I am currently sitting down eating breakfast at Wildman’s in Cooper Landing writing this after rushing down with the hundreds of other fishermen to fish the Russian River sockeye opener. When we first drove into the pay station I didn’t think there was going to be as many people as last year for the opener simply because there was hardly any highway traffic and one car in front of us at the pay station. When we got to Pink Salmon parking area the lot was only a quarter full. We had 25 minutes to gear up and get down to the water before the 12am start time. More cars were slowly starting to trickle in as we were getting geared up. Finally ready to go, we head down the stairs to find our own honey hole. All the good holes, of course, were chock-full of people. We stopped at the stairs of one of my favorite spots just to watch a little bit. It was lined shoulder-to-shoulder with people waiting for the start time. I could hear from across the river, “OMG! There must be a hundred in there!” We decided to walk further down river in hopes of finding a piece of vacant fishing real estate with our names on it. We come to one stairway, which is not a normal fishy spot, but since it was darkish and a lot of those fish move at night AND there was only a father and a daughter there, we decided to stop and watch and see if they catch anything at the start time. A few minutes before midnight we are greeted by a couple of ADF&G Wildlife Troopers walking down the path. They were very friendly and nice and stood next to us and counted down to the father and daughter when they could throw their lines in the water. After their first few casts, they didn’t hook anything. Shortly after that my buddy and I saw some fish roll on the other side where they were not fishing. We decided it was time to fish and slowly waded across the river to get to the holding fish. After a few casts in which we were sure we were going to hook something… nothing on our lines. The whole time we were casting all that we were hearing from upstream in the honey hole was a bunch of screaming and yelling and happy people who obviously made the right choice by sleeping on the bank a few hours prior to start time.

IMG_9212.jpg

This trip was going to be the first time one of my good friends has used a fly rod and to learn the ‘Kenai Flip.’ It was a little frustrating at first not hooking into something right away, as I had the last few years. After a bit longer finally the dad next to me hooks into a nice big sockeye directly behind me. We were fishing the one side of the river the whole time. Sockeye tend to move at night so they don’t care if the water is deep or not. With no sun out, they can’t see you. We were literally standing right where the fish were moving through. Time for some adjustments. When you looked down and paid attention you could see the fish moving through right in front of you. It was a steady stream every few minutes of school after school of fish. We backed up to the other side of the stream and turned around to where the fish were actually moving through. My buddy Eric hooked the first one. After he hooked it we realized that we had to cross back across the river to actually be able to land the fish. I was happy he hooked and landed his first sockeye on a fly rod. Shortly after he landed his I hooked into one. I started my trek to the gravel bar across the stream to land it. Success! I did my normal bleed of the fish and was putting it on my stringer when the daughter of the father hooked into a fish in front of me. The father was upstream a bit and I could tell the girl didn’t quite know what she was doing. I coached her into backing toward the gravel bar I was on and told her where to land the fish. The fish popped off her line right before I hit it over the head with a rock. It was about half a second too late for the fish, LOL. It was steady action for the next hour with all four of us in our own area away from the crowds. The next fish I hooked into took me for a ride. I made it to our landing gravel bar and right when I pulled it on the hook popped out. I instantly jumped on the fish. It wiggled out of my hands and took off under the fencing into a dead end. I set my rod down and jumped under the fence and had it trapped in a mud bank. It took me a few tries but I was able to grab the fish and right when I was about to rip its gills, it had one last trick to show me. I had my fingers almost through the dead zone and it flopped one last time and hit me in the face and then took off back under the face to the main river and flapped its way across the gravel bar and back into the river. I jumped back under the fence chasing it but when I made it to the other side I realized it was too late.

More inside

I am currently sitting down eating breakfast at Wildman’s in Cooper Landing writing this after rushing down with the hundreds of other fishermen to fish the Russian River sockeye opener.

When we first drove into the pay station I didn’t think there was going to be as many people as last year for the opener simply because there was hardly any highway traffic and one car in front of us at the pay station. When we got to Pink Salmon parking area the lot was only a quarter full. We had 25 minutes to gear up and get down to the water before the 12am start time. More cars were slowly starting to trickle in as we were getting geared up. Finally ready to go, we head down the stairs to find our own honey hole. All the good holes, of course, were chock-full of people. We stopped at the stairs of one of my favorite spots just to watch a little bit. It was lined shoulder-to-shoulder with people waiting for the start time. I could hear from across the river, “OMG! There must be a hundred in there!”

We decided to walk further down river in hopes of finding a piece of vacant fishing real estate with our names on it. We come to one stairway, which is not a normal fishy spot, but since it was darkish and a lot of those fish move at night AND there was only a father and a daughter there, we decided to stop and watch and see if they catch anything at the start time.

A few minutes before midnight we are greeted by a couple of ADF&G Wildlife Troopers walking down the path. They were very friendly and nice and stood next to us and counted down to the father and daughter when they could throw their lines in the water. After their first few casts, they didn’t hook anything. Shortly after that my buddy and I saw some fish roll on the other side where they were not fishing. We decided it was time to fish and slowly waded across the river to get to the holding fish. After a few casts in which we were sure we were going to hook something… nothing on our lines. The whole time we were casting all that we were hearing from upstream in the honey hole was a bunch of screaming and yelling and happy people who obviously made the right choice by sleeping on the bank a few hours prior to start time.

IMG_9212.jpg

This trip was going to be the first time one of my good friends has used a fly rod and to learn the ‘Kenai Flip.’ It was a little frustrating at first not hooking into something right away, as I had the last few years. After a bit longer finally the dad next to me hooks into a nice big sockeye directly behind me. We were fishing the one side of the river the whole time. Sockeye tend to move at night so they don’t care if the water is deep or not. With no sun out, they can’t see you. We were literally standing right where the fish were moving through. Time for some adjustments. When you looked down and paid attention you could see the fish moving through right in front of you. It was a steady stream every few minutes of school after school of fish. We backed up to the other side of the stream and turned around to where the fish were actually moving through. My buddy Eric hooked the first one. After he hooked it we realized that we had to cross back across the river to actually be able to land the fish. I was happy he hooked and landed his first sockeye on a fly rod. Shortly after he landed his I hooked into one. I started my trek to the gravel bar across the stream to land it. Success! I did my normal bleed of the fish and was putting it on my stringer when the daughter of the father hooked into a fish in front of me. The father was upstream a bit and I could tell the girl didn’t quite know what she was doing. I coached her into backing toward the gravel bar I was on and told her where to land the fish. The fish popped off her line right before I hit it over the head with a rock. It was about half a second too late for the fish, LOL.

It was steady action for the next hour with all four of us in our own area away from the crowds. The next fish I hooked into took me for a ride. I made it to our landing gravel bar and right when I pulled it on the hook popped out. I instantly jumped on the fish. It wiggled out of my hands and took off under the fencing into a dead end. I set my rod down and jumped under the fence and had it trapped in a mud bank. It took me a few tries but I was able to grab the fish and right when I was about to rip its gills, it had one last trick to show me. I had my fingers almost through the dead zone and it flopped one last time and hit me in the face and then took off back under the face to the main river and flapped its way across the gravel bar and back into the river.

I jumped back under the fence chasing it but when I made it to the other side I realized it was too late.

5
0
0
0
0

Recommended for you

Load comments