12/15/08

Destinations:

Since we are getting close to the holidays (less than two weeks) most of you will probably be
staying home or visiting friends and family during the coming days. I doubt that many of you will
be traveling to and fishing the Smokies although I hope you do.  January and the first part of
February is probably the coldest time of the year and you will have to pick out the better days to
expect much success fishing the freestone streams. By the end of February, everyone will be
doing their best to force the bugs to hatch and the trout to respond even though they will probably
have to wait a few more days to see any surface action. That considered, I thought I would write
about some fishing trips we have made to various other destinations. Don't expect these articles
to be well written and edited. I am not trying to win any awards, just tell you about some things I
hope you will find interesting and some that I look back on with a gleam in my eye.

Kvichak River, Alaska - Part 4

One day when we went home for brunch, the young guide came in and said that he
had spotted caribou moving across the tundra down the river. Joe grabbed a
couple of rifles and off we went caribou hunting instead of trout fishing. That was
the plain all along but you just don't go and find a caribou. You catch them when
they are moving through an area or at least that is what I understood. I am not a
caribou hunter.

We went downstream a few miles. It is easy to do that with a small outboard engine
because the current is headed that way quite fast. The boat will fly downstream but
has a tough time going upstream. We got out of the two boats where there was an
obvious trail. Now there is one thing for certain. This trail was not made by humans
and it was well beaten down. It is easy to see in the otherwise tundra. To describe
the tundra to those who haven't see it, I will put it this way. If anyone climbed on top
of Joe's camp house and jumped off, it would not hurt them when I hit the ground.
They would just bounce. It is like a cushion that covers the earth.

Down the trail we went a few yards being quite when I saw something I will describe
as being about a foot or two high that smelled with an order I will never forget. It was
awful. The worst smell I have ever come across. Obviously there was only one
animal that could make a pile of you know what that big and it was not a caribou.
Obviously, since steam was coming off of the pile, it had not been there very long.I
turned around and went back to the boat. The young guide and Red went on down
the trail looking for caribou. I figured if a brown bear got me, it was going to have to
swim to do it. That ended my hunting trip.

One of the best parts of the trip was the food. Every meal was great. The chief was
a real chief from Chicago I believe. He took a lot of pride in his meals. He enjoyed
going there each year for a break from his regular job. The fishing season is a very
short one there. I don't think the snow melts until early June or there about and it
starts to snow again in September if I remember correctly. The plane could not land
on the island in snow so snow will put an end the fishing season.

Continued Tomorrow

Copyright 2008 James Marsh