Thursday, September 1, 2011

2011 Alaska Trip: Days Five and Six

By day five I was exhausted from the long hours of fishing and preparations for the following day, but the time difference still had me up at weird times. It was nice to see the camp at different times when there was nothing else going an and it was quiet.

Our day was planned out to head across Naknek Lake to fish Margot creek. I was told that there would be bears and it did not take long to see them as there were a few hanging out along the beach as we came in.

It also did not take long to swing in to some char!

The bear population on Margot was certainly not over-hyped. I think we spent over a third of the time that day dodging bears as they were hunting for the same thing we were.

Of course there was plenty of time betweeen the bear watching for us to get in to fish. The fishing on Margot was absolutely phenomenal; numbers wise it may well have been tops for the trip.

At one point the bears really seemed to be everywhere all at once...kind of made it hard to get out of the way. There were three of us fishing a stretch as a few griz came from each direction. The Pats and I backed off and watched as one of the males cruised on by between us.

We then backed up a side channel a bit to allow a female and her cub to cross. It was a bit sketchy as one of the males had ducked back off the river and out of sight, and we had our backs to some prety thick cover, but it all ended well as they kept on looking for fish.

Of course we then had to back off a little more to allow the other female and her two cubs to bypass us and head downstream. Needless to say that ten minutes there were a lot of grizzlies around, and it was really cool to be able to see them so close...with only minimal heart palpitations...

On the way out I swung in to this Mack truck of a biggest off the trip. He was not happy about being landed and did his best musky impression as I tried to get the fly back; almost got a piece off me but not quite.

Realizing that the trip was winding down Patrick Robinson and I took a boat out before stopping for dinner. We shot about a mile downstream on the Naknek to look for some silvers, but ended up with just a nice hour of casting in the calm. You can't win them all!

My last fishing destination of the trip was back across NaknekLake to fish the famous Brooks River. There were more bears on the Margot, but on Brooks they seemed a bit bigger and liked to cruise back and forth in the same stretches. We got to see each bear a few times as they went back and forth picking off the odd fish here and there.

This Char was able to narrowly escape a bear, but not able to throw my fly.

There were always bears hanging out throughout the day. The bear up on the bluff had an injured front right paw so we paid extra attention to him just to be sure we kept a safe distance.

This big dude cruised up and down in front of us chasing Sockeye around. His preferred method was snorkelling, with his ears above water so he could hear and eyes below water watching the fish. Check out the video as he moves on past us the last time.

Dave picked off quite a few nice rainbows with our buddy looking on.

The fish on Brooks were everywhere; Rainbows, Sockeye, Char and Silvers all mixed together in a paradise of a fishing situation. It was an excellent way to finish of a trip that exceeded any picture I had of it in my head.

The last morning I was up early. I had intended to fish a few hours but ended up walking around talking to people, and soaking it all in. Greg and Patrick, of Steelhead Alley Outfitters, put on a fantastic trip full of laughs and fish. I can not recommend highly enough Jim Johnson and the operation he has put together at the Naknek River Camp. It was a comfortable family atmosphere with the focus on the fish, and there were a ton of them. I will definitely be back.

-mike schmidt


  1. Wow....Mack truck indeed! Nice catch. Gorgeous photos. Although, all those bears make me a tad nervous...eve through a computer screen!

  2. Mike... Thanks for posting your Alaska experience. I really want to do another trip there. Thanks for the stoke.

  3. My pleasure Todd. Others trips certainly kept my interest so I figured I would return the favor!

    EMB - The bears were unnerving at first, but it did not take long before you could really tell that they couldn't care less that we were there. It was still a little hairy during a few moments, but most of the time you almost forgot they were around.

  4. Awesome and interesting video for sure i gain more knowledge from there, please keep it up!

    Alaskan Fish Species