Posts Tagged ‘Kenai’

This is a post inspired by a single photo.  I just became reacquainted with it the other day.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Well I know my friend Stacy and I could probably each spout that many or more; especially around a campfire while drinking Glacier IPA and remembering the “Bug Eyed Sockeye”.  For blogging purposes, I will condense the story down to about 500.

It was a day like many others only a little bit better.  We were splitting a party of eight anglers, with four in each boat.  It was mid September and the Silver Salmon were packed into large holding areas.  We decided we could spread the whole group out on one particular run and put everyone on fish.  It was working out well.  Stacy and I slogged back and forth, coaching the casts, tying on flies, shouting encouragement and netting fish.  Each angler hooked into at least a dozen fish and the atmosphere was giddy.   Or at least Stacy and I were.  I was on about day seventy-five of non-stop guiding and Stacy was not far off.  While we pride ourselves in being professional and I have never yelled or lost my cool with a guest, I have been known to get a little loopy from lack of sleep and general fatigue.  In the midst of my manic psychosis swam the “Bug Eyed Sockeye”.

The spawn must go on...

The Bug Eyed Sockeye of the Kenai

I was between netting silvers and tying on new flies when BES swam past me.  I gapped in awe and then did the only natural thing I could do; I scooped her up.  “Hey Stacy, you’ve got to see this.”  Then the blathering began. Stacy and I slid into our own little world of fishy wonderment and lost track of time, space and our amazed guests for several moments.  From our guest’s perspective, we’d probably lost our minds.   There was ooing and ahhing and fishy fondling amid chortles and mad laughter.  There were camera poses and funny faces and more giggles.  It’s hard to explain how some things just hit you as outrageously funny when you are weakened from the grind and short on sleep.  We had a merciless case of the guide jollies.

The BES sure gave us some comic relief that day, poor pitiful creature that she was.  We reverently pointed her on up the slough, certain of her untimely demise.  We wished her luck and wondered what crushing impact caused her eyes to bug, without shorting out her brain.  Maybe she swam too deeply into Skilak Lake and had the bends.  Maybe she was in the midst of some evolutionary jump where fish develop eyes on stalks.  Or maybe…she was in all likelihood the host to an alien that transferred into Stacy.  That would explain a lot.  We may never know, but we will forever remember that Bug Eyed Sockeye.

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Stacy is down in Baja near Cabo and my mind keeps drifting that way, wondering what is happening on those beaches.  Is he on the Pacific or the Sea of Cortez today?  They have a saying down there that pretty much fits all situations related to fishing.  It reminded me of a story from some years ago that I posted on my web page at http://www.mysticfishing.com/articlesandstories.html This story happened in Alaska and may be the exception.

Kenai River Brown Bear

Don't leave your fish on the bank.

No Bad Days…

My best friend and guiding partner Stacy Corbin is fond of the saying, “No Bad Days” when it comes to fishing.  He picked up a sticker with the quote down in Cabo at the Latitude 22+Roadhouse. He has it on the back window of his van. It reminds him of sunrise on the beach and mornings spent chasing roosterfish in the warm surf. Not a bad image. While I generally agree that any day-spent fishing is a good day, I know of an angler who might have a different view.

I was guiding a party for sockeye from a Kenai riverbank one summer day. A man walked in from a trail across the river and started fishing.  We did not pay him much mind, because the guys were busy landing fish. Someone later noted that the fellow was having no action. Eventually, he did hook a fish and we all cheered him on during the battle. He chased his fish around the riffle and tried to lead it toward the bank. The salmon would have none of it and kept sprinting toward deeper water, sending up showers of spray. We all groaned as the man fell in and lost his fish.

Watching him crawl from the river, we saw a cow moose come charging up the bank.  I do not know if he heard our yelling or not, but the dripping wet man looked up to see the moose bearing down. With a lunge, he cleared the water and dashed into the bushes. Thankfully, the moose kept on going before turning into the trees.  The reason the moose was running was soon clear. The man stepped out to stare after the moose and walked right into the path of a charging brown bear.
Those of us spending time in bear country have heard repeatedly, never to run from a brown bear. It would take a rare individual not to act as this fellow did. He instantly spun and dashed back into the woods. In hot pursuit of the moose, the bear reacted to the movement of the man and followed him out of sight.

As you can imagine, we feared the worst. The outcome seemed inevitable. You could have cut the tension with a knife. Thankfully, within a second, the man appeared, followed by the bear, which turned down the bank pursuing the moose. Good thing the guy was wearing waders. No bad days? Well, it depends on how you look at it.  When it comes to sockeye fishing, it is important to have a sense of humor and be ready for anything.

At least he got away clean, or at least unscathed.

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Still Not Fishing, MT Last Updated: 04/21/08 07:30:28 MST


Current Conditions





Real Feel: -9°F (-23°C)
Relative Humidity: 95%
Barometer: 29.94″Hg (F)

Wind: W at 3 mph (5 kph)
Visibility: 0 miles (0 km)
Sunrise: 6:23am Sunset: 8:25pm


Cooper Landing is 34 degrees warmer right now. Should be fishing the Kenai today.


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