Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs)
3. Little Brown Stoneflies
4. Quill Gordons
5. Blue Quills
6. Little Black Caddis
7. Hendricksons/Red Quills
Most available - Other types of food:
8. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fishing Tales - Kvichak River, Alaska - Part 2
The part of Alaska we fished was just off the Bering Sea which Joe, the owner of Pike's Lodge, called the
"weather boiling pot of the Western hemisphere". By that he meant all of the weather fronts that cross the
United States are born there. You only get a very short notice that the weather is going to change. Actually,
back in 1983, we didn't get any notice. You just found yourself dealing with whatever occurred.
For example, on a trip we made to fish the entrance to the Iliamna lake, it was clear and the wind was
blowing its normal high speed. When we got to the lake, I started catching a different kind of salmon. The
Chum Salmon was a new species for me at the time. I felt more at home on the lake than the river. I lived in
Florida where I fished the Gulf almost every day and except for the size of the boat, fishing the huge lake
reminded me of fishing the Gulf. The little aluminum boat was rocking and rolling and probably would have
capsized if we didn't have some protection from the wind near its entrance.
All of a sudden the wind completely died. It was just like someone turned off a large fan. About the same
time, we noticed a huge, solid black cloud on the horizon. Streaks of lightning were constantly flashing. The
front hit us in a matter of about ten minutes and hail began beating down on our heads. Large, quarter size
pellets of hail covered the bottom of the little aluminum boat about 2 inches thick in a matter of just a few
minutes. I thought we were going to die from hypothermia with the boat sinking full of ice and us floating
around in our life jackets in very cold water in the huge lake far from a bank. All of a sudden the hail stopped
falling and we found ourselves shaking from being very cold. The air temperature probably dropped forty
degrees. The wind picked back up and that made it even colder. Joe said that was the very beginning of a
cold front that would eventually cross Canada and the lower 48.
Even though it was during the month of August, each night the temperature went well below freezing even
though it usually got up to a high of about fifty degrees. The wind always blew hard. Joe had said over and
over, "don't bitch about the wind James, because you don't want it to stop blowing". Well, the next day it did
just that. The wind stopped blowing. I first thought a strange cloud had appeared from nowhere, but I quickly
realized it was a cloud of mosquitoes. You couldn't see ten feet ahead. It was much like very thick fog
It actually scarred me for the first few minutes. I expected to get eaten alive but unlike the mosquitoes at
home, the critters didn't bite. They would get inches from your face and eyes, but they didn't bite. When the
wind dies down, they come out of the tundra in numbers almost as high as the national debt. In just a few
minutes the wind picked back up from an entirely different direction and the mosquitoes disappeared.
The Arctic Grayling fishing was incredible. We fished in different water than we fished for the rainbows.
Basically, they held up in deeper water. The fish were big and beautiful. You would either catch one, or miss
one, on every cast. After a few hours of that, we would get enough Grayling action and head back to the
rainbows, which were in the shallow riffles below the spawning Silver Salmon. .
Joe said there were some fishing and hunting camps located about seventy-five miles from there on one of
the rivers that fed the lake's uppermost end. There are several camps on the Kvichak River now, but other
than Joe's, none existing on the river below the lake at that time. I mention that because Joe was always
complaining about the fact that they allowed their customers to keep rainbows to eat. He talked about it as if
it was a legal form of murder. He didn't allow anyone to keep or kill a rainbow trout. He had this ten minute
long speech that he would make about every other day regarding keeping or killing a rainbow trout. He was
right, of course, but in the early 1980's that wasn't the popular line of thinking, especially in Alaska. The trout
were not steelhead. They were just huge size, wild rainbow trout.
My cameraman, Mitch, caught the biggest rainbow caught on the trip. He didn't get to fish from the boat. He
always had to run the camera. During our brunch break one morning, he went down to the dock where the
boats were tied up and proceeded to catch a rainbow well over ten pounds. It may have been larger than
that. Joe and I ran from the camp house down to the dock (the dock was about 6 feet long) and Joe made
him put it back immediately. He wanted to hold it longer but Joe said "put it back now, Mitch". "That's a hen
and we can't take any chances on hurting it" I was proud of Mitch for catching it and for that matter, for Joe
making him quickly release it
Mitch was a lot like my friend Red, who was along on the trip with us. When I called Red to ask him about
going with me on any of my fishing trips, he would always give the same reply. He was say "I have a problem
James", pause, and then say, "I can go". We both would laugh.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
New Schedule of Daily
Mondays: Weather and Stream
Conditions Forecast - Coming Week
Tuesdays: Fly Fishing Strategies -
Which Flies To Use - Coming Week
Wednesday: Fishing Tales
Thursday: Smoky Mountains Fishing
Friday: Getting Started
Saturday: Fly Fishing School
Sunday: This Week's Featured Trout
More Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us with the dates you will be
fishing the park and we will send
you a list of our fly suggestions.
Please allow up to 24 hours for a
2. Call us at 800-594-4726 and we
will help you decide which flies you
3. Call or email us with a budget for
flies and we will select them and get
them to you in time for your trip.
Shipping is free in the U. S. for all
orders of any size. Orders over $50
are shipped free via Priority Mail.