually a ton of them around the outflow of upper lake. Real good choice to have the bug dope, I've never been up there when they weren't terrible.

    I like it up there but as you now know it's a long drive even if you live here.

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

  7. Likes Joey Bagels, mcnerney, tcorfey liked this post
  8. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    West of Houston, Texas
    Posts
    956

    Default Bucket list fishing the Denali Highway

    Quote Originally Posted by Ard View Post
    Happy for you buddy!

    A whole lot of that looked familiar to me even the fishes Were those "runt grayling" in that spot where the little river flows from the upper lake to the lower one? There are usually a ton of them around the outflow of upper lake. Real good choice to have the bug dope, I've never been up there when they weren't terrible.

    I like it up there but as you now know it's a long drive even if you live here.
    None came from anywhere near any lakes. I came from the opposite side. And I was pleasantly surprised at the 14-15Ē fish that were literally jumping out of the water on the take of the dry fly. At one point I had a double header with one on dry and one on dropper. The dropper fish threw the hook before I could land them, but their eagerness was impressive. Iíll definitely be back whenever possible.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    ďItís all in the reflexes.Ē

  9. Likes ia_trouter, mcnerney, dennyk, mlob1one liked this post
  10. #6

    Default Re: Bucket list fishing the Denali Highway

    Very cool post Joey!! Thanks for sharing and great job with all of the photos.

    Take Care,
    Dan

  11. Thanks Joey Bagels thanked for this post
    Likes mcnerney liked this post
  12. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Hudsonville, Michigan
    Posts
    1,977
    Blog Entries
    20

    Default Re: Bucket list fishing the Denali Highway

    Good for you Joey! Nice to mix business with pleasure. Glad you got to fish Alaska and thanks for sharing your experiences as well as the great pictures!

    Denny

  13. Thanks Joey Bagels thanked for this post
    Likes mcnerney liked this post
  14. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    West of Houston, Texas
    Posts
    956

    Default Re: Bucket list fishing the Denali Highway

    Hopefully the following stars align for next year: 1) I donít get laid off, 2) my job continues to include working with the Alaska office, and 3) another mandatory trip spans a weekend in the summer of 2020. Already making plans for things Iíd do differently. Like bring duct tape in case a tent pole breaks! And check waders BEFORE finding a leak in the toe.

    And bring an extra set of thermal underpants in case I slip in and catch cold water all down my legs and crotch...because that happened. But the scenery is burned into my brain for ever now.











    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    ďItís all in the reflexes.Ē

  15. Likes dennyk, Ard, tcorfey liked this post
  16. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Pinedale, WY
    Posts
    20,459
    Blog Entries
    50

    Default Re: Bucket list fishing the Denali Highway

    Joey

    I really enjoyed reading your trip report and seeing all those great photos. I had to laugh though when I saw your 40% DEET, when I lived in Alaska we used 100% DEET to keep those pests off.
    Larry


  17. Thanks Joey Bagels thanked for this post
  18. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    SF Bay area California
    Posts
    1,377

    Default Re: Bucket list fishing the Denali Highway

    Joey,

    Great read there. Ironically I was up in Alaska last week also and after a week of work in my Anchorage office took off to do some fishing on the weekend. I spent the weekend in the Mat-su valley and Kenai river. I had some trout and several species of salmon to keep me on the water. Definitely a beautiful area and I hope to get up there again sometime. I did not take enough pictures but I have a lifetime of memories. Maybe next time I can take a run up to Denali like you did. It looks very impressive. I did get the opportunity to hook up with Ard on the weekend and he is one of the most intelligent, knowledgeable, and funniest gentleman I have ever had the pleasure to fish with.

    Regards,

    Tim C.

  19. Likes Ard, ia_trouter, dennyk, mcnerney, Joey Bagels liked this post
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Bucket List Trips
    By brokeoff in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 60
    Last Post: 10-04-2018, 12:31 AM
  2. Bucket List Fishing Trips
    By FISHN50 in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: 03-08-2017, 09:43 AM
  3. Put fishing here at the top of your 'bucket list.'
    By fredaevans in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 12-18-2015, 05:56 AM
  4. Scratch one off the bucket list!
    By dragon11 in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 10-01-2015, 02:05 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •