Still no salmon for me;

Hardyreels

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But I can expect improvement beginning Monday. I never fish weekends for fear someone would be out for a boat ride and put 2 + 2 together. In this case the 2 + 2 would be the places I swing flies. These are not the same spots where others generally fish and I don't like to be seen on my favorite runs unless there is absolutely no avoiding it.

I've never caught a King Salmon in May, I've heard of it happening for those who fish down rivers near their confluence zones. I don't go there because generally speaking those are places with hardly any current and not good fly fishing water. They are also almost always deep water or way too silty to wade in so I go catch-less every May.

It is however good to get out, I like casting and refining my presentation techniques even if there are no fish grabbing flies for me. I've made this post to provide a look at where I spent my day Thursday.



I've been parking my boats on that spot since 2006 when I moved out here from Anchorage. This particular run is effectively 1 and 1/2 miles long and is one of the longest straight channels on the river. The river itself is over 108 miles in length from the headwaters to the ocean and our annual King run numbers are around 1400 to 2400 fish and not all of those are adult fish. They are all counted regardless of whether they are a 50" 50 pound adult 5 or more years old or a second year Jack weighing 4 pound they all are part of the count.

As if the low number of salmon isn't enough to make this hard to do how bout some color to your water?



This river takes on a fairly unique color during runoff time. There is silt some of which is carried all the way from the mountains a hundred miles upstream and there is tannin stain. The tannin stained water comes from many tributaries that flow from ponds and lakes all of which are draining wetlands, there was a pretty good snow this past winter so the water is about 2 foot above what would be perfect level.

Visibility in that appears to be around 2 to 3 feet based on my ability to see either the bottom or my feet while wading. When you look at all this water and then figure that I have to put a fly within 2 to 3 feet of a salmon to catch one things may be coming to a prospective. I no longer push King Salmon fishing because it is so difficult that very few clients would enjoy the challenge.

I said that I expect a better chance Monday because that will be June 2nd and the run, if they come, peaks by June 24 historically. They either have to be here over the next couple weeks or the chance to catch some is past. When you think on those numbers I quoted stop and realize that 99% of residential fishermen are pissed off that the season is closed to harvest of the remaining fish! People normally take boats all the way to the estuary where those 1400 to 2400 fish will be gathered in one large pod. They find them with depth finders and fish finders then slaughter their daily limits usually with multiple anglers in the boats with a party like atmosphere once the fish are located. Remember, these fish are darn near whipped out in this river and most others on mainland Alaska. I fish for fun, I fish because I have developed a skill over the many years and I don't need to kill a fish in order to feed myself. If things were that tough I'd sell my expensive boat, and a lot of other stuff before I killed a king salmon here and now.

Anyway, here's some more looks at my haunt.





All taken along that mile or miles of river, I drive up much farther then drift down using the oars searching for fish, if I find them above then I fish there but if you find nothing you always come here.



I'm not sure how many I've caught along this stretch over the years, maybe a hundred, that would be fair without telling tales. I always say to myself that if there's a salmon to be found in this river then I'll find it on this stretch of water. I swear though that the color in the water makes this 10 times harder because there is zero chance of seeing them......



Fellas gotta have things to do if he ain't catchen fish I always say. That last picture of the anchored boat? I must have sat there for a couple hours watching clouds, birds, eating some jerky, drinking a beer and thinking of my old friend Boss.



That was he and I King fishing in May about 4 or 5 seasons ago. Boss left my life March 15 of 2019 and I can tell you this isn't the same anymore. He fished with me for 13 years. Every trip, we faced down a brown bear big enough to have killed us both but for a can of bear spray intervening. He darn near drown when he was young and I darn near drown saving him. Sitting there in one of our spots with some jerky I couldn't help thinking of him. I used to take a one pound bag of plain beef jerky on every trip just to be sure there was enough for him. We'd sit and watch things and I'd drink a beer or 2 and feed him jerky until he would say he'd had enough. That picture above is him checking my fly, he checked my flies and sniffed every King I ever caught.
 

firefly

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Lots of memories of dogs that left me too, Ard, I know how it feels, especially when you've spent so much time together in remote places. I couldn't like your post although I liked it. They remain your best friend forever, don't they. He'll live on in your memories and I hope the salmon return to ease your mind.
 

Hardyreels

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Lots of memories of dogs that left me too, Ard, I know how it feels, especially when you've spent so much time together in remote places. I couldn't like your post although I liked it. They remain your best friend forever, don't they. He'll live on in your memories and I hope the salmon return to ease your mind.
Yeah always there.

I used to train bird pointing dogs and had quite a kennel but most were like Foster children passing through and to their permanent homes. I liked all the dogs but I've only ever had 3 of my own. I had a female red setter named Kelly who lived 16 years and we were close. After her I lived with a male Pointer, the breed is called American Field Stud Pointer not the AKC English Pointer. They are similar but the Field Stud dogs tend to be a bit more compact. His name was Try and he lived to be 14.

After the Pointer I had 30 years of being a dog daddy behind me and went 4 years without another but then came Boss. Boss lived for 13 and 1/2 years giving me 43 & 1/2 years of dogmanship. Three very painful passing's but three incredibly enriching relationships as well.

Unlike many folks I meet I've never had any children, I remained single until I was 50 and the dogs were my children and a big part of life. Each of them had an interesting personality and all three were smart but Boss may have had an edge. He just made the best company on the river. I think it was his breed, Boss was a guard dog and that is what he did his whole life. He watched over me 24/7 never allowing me out of sight. No looking for him in the bushes, no worrying that he would wander or run off, he was too serious about being a watchdog to wander off. One day I'll find another.
 

Hardyreels

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Lots of memories of dogs that left me too, Ard, I know how it feels, especially when you've spent so much time together in remote places. I couldn't like your post although I liked it. They remain your best friend forever, don't they. He'll live on in your memories and I hope the salmon return to ease your mind.
Yeah always there.

I used to train bird pointing dogs and had quite a kennel but most were like Foster children passing through and to their permanent homes. I liked all the dogs but I've only ever had 3 of my own. I had a female red setter named Kelly who lived 16 years and we were close. After her I lived with a male Pointer, the breed is called American Field Stud Pointer not the AKC English Pointer. They are similar but the Field Stud dogs tend to be a bit more compact. His name was Try and he lived to be 14.

After the Pointer I had 30 years of being a dog daddy behind me and went 4 years without another but then came Boss. Boss lived for 13 and 1/2 years giving me 43 & 1/2 years of dogmanship. Three very painful passing's but three incredibly enriching relationships as well.

Unlike many folks I meet I've never had any children, I remained single until I was 50 and the dogs were my children and a big part of life. Each of them had an interesting personality and all three were smart but Boss may have had an edge. He just made the best company on the river. I think it was his breed, Boss was a guard dog and that is what he did his whole life. He watched over me 24/7 never allowing me out of sight. No looking for him in the bushes, no worrying that he would wander or run off, he was too serious about being a watchdog to wander off. One day I'll find another.
 

firefly

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Before lockdown I was training companion dogs for the blind, same as you I worked with dogs all my life. I guess it takes a special kind of feeling to attach to our best companions in the animal world and they sense it. My last guard dog was a Beauceron, even my late wife was afraid of him at first. Until I handed her the leash during a walk in a crowded town. She weighed about as much as him, but after telling him to look after her, he never even pulled and stayed beside her the whole time, occasionally looking back at me to get confirmation for the way he performed his task. He never let her out of his sight again until they parted, eight years later. Her own little dog did not survive her parting, he just became a shadow of himself in three months time. They say dogs can't grieve, I know better. Hope you find a new friend, Ard, dogs deserve guys like you.

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Hardyreels

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I swear that I can tell just by the look on that face what kind of personality that one had, the look is one I am accustomed to. The leash experience with your wife is also familiar, Boss learned what heel meant in 2 sessions and never slipped. He was at the side unless verbally released. The most beautiful thing about relationships like we are reminiscing here is that these dogs do not do what we want or what we command out of fear or an abundance of caution, they do it because of the respect and love they have for their human. That's how Nancy always referred to me, as Boss's human. She said that he had as much control over me as I did him and I think she had a good point on that.

What a beauty that one was, both of them actually.
 

Marc LeBlanc

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Wonderful story and pictures Ard. Best of fishing to you this season.

I too have a beautiful Bernese mountain dog/standard poodle mix. I don’t look forward to the day she leaves me. The bond between humans and dogs is quite indescribable.

Cheers!

Marc
 

The flying Scotsman

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The price you pay for the privilege of owning a dog is not buying food or picking up their sh1t or paying vet bills.
Its having to say goodbye to them in your eyes way to early. I can’t understand people who don’t own dogs.They give so much and their friendship and loyalty I can’t and won’t do without for as long as I’m able to look after one. My dogs go everywhere with me to work in the van every day and on every fishing trip. They bring me tremendous happiness and my wee Jack Russell makes me laugh everyday he’s such a character. Best friends you will ever get.
Sounds like you desperately needing that friendship again Ard. I hope you find a new friend again soon.
Zoom in on my profile pic and see if you can spot my Charlie boy licking his lips staring at the salmon. :LOL:
 

rotenone

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nice to see other dogs then shooting dogs on the forum, I hear the beauceron is a superb guard, i also perfer guardian breeds its a sad time when theh pass on for sure, my girl is 10 now old for a mastiff


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