I knew months ago that I wouldn’t let myself leave Alaska by bike if I hadn’t fished here for the first time in a decade. Last week I spent a week with my friend Cameron Luck in an amazingly pristine watershed in southwest Alaska. It was an splendid adventure, one full of big bears, hungry bugs, and beautiful native and wild rainbow trout. This drainage is the southern-most distribution of this species in the state. Rainbow trout, to me, define the 5 stages of fishing: 1. to catch fish, 2. to catch lots of fish, 3. to catch big fish, 4. to catch lots of big fish, and 5. to catch the uncatchable fish. I am already haunted by the ones that got away on this trip, but that will keep the fires burning for me to return soon again. Here are a couple photos of the ones we caught and released.
Of course no adventure can go off without a hitch. On our next to last day we were confronted with a crazy summer storm. The deep oozing mud, headwinds, and long miles of paddling little round packrafts met in a perfect triangle on a mudflat just a quarter mile from our takeout. Confronted with howling winds and a rapidly rising tide, Cam and I had to make some quick decisions. The rest of the story is best told over a crackling campfire; this stuff is what true lore is made of.