Thursday, June 4, 2015

Gone Fishing

Jeff said that if I'd come help install the solar setup on his trailer that he would take me fishing. That promise found me standing in the rain at 5 a.m. on May 23rd as we waited to board the Arctic Expedition at the Deep Creek tractor launch. BTW, my one day fishing license with salmon stamp cost about the same as Jeff's resident annual fishing license with salmon stamp.

I'm sure glad I had pictures of the tractor launch process from a couple years ago because it's next to impossible to get pictures from the boat. This picture of another boat is the last picture of the day after we were back on the beach.

We were on the water before the sun rose, which is pretty hard to do this time of year in Alaska. The boat was configured for six clients. We shared the trip with three gals from the Palmer/Wasilla area. They've done the same trip several years running.

We were doing a combo trip, fishing for halibut and king salmon. We trolled unsuccessfully for salmon for about an hour before moving to the middle of the Cook Inlet for halibut. This was the tool of the trade for halibut fishing.

A big bucket of halibut bait! We barely made a dent in it.

Spencer was the second person to catch a halibut. With the two pound sinker plus the fish on the hook, it took a bunch of grinding to get the fish to the surface.

Here's the happy fisherman with his first catch of the day. The limit is two halibut per day, and one needs to be under 29 inches in length. Since Spencer is a resident under age 16, he doesn't need a license but he does need to keep an official record of his catch.

Turns out, our guide for the day was a nephew of a high school classmate. Small world!

After we all limited on halibut, our youngest member caught some zzzzs as we transitioned back to the area where we would troll for salmon again.

It seems like it was less than 10 minutes before Spencer landed this beautiful King salmon. With that catch, he was limited out for the day.

I was amazed when about 10 minutes later, I landed this one, using the same rig that Spencer used. I've never fished for anything, but my grandfather used to fish for salmon, so this was a real kick to catch a King on my first attempt.

It wasn't much longer when Jeff landed one as well. All three of us limited on both species. We spent the next couple hours in the cabin staying out of the rain while the gals continued to trolling for what became very elusive salmon.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game met the boat to take samples of each of the kings. They're watching the health of the fishery very closely.

Here's the three gals with their halibut to the left. A dental tech, a nurse, and a teacher - all good friends and serious about their fishing. They'll be back!

While the gals didn't land any salmon, one of them caught the largest halibut of the day, on light-weight salmon gear, but had to throw it back since we'd all already limited on halibut.

In spite of the rain, we had a wonderful, and amazingly successful, day. I'll help install a basic solar system in exchange for a fishing trip any day!


  1. What fun! I don't remember that under 29 inches rule being mentioned two years ago when we were fishing there. Maybe it just never came up.
    Sounds like that grandson is a serious fisherman.

    1. I got the impression that the length limit started last year. Didn't make sense to me - too many throw-backs while hoping for a bigger fish.