Fishing Bear Lodge Photo Essay

Fishing Bear Lodge Photo Essay

After four flights and three days of travel, I am sitting in my living room. There’s no place like home!

Internet in Alaska remains terrible, so my reports were of necessity short and photo poor. This Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay will share the best images of the summer.

Let’s rock it.

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

Fishing Bear Lodge, the logo.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

Steve and Brock celebrate a northern pike.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

Sockeye salmon in a frenzy in a small creek.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

A rock bowl in a small creek.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

Moosage in Lake Beverley.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

Mountain view from Lake Beverley.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

The Kulik Spire from Lake Kulik.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

Jeff with a fat Arctic char.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

We caught lots of Arctic grayling on dry flies.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

Stacy rocks a sockeye salmon.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

Misty mountains were a recurring theme through the summer.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

Blaine says this fly box is the most organized thing in his life.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

Grayling on dry fly.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

Another fat grayling in the net.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

Bushwacking up hills while wearing waders is hard work. The view makes it worth the effort.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

Water rushes toward Lake Beverley in a small creek near the lodge.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

Gene, Gene, the fishing machine, with a nice Arctic char.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

No flowers yells “ALASKA!” to me like fireweed.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

Ellie filets a sockeye salmon.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

Trout fishing along Lake Beverley’s shoreline.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

This fine rainbow trout attacked a faux mouse.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

This trout, the best I saw all summer, also fell for a mouse.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

A released grayling regains its equilibrium.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

A fleet of Fishing Bear boats crosses Lake Beverley.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

Craig hides behind a fat grayling.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

I never saw a dog who loves water the way Boone does.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

I photographed Blaine photographing Steve.

 

Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay

Arctic char release.

 

fishing bear lodge fishing report

Angie found this moose horn on Lake Beverley’s shoreline.

That is this week’s Fishing Bear Lodge photo essay!

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com
http://www.spottedtail.com/blog
www.johnkumiski.com
www.rentafishingbuddy.com
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jkumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2017. All rights are reserved.




Fishing Bear Lodge Fishing Report 5

Fishing Bear Lodge Fishing Report 5

fishing bear lodge fishing report

A view from Beverley Lake.

This is the August 20 Fishing Bear Lodge fishing report.

There hasn’t been any frost yet, but the fireweed has mostly gone to seed. Alaska’s short summer hurtles toward autumn.

fishing bear lodge fishing report

The colorful fireweed blossoms are mostly gone.

Fishing has remained excellent. Anglers using dry flies still catch grayling by the score, lovely fish in equally lovely surroundings. After a relatively rain-free week, the streams are running low and clear.

Dead sockeye salmon litter the banks of creeks. Plenty of fish still guard redds, and they are still dropping eggs. Trout and char are still in creeks, pigging out. Beads are still working well. I suspect a flesh fly would work well, too.

fishing bear lodge fishing report

Jerry Grodin caught this fat char on a bead/wooly bugger combination.

The Agulapak River has been fast and steady for grayling and rainbow trout. Nymphs, streamers, and dry flies are all working.

Piking remains hot, but not in all locations. When you hit the right spot, action has been furious on poppers and streamers. A few folks even use spin tackle!

fishing bear lodge fishing report

Anita and Blaine with a fat pike.

I’ve a fortnight left here before returning to Florida, and should re-hang my guiding shingle there around September 15. Although it’s great being here, there’s no place like home!

That is this week’s Fishing Bear Lodge fishing report!

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com
http://www.spottedtail.com/blog
www.johnkumiski.com
www.rentafishingbuddy.com
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jkumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2017. All rights are reserved.




Fishing Bear Lodge Fishing Report 3

Fishing Bear Lodge Fishing Report 3

This is the August 6 Fishing Bear Lodge fishing report.

It rained all this past week, every day. We got wet, stayed wet. Wah wah. The fish didn’t care much, except for one creek that got blown out. We fished elsewhere.

fishing bear lodge fishing report

Ethan Price got this fine rainbow trout on a mouse fly. Yes, it was raining.

Mousing for rainbow trout has continued great, with fish running to over 20 inches, If the mouse action slows, switching to streamers has worked too. The egg-sucking leech has worked well.

fishing bear lodge fishing report

This rainbow also took a mouse. Yes, it was raining!

The char fishing has not picked up yet. Salmon have begun to spawn. Where are the char?

Dry fly fishing for grayling has been a dependable and entertaining way to spend a few hours. Caddis and mayfly imitations both work well. Grayling are such lovely little fish!

fishing bear lodge fishing report

Greg used a caddis imitation to entice this grayling. You know it was raining!

The pike have been reliable and entertaining. AND, I didn’t cut my fingers this week, which is awesome.

I should write an ode to sleeping bags. At the end a long day in the rain, nothing feels better than climbing into a delicious, warm sleeping bag.

That is this week’s Fishing Bear Lodge fishing report! Thanks for reading!

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com
http://www.spottedtail.com/blog
www.johnkumiski.com
www.rentafishingbuddy.com
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jkumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2017. All rights are reserved.




Dillingham Fishing Report

Move on Alone Dillingham Fishing Report

One morning on Playalinda, a marathon Alaska Air journey, and now I’m at Fishing Bear Lodge for my summer employment. It’s the first Dillingham fishing report from me this year.

Sunday I met Rodney, Pam, and Tom Ratcliff at Playalinda. The bugs were annoying. Other than that it was extremely picturesque. There were a lot of menhaden off the beach but nothing bothering them. Between us we got a half-dozen croakers, a couple small crevalle, and two blue crabs. Awesome morning, but fishing could have been better.

dillingham fishing report

I went from this…

The trip to Dillingham could be described as grueling. On the other hand it could have taken weeks by car, or months on foot. It depends on your outlook.

Justin, lodge owner and pilot, met me in Dillingham and transported me by float plane to the lodge. We flew over a cow moose grazing in the water, and saw big schools of salmon at every creek mouth.

The Fishing Bear Lodge has an incredible location at the mouth of the Peace River where it flows into Lake Beverley, in the Wood River-Tikchik State Park. Internet here ranges from terrible to unavailable. There will be a photo essay or two once I return home.

The rest of the week was spent getting the lodge ready for guests, eveything from weeding the paths to putting up a new building. We’ve been fishing for sockeye salmon. Jake went fishing out front for a bit a few nights ago and caught a couple of small grayling. The fishing, for rainbow trout and grayling, as well as northern pike, will come soon enough.

After dinner last night a cow moose and her calf set up right in front of the lodge. Pretty cool stuff.

dillingham fishing report

…to this in just a couple days. Is this a great time to be alive, or what???

Last night we took a boat ride up the indescribably breathtaking Wind River. The mountains are awe-inspiring.

And that is this week’s (sixty miles from) Dillingham fishing report!

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com
http://www.spottedtail.com/blog
www.johnkumiski.com
www.rentafishingbuddy.com
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jkumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2017. All rights are reserved.

My Favorite Alaska Photo s- A Photo Essay

alaska photo

Pink salmon fill the 108 Creek on Prince of Wales Island.

My Favorite Alaska Photos

This Alaska Photo Essay contains my favorite photos from the ten summers I’ve spent (so far) in Alaska.

“Count your blessings.” While actually doing just that, I realized how fortunate I was to have spent those ten summers working in Alaska. My debt of gratitude to Bob Stearns for recommending me and to Mike Gorton at the Goodnews River Lodge for hiring me back in 2007 is tremendous. I could never thank either of them enough.

For that matter I owe many thanks to Kevin Ryter at the Lodge at Whale Pass, where the last three summers were spent. Both places have filled me with awesome memories of people and places, landscapes and wildlife. I am a blessed individual!

In ten years lots of images were taken. Narrowing all of them down the three photos per year for a total of thirty that appear in this essay was difficult. The things I do for my readers!

Please take a moment to peruse. Feedback is welcome.

alaska photo

This waterlogged four-foot-long log put up an epic battle on Willie’s eight-weight. The fly pattern was not recorded, sadly.

 

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Tyler Williams looks over the Goodnews River valley from the peak of an extinct volcano called Tsuktulig.

 

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A TransNorthern Airways DC-3 approaches the runway in Goodnews Bay.

 

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Sea stars in a tidal pool on Indian Creek, Prince of Wales Island.

 

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Rick Ross, a true personality in Goodnews Bay before his untimely death.

 

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The technical weather window at Yute Airways world headquarters in Bethel.

 

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South fork, Goodnews River.

 

alaska photo

Making an early morning baggage run on the Goodnews River.

 

alaska photo

Rodney Smith wanted me to take him to catch a rainbow trout. Mission accomplished!

 

alaska photo

Son Alex looks over the Goodnews River from Tsuktulig.

 

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Ross looks over the south fork of the Goodness River.

 

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Michaela Chloe on Tsuktulig.

 

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Son Maxx on Lookout Mountain, looking over the Goodnews River valley.

 

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Me, Judy Uhde, Ross.

 

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M/V Thorne is dwarfed by the LeConte Glacier face.

 

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Chuck holds a fat, fly-caught king salmon, Goodnews River.

 

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Jim Vinalyk and a high flying silver salmon at the Swallows, Goodnews River.

 

alaska photo

Jacob’s ladder grows in the Goodnews River valley.

 

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Humpback whales feeding in the Clarence Strait.

 

alaska photo

A glorious, fish-filled afternoon on the Goodnews River.

 

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Jim Vinalyk fly casting on the Goodnews River.

 

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Son Alex battles a silver salmon on the Goodnews River.

 

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Notice the tiny speck of M/V Etolin, a 24 foot vessel with kayaks on the roof, in the lower right corner of this photo of the LeConte Glacier.

 

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The Devil’s Thumb looms over fishing vessels near Petersburg, Alaska.

 

alaska photo

I taught Christian Ontaje how to tie a bunny leech. This king salmon is the first fish he caught on his first fly.

 

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Brown bear eating a chum salmon, Goodnews River.

 

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Paddling a kayak next to an iceberg near the LeConte Glacier.

 

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Dr. Jenny on the bow of the M/V Blashke, near the LeConte Glacier.

 

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Mr. Bill fights a jumping silver salmon on the middle fork of the Goodness River.

 

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A float plane takes off near the mouth of the LeConte Fiord.

 

And that is my Alaska photo essay, ten summers in Alaska. Thank you for your time!

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com
http://www.spottedtail.com/blog
www.johnkumiski.com
www.rentafishingbuddy.com
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jkumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2017. All rights are reserved.




July Whale Pass Fishing Report

July Whale Pass Fishing Report

Please enjoy the July Whale Pass fishing report, and accept my apologies for not getting the reports out more regularly. I can’t do much about the lack of internet service here.

The biggest news as concerns the fishing here is that the silver salmon run has been sad. There have been very few silvers compared to past runs. Lots of time has been spent by lots of people speculating on why so few fish have showed up this year. The fact is that no one really knows. What we do know is that silver fishing has been close to terrible.

Trolling for king salmon out by the Triplets has been producing a legal sized fish and several “shakers” most every trip. Son Alex has been running his downriggers as deep as 100 feet for these fish.

Fishing for cutthroat trout up in Sweetwater has been excellent when we’ve been able to get up there. Small minnow patterns have worked well.

whale pass fishing report

Daniel with a Sweetwater cutt.

 

whale pass fishing report

While in Sweetwater, if the trout aren’t biting you can kiss a sea star.

The pink salmon are starting to run up into 108 Creek. Daniel spent 50 minutes up there yesterday and hooked five fish, landing two. Small pink flies work best. Trollers out by the Triplets have been getting limits of pinks every trip.

Lastly, bottom fishing has been consistently good. Halibut and black cod have been mainstays, with Pacific cod and rockfish rounding out catches. As always, sculpins are very dependable!

All that having been said, this reporter has not been fishing much. My days have mostly been spent transporting guests to the LeConte Glacier, a fantastic if somewhat chilly place. There is no doubt that the glacier is receding. The change in the position of the glacial face from last year’s position is obvious.

whale pass fishing report

Nate at the glacier.

 

whale pass fishing report

I don’t understand how they don’t get cold.

 

whale pass fishing report

The amount of ice there is enormous.

 

whale pass fishing report

I love to photograph the icebergs.

 

whale pass fishing report

So do the other visitors!

A few weeks ago I got to do a fly-over of the glacier in a float plane. Wow! That added an entirely new dimension to my glacier experience, getting the big picture. The glacier stretches back into the mountains for over 20 miles and reaches a thickness of over 4000 feet.

whale pass fishing report

The glacier by air.

 

whale pass fishing report

Where the glacier meets the sea.

I love doing the glacier trips.

I got to take a trip to the west side of Prince of Wales Island, the Pacific side. I operated the boat, chef Rhys did the cooking, and Rowen and Eliza, two guests from Australia, intended to do some wildlife watching, including whales.

whale pass fishing report

Rhys did the cooking, a bang-up job too.

We stopped on a little island out in the bay, where I negligently let the boat dry up. Our two hour stop out there ended up taking four hours, since we had to wait for the incoming tide to float the boat again.

whale pass fishing report

High and dry.

I can think of worse places to be stuck than on a beautiful, deserted island along Alaska’s coast, with seals, otters, and whales swimming by!

whale pass fishing report

Not such a bad place to be stuck!

 

whale pass fishing report

Were they curious, or laughing at us??

Another job I’ve had is running the whale watching excursions. The word incredible fails, as do any other adjectives, to adequately describe the magnificence of humpback whales. “PHOOOOoooo!!” On a calm day you can easily hear them blow from a mile away. You see the spout and five seconds later hear the blow.

whale pass fishing report

Whaleage!

Of course it’s much more exciting when they’re 100 yards from the boat. And it gets really exciting when they start doing tail slaps, fin slaps, bubble net feeding, and breeching! Again, it’s hard to describe the thunderous crash a 40 ton animal makes when hits the water after leaping clear of the surface. And through it all they manage to look utterly dignified.

whale pass fishing report

This one was close!

Since they spend most of their time underwater, and guessing where they will appear is an inexact science at best, photographing whales is hard to do. When not running the boat I keep trying. I love doing the whale watching trips too.

whale pass fishing report

Another whale, complete with barnacles.

 

whale pass fishing report

The whales kept me awake all night!

And that is the July Whale Pass Fishing Report.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com
http://www.spottedtail.com/blog
www.johnkumiski.com
www.rentafishingbuddy.com
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jkumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2016. All rights are reserved.




Summer Solstice Whale Pass Fishing Report

whale pass fishing report

Summer Solstice Whale Pass Fishing Report

To such fans as I have, my apologies for the lack of fishing reports lately. My current location lacks internet and I have been working too much to get to where there is a connection. I’m in Whale Pass, Alaska again, at the Lodge at Whale Pass.

whale pass fishing report

The Lodge at Whale Pass

In my last report I asked for prayers for Steve Baker and T.C. Howard. Please add Rodney Smith to that list.

lodge at Whale Pass

Buttercups (Ranunculus) at Ketchikan.

The halibut fishing here as been excellent, lots of fish with some fairly large ones in the mix. Although the big boys are a catch and release deal, they still make for great fish stories.

lodge at Whale Pass

Halibut fishing with Don Askew.

 

lodge at Whale Pass

A small eater halibut.

We have had some wonderful guests so far, and some awesome trips to the LeConte Glacier, Petersburg, and Wrangell.

lodge at Whale Pass

Sandy battles a halibut.

 

lodge at Whale Pass

Steve poses with a top of the slot ‘but.

The salmon fishing has been slow across the board. Neck Lake Outlet has only seen a few fish. Mooching and trolling in the Inside Passage has produced very few salmon. I’ve yet to pick up any of my fly rods. At least they are together and ready to go!

lodge at Whale Pass

Dall porpoises put on a show in the Inland Passage.

Sorry for the lack of meat in this report, but that’s really all I’ve got to this point. I have no doubt the salmon fishing will improve in a quantum leap.

lodge at Whale Pass

A sea lion scratching an itch.

 

lodge at Whale Pass

On the way to Wrangell.

And that is the Summer Solstice Whale Pass Fishing Report.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com
http://www.spottedtail.com/blog
www.johnkumiski.com
www.rentafishingbuddy.com
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jkumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2016. All rights are reserved.




Winding Down Whale Pass Fishing Report

Winding Down Whale Pass Fishing Report

Our season is winding down here at the Lodge at Whale Pass. The berries are done, much of the staff has already left, and soon I will be heading back to the heat and humidity of central Florida. I hope there are tarpon around!

But thinking about future tarpon possibilities is not living in the moment.

Nick Colantonio sent me another haiku-
Six pinks on one fly.
Now tattered. Cast. Fish-on! Try
a bare hook? Mmm … Nah

Did Nick visit the Goodnews this summer, perhaps???

Two parties spent the entire week here, both were wonderful, and both caught some fish.

The King family joined me on the Blashke on a wet, chilly day for some halibut fishing. We did not get any big ones, but we did limit out.

whale pass fishing report

A soggy King family, with a limit of halibut.

Twelve year old Aiden wanted to learn about fly fishing. I talked him through the first fly he ever tied, and then we went fly fishing. He caught several of these…

whale pass fishing report

Aiden’s pink salmon was his first fish on a fly rod.

The Pampinellas also fished with me this week. We went bottom fishing twice, getting some nice halibut both times. Jim caught this one…

whale pass fishing report

Jim pulled this one in using a mooching rod.

…and daughter Aline caught this one. Both fish took herring fished on a mooching rod.

whale pass fishing report

Aline pulled this one in using a mooching rod.

While we were out on a spectacular day on Friday, we saw a humpback whale repeatedly slapping its tail on the surface of the water. We got close enough for a good view, and to the hear the loud report.

whale pass fishing report

The whale is preparing to slap again.

 

whale pass fishing report

The whale, lying on its side with its flipper in the air.

 

whale pass fishing report

Thar she blows!

Jim senior and I fly fished together one day. We first fished for pinks with little rods in the 108, catching stupid numbers of fish. They are thick in there right now! Once the novelty wore off, we moved down the road to the Neck Lake Outlet, where Jim got some nice silver salmon by repeatedly dead drifting a chartreuse Clouser Minnow.

And that is the Winding Down Whale Pass Fishing Report from Spotted Tail and the Lodge at Whale Pass.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com
http://www.spottedtail.com/blog
www.johnkumiski.com
www.rentafishingbuddy.com
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jkumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2015. All rights are reserved.



The Godsey Whale Pass Fishing Report

The Godsey Whale Pass Fishing Report

The Godseys are a family. Although we had other guests, eight Godseys spent the entire week here. Thus the Godsey Whale Pass Fishing Report.

Official sign of the week:

whale pass fishing report

You’ll see this sign on the road into Whale Pass.

Monday I had half the Godsey clan. We got some halibut, black cod, Pacific cod, and pink and coho salmon. It was good.

whale pass fishing report

Alder with a kid-sized halibut.

I am figuring out how to catch the ocean salmon (both pinks and silvers) on spinning tackle. We sight-fish them, after a fashion. Salmon jump, like mullet do. When we see them jump, we cast to them. The lures of choice are the Sting Silver, from Haw River Tackle Company, and the DOA CAL jig, 3/8 ounce, with a three inch DOA CAL shad tail #308, Glow with holographic flake belly. I am 100 percent certain I could catch them with flies too. Experimentation on this front has been impossible with the children on board.

 

whale pass fishing report

Two of the Godsey brothers with another kid-sized ‘but.

Tuesday I ran a glacier trip without the Godseys. The Peters and the Levines joined us for that one. Fog covered the Sumner Strait on the way, making navigation a challenge. In spite of that, we made it to Petersburg without incident, and then on to the LaConte Glacier. It was still there, and put on a good show. Then they went kayaking.

whale pass fishing report

For the iceberg fans- they get pretty darned big.

 

whale pass fishing report

For the iceberg fans- they get pretty darned big!

 

whale pass fishing report

Paddling with icebergs, always cooool.

On the way home I stopped in Petersburg again to pick up supplies for the Lodge. While waiting for the van for a ride back to the dock a car pulled up. The driver asked me, “Want a ride?” He turned out to be Don Holmes, who runs the M/V Juno out of Petersburg on glacier trips and other non-consumptive charters- kayaking, hiking, whale-watching, etc. Great guy, very knowledgeable. Thank you for the ride, sir!

Wednesday the Godseys went to the glacier. The weather was absolutely spectacular and the glacier was calving like crazy. Awesome day.

Thursday the Godseys went to Memorial Beach, hoping to catch some Dolly varden. The forecast called for a southeast wind, but it was blowing hard out of the northeast. The waves were high, the water was dirty, and the fishing was blown out. We got some pink salmon along the ride back.

Friday the Godseys were again on the Blashke. Although fishing was slow, we picked up four halibut, several Pacific and black cod, and a few salmon. We had to negotiate fog to get out to the fishing grounds. Once we were there, the scene was ethereal- floating in the fog, whales blowing all around us. The fog would thin out. Long, twisted strands of vapor floated above the water’s surface, moving slowly in step with the cosmic beat. Then the fog would thicken again, and the shoreline would once again disappear.
Once the fog finally cleared, the whales were still all around us. One surfaced within 100 feet of us. They are enormous, magnificent, amazing animals. It turned out to be a whale-watching day with a side of fishing.

whale pass fishing report

Another Godsey halibut.

 

whale pass fishing report

The whales are amazing.

Saturday all the guests left. The next batch comes in on Sunday.

And that is the Godsey Whale Pass Fishing Report from Spotted Tail and the Lodge at Whale Pass.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
www.spottedtail.com
http://www.spottedtail.com/blog
www.johnkumiski.com
www.rentafishingbuddy.com
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jkumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2015. All rights are reserved.




Got the Cutt Whale Pass Fishing Report

Got the Cutt Whale Pass Fishing Report

In the fishing story of the week, we got the cutt today, explanation below. Because that was the best fish story of an excellent week, we have the got the cutt whale pass fishing report.

Even though I had a glacier trip this week, lots of fishing happened, double shifts on some days. First, the glacier. Nat Cook and I took six folks to the glacier on Monday. It’s kind of a long ride, two hours plus each way, with at least one stop in Petersburg. This week we stopped there twice, once each way.

Whale pass fishing report

The LaConte glacier, as close as we deem safe.

Once we negotiate through the fiord and the ice and get as close to the face of the glacier as we deem safe, we shut off the boat. While the guests put on more clothes (it’s COLD there) and ooh and ahh, we pull out a fruit and cheese tray and uncork a bottle of fine wine. Wine and cheese at one of the most spectacular spots on the planet! How can you top that?

Whale pass fishing report

The glacier calves…

Oh- that’s right! The glacier calves! Big honking pieces fall off the glacier’s face all the time and go crashing into the water. What a visual and auditory display that is!

Whale pass fishing report

…and the water explodes.

When we are done at the glacier the guests frequently get transfered to a float plane and take a flight-seeing tour over the glacier and mountains, then fly back to the lodge.

Whale pass fishing report

The airplane takes off, carrying our guests.

This week Nat and I stopped again in Petersburg to fuel the Blashke. There were some magnificent boats there. One of them was an old tugboat that had been converted into a dive charter boat.

Whale pass fishing report

The Swell, a converted tugboat.

What a vessel! It’s a fairly safe bet that they ain’t building boats like this one any more. The Blashke is awesome in its own right but it felt like a tin can next to this one.

Whale pass fishing report

The Blashke felt like a tin can next to this.

 

Whale pass fishing report

Petersburg fishing boats headed out.

We caught some big halibut this week. The Federal regulation for halibut in our section of southeast Alaska is that any halibut between 42 and 78 inches must be released alive. Needless to say measuring a fish in that 42 inch range is not an easy task. This week Auguste Hanna fought a ‘but up to the boat that was probably too big. Lucas lip-gaffed it and dragged it up onto the swim platform so we could measure it.

 

Whale pass fishing report

Auguste battles a big halibut.

 

 

Whale pass fishing report

Lucas dragged it onto the swim platform.

We took the opportunity to get a photo. The fish was in fact several inches over the 42 inch slot, so somewhat reluctantly we pushed it back into the water and watched it motor back into the depths. The fish was taken in Snow Pass in about 200 feet of water.

Whale pass fishing report

After this photo Mr. Halibut was given its freedom.

In the same area on a different day Cheryl Schoolfield hooked a nice halibut that proceeded to try and kick her butt. I told her there was no shame in passing the rod off to someone else. She ignored that idea. She got the fish to the surface three seperate times before we could tape it.

Whale pass fishing report

Cheryl fights the fish.

Forty-one and one-half inches! She told me afterwards she would never under any circumstance surrender her fishing rod to a man. Good for you, miss!

Whale pass fishing report

She showed this fish who was boss.

Several other personal fishing firsts were recorded this week. Staff members Jonathan and Jessica joined me for some after-dinner fishing out in the bay. Almost immediately Jessica caught her first salmon on a hootchie squid.

Whale pass fishing report

Jess with her first salmon.

Then Jonathan got one on a Pixie spoon. I think anyone who comes to Alaska ought at least to catch a salmon as part of their Alaska experience. Kudos to both of them!

Whale pass fishing report

Jess netted Jonathan’s fish, too.

Eleven year old Robert Horowitz also got his first Pacific salmon, a silver, also on a hootchie squid. Those hootchies are a hot tip, very effective.

Whale pass fishing report

Master Horowitz with his first salmon.

The fish story of the week goes to Robert’s grandfather, Dave, 73 years young. Dave told me he had caught brook trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout, but he had never caught a cutthroat trout. He wanted one badly. So I took him, his son Alex, and his grandson Robert up into Barnes Lake to try to get one.

At first it did not go well. I got the boat stuck. After we freed it Alex caught three respectable cutts in a row. Apparently Alex had a history of being outfished by Dave, and he was slightly less than gracious, in a good-natured way, about the fish count!

There is a rapid at the entrance to the creek into Barnes Lake which is impassible at lower tide phases. The tide was going out and I was worried that we might get stuck if we didn’t get out of there. But I wanted Dave to get his fish. Talk about conflict! I stopped at the last spot on the way out to try to get him that fish.

He hooked one and lost it! Oh, the humanity! We have to get out or we’ll be trapped here for hours. Please get one.

Boom! He’s on! Play it well! Get the net! We netted the fish, the best cutthroat so far this year. They are such lovely creatures, cutthroat trout. I didn’t try to get a picture, being concerned about the welfare of the fish, but Alex snapped a couple. Dave got the cutt!

We turned the fish loose, then hopped into the boat and high-tailed it out of there. The rapid was still passable, even easy. A very happy Dave said, “I’ve been waiting for that fish for 73 years.” Great story, happy ending. Kudos to you too, Dave.

And that is the Got the Cutt Whale Pass Fishing Report from the Lodge at Whale Pass and Spotted Tail.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski

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