Life on the River, Summer 08

The cabin was shaping up quite well, as I departed in the Cessna 180, and waved good-bye to Dice bay for a little over a month. My Dad and Jon were the remainder of our crew that had been working there for the previous two weeks. The rest of the crew consisted of My Dad’s brother, Curt, and also Warren from Idaho. Now it was on to new adventures and destinations.

My home for the past month was Valhalla Lodge, an Orvis endorsed fishing lodge located just southwest from Lake Clark, on the shores of six mile lake. HappeningsJuneJuly08Lodge.jpegThe Lodge was started in the 80’s by Kirk Gay, along side the original fishing and hunting camp of his father, Alaska Pioneer, Pilot and Guide, Ward Gay. At the time of my arrival it was only Kirks son, Chris, Niki, the house-keeper, and Peter, the Chef. We kept busy with maintenance and prep work for the upcoming season. We put boats into the water, went through boat motors, and getting everything ship shape. Kirks daughter Brenda, and her Husband Brad, arrived with their two kids that next week. Brad and I then commenced the job of loading up all the boat motors into the Dehaviland Beaver, three at a time, and flying them out to the various rivers that the overturned boats were stored for the winter. We first flew to the Kvichak River, then to the Copper River, and finally to the Nushagak River, which is where the largest run of King Salmon in Alaska takes Place. It was a great time, getting to see some old and new country.

A couple days later, Kirk and his wife Liza came out in the Helio, which is a mid-size plane.Among the many things keeping us busy was hauling fuel and food, which had to be brought in by plane, like everything else out in the bush.

Our first clients showed up on the 22nd and began fishing the next day. The Kings were not running at first, but by the middle of the week they began there push up the river and made for some excellent days out on the Nushagak River. My first day out guiding was on the 25th, when the weather kept them from flying out, so we went out on the Tazimina River, nicknamed the “TAZ”.

The day was spent throwing flies and leeches around. Grayling are not quite as picky as trout on this river, but they will not bite on anything. HappeningsJuneJuly08Grayling.jpegBy the end of the day we had probably caught 50 grayling between the two clients. We also caught a few small rainbows, as well as Lake Trout and Northern Pike out on the lake.

I continued to take people up the Taz every other day, and began to really get to know the river, working different holes on different days, and figuring out the patterns that were more successful.

The river can be tricky, when the water is rising and falling with the melting snow and rains, so one has to always be on their toes. We had a few more clients come in on the tail end of the week, and all of which had great success out Trout fishing, Pike Fishing, and King Fishing. Our next group came in on Sunday, a father and daughter and a Husband and wife. Although they were not very seasoned with a fly rod, all of them picked it up quickly, and before long were casting quite well and reeling in the big ones, including a 40 plus inch King, and a 44 inch Pike. I was once again up the Tazimina with all of them at least once. We also had one guy from Texas that had been fly fishing for many years, and had never had this good of fishing ever before. We ended the week with the celebration of independence day,happeningsjunejuly08wakeboard.jpeg with wake boarding, and even had some fire works go off in the town nearby, although the 21 hour day light did not provide much of a show, it was fun nonetheless.

After the fourth a new group of seven come in, from Colorado, Alabama, and California. They were a great group of guys, and we had a great week of fishing.

The Sockeye run was in full swing, and every one of them got at least one, and some of them two trips to fill the freezer. A few Kings were still working their way up the Nushagak River, and the Rainbows were hitting strong on dry flies and smolt. They also caught plenty of grayling on the “Taz”, Arctic Char, Lake Trout, and Pike. Another great week, with fun times and lots of fish stories around the dinner table,HappeningsJuneJuly08Waterfall.jpeg which was expertly prepared by Peter, the chef. One of the guides managed to cut his hand open on the propeller of the boat motor while pike fishing though. One of the clients was a doctor, so he got him all bandaged up, flew back to the lodge, and went in to the local clinic. Aside from minor injuries, we continued our fishing ventures, and had great success, even a nice 20 inch Rainbow, which brought some great smiles. The week ended well, and the clients left with boxes full of fish, and stories that didn’t need stretching.

The following week we had a Husband, Wife and Son arrive from Chicago, and just as we got rolling through the days,

a change of plans came about, and I was able to head out early from my job at the lodge, and by noon monday I was back in the Cessna, with the joystick pointed towards the little community of Dice Bay once again. I decided not to tell my family, which had just arrived in Lake Clark the day before, so a suprise was in order, and they certainly were. So then began the process of moving back into my little tent, and getting back into the swing of working again. Swinging hammers, and hauling materials, alot of work ahead.

1 Response to "Life on the River, Summer 08"

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