If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that we floated the Gulkana last weekend.
We had a great time and had a few surprises.
Matanuska Glacier on the way up.
We left town on Thursday night so we could get up to Paxon Lake, sleep and row across the lake to the river before the wind picked up. Well, the wind was blowing by the time we got on the lake but it was in our favor. Only took an hour to get to the outlet. Go Cody! Even though, he got sea sick on the lake…. we will never own an ocean boat and that makes this girl sad. 🙁
Loaded up ready to go.
Once we got to the mouth of the river, we pulled over to swing some fishy looking water and I got the jetboil out to make us thermoses of hot tea. Legit on a cold windy day on the river. I’ve been fighting off a cold for a a couple days due to lack of sleep and no downtime. Our summers are only so long so we have to take full advantage. Lots of vitamin c and d3, oregano oil, water/tea and trying to get as much sleep as possible, which isn’t always possible. We didn’t get any tugs at that spot so we moved on down.
We went to some faster moving water downriver and Cody started swinging for rainbows while I tried to eat some brunch since we hadn’t eaten since 6pm the night before. We got a big surprise! Huge Lake Trout were in the river and Cody had one on! I quickly finished my food and got my rod out for some of the action. We spent a good few hours having fun with those hogs. It was so much fun and turned out to be the highlight of the trip. Poor Cody, I caught a few more than him. 🙂 Turns out, they liked my fly better.
This is the one that started us off.
Then I caught this little beauty.
Then I caught this hog a few fish later. What a blessing! Neither of us had ever caught Lake Trout before and we did it on Spey rods swinging flies which made it that much more fun.
Creepy looking eyes, though.
After we had our fun with that spot, we moved down to the next one. I pulled out a really nice Grayling. They are one of my favorite fish. Absolute beauties! It takes a long time for Grayling to grow here in Alaska compared to lower 48 fish.
Look at those colors.
My girl, Guinness, always wants to see what we bring in. So curious.
We moved on down to our first camp spot for the night, where we saw the most massive beavers of our lives. Those things were on steroids! Sorry, no pic.
After camp was set up, we had dinner and I called it a night, Cody decided to fish the stretch of river by our camp spot. I heard some rukus and come to find out that a beaver was swimming right at Cody and he was having none of Cody being in his territory. Cody decided to call it a night as well worrying all night about the beaver chewing through our line keeping our raft tied off.
Our goal for the next day was to make it through the canyon and rapids. We fished for a bit but it was slow. Cody got a grayling but that’s about it. We decided to push through all the slow froggy water to get to the canyon faster. We’d heard the trout fishing was better below the canyon.
They both want to see what Dad had!
When we pulled up to the portage spot there were a few boats tied off. We tied off, everyone piled out and we headed off to scout out the rapids. Of course, Dandy had to say hello to everyone.
A couple of out-of-staters were there acting all snooty and bothered by the little black lab puppy that was excited to meet them. I just don’t trust people who don’t smile and love of a wiggling excited lab puppy. A person must be a heartless prick IMHO to be like that.
Turns out, they were chauvinistic, heartless pigs. Every time they passed me on the trail or had any interaction with me, they acted as if I had no business being in “Man Land”. They even asked me to move out of the trail with my dogs when I was already in the bushes giving them plenty of room to walk by. Jerks! Go piss up a rope, you pigs! Why do some men act like this? Do you not like women? You must not have daughters. I know my dad loves the fact I’m outdoors getting after it. If we have daughters someday, I hope they do the same thing. Ok… rant over.
I tied the dogs off to a tree, Cody went back to the raft to prep it for the rapids and I made my way to a big boulder overlooking the rapids to see how things would play out. I had to elbow my way onto the boulder because the jerks had staked claim to it so they could watch my husband come down. Nope, move over guys. Cody made the rapids look easy but the boat was heavy and I know he was a little nervous.
We all loaded up and got out of the mosquito infested woods. That’s when we made our way to the best rainbow fishing on the river. They weren’t huge but they were feisty and good little fighters. They’d probably never been caught before or maybe just once or twice. Just beautiful little fishies.
We found a campsite with a nice back eddy and slough to pull the raft into, set up camp and went to cover the nice stretch of swinging water nearby. We pulled out a couple more before we called it a night, had dinner and hit the hay.
Beautiful Salmon from our Chitna dipnetting trip for dinner.
The next day we fished most of the spots that looked fishy and especially areas kings would lay. No luck on the kings but we pulled out a couple rainbows throughout the day. The fishing was super slow and the water got dirtier and dirtier with every tributary. Stupid rain!
After a full day of searching for the submerged battleships, we found a nice gravel bar about 8 miles up from our planned takeout to call home for the night. We set up camp, had dinner and I went to bed early after a mug of Rooibos tea (our favorite nighttime tea since our trip to South Africa). I wanted to keep this cold and body aches at bay because I knew I had a stressful week ahead prepping for the Lake Creek trip.
We were all tuckered out!
I slept in the next day while Cody hit the stretch of water along the West Fork and Gulkana confluence. If there were kings, they would be there. No luck! I guess the shuttle people were lied to by people saying they were in thick because we hadn’t had seen one raise or had a single big tug. Not normal. I think we were a few weeks early. Now we know when to go back.
At least we had a legit breakfast to wake up to every morning. 🙂 AND coffee. I love you but I hate you, coffee. I need to give you up.
We didn’t fish much more that day. We pushed to Sourdough campground so we could get home at a reasonable hour without propping our eyelids open with toothpicks. What? You’ve never driven from the east side of the state at 1-4am timeframe? You’re just not living!! JK! It’s really hairy and there are a ton of moose. I don’t recommend it. It turned out to be a beautiful drive. At least we got in some great casting.
We got to Sourdough just in time for a Texas like thunderstorm. Holy cow!! It was pouring rain, hailing, thundering and lightning was lighting up the sky. It stopped just as we finished breaking down the raft loading all the gear. So much for not having to dry everything out when we got home. We REALLY need to get a raft trailer and maybe a different house to park our boats outside so our neighbors don’t bitch about our toys parked in the driveway creating an eyesore. I wouldn’t blame them but it’s becoming a real pain and I’m about to say F it. We need a cabin in the woods.
We got home at a decent hour and overall had a memorable trip and learned a little more about timing and the Alaskan outdoors. Don’t leave fish to find fish!
Thanks for reading,
Here are a few more pics of the trip. Enjoy.
Big wolf tracks.