Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs
2. Little Brown Stoneflies
3. Quill Gordons
4. Blue Quills
5. Little Black Caddis
6. Hendricksons/Red Quills
7. Little Short-horned Sedges
8. American March Browns
Most available - Other types of food:
9. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fishing Tales - Final Kvichak River Alaska Tale
You're probably getting tired of hearing about my 1983 Alaska fishing trip, so I will end it with this last tale.
Because it was the only lodge (shack would be a better description) on this famous river back then and
because there was no form of communications that could put us in touch with anyone, It was an
unforgettable trip that I will always cherish. I almost forgot to mention the hundreds of large native rainbows,
grayling and salmon we caught. What was there then and what is there now is different in many ways, but
probably a lot similar in many other ways. According to Joe Pike, owner of the lodge, anywhere we stepped
out of the boat on the banks of that river not far below the lake and all the way to the Bristol Bay, you would
most likely be the first person to ever set foot on the ground at that particular spot. I didn't exactly take
advantage of that adventurous idea. Except for his camp, I only got out one time on a short caribou hunt.
When I smelled a bad odor and spotted a large pile of you know what in the trail, I headed straight back to
the boat. It wasn't very safe considering all the huge brown bears lined up and down the river chasing
They had a neat way of knowing when the plane arrived to take you back to the little airport from the camp.
After a week or ten days (depending on the trip) went by, the plane would show up (hopefully) and buzz the
little shack flying just over the roof top before landing on the makeshift strip on Blueberry Island. You
couldn't call anyone. You just relied on the pilot to be there at a certain time from the time he drops you off. I
told him before he left, to be sure and tell his wife that he dropped us off. He asked why and I replied "in
case you fall over dead". He laughed at that. I'm not sure he had ever considered it.
The day we left was probably the scariest thing that happened to us. Joe decided that he would go with us to
the little town at the first airport to get some supplies. This would be a smaller plane than we came in
because the pilot didn't expect but the three of us, Mitch,Red and I. Joe would make five of us in a four
seater airplane. He explained to me that the plane was really a 6 seater, but that two seats had been taken
out for space for extra luggage and things needed at the camp. I was familiar with that because my own
Beechcraft Travelair was a 6 passenger and I had the two rear seats removed in order to carry extra gear.
The only difference was it was a twin engine airplane with much more power. With six seats, there's not room
for much of anything but people. Joe only weighted about 250 pounds.
When the plane buzzed the house a couple of hours late, my heart started beating again and we all walked
to the strip and loaded the plane. When the pilot go in, the tail of the plane fell to the ground. The nose went
up in the air. We all climbed back out and they repacked the huge amount of luggage, TV equipment, etc,
and we boarded the plane again. The same thing happened. The tail of the plane fell before the pilot could
get the engine running. It took redistributing the weight one more time.
My cameraman Mitch, an X luggage loader for Delta Airlines, asked how much gross weight the FAA allowed
for the plane. The pilot replied "all we can get on it". Mitch looked at me and the color faded from his face.
They finally figured it out. The young guide and the nurse who were staying at the camp held the plane's tail
up while we all boarded the plane and the pilot got the engine running. When we took off the bumpy strip
that was covered in wild blueberries, they ran as far and as fast as they could, holding the tail up just
enough that it didn't drag enough to damage it. It seemed like it would never get off the ground bouncing
around over the rough ground. When we left Blueberry Island, the plane may have been five feet above the
water. Thank goodness the tundra is relatively flat in that area. It took the plane a few miles to gain any
altitude.In a few minutes, we were headed up the river with maybe, 500 feet of altitude. The plane was
They fly the rivers and stay in the valleys. The mountain ranges are higher than you are permitted to fly
without oxygen and higher than that plane would have flown with the weight we had on it. Joe was a big guy.
He reminded me of the bears. He had a thick, long beard and was a very big, heavy person. He looked a
little like a brown bear, except they were larger than him.
I was watching the river, looking at the bears that were common along the banks of the river feeding on the
salmon when I turned my head and noticed Mitch sitting crammed up tight against me. He had the heavy
three-quarter inch, video recorder tight against the back of his head with the strap around his neck holding it
on top of the luggage behind us. It was the only way he could get it in the plane and keep in on top of the
rack behind our heads. He said "James, if we crash this recorder is going to cut my head off". Looking back
down at three bears in sight along the river, I pointed at them and replied "You better hope it cuts your head
off". "That's a a lot better than surviving only to be eaten by a bear". Neither one of us laughed. It really
wasn't funny at the time.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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