After wrapping up some work using the airport’s wifi connection I headed over to ABC Motorhome Rentals and got rolling on getting the rig.
It’s a 24-footer and is little tight for four of us with our ridiculous amount of gear.
So, the rest of the crew.
Mark Freeman is the outdoors writer for The Medford (Ore.) Mail-Tribune, a paper about 90 miles from where I grew up. He got in about 11:30.
We made a run to Fred Meyer for supplies, then picked up the Brett Prettyman and Reed Sherman, who live in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Brett is the outdoors writer for the Salt Lake Tribune. Reed is a freelance shooter (still and video).
We headed north.
Our plan was to meet Chris Batin, the guru of Alaska outdoors writing, at his place near Talkeetna. Chris was returning from a fishing outing at Cordova and was running about three hours behind us.
So we stopped at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Wasilla and got our licenses and a little more gear (can’t have too much gear, right?) and headed up the road to find a creek to fish.
As we walked out one of the guys in the store said, “Enjoy this sunshine.”
It was in the upper 60s, with sun. Amazing weather, and apparently a little unusual. (Sure enough, it started raining in the middle of the night and is a little damp and cloudy today.)
Well, all the creeks were blown out due to recent heavy rains. Figures I go all the way to Alaska and the rivers are blown out. But we finally got to one that looked good.
It was Montana Creek, and there was a public parking lot right at the bridge crossing.
As we were gearing up three guys walked up with two kind of dark-looking coho salmon. (The longer salmon are in freshwater, the darker they get. In general, the brighter the fish the better they fight and, of course, taste.)
They said the fishing had been slow.
I tied on a little chartreuse jig with an egg fly dropper.
We spread out and got started.
Dead and rotted salmon were scattered along the bank, and some nasty looking fish in their last days were finning in the shallows.
We didn’t bother with the nasty fish. Well, Brett actually started casting to one pod. I think if he had hooked one it probably would have broken in half when he started pulling it in.
I found a good-looking little slot and started working it. My indicator (bobber) stopped and I pulled up. I was into a fish.
I could see that it was a decent-sized salmon. It didn’t fight too hard but was probably an 8-pounder so wasn’t too easy to work in with my trout-sized 5-weight fly rod.
I got it in after about five minutes. It was a pink salmon, also known as a humpback or pink salmon. It was dark but not hideous. The chartreuse jig was buried in its lower jaw.
My first Alaska fish!
I ended up hook three more humpies, but lost them all. I also caught a second little pink, but was snagged.
The other guys also got into some good humpies.
We wrapped things up about 7 p.m. and called Chris. He was home, and directed us into his place, which was about 15 minutes away.
His cabin is amazing, with a spectacular view of the Alaska Range, including the towering Mount McKinley, the centerpiece of Denali National Park. The top of McKinley was a little socked in, but it was still spectacular.
We enjoyed catching up with Chris, drinking a couple beer and eating a simple pasta dinner.
Then it was time to hit the rack. Freeman and I took the RV and the Utah boys stayed in the Lodge.
Ten hours later, here I am. Writing this didn’t take much time. Dealing with a troublesome laptop has take a couple hours. Argh. I think I finally have it ready to post.
Today’s plan is to fish Montana Creek again. It actually runs through Chris’ property so we are going to fish it up here.
I am also going to put my take-down recurve bow together and if I have time I might go walking and looking for a grouse.
Off we go.