Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs)
3. Little Winter Stoneflies
4. Little Brown Stoneflies
5. Quill Gordons
6. Blue Quills
7. Little Black Caddis
Most available - Other types of food:
8. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fishing Tales - Remote Alaska In the Early 1980's
The following fishing tale was written and posted to this site back in 2008, but I will publish it again for two
reasons. It's a pretty big fishing tale and secondly, I'm hard pressed for time. I'm trying to add several new
products to our Perfect Fly website and it is requiring major modifications to the site..
Kvichak River, Alaska
In the early eighties, I was at the January Houston Texas Boat Show working in the booth of Spare Time
Sports, one of my Houston TV sponsors. I was there helping them sell my new saltwater fishing videos.
During the week-long show, I meet a very unique gentlemen named Joe Pike. He was there promoting
"Pikes Lodge" in Alaska. The meeting resulted in a trip to Alaska in August of that same year. My
cameraman Mitch and Red, a friend whom I could talk into doing anything, agreed to go with me.
There's no question in my mind that at least as of that time frame, the Kvichak River provided the best fly
fishing opportunities for trout of any location in the World. The fish are native rainbow trout not steelhead. At
the time, Pike's Lodge was the only fishing camp on the river from its mouth at Lake Illiamna to Bristol Bay on
the Bering Sea.
The morning of our departure from the Birmingham airport, we ate an early breakfast at Red's home in Mt.
Brook, Alabama. I couldn't quite understand why he wanted us to do that when we were going to be together
for the next several days. I soon found out. He wanted me to tell his wife the real story at the last
After breakfast, she asked me for the telephone number she could reach us at. I looked at Red and he
looked at me with a big grin on his face. My reply to her was simple. I told her she wouldn't be able to reach
us for over a week. There were no telephones, or any other way to contact us after we were dropped off by
plane on a make-shift landing strip at the camp.. Red almost needed to take one of his emergency heart pills
he was taking along on the trip before we even left his house.
From Red's home to Anchorage ,Alaska is a long way. We were not even close when we got to Anchorage.
Another smaller jet took us from Anchorage to a smaller airport where we caught the third airplane, a small,
four-seater prop, private plane. Joe used the pilot to take customers to "Blue Berry Island". I had owned two
different twin engine airplanes before that and both of them were much larger than the one he had set up to
take us on the final leg of the trip. It was way too small of a airplane for us three men, plus three other
people including the pilot, Joe and the Nurse. Of course we had all of our luggage. Our luggage included a
heavy three-tube TV camera, a large three-quarter inch recorder, tripods and other production equipment. It
seemed like it took forever for the pilot to get the plane airborne. It was grossly overloaded.
The Kvichak River drains Lake Illiamna. It flows for about fifty miles before emptying into Bristol Bay. It had
and I'm told that it still does, some huge native rainbow trout. By huge, I mean huge. It also had all five major
species of salmon (silver, chum, pink, king and red) although never all five at the same time.
Lake Illiamna is something else. We spent one day on the lake and never saw another boat. In fact, we
never saw another boat, or for that matter, another person fishing anywhere except Red on the other boat
Joe had at the camp. I saw one local native sitting under his drying salmon with a rifle in his hands, there to
guard the salmon from the huge brown bears that are common along the river. The local natives (not
Eskimos by the way) would not get out on the huge lake because they thought it had monsters in it. Lake
Illiamna is the seventh largest lake in the World, with over 1,000 square miles of water. It's over seventy
miles long and twenty miles wide.
There was not a single camp on the entire river or the lake itself, other than Joe's Pikes Lodge. It was
located downstream a few miles from the lake's outlet on an island Joe's dad named "Blueberry Island". If
you sit in one spot on the tundra and attempted to eat all the blueberries within your reach, you would not be
able to do so. His father had built the camp bringing in lumber up from the Bering Sea into Bristol Bay and
up the river by boat. There aren't any trees. It's wide open tundra. The cabin lights were powered by a small
gasoline generator, and our hot water was heated outside in a huge wooden tub by a fire. Joe and
another young man were the guides. His girl friend was the nurse, and a real nurse, by the way. Everyone
was glad she was there. Another gentlemen was at the camp to cook for everyone. He cooked just about all
day long every day. All we did was fish and eat. After all, there wasn't anything else to do.
There were not any locks on the door of the cabin - not even during the winter. There wasn't anyone around
to steal anything.In spite of what might happen to us, it would be a full week before the plane would
return to pick us up. There wasn't any way to call anyone, or any other way to get in touch with anyone. It
would have taken weeks and most likely been impossible to walk back to civilization. It would require walking
over a very high mountain range that not even the small airplane was capable of toping. Getting there
required flying along the rivers through the valleys that wound through the mountains Just about any time
you wanted to gaze out the window of the airplane, you could spot a bear, and usually several of them.
They were on the rivers, very visible, after the salmon. We only got out of the boat at the camp. There was
one exception to it, and I will tell you about that next week.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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