I made my second annual pilgrimage to South East Alaska in early October. This year I left the spinning gear at home and concentrated my efforts on the fly rod. Over the period of a weak I learned a great deal about tossing flies, and although I still have much to learn, I feel confident in my abilities to get the fly to the fish in most conditions now.
We arrived at the little river on the coast shortly after a powerful windstorm had blown through. The storm surge combined with the largest tides of the year flooded the river drainage and limited our access to fishing. The big tides pushed saltwater to the highest reachable holes on the river. Instead of coho resting in the usual spots in the lower river, they were surfing right past to the tiny tributaries in the mountains without stopping.
Few fish holding meant the catching was slower than last year, but compared to salmon fishing in the lower 48, it was still top notch.
The slower fishing gave me an opportunity to get to know my friends a bit better and spend some time hiking and taking in my surroundings. Last year when the fishing was epic, I'm not sure if I saw anything except the river in front of me and fat coho on the end of my line. It was a nice change of pace and I came home feeling refreshed and rejuvenated rather than exhausted. The slow and simple pace of life- eat, drink, fish, sleep- really has me longing for an epic odyssey, and the gears are turning. A really big trip is in the works for 2011, I'll announce it here first as soon as it's official!