Thursday, July 28, 2011

Gone Fishing

This past Tuesday I was fortunate enough to go fishing with one of the families at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. The Coburn’s (A family at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church) took me fishing.
We left bright and early at 6:00 to head to Soldotna, AK. If you look on the map below you can see Soldotna is about 170 miles south of Chugiak, AK. It took three and a half hours to get there. The road is winding and very busy since it has traffic that heads south as it is the main southbound Alaska road. For the most part the road is only one lane so if one gets stuck behind the MANY tourists traveling in a motorhome it is a long, slow haul!

View Larger Map

At any rate we arrived in Soldotna and I purchased my fishing license. I only got a one day license. Being a non-resident of Alaska is EXPENSIVE to hunt or fish. A day pass (non-resident) is $20.00 and a year pass is $145.00 (non-resident). This is A LOT compared to the meager $24.00 year pass for an Alaska resident. You can see other prices here: . Trapping license are even higher for moose, bear, and muskox. Although if one is a resident you can get a grizzly bear license for only $25.00.

After purchasing the fishing license we headed out of town to the Kenai River. The Red Salmon were headed upstream for spawning. The Red Salmon that we caught were very “fresh”. What I mean by this is that they were fresh from the ocean. Most of them still had sea louse on them. This is very FRESH since sea louse originate in the ocean and fall off when they reach fresh water, needless to say our fish were very fresh from the ocean.

My large Red Salmon
4 of these are mine including the largest and smallest Red Trout plus the salmon-Kenai River

 After 10 hours at Soldotna we had supper. I figured we were done for the day as it was around 7:00pm but we then traveled 2 hours to Hope, AK. Hope is 10 miles from Anchorage by flight but it is on the opposite side of the inlet so it is 90 miles by road. We stopped in Hope and fished this time for Pink Salmon.

Click on the above video to see the baby bear in the tree

Baby Black Bear up the tree
Hanging Out
Not only did we find Pink Salmon but we stumbled upon a momma black bear and her two cubs. The momma bear was down by the river where we were, fishing, just like we were. The momma bear saw that one of the nearby fishermen had a bunch of pink Salomon stocked up on a stringer just floating in the river. This, of course, would make for a bountiful, and easy meal. Why go to all the work of catching Salmon where there are five on a stringer, stationary in the water. The momma bear walked over the stringer and picked up the fish. The nearby distraught fishermen yelled and the bear dropped the stringer.

Click for larger view:
Sniffing...there are fish on a stringer
Fishermen (left; he blends in) and approaching black bear (right)
Run away!
Eventually the momma bear came back and I witnessed her catch a Pink Salmon all on her own. It was fun to see.

My total count for the day—4 Red Salmon, 1 trout & 3 Pink Salmon. I caught the first fish of the day, the largest fish of the day (at 10.5 pounds) and the smallest fish of the day. Not bad for my first time out. 

Trout-Kenai River
Pink Salmon a female on the left and a male on the right--Hope

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