Time: 8:30AM – 12:30PM
Location: Lower part of river similar to Wednesday
Fish Landed: 15
Saturday was my last day of fishing in Alaska in 2011. I woke up to overcast skies and spitting rain, and it was quite chilly. Jordan and I were behind Dr. McKenzie but slightly ahead of Michi, Don and Mike. We did the grass cut off on the way to the Copper and went upstream beyond where Dr. Steve was fishing to the sweet long run where I’d had so much previous success on Tuesday and Wednesday.
We started off with the indicator and double nymph rig including a rubber leg pheasant tail and white flesh fly on the bottom. I landed six relatively small rainbows by Alaska standards with the largest being a decent 15” fish. I was executing the stack mends like a pro at least compared to my efforts at the beginning of the week. I also learned to strike and then let the drift continue from the place I stripped the fly to on the hook set.
After covering the long sweet run, we moved to a stretch further upstream where there was a long run and fished the left side facing downstream. I hit a pod of Dolly Varden and landed around six in the top half of the long run. Some of the Dolly Vardens took the flesh fly and several grabbed the pheasant tail. Halfway down the run the current angled toward the bank and the water got significantly deeper. Jordan switched me over to streamers for deeper water as we expected some larger fish, and I landed three rainbows, but again they were small by Alaska standards. I started with the fry fly and then went to a white and brown streamer, and finally a purple leech. The purple leech produced the fish.
We again jumped in the boat and headed further upstream and I landed a small rainbow on the nymphs. Next we crossed over to the “other side”, a separate channel that we had not explored all week. Jordan was checking the weight of the fly and demonstrating the way to fish this smaller channel when he hooked a beautiful rainbow that I played and landed. This one didn’t count, but it was still fun. I watched as Jordan walked down the stream along with the indicator and nymphs out ahead of him.
Finally I hooked and landed my best fish of the day in a spot below where Jordan caught his fish. The current cut a deep run and then fanned out before some clumps of grass. I ran the indicator and nymphs downstream from above using the stack mend technique and hooked the fish eight feet above the grass clumps.
We called it quits and hustled back to the lodge for 1PM lunch. After lunch we moved our packed bags and equipment to the main lodge room by the door. I watched with interest as the float plane approached over the lake from a distance and then smoothly touched down and skimmed to a stop. We all marched out to the beach and took group photos and exchanged goodbyes. Blake the pilot loaded our belongings, and we climbed on the float plane. The takeoff was as smooth as the landing and I snapped several photos of Intricate Bay as we departed. We landed in Illiamna and almost immediately boarded the Pilatus and flew the last leg back to Anchorage.
The woman at the counter at the Illiamna Air Taxi terminal ordered a taxi for us and Michi, Don, Steve and I piled in. The driver didn’t speak much English and didn’t know his way around very well, but we managed to drop the three Californians off at the Budget rental building. Now I was stuck in the car with this guy trying to find the Enterprise counter. After numerous wrong turns and asking directions we finally found Enterprise at the main terminal of the airport. I paid the driver a $10 fare and refused to pay for all the excessive driving.
I rented our Ford Escape for the week and left it parked in the Enterprise lot while I walked to the baggage claim area to wait for Jane’s flight to arrive. Her Alaska Air flight arrived 40 minutes early, so we walked back to the rental car and drove to downtown Anchorage where we had reserved two nights at the Arctic Fox bed & breakfast. We checked into our nice clean room and then walked downtown seeking a restaurant. We looked at some menus with prices that seemed too high, and eventually ended up in the Glacier Brewhouse, the same restaurant I’d eaten at the previous Sunday night. We had to grab bar seating and were at a narrow table directly across from a couple from California.
We ended up chatting with Rebecca and Dave who had been touring Alaska and were about to return to California the next day.