Tuesday the 26th caught a redeye 5 hour flight with Alaskan airlines to Anchorage then a ERA flight from Anchorage to Kenai for another 30 min of flight time. Arriving me in Kenai, Alaska at around 8AM Wednesday the 27th to be greeted by Rick's friends Brad Alehandro and Mark sporting a Suburban complete with gear, two dogs and a boat all ready to assault the river. We were going for Sokeye Salmon since fishing for Kings had just been restricted to artificials only no bait which made alot of fishermen leave the river early or end trips sooner. Spent the whole day fighting Sokeyes in the 2.5 - 3 ft range till we limited out and decided to head down river to clean our fish. Best part was one of the dogs would jump in every time someone caught a fish, swim out and retrieve the fish to the boat so we could net, whack and bleed it out but unfortunately little guy got hooked in the lip once. Also while traveling down river we got to see a stand off over a fish between a bald eagle and a bear and neither was about to give in. Cleaned our catch and headed to the lodge in broad daylight at 8PM to clean fillets then vacuume seal and freez them, don't think the sun started to go down till 11:30 PM.
Thursday the 28th Rick stayed behind to work on a gate to Brad's property so we packed light and we left the dogs behind to take the lighter and smaller drift boat to chase more Salmon further down the river but this time there were alot of reds so we ended up having to catch around 8-10 fish till we would get a good silver out of it. Also we were lucky enough to get up close and personal with a mother bear and her two cubs roaming shore for cleaning scraps and eggs, we had enough brains to get back into the boat and keep our distance but still close enough to get some good picts. Explored the river a bit more before arriving at the landing area to pull out, pack up and head back to the lodge for more fish cleaning and storage prep. And to find out that gate installation did not go as smoothly as planned.
Friday the 29th I was too sore to fish another full day and opted out to help Rick get Brad's gate up and working. After all it's the least I could do for the two guys that made my dream of going to Alaska come true and pretty much provided me with everything from flight arrangements, a place to sleep, food, gear and a experience that would last a life time.
I volunteered to do some of the ditch digging for the gate wires and after forgetting some tools Rick left me alone at the property edge while he went back to the lodge for awhile. Ten minutes after he left I was sitting in the bottom of the ditch seperating wires when I hear a very slow paced heavy walk and grunting coming up from behind me. As I hoisted myself out of the ditch I could hear it was right behind me now by about 10 feet and getting closer, I just figured well this is it I'm done it's a bear and I am going to get mauled or killed. I could feel my heart begin to race and began to get heart burn from my stomach acid going crazy, I looked around and my two options were a pick axe and a shovel. I figured a pick axe if I swung and missed I'd be screwed so I went for the shovel that I thought I could atleast have a fighting chance with or be able to keep it at bay with. By then the grunting was right behind me so I did the hell marry dive across the trench while grabbing the shovel and turning to try and defend myself against a bear... only to find the biggest fattest and ugliest English Bulldog I had ever seen. Turns out it was the neighbors dog that had wandered out to where I was to investigate the noise I was making while digging, fat little thing even tried to charge me when I turned around so I ended up screaming and waving the shovel at it till it waddled off back to the house. Dog was so fat his belly dragged on the ground and between his paw prints he left a line in the dirt. Rick came back a couple minutes after that and laughed his arse off at me while I took a few antacids and water to try and get my stomach acids back under control. We worked on the gate till about 8PM then took the ERA from Kenai to Anchorage and another redeye flight back to CA to be back home by 9AM.
All in all for my first time actually being out of CA and going to Alaska like I have always wanted I think it was a great trip atleast for me anyways. No King Salmon, barn door Halibutt or prehistoric Lingcods for me but I was happy with Sokeye and the great guys I got to meet and fish with and hopefully will get to see again next year. Got to see a few bears, couple wolves and a few bald eagles but was hoping to see a moose also... maybe next time. And I got to bring home about 3 boxes of Salmon fillets that put the Costco fish section to shame! And you couldn't ask for better weather with highs in the 50's and lows in the 60's with just enough rain to make the trip interesting. The only thing I don't think I will ever get used to up there is everyone I was with was armed locked and loaded 24/7, the 20 something hours of daylight and being in woods so dense you couldn't find a clearing to take a piss in. Sorry I don't have many picts but the woods up there are so dense it's hard to get detailed shots of anything all you see is woods and green everywhere or I was trying to shoot from a moving boat or I was always doing something and just didn't have time to take as many picts as I would have liked to. Try and get a few up soon, such a pain to post them up on here.