Independence Day Whale Pass Fishing Report- A Photo Essay

whale pass fishing report

Independence Day Whale Pass Fishing Report

Three trips to the LaConte Glacier this week led to an adventure and less fishing than usual; however, we did get some fish for the Independence Day Whale Pass Fishing Report. So happy Independence Day to all you Americans out there!

The week started with a trip for two guests to the LaConte Glacier. Local captain Jared Cook was along to show me the ropes. He brought his lovely lady Hannah along too. The sky was overcast and not great for glacier photography, but it was real nice for people pics. I photographed the young couple.

whale pass fishing report

Hannah and Jared, a beautiful couple.

whale pass fishing report

The colors were muted, but the light was nice for black and white.

All but one of my fishing trips this week were fly fishing trips for silver salmon in the vicinity of the Lodge. My angler for these trips was Andy Wilson, an angler who can cast a fly! We killed it, using a chartreuse Clouser Minnow, with a limit of salmon every day. We would look for schools of fish cruising, head them off with the skiff, and cast. Andy, on his game, made the most of the majority of his shots. That was Hot!

whale pass fishing report

Andy found it easier to catch the fish than hold them, making for a more interesting photo…
That was hot!

The odd fishing trip was a mooching trip around the Triplets with Christie and John Michael, mother and son. We got a variety of fish including silver salmon, halibut, and rockfish, but the highlight of the trip was a 22 pound king salmon. That was Hot!

whale pass fishing report

John Michael and Christie with a nice fat king salmon.

Trolling around the Triplets has been yielding king, silver, and pink salmon. The catch of the week was a 42 pound king salmon landed by the Ryter brothers, Ethan and Lucas. Sadly I do not have an image of this impressive catch. But it was Hot!

The Wilson family also took a glacier trip. Captain Cook came along again, in a supervisory capacity. The ice in the fiord was very thick. I didn’t realize the Blashke was an ice-breaker, but I quickly learned what an amazing vessel it is.

whale pass fishing report

Nearing the glacier in the Blashke, maneuvering through the ice.

 

whale pass fishing report

Jared tells stories about hunting mountain goats around the glacier.

 

whale pass fishing report

Of course, we had to get out of the fiord again.

On the glacier trips we spend some time in Petersburg to stretch legs and see an Alaska fishing town. I love to walk the docks and photograph the boats.

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whale pass fishing report

 

whale pass fishing report

I’m getting a good idea what to use when trolling for salmon.

 

whale pass fishing report

 

whale pass fishing report

On July 3 Nathaniel Cook and I took the Greenberg family, from New York, to the glacier. We photographed Leroy on the way. The weather was awesome.

whale pass fishing report

Leroy with his harem.

 

 

whale pass fishing report

The weather was awesome.

 

whale pass fishing report

 

 

whale pass fishing report

We watched the glacier calve.

After watching the glacier calve for a while we took them out to the mouth of the fiord to meet their float plane. Nathaniel and I decided to take the short-cut back in spite of the fact neither of us had ever run it before. We got to the shallow spot too late and grounded the Blashke on a large sand flat.

whale pass fishing report

Oops!

whale pass fishing report

Why is there a channel marker where there is no water???

 

whale pass fishing report

The sunset was worth the price of admission.

The short cut cost us about ten hours while we waited for the tide to bring enough water back to float the boat, which happened about midnight. The rest of the ride back happened under an almost full moon and deep twilight (it never did get dark) and was absolutely gorgeous. We did not damage the boat or ourselves, and if you’re going to get stuck we could not have picked a nicer place to do it.

And that is the Independence Day 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.




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 Season’s Final Whale Pass Fishing Report and Photo Essay

The Season’s Final Whale Pass Fishing Report

The berries are all gone. Invisible geese honk in the twilight. Nights grow longer. Dead salmon lie along all the waterways. Football is on the tube now, according to reliable reports. Our summer at Whale Pass draws to a conclusion, always a bittersweet time. This is the season’s last report from the Lodge at Whale Pass. I am taking next week off for travel home, recuperation, and repatriation.

I’d like to thank reader Bill Mucklow, who lives on Vancouver Island and sent me the following: “I live on Vancouver Island and do a great deal of fly fishing for salmon, some pinks but we target Coho.
“Early in the year we fish the top of the Island in the Johnson Straight for feeding coho. We use 10 foot Zodiacs and are very successful using Bucktails. This starts mid July and goes until about now.
“I suggest you give bucktails a try. We use Polar Bear for ours plus a combination of Ice Dub Shimmers. We skid them along the surface about 15-20 behind the boat and hang on.
“The process is as follows-

1.  Use a floating line with a 6-8 foot leader. Use strong stuff as they hit it really hard. I usually use 15 lb. fluoro.

2.  You will troll the buck tail about 20 feet back of the boat…maybe 25…just behind where the prop wash crosses.

3.  Speed is fairly fast…about the speed for Sockeye trolling.

4.  We put the rod in a holder so you don’t miss the hit/set.

5.  All our bucktails represent local baitfish and use a stinger hook.

“The cohos are starting to congregate in the kelp now so we change to 8-wt rods with Deep 7 lines and a baitfish fly. It’s great fun catching 10-15 coho per day in the 8-14 pound category by casting into the kelp.
“Generally the Coho we target will be showing somewhat, even though you see them periodically on the surface they are basically feeding down much deeper.
“We let the fly sink to around 25-30 feet then begin a slow retrieve…1 – 2 – 1- 3 – 2 – 1 short strips. When feeding they will follow a bit then hit the fly hard. Our last trip to the top of the Island were did not have to do any buck tailing. Salmon in the kelp were after baitfish so we were able to do very well casting baitfish flies using a Deep 7 line. A quick drop into the kelp feeding zone about 20-35 feet down and WHAM! The fun is on!”

Thank you for the detailed information, Bill. I hope I get a chance to use it.

The salmon run in the 108 Creek attains epic proportions. For such a small stream it sure hosts a run of fish! Most are pinks, but there are plenty of silvers mixed in, too. Watch for fishing black bears, especially at either end of the day. I still like the four-weight with a small, flashy pink fly for the salmon. For the bears you might need something more stout.

IMG_0038

 

whale pass fishing report

Salmon scoot across shallow water on their way to the spawning grounds.

 

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Salmon in a pool in the 108 Creek.

Halibut, cod, and rockfish are still on the bite. While fishing at AnAn, waiting for a party of bear watchers, Alex and I caught on hook and line a couple of dungeness crabs and a couple of large and colorful multi-legged sea stars.

 

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Dana holds a quillback rockfish she pulled up from 150 feet of water.

 

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Not pretty, maybe, but real tasty.

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Alex wasn’t crazy about holding this sea star.

I also got to see the LaConte Glacier this week. It is an utterly fantastic place, words fail me. Photos cannot capture the grandeur of it.

 

whale pass fishing report

The face of the LaConte Glacier.

 

whale pass fishing report

Can you see the Etolin, hidden among the ice?

 

Snows from these high mountains feed the glacier.

Snows from these high mountains feed the glacier.

 

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We got to witness a minor calving event. The glacier sounded like a major thunderstorm, booming constantly.

It’s been a good season here, with new experiences, new friends, and a whole lot of new knowledge. I feel very fortunate to have found this place. That having been said, I hope there’s lots of bait off Cape Canaveral when I get there!

 

whale pass fishing report

In my fishing fantasies, this is what I will find when I get home.

Needless to say I need some work when I get home. If you’ve been thinking about taking a fishing trip in central Florida, either in the lagoons or along the beaches, please consider calling me. When you’re happy, I’m happy!

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

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

IT’S MY BYE WEEK NEXT WEEK! Next report on 9/6! Have a fun and safe Labor Day!

John Kumiski
http://www.spottedtail.com

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




The Drive-by Whale Pass Fishing Report

The Drive-by Whale Pass Fishing Report

This week’s report is dedicated to my friend and fishing buddy Tammy Wilson who would have loved being with me on Friday’s trip.

Grocer Don lent me his Suburban, a nice gesture if ever there was one. I got into the vehicle around 8:30 and headed out of Whale Pass.

I stopped at the Bridge Hole on 108 Creek. I’d never fished there before, and while checking it out from the bridge a salmon rolled, then another. I put on my waders and grabbed the four-weight. The morning light was gorgeous, falling through the spruces onto the creek. Three or four casts in the line came tight.

A silver danced on its tail to the music of the creek, only to be released a few minutes later. It was a harbinger of things to come. Two pink salmon came to hand before I climbed back into the Suburban.

The next stop was the Cable Hole, also on 108 Creek. I was hoping for a Dolly varden, but didn’t complain when the hole proved to be packed with pinks. After three fish I left, since there was an agenda to keep. I stopped for some berry picking on the way back to the car.

Forty minutes of curvy, bumpy dirt road later the ‘burban stopped and discharged me at Red Creek. I was hoping for a cutthroat and a rainbow trout. I got the cutt, but the rainbow (if it was in fact a rainbow- it did jump amazingly high) jumped off. I got a pink as a consolation.

Back into the ‘burb, off to Memorial Beach. Didn’t know what to expect. Grocer Don told me that it was possible to catch Dollies from the beach. I was intrigued and wanted to try.

whale pass fishing report

A five minute walk brought me to a gravel beach with giant limestone outcroppings along the water here and there, with fantastic views of the bay and snow covered mountains to the north, not at all a bad place to wet a line. An older couple was there with at least a half-dozen kids. The kids were having a blast, running and playing, screaming and shouting. The man came over to me and apologized for their noise.

“Hey, it’s happy noise, it’s all good. This place is amazing. It’s good they’re enjoying it,” I told him. He told me he often caught Dollies from the beach on an incoming tide, using spinners. The tide was coming in. I didn’t have any spinners, but I did have streamer flies. I walked back to the car to get the rod.

I’d like to say I was covered up with fish. That would be untruthful. Maybe a dozen were caught and released, with the largest a solid eighteen inches. But the fish became an afterthought when a humpback whale swam by, blowing again and again, not 100 yards away from me. Un-Bee-Leave-A-Bull.

whale pass fishing report

If I were a better caster I could have presented the fly to this beast.

When I was finishing up the man came back and again apologized for the kid’s noise. He introduced himself as Pete and gave me an unopened package of smoked salmon, a very kind and completely unexpected gesture.

When I got back to the car some color in the bushes caught my attention. Fifteen minutes that might have been used for fishing were spent picking and eating berries. I do not view that as a waste of time!

whale pass fishing report

Son Alex had asked me to check out Alder Creek. It looked small, shallow, and difficult to fish, but there were salmon rolling in it so I parked the car and hiked upstream a couple hundred yards.

The stream was drop-dead gorgeous. Stopping and checking it out was the smartest thing I could have done.

The sun was shining into a little hole. It was full of salmon but there were other fish in there too, either trout or dollies. I went upstream a cast farther, put on an egg-sucking smolt, and tossed it into the hole. Bang! The nicest dolly of the day.

The stream was loaded with them. The biggest was 22 inches, a beautiful fish. It was the hottest fishing I’ve had this year, with a fish on almost every cast until I ran out of time.

dolly varden

Drive-by fishing, Alaska style. It was a wonderful day. I thought of Tammy the whole drive back.

Silvers are still being caught in numbers at Neck Lake Outlet. They are beginning to show some color, and are a lot fussier than they used to be.

whale pass fishing report

Grocer Don and son Alex with a party at Neck Lake Outlet on a foggy morning.

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

Mooching and trolling around the Triplets is producing pink, silver, and king salmon. The whale shows have been awesome, too.

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.




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.

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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.

 

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Lucas and Melanie with another good ‘but.

 

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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!

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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.



 

Independence Day Whale Pass Fishing Report

whale pass fishing report

These salmon don’t know they have an unsolvable problem.

Independence Day Whale Pass Fishing Report

Happy birthday, America!

Pacific salmon exhibit an incredible will to procreate.

Across the bay from the Lodge a hatchery sits atop what is, for salmon, an impassable waterfall. At the top of the falls, in addition to the hatchery, lies Neck Lake.

Now this hatchery is not run by the state of Alaska for the purpose of making more salmon for everyone. It’s run by a commercial fishing consortium interested in making a profit from an investment.

It’s my understanding that the salmon eggs used in this operation come from a river to the north of here, a long river that the fish must enter early in the season in order to get to the spawning grounds far upstream. The hatchery takes the eggs from fish from this other river, hatches and grows the alevins for a while, then puts the smolts in pens on Neck Lake.

Once the smolts are ready to return to the sea, they are released from the pens, they find their way to the waterfall, tumble down into the bay, and swim off into the sunset.

They return four years later, wanting to spawn. Ha! The joke is on you, fish.

The adult silver salmon cannot get up the falls, but they do find the fish ladder cleverly placed there by the builders of the hatchery. They climb the ladder only to end up in a large holding tank. Two or three days a week during season, depending on how many fish are present, the fish are removed from the tank, prepared for and shipped to market. Apparently they are in great demand, since they are the earliest run of silver salmon commercially available from Alaska.

These fish are the silvers we’ve been fishing for and catching since I got to Whale Pass a month ago. The run is in full swing, and lots of fishermen are over there working it now. We’re still catching lots of salmon, although it’s harder to get a bite than it was.

Daisies grow everywhere around here.

Daisies grow everywhere around here.

Although I haven’t been out, the halibut bite has been hot all week. The Wallace party from Massachusetts limited out on fish up to 40 pounds in less than one hour. There were a few Pacific cod tossed into the mix, too.

Tuesday Alex and I took a van on the back roads of Prince of Wales Island, looking for adventure in the form of fly fishing. First we stopped at Twin Island Lake. I waded out with the fly I had tied on, an Ultra Clouser. It was not the right fly. I could see trout jumping out in the lake but I did not get a bite, and ended up casting off the fly. Funny that the four pound tippet wouldn’t hold a Clouser Minnow tied on a #2 hook.

Next we stopped on upper 108 Creek. The stream passes through a cavern, and I wanted to show it to Alex. A natural run of silvers comes up this stream, goes through the cave and into the lake above. I am looking forward to seeing it.

Following this we came to a trailhead for Red Bay Lake. We hiked the trail, one of the finer walks I’ve taken in quite a while.

whale pass fishing report

Alex on the beautifully maintained trail to Red Bay Lake.

There were some big trees in there! One may have been the largest tree I have ever seen, and that includes the Amazon basin and Joyce Kilmer National Forest. I hugged one for a moment, then we continued.

The photo doesn't begin to do justice to one of the biggest trees I've eve seen.

The photo doesn’t begin to do justice to one of the biggest trees I’ve eve seen.

At the far end of the trail was a beautiful lake. Tied to a tree was a boat, with a plug and three oars. We lost no time in putting the plug in and launching the craft. The lake was full of cutthroat trout, no big ones, but fat healthy fish of 12 inches or so. Although I wish I had a rod smaller than a four-weight, it was a wonderful afternoon.

whale pass fishing report

Alex was hot to get on the oars.

 

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Even Dad got into the act.

 

whale pass fishing report

Cutthroat trout are lovely fish. I want a five pounder, though.

Finally, we stopped at Neck Lake, across from the salmon pens. There were fish rising and Alex got two little cutthroats before we hopped back in the van and returned to Whale Pass. We’d seen some wonderful new territory, caught plenty of beautiful fish. All in all it was an awesome day.

 

This flower, which I must learn the name of, was on a rock in the lake.

This flower, which I must learn the name of, was on a rock in the lake.

The past couple days I have had trout fishing trips up into Barnes Lake. While I am still figuring this fishery out the fishing has been outstanding, although we did not catch any fish over about 14 inches. Brightly colored flies in pink or orange have been working best.

whale pass fishing report

Jack tries to subdue the mighty cutthroat trout.

Spin fishermen are tossing number three spinners from Mepps and Blue Fox. Color of those has not seemed to matter.

Yesterday eleven year old Clay had a sockeye salmon smack his little spinner. After an exciting battle Clay pulled the fish up to the bank, where I grabbed it and dispatched it, definitely the fish of the day.

Eleven year old Jack got a nice cutt on a spinner at the same spot.

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Jack was successful, although the fish was released.

We all had some quality time at the tide pool where the sea stars live.

 

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Jack also got this trophy sea star, also released.

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

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.


Summer Solstice Whale Pass Fishing Report

Whale Pass Fishing Report

Pagans everywhere! Celebrate the summer solstice!

Here at Whale Pass we celebrate such holidays by fishing, of course.

Morning view from the Lodge at Whale Pass.

Morning view from the Lodge at Whale Pass.

Our only guests this week were Linda Stern and her grandson William, both from New York. Tuesday Alex and I took them fishing for silver salmon in the quintessential Alaska weather, that is to say cold and rainy. There were quite a few fish around. It’s almost like fishing for schools of redfish. You can see the fish pushing a wake and attempt to have the lure intersect the fishes’ path. They are not as spooky as are Mosquito Lagoon reds, though. They hooked five, only to have four escape. Cold and wet by lunchtime, we took the three-minute boat ride across the bay, back to the lodge.

 

whale pass fishing report

Linda Stern with a nice silver salmon.

The weather improved and we went back out in the afternoon. The sun was peeking through the clouds now and again and the fish were there. So were a couple of seals.

If you’re fishing, seals are kind of like sharks in that they will steal your hooked fish from you. William had a salmon on when a seal grabbed it. We chased that seal around for a solid 10 minutes, and the seal finally let the fish go. We got it! We had a couple other close calls, where the seal was chasing a hooked fish but didn’t quite catch up to it. In spite of the seal harassment we got eleven more salmon, for a nice limit for two, a great way to start their fishing off.

 

whale pass fishing report

Salmon will strike spinners.

 

whale pass fishing report

That’s a lot of fine eating.

Yesterday I went out as a deckhand on the Thorne, captained by Jared Cook. The fishing party was a family from Oregon, with a pair of 11 year old fraternal twins.

We saw whales, sea lions, seals, and porpoises. I’m still looking for a good whale photo.

We first went fishing for halibut. Twin Robert caught the first one, a fish of 25 pounds or so. Then his sister got one. Then Mom got one. Then Dad got one. Very democratic, these fish.

The Etolin, one of the Lodge's vessels, on the halibut grounds.

The Etolin, one of the Lodge’s vessels, on the halibut grounds.

Having our limit, we went for rockfish next. They are lovely little fish but I wouldn’t target them. Too small a fish, too heavy tackle. My understanding is they are very long-lived and very slow growing, too. Best to leave them alone. You’ll catch them while fishing for salmon anyway. But we got the limit of these, too.

A type of rockfish, beautiful little fish.

A type of rockfish, beautiful little fish.

Then we went trolling for king salmon. Downriggers. Flashers. The whole thing was all new to me and I learned a lot. We got three kings, although only one was a legal fish of thirty inches.

Day over, we headed back to the dock where we had a fish cleaning party.

Thursday we went out as anglers with the Stern party on the Etolin, captained by Kurt Gorlitz, again fishing for halibut. Except for me, the bite was on! Eight halibut to about thirty pounds were brought to the boat, although half of them were released.

whale pass fishing report

Capt. Kurt swings a halibut aboard.

 

whale pass fishing report

Alex with his ‘but.

 

whale pass fishing report

William and Linda show a halibut double.

Thursday night we had a fish fry party in the rec room. Fresh halibut fish and chips, yum-mee! Darts, pool, foosball, and other games were played, and we had a faltering attempt at karaoke. A fabulous time was had by all.

The recreation room at the Lodge.

The recreation room at the Lodge.

Friday Alex and I took the jet boat out exploring. There are lots of rocks around here, and I mean rocks the size of mountaintops. We came to a rapid that was unrunnable when we got there. Kevin, the owner of the Lodge at Whale Pass, had told us that at low tide we couldn’t get past that spot. We beached the boat and went exploring while we waited. We followed a black tailed deer for a way. They run like cartoon deer, bouncing along on all fours like a big bunny.

We found some stars in a tide pool.

seastars

Kelp grows everywhere around here.

kelp

After an hour or so the water had risen enough that we could run the rapid. We did, and several others as well, ending up at a small stream where we caught some cutthroat trout, lovely creatures that we released.

whale pass fishing report

The wooly bugger did the trick on this cutthroat trout.

On the way back we got turned around a couple times, but found another spot for cutts. We were back at camp in time for dinner.

 

whale pass fishing report

Alex used a big orange streamer for this cutt.

And that is this week’s Whale Pass Fishing Report.

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.



  • Killer whale steals halibut from angler’s hook

Preliminary Whale Pass Fishing Report

Preliminary Whale Pass Fishing Report

Have you ever had a hummingbird stare you in the eye?

It’s been a tough week emotionally.

That having been said, Alex and I arrived here at the Lodge at Whale Pass before the guests. The lodge is in the middle of a renovation. There was not a lot of fishing going on.

whale pass fishing report

Not fishing, Alex works on the lodge.

Down on the dock I caught some sculpins, flounders, and another kind of panfish with which I was unfamiliar, all on a 1/2 ounce white bucktail jig.

Tuesday evening after supper Alex and I took a pair of kayaks across the small bay on which the lodge sits to a creek on the far side. We pulled the kayaks up the bank and went scouting up the creek. As we ascended we saw some fish, although we spooked them.

yakkin

We came to signs that said, “No fishing past this point.” Alaska Fish and Wildlife had placed them. We headed back downstream.

Alex was hot to catch a trout. The stream was small, so I found a pleasant place to sit, and watched him fish for a while.

 

whale pass fishing report

The stream was small with a low tide.

He didn’t get any bites so I decided to head back to the kayaks and wait down there. Maybe I could catch a sculpin on fly. I’d never done that before.

Of course as soon as I got away from him Alex hooked a big fish. I headed back, hoping to get some pictures, only to hear a string of obscenities. He’s quitting cigarettes and was a little edgy. He had lost the fish. No photos.

I followed my original plan. I caught a sculpin on a big olive wooly bugger I somehow got out there with my little four-weight. While I was examining the fish (they will get your attention) a salmon jumped out of the water nearby, although too far to reach with that fly. I waited and watched and soon they were rolling right in front of me.

 

whale pass fishing report

It certainly is an interesting looking fish.

One took the bugger. It was the hottest salmon I have ever hooked, jumping at least a dozen times and going deep into the backing. I had to chase it down the shoreline.

It was near the beach, nearly finished, when the hook pulled out.

A little disappointed, I went back to where I had been standing and started casting. Three casts in, the line again came tight.

Although strong, this fish was nothing like the previous one. In a few minutes I tailed it, a handsome buck silver salmon. I carried it up towards the trees, well away from the water. There I thanked the fish, then, wanting to eat it, I tore its gills and bled it out.

To carry it back to camp I bungeed it to the deck of the kayak, something I had never done before. It worked.

 

whale pass fishing report

The salmon, bungeed to my kayak.

Wednesday night I baked the fish and it formed the basis for our dinner. It was delicious.

Thursday morning I was stretching on the porch of the lodge. Alex’s fishing rod, sitting right in front of me, had a pink fly tied onto the leader. A hummingbird flew up and examined the fly. I could not believe how close it was to me. Then it came about eight inches from my nose and checked me out for a full fifteen seconds, most extraordinary. Then it blazed off the way hummingbirds do.

A couple of our fishing boats were launched Thursday, something I had nothing to do with. They just showed up at the dock. They are fine, seaworthy vessels and I cannot wait to get out in one. There is still more prep work to do on property, though.

And that is this week’s Whale Pass Fishing Report.

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.




What to DO When the Big Fish Swims Under the Boat

What to DO When the Big Fish Swims Under the Boat

tarpon boatside

OK, today’s lesson deals with what to do when a big fish swims under the boat. For some reason most fishermen want to lift the rod when the big fish makes its dive. I’ve watched too many guys do this. The result is always the same. The line rubs against the hull of the boat, increasing friction and virtually assuring a break-off. Since big fish don’t come along all the time, when the line breaks so does your heart. OOOhhh that hurts.

So, what is the correct response when the big fish makes its dive? You simply thrust the tip end of the rod down into the water. How far down? Far enough down to ensure that the line does not touch the hull or motor of the boat. If the fish is beefy enough to extend its run away from the “wrong” side of the boat, you simply walk the rod around the bow of the boat. As soon as the line clears the hull you can lift the rod out of the water and continue the battle in a more conventional fashion. On a particularly big, nasty fish you may have to perform this maneuver more than once.

We’re assuming here that the boat is small enough to allow you to do this. Honestly, although I would certainly like to I’ve never had the problem occur while on a Hatteras 48 or similar vessel. If any readers can expound on this I would love to hear from you.

So, to sum up what to do when the big fish swims under the boat- rod lift bad, rod thrust into water good. Keep this straight and catch more of those big fish.

John Kumiski
http://www.spottedtail.com

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

Thanks to Ricky Dee for use of the photo!