Haiku Challenge Whale Pass Fishing Report

Haiku Challenge Whale Pass Fishing Report

During such free time as comes my way here at Whale Pass, I have been reading Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard. Published back in 1978, it is a brilliant piece of work, masterfully written and full of profound insights into human nature and the fleeting nature of one individual’s life.

At one point Matthiessen writes, “Amazingly, we take for granted that instinct for survival, fear of death, must separate us from the happiness of pure and uninterrupted experience, in which body, mind, and nature are the same. And this debasement of our vision, the retreat from wonder, the backing away like lobsters from free-swimming life into safe crannies, the desperate instinct that our life passes unlived, is reflected in proliferation without joy, corrosive money rot, the gross befouling of the earth and air and water from which we came.”

A guy I know says, “Life is short. Go fishing.” Or hiking. Or anything else that gets you out into the world, away from devices and documents and deadlines.

During the long summer I miss my family but I’m so happy to be at Whale Pass.

The Snow Leopard contains a couple of haikus. It inspired me to write a couple…

Sinker thumps bottom.
Big tug. Set hook. Fight to boat.
Fat, flat, halibut.

And,

Faux fly garners strike.
In response, fish jumps and runs.
God gives sacred gift.

So, here’s the haiku challenge. Consider your passion for the outdoors. For most of my readers fishing is an obvious one, but it could be about any other outdoor interest you may have. Write a haiku about it and email it to me using my contact form. The ones chosen by our panel of judge (me) will be published in upcoming blogs. If your haiku is published you will eventually get a complimentary copy of Flyrodding Florida Salt when I return to Florida, around September 1. Please keep in mind that internet access at Whale Pass is at best intermittent, so I may not receive or respond to entries for several weeks.

Ah, yes, there is supposed to be a fishing report in here someplace!

One of my goals for this summer was to try to figure out how to catch ocean salmon on light spin and fly tackle. I have not yet had much opportunity to experiment with that. On Monday, while out with the Bergers from New York, I managed to hook a silver salmon near some rocks on a Sting Silver, made by Haw River Tackle of North Carolina. The Sting Silver is one of my favorite lures for Spanish mackeral and little tunny at home. Hooking an ocean salmon on one was a small step toward my goal, but it was a step. The Bergers each got a silver salmon while mooching cut herring, and hooked and lost another.

I got an hour or so of fishing in by myself on Tuesday, fly fishing near the Neck Lake Outlet. The first cast garnered a strike from a feisty silver. It ran at me faster than I could reel. The slack line that formed wrapped around the rod tip. When the line came tight again the fish immediately broke off. The fly, a chartreuse #4 Clouser Minnow with luminescent green Sili-legs, had been tied that morning and was on my leader for exactly one cast before being lost. Fortunately I tied six, and so have a small strategic reserve.

Tuesday’s foul weather was accompanied by the loss of our last guests while we waited for another group to arrive. We performed routine maintenance on a number of systems and attempted to amuse ourselves.

Wednesday was son Maxx’s birthday. Happy birthday, Maxx! Natbug and I had Eram and Christina out bottom fishing on the Blashke. Although the weather was beautiful, it was a tough day fishing-wise, three halibut and little else. But Christina, a lovely and bright young woman, looked great holding the biggest fish we got, a halibut of 30 pounds or so.

whale pass fishing report

Christina and her halibut.

Our other boats went salmon fishing and did quite well on silvers, with a 20-plus pound king and several pinks thrown in for good measure.

Thursday found me on the Etolin as a deckhand for Capt. Julian. Our anglers were Jerry and Greg. We trolled for salmon all morning, just south of the Triplets. The downrigger wires sang their eerie song as they always do, sounding like undecipherable communications from deep space.

Periodically a rod would go off. We bagged a mixed catch of silver and pink salmon, with one short (and released) king taken as well.

We tried halibut fishing for an hour in Snow Pass but did not get a bite, and were back on the dock at about 3:30 PM.

Some of you, suffering in the summer heat, won’t sympathise with this, but it’s been cold and wet here for a couple days now. High temperatures have only hit the low 60s, 100 percent relative humidity, with wind. If it were any colder it would be miserable. As it is I am having trouble staying warm.

Friday’s guests arrived late. John and his children Jack and Eva joined me for a trip to Neck Lake Outlet. The silver salmon are nothing if not reliably there. Although they are far from suicidal, they certainly will eat if you keep casting. We got five bites and Jack and Eva both put one in the boat. Since Eva is only 10 years old, this was quite an accomplishment.  🙂

whale pass fishing report

Eva with her silver salmon.

Saturday the three of them, plus Eva’s twin sister Grace and mom Leslee all joined Nathaniel and I on the Blashke. Our first goal was to catch some salmon. The salmon refused to cooperate, so we went rockfishing. The happy squeals of the girls made the day a lot of fun, and Jack was pretty fun to have aboard as well. After taking a 10 fish limit of quillbacks and other assorted fish, we went halibut fishing.

whale pass fishing report

We stopped to see Leroy the sea lion while halibut fishing.

Fishing Snow Pass, the halibut were cooperative enough that we caught four, including one right at the 42 inch size limit. Everyone got a chance to pull on some fish, some folks maybe more than they wanted to!

whale pass fishing report

Jack got a workout while halibut fishing.

And that is the Haiku Challenge 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
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.




Father’s Day Whale Pass Fishing Report

whale pass fishing report

A coastal cutthroat trout from Barnes Lake.

Father’s Day Whale Pass Fishing Report

Pagans of the world celebrate the summer solstice today. Additionally, it’s Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day to all of the good dads out there, and pardon me while I pat myself on the back…

Thanks to all who participated in last week’s photo quiz. The picture was taken at the Chihuly Museum and Gardens in Seattle, and the artist was Dale Chihuly. David Gunn of Massachusetts sent the first correct answer in about three minutes after I posted the email, and gets the Johnny-on-the-spot reward of a copy of Flyrodding Florida Salt.

So I’ve been at the Lodge at Whale Pass for a week, this summer’s gig, and have only been out fishing a couple times. The silver salmon run at the Neck Lake Outlet is decidedly late this year, with very few fish having shown up yet. Capt. Kurt Gorlitz on the Etolin says halibut fishing has been slow. He has been bringing back fish every trip though, with Pacific cod and some rockfish in the catch as well.

We spent three hours trolling the north entrance of Whale Passage on Saturday, getting three bites and catching two silver salmon in that time. The downriggers were set at 30 feet, and the bait was a hootchie behind a flasher.

I was able to get a Barnes Lake trip in with two young women and the 10 year old son of one of them, a boy named Hunter. Hunter caught several nice sea-run cutthroat trout on a Dardevle. Ashley received a fly casting lesson from me. I was able to get several nice cutts on the fly. She was not so fortunate. The fish should remain in there for a couple more weeks.

And that is the Father’s Day Whale Pass Fishing Report from Spotted Tail.

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 Selfie Whale Pass Fishing Report

The Selfie Whale Pass Fishing Report

A plethora of illness has struck the Lodge this week. Both staff and guests have been bitten by an unpleasant bug, which so far I have managed to avoid. I can only hope my luck continues.

The pink salmon are thick at Neck Lake Outlet and in the 108 Creek. Small, flashy pink flies work really well. It’s almost stupid fishing, it’s so easy.

Two days this week found me in the bus driver mode, ferrying passengers to or from the  AnAn Bear Observation Area. With nice weather it’s a little over two hours each way in the North River boats we use here. The first trip gave me no passengers and all afternoon to fish my way back. Of course advantage was taken of this.

 

whale pass fishing report

JK driving the “bus.”

I had seen charter boats fishing the south end of the Seward Passage on earlier trips. They were there again. I decided to join them.

It was deep, 320 feet. The halibut I caught had to be pulled up a long way. Perhaps greedily I was hoping for a lingcod too, but that did not happen.

whale pass fishing report

The halibut I selfied.

I stopped at Onslow Point, hoping for a lingcod or another halibut there. In 300 feet of water I got a bite. I pulled up a bright orange rockfish that weighed eight pounds, a Yelloweye. Sadly but predictably it was bloated from the pressure change, and there was no way to release it.

whale pass fishing report

A yellow eye rockfish, all bloated up.

After crossing the Clarence Strait some trolling was tried in the vicinity of Ratz Harbor, which produced one undersized king salmon. There were lots of salmon jumping, so a jig on a light spinning rod was tried. I hooked but lost a fish. It felt like a nice one. I would like to think it was a silver, but it was probably a pink.

The water was slick calm and you could see the schools of salmon pushing wakes as they came out of the strait heading into the harbor. It was quite an exciting sight!

I got my seven-weight out, then tried to intercept them coming in. The first few schools did not give me the time of day, but then a fat buck pink struck. It was a decent fish, six or seven pounds, big for a pink. The release was successful.

I could have stayed and done that for a long time but it was late. I ran the rest of the way back to the lodge, wondering if I would ever experience that awesome spot again.

The halibut bite remains strong. Lots of cod and rockfish are being caught, too.

Whales will distract the angler fishing the Triplets.

Whales will distract the angler fishing the Triplets.

Mooching and trolling around the Triplets is still producing pink, silver, and king salmon. The whale shows have been awesome, too. Thirteen year old Aaron from New York got a 33 inch, 14 pound king salmon while mooching on Friday afternoon, the first salmon he’d ever caught. Good way to kick off a fishing career!

whale pass fishing report

Aaron started his fishing career with this king salmon.

Seals bask on a tiny gravel beach at the Triplets.

Seals bask on a tiny gravel beach at the Triplets.

And that is this week’s Whale Pass Fishing Report from the Lodge at Whale Pass.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short. Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
http://www.spottedtail.com

 

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2014. All rights are reserved.




The Iceberg Whale Pass Fishing Report

The Iceberg Whale Pass Fishing Report and Photo Essay

cedar eagle

“Pet eagles” seems like a foreign concept to most people, and certainly the Lodge at Whale Pass doesn’t have any. There are a LOT of eagles around here though- it is not unusual to see 20 birds in one area either soaring or perched. They fly by and over the Lodge constantly. I was able to get some photos during a walk this week.

soar eagle

 

eagle flying

 

eagle eating

 

adol eagle

 

This is the nearest store to us.

This is the nearest store to us.

As was stated last week, halibut fishing has been nothing if not consistent. In southeast Alaska they have a reverse slot limit. Any halibut smaller than 44 inches in length is legal to keep. Any halibut over 74 inches (I think) is also legal to keep. Any in between those two lengths must be released unharmed, however. The bag limit is one halibut per angler per day.

Capt. Don Askew and my son Alex had a trip out this week and had a halibut in the 250 pound range next to the boat. In spite of their best efforts the fish escaped.

We are still targeting fish in the 40 inch range and have been doing well on almost every trip.

The fishing for silver salmon at Neck Lake Outlet is still flat out stoopid. Most of our anglers who go over there get a limit of six fish. The Mepps Flying C, Blue Fox, and Vibrax spinners have all been effective, as has the Pixie spoon. Fly fishers have been using a chartreuse Clouser Minnow to deadly effect.

I did not get to go trout fishing this week. I haven’t touched a fly rod in over a week. It makes me sad, in a minor way.

 

Whale Pass fishing report

One of the mountains the LeConte Glacier flows from.

Tuesday the Lodge ran a trip to the LeConte Glacier, up near Petersburg, a two hour run from here each way. This glacier is the southernmost tidewater glacier in the United States. While I did not get to see the glacier itself, I certainly did get to see many of the icebergs that break off from it at this time of year. It is a fantastic place. The light was incredible for photography. I will let the photos speak for themselves.

 

Whale Pass fishing report

When we got there this iceberg was high and dry.

 

Whale Pass fishing report

Water reached it as the tide came up.

 

 

Whale Pass fishing report

One of our guests paddled through the arch at high tide.

 

Kayakers enjoy paddling around the icebergs.

Kayakers enjoy paddling around the icebergs.

 

iceberg5

 

iceberg6

 

iceberg1

 

iceberg7

 

iceberg4

 

iceberg3iceberg2

And that is this week’s Iceberg Whale Pass Fishing Report from the Lodge at Whale Pass.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short. Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
http://www.spottedtail.com

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2014. All rights are reserved.



Whale Week Whale Pass Fishing Report- A Photo Essay

whale pass fishing report

Whale Week Whale Pass Fishing Report

It was the week of the whale at the Lodge at Whale Pass.

It was a sizable group of orcas.

It was a sizable group of orcas.

We saw pods of orcas two days in a row and were fortunate enough to be able to photograph them.

whale pass fishing report

The day following the second orca sighting the passengers aboard the Etolin were treated to a display of breaching humpback whales, which we aboard the Thorne saw only from a distance as we raced to the site, hoping to see it too.

It hardly fit in the viewfinder.

It hardly fit in the viewfinder.

Alas, the whales changed their behavior before we arrived. Given the photos I got of the orcas, I have no cause to complain however.

orca4

Hopefully the whales will continue their behaviors around Whale Pass, and we will continue to observe them.

whale pass fishing report

 

orcas2

News Flash!- In an attempt to market what until now has been mostly viewed as an “undesirable” species, we have renamed the sculpin the wolfcod. We are considering starting a wolfcod derby, complete with prizes. It seems like a good idea- take a fish that no one wants and turn it into a fun fish to catch. Stay tuned.

whale pass fishing report

Lucas with a fine pair of “wolf cod.”

Halibut fishing has been nothing if not consistent. In southeast Alaska they have a reverse slot limit. Any halibut smaller than 44 inches in length is legal to keep. Any halibut over 70 inches (I think) is also legal to keep. Any in between those two lengths must be released unharmed however. The bag limit is one halibut per angler per day.

whale pass fishing report

The Moorishes with a fat halibut.

We have been targeting fish in the 40 inch range and have been doing well on almost every trip.

 

whale pass fishing report

Lucas and Melanie with another good ‘but.

 

whale pass fishing report

Christian took some time from his Ph.D. studies to connect with this halibut.

The fishing for silver salmon at Neck Lake Outlet has been flat out stoopid. Most anglers who go over there get a limit of six fish. The Mepps Flying C, Blue Fox, and Vibrax spinners have all been effective, as has the Pixie spoon. Fly fishers have been using a chartreuse Clouser Minnow to deadly effect.

 

whale pass fishing report

A nice king salmon taken while trolling.

We went trolling for salmon one afternoon this week, taking three silvers and two kings. One of the kings was a “shaker,” a local term for a fish that must be released because it’s too small. The legal minimum is 28 inches. The other was a handsome 31 inch fish. The fish were taken by using downriggers and flashers with a hootchie squid.

Cutthroat trout fishing in the Barnes Lake area likewise has been nothing if not consistent. Because of the tides and the flow reversals it is a hard place to figure out. We have not gotten any more fish in the three to four pound range. But the 12-14 inch fish are plentiful, and the little ones are nuisances, if such a gorgeous little fish can be called that. There are a few dollies in there as well, a situation I hope improves as the pink salmon begin to run. Stay tuned!

whale pass fishing report

Another Barnes Lake cutthroat.

 

And that is this week’s Whale Pass Fishing Report from the Lodge at Whale Pass. See you next week, same time, same channel.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short. Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
http://www.spottedtail.com

 

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2014. All rights are reserved.



 

June’s Last Fishing Report from the Lodge at Whale Pass

June’s Last Fishing Report from the Lodge at Whale Pass

Late afternoon light from the Lodge.

Late afternoon light from the Lodge.

Last Sunday I did not fish. Even though it was raining I went for a walk, hoping the discover more about the local surroundings. Shortly after leaving the lodge I came upon a blacktail deer doe.

I could probably have roped this doe.

I could probably have roped this doe.

These critters are a lot less spooky than whitetails. The photo was taken with a wide angle lens. There’s not much to Whale Pass- a library, a public boat dock, a store whose hours are 6-9, twice a day (it wasn’t open when I got there), and that’s about it.

I got out on halibut boats three times this week. Once I was with Capt. Jared Cook, once with Capt. Kurt Gorlitz, and once with Capt. John Kumiski. Although the halibut limit is only one per person, we got limits on every trip. Trips I was not involved in also all got limits. I guess you would have to say the halibut bite has been consistent.

fishing report from the lodge at whale pass

Oday John has a halibut close to the boat.

fishing report from the lodge at whale pass

Lucas Ryter gaffs a halibut.

 

fishing report from the lodge at whale pass

Oday John and Oday with their halibuts.

Apparently slowing has been the trolling for salmon, both silvers and kings. At the start of the week we had an eleven fish day (after the halibut), but last time we tried we only got three bites, with one silver landed.

Yesterday Alex and I took Oday Lavergne and his son Oday John up into Sweetwater Lake for some trout fishing. Like the last time we went there, we had to wait again for the tide to flood the rapid so we could get in, which gave us some time to explore a little and get some photos. The water rose, the rapid became passable, and off we went.

kelp beds near whale pass

There’s lots of kelp growing around here.

You find a wide variety of sea stars here. This one is pretty straight up, though.

You find a wide variety of sea stars here. This one is pretty straight up, though.

The first place we tried we did not get a fish. I was shocked and dismayed.

The second place we tried was Hatchery Creek. I had long been of the opinion that every stream in North America had a path along it, made by bears if not people. This creek proved that assertion wrong. But I got several blackfly bites while bushwacking through the woods looking for the non-existent path. We got a handful of small cutthroats on a small marabou jig there.

As we headed back down the river we discovered that the flow had reversed. What the…??

Alex picked a narrow spot with good flow and said we should try fishing there, so we stopped. I didn’t expect much but Oday got one of the biggest cutthroat trout I’ve ever seen, a fish over 20 inches long and several pounds in weight. Both of the Odays also got smaller but still solid fish there, too. But the tide soon flooded out the spot.

fishing report from the lodge at whale pass

Afraid of dropping this trout, we never removed it from the net until we released it.

We went back to the first spot we had fished. There was still a rapid there, although now to current was flowing the other way. We got several more fish, all small side.

When we were done we headed back to Lodge Bay to look for silvers. We found them. The fish were lying at the surface with their fins out of the water, easy to see even though it was cloudy. Both Odays tossed Pixies at them and soon we had two six fish silver limits aboard, at which time our fishing ended. Not a bad day A-tall.

And that is this week’s Fishing Report from the Lodge at Whale Pass.

God bless America!

God bless America!

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short. Go Fishing!

John Kumiski
http://www.spottedtail.com

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2014. All rights are reserved.