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.

 

alaska photo

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

 

alaska photo

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

 

alaska photo

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

 

alaska photo

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

 

alaska photo

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

 

alaska photo

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.

 

alaska photo

Ross looks over the south fork of the Goodness River.

 

alaska photo

Michaela Chloe on Tsuktulig.

 

alaska photo

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

 

alaska photo

Me, Judy Uhde, Ross.

 

alaska photo

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

 

alaska photo

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

 

alaska photo

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

 

alaska photo

Jacob’s ladder grows in the Goodnews River valley.

 

alaska photo

Humpback whales feeding in the Clarence Strait.

 

alaska photo

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

 

alaska photo

Jim Vinalyk fly casting on the Goodnews River.

 

alaska photo

Son Alex battles a silver salmon on the Goodnews River.

 

alaska photo

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.

 

alaska photo

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.

 

alaska photo

Brown bear eating a chum salmon, Goodnews River.

 

alaska photo

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

 

alaska photo

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

 

alaska photo

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

 

alaska photo

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.




Independence Day Whale Pass Fishing Report

Independence Day Whale Pass Fishing Report

Yesterday was July 4th, so this is the Independence Day Whale Pass Fishing Report. Some fly fishing, at last!

All of the guests we had at the Lodge at Whale Pass left en masse yesterday morning, leaving us with only minor maintenance items to take care of. I asked lodge owner Kevin Ryter if I might take the jet boat up into Sweetwater for some scouting. Not only did he say yes, he also told me to run the rapids that line the shortcut to Coffman Cove to explore the feasability of using that route as a trip option for guests.

When I thought the tide was right we left. Passengers were son Alex, Miss Allison Bowman, and Mr. Dean Savage.

When we got to the first rapid on Indian Creek the flow had already reversed. We were a little late on the tide, although that proved to be of little consequence.

We came to the first fishing spot and disembarked. Alex and I began casting. It took all of two minutes to hook the first trout, a cutthroat of 12 inches or so, which Alex did using a pink streamer.

whale pass fishing report

Alex with a nice cutthroat. File photo.

I hooked and lost a couple of fish, then stuck what at first we assumed was a big trout. It turned out to be a Dolly varden of about 20 inches. We killed it, with an eye to our dinner that evening. The fly was a chartreuse over pink Clouser Minnow.

whale pass fishing report

Dolly varden. File photo.

The bites continues steadily until the spot got flooded out by the rising tide. Dean got a trout, his first ever. Alex got several more. Then we went further up the creek to spot number two.

It was not as productive as the first spot. I got a small trout. Alex and I both stuck and lost a hefty fish. Then the tide flooded this spot too. While we had a high and still rising tide we decided to head through the as yet unexplored rapids to Coffman Cove.

At the water level we encountered the rapids were mostly flooded out. My understanding is that at lower tide stages they are impassable. At any rate we cleared the stream, entered the Clarence Strait, and made our way to Coffman Cove. Burgers and milkshakes danced in my passenger’s heads.

We tied the boat to the dock and entered town, all decked out in our waders. The Fourth of July Parade was going on- trucks of all sizes (some towing boats), ATV’s, a lawnmower, and a strange-looking tracked vehicle, driving the route, honking horns. All were decked out with banners and bunting, stars and strips in red, white, and blue being the dominant theme. Drivers and passengers had painted faces, outrageous hats, and many threw candy at onlookers. Fun stuff!

We made our way to the restaurant. It was closed for the holiday. My hungry passengers were very disappointed. A kindly resident told us to make our way to the float plane dock, where the greased pole was, and where we could get a reindeer sausage. Food! We were on our way.

We had no idea what the greased pole was about, but we found the weiners and each bought one. They were spicy and delicious, all decked out in mustard and relish. The pole, yet to be greased, was attached to the dock by its base. It extended out over the water, parallel to its surface. At its end was a small American flag. The entire population of Coffman Cove was there. Beverages were flowing freely.

We learned from the locals that the greased pole was a contest. Participants took turns, each attempting to slide to the end of a wooden telephone pole that was coated with Crisco, to capture the flag. The person who did so won a cash prize. The cash was collected from the onlookers, who donated toward the prize. A cheap investment in some live and fun entertainment!

Needless to say, most of the folks who tried, crashed. Some of those crashes were quite spectacular. Some looked pretty painful. All the time this was going on the cash prize kept growing, reaching and exceeding $1000.

Finally, during the fourth round, a young man named Eric, working as a fishing guide for the summer in Coffman Cove, made it to the end of the pole and snatched the flag. His prize was a handsome 1091 US dollars, not a bad take for getting greasy and falling into the water a few times.

At this point the party moved to the ball field for a potluck. The Whale Pass contigent had to return to Whale Pass, so we missed that portion of the festivities.

The return trip went through the South Entrance of the Whale Passage and was uneventful. No rapids!

At the Lodge the barbeque had been fired up. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and oysters were on the menu. We added a fresh Dolly varden, grilled over charcoal and very delicious. Peter fired off the requisite fireworks. This reporter, quite exhausted, retired before the festivities ended. I trust nothing of import was missed!

This morning found me on a solo quest for silver salmon on fly. A school was quickly located. The first cast of the day, using a chartreuse bunny leech with chartreuse rubber legs, resulted in a boated fish. The second cast of the day, to a different school of salmon, using the same chartreuse bunny leech with chartreuse rubber legs, resulted in another boated fish. I should have quit then. Three more shots came my way, but none of them resulted in a strike. The caught salmon, filleted and vacuum packed, are now in the freezer.

And that is the Independence Day 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.




How to Tie a Gurgler

orlando fishing report

The killer fly, a gurgler.

How to Tie a Gurgler

Gurglers, to the best of my knowledge, were invented by the late Jack Gartside. They are awesome, easy to tie flies that work of a wide variety of fish. Since I make them differently than Jack did, here are my instructions on how to tie a Gurgler.

First, you need to gather your materials. Use whatever color(s) you like.

how to tie a gurgler

Simple materials needed to make a Gurgler. Feel free to modify my list to suit your own needs.

-sheet of craft foam (available at any craft store)
-material for tail (in this case marabou, but it’s the tyer’s choice)
-tying thread (Danville flat waxed nylon for me) in Dr. Slick bobbin
-Estaz or similar product for body
-rubber hackle, sililegs, or what-have-you for legs if desired (for spider patterns or bass bugs)
-hook. For most of my saltwater flies I use a Mustad 34001 #2. For salmon I use a Mustad 36890, also #2. For freshwater applications it depends what the target specie is; i.e., for bass a stinger hook, #4 or #2, for sunfish an Aberdeen, #6 or 8, for trout and dollies a long-shanked, bronzed hook, #6 or 8, etc.

1. After placing the hook in the vise (I use a Regal), start the thread and wrap it back to the bend of the hook.

2. Using your Dr. Slick scissors, cut a strip of foam from the sheet of craft foam. Use the scissors to taper one end to a near-point.

how to tie a gurgler

Cut the strip of foam for the fly body. Wider ones float better but tend to rotate more. Taper one end to a near point.

 

To read the rest of these instruction, click here now…

 

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 Last 2015 Whale Pass Fishing Report and Photo Review

The Last 2015 Whale Pass Fishing Report and Photo Review

The Spotted Tail will be returning to central Florida next week. So this is the final Whale Pass fishing report from us in 2015.

whale pass fishing report

This is the guy who makes it all happen, Mr. Lodge at Whale Pass himself, Kevin Ryter.

The season was awesome. Some highlights include:
-Susan coming to visit;

whale pass fishing report

Susan came to Whale Pass and caught this salmon. We ate it a few minutes later.

-Capt. Julian getting a 300 plus pound halibut;
-Capt. Kurt getting a 30 plus pound king salmon;
-Andy Wilson getting six silver salmon on fly in an hour with me;

whale pass fishing report

Andy could catch them. Holding them afterwards was another story.

-whales; and

whale pass fishing report

You cannot imagine how amazing it is to see a whale do this.

-every glacier trip.

whale pass fishing report

From today’s trip, an iceberg for Mike Conneen.

I wanted to figure out how to get ocean salmon on fly. I did not get one, but I think I have at least one workable technique. I got a bunch of pinks and several silvers on lightweight jigs using spinning tackle. I just need time and the right conditions to use the same technique with the fly rod. So progress was made!

As far as fishing this week, on Sunday Jim and Tyler Juliano accompanied me to the Cable Hole to fly fish for salmon. When we got there we found three fly fishers already there. Two of them had several pinks strung up. I asked them what they intended to do with the fish. They said they were going to eat them. I asked if they had ever eaten river pinks before. They answered in the affirmative. I asked how they were. The guy from Jackson Hole said, “They taste better than mule deer.”

River pinks may be fun to catch, but they are soft, mushy, and not very good eating. Doesn’t say much for mule deer.

Jim and Tyler, who had never fly fished before, each got several salmon. The pool had a couple thousand fish in it. The pinks are starting to look nasty- the run must be winding down.

The Richards family came in on Wednesday. Julian and I took them out for halibut. Tyler hooked a monster ‘but we estimated at over 200 pounds and fought it to the boat- twice. Longer than the below 42 inch and shorter than the 78 inch reverse slot, we left it in the water, unhooked it, and watched it rocket back into the depths. Awesome. Tyler said he was done. Then he kept fishing. As a group our catch included three keeper halibut and two Pacific cod, not a bad take for a three hour trip.

whale pass fishing report

This is the halibut Tyler caught and released.

 

whale pass fishing report

This is what Julian looked like afterwards.

Thursday the Richards did not want to halibut fish again, prefering to try for salmon. We fished for them a variety of ways- trolling, mooching, and casting to sighted fish. All ways worked a little. Our catch included four silvers, one pink, and several kelp greenling. The silvers were kept. All other fish were released unharmed.

whale pass fishing report

We jigged up this beautiful silver.

Friday the Richards and I made my last LaConte glacier trip of the year. The glacier was, as always, spectacular. I would like to camp there for several days just to watch and photograph, and do such hiking and climbing as I am still capable of. I am thinking about the end of the 2016 season, should God (and Susan!) be so kind as to allow me another summer in Alaska.

whale pass fishing report

Jeanne Richards kayaking at the glacier.

 

whale pass fishing report

This lunatic was on every glacier trip I took.

 

whale pass fishing report

This is where I want to camp for several days.

On Saturday the weather is supposed to be miserable (I write this on Friday evening). The Richards and I plan on fly fishing for salmon, both pinks and silvers. Wish us luck! It’s my last Whale Pass fishing day this year, a bittersweet time. New friends say goodbye. Some, important parts of our lives for a short time, we’ll never see again. That’s sad. But we’re going home to see loved ones. That’s glad!

whale pass fishing report

A Stellar’s jay, a common visitor at the lodge.

And that, dear readers, is the Last 2015 Whale Pass Fishing Report from Spotted Tail and the Lodge at Whale Pass.

I am taking a bye week next week. No fishing will happen because of travel, unpacking, reunion with family and friends, and sorting through all the business that I’ve ignored for the past three months. See you in two weeks!

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.




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.




Humpie Time Whale Pass Fishing Report

Humpie Time Whale Pass Fishing Report

What on earth is humpie time, you ask? A humpie is another name for a pink salmon, a noble little creature. They are starting their spawning run in the creeks on Prince of Wales Island. It’s humpie time, thus the humpie time whale pass fishing report.

whale pass fishing report

Alex with a pink salmon, or humpie.

Nick Colantonio, come on down!

Nick, a.k.a. the Comatose Angler, emailed me the following haiku, related of all things to glaciers.

Drinking glacier melt.
Has ice worms. Tiny, die at
thirty-two F. Ugh

Nick went on to say, “Ice worms are not harmful. They are about 1/32 inch, if I remember correctly.  On one glacier tour out of Whittier, Alaska, the naturalist gives the glacier worm lecture after guests chill their drinks with glacier ice. I was drinking coffee. Hot.”

Nick, email me a snail mail address and I will get you a book when I get home.

This week’s bumper sticker:

whale pass fishing report

Hey, it’s Alaska!

I had two glacier trips this week, and one to the bear viewing site an Anan. I’ve never been to the bear viewing site myself. I just bring the guests there. The bears gather at Anan because the pink salmon try to swim up the falls there. The bears recognize an easy meal when they see it. So after the guests were dropped off I pulled out a fly rod and got my first pink salmon of the season, on a small pink and orange marabou streamer.

whale pass fishing report

Wine and cheese at the glacier…

On Thursday we only had four guests in house. They went halibut fishing with Capt. Julian, leaving me with most of the day off. After tying some flies I got Nuttapong, who had not yet caught a salmon in Alaska, and together we went to the 108 Creek.

Nuttapong hit a wild silver salmon on his first cast, using a Fiord Spoon. He also got two Dolly varden and a pink salmon.

I hooked and lost a salmon, then missed a strike, then hooked and broke one off, and then finally got a pink. It has been raining all week (almost biblically), so the creek is running high. My fish put up a hell of a battle, way more than I normally expect from a pink salmon.

The 108 is running a little high...

The 108 is running a little high…

Perhaps the extra water and the little eight foot three-weight I used gave the fish an even chance.

Friday I woke up under the weather (yes, it was still raining, although we got about 15 minutes of sun in the afternoon). So no fishing got done.

Saturday the Keach’s went fishing with me in the 108 Creek. Mr. Keach fly fished, Mrs. Keach spin fished. Both did well, with several silver salmon caught and 15 or so pinks. It’s humpie time!

whale pass fishing report

Mrs. Keach, fishing the 108.

 

whale pass fishing report

Danya with one of several salmon she caught, this one a pink.

Silver salmon fishing at Neck Lake Outlet seems to be slowing down. The run this year certainly did not come near to last year’s in terms of numbers of fish. But the pinks will just keep getting better from here on, into September.

whale pass fishing report

The pink salmon will be this thick in the 108 Creek in a couple of weeks.

And that is the Humpie Time 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.




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.




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

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.