North to Alaska

• By Jason Hansen • Miscellaneous

"Don't get eaten by a bear."

Thanks for the advice, I'm not sure I would have known not to get eaten if I hadn't read that. That's the kind of blatantly obvious advice you get that makes you shake your head. Advice similar to: "Don't burn yourself!" when you're putting a piece of wood on the fire.

But it's that sound advice that rings in my head as I prepare for a two week adventure to the United State's largest state. As I've perused web sites for Alaskan fishing adventures featuring galleries upon galleries of fish porn, I've also come across plenty of galleries of bears. Brown bears, black bears, grizzly bears, big bears, bear cubs, and bear farms. While my anticipation for the trip is ready to bubble over, the constant threat of becoming dessert after a salmon main course keeps me somewhat subdued.

The past several weeks have been filled with tying flies: Glo-Bugs, Glue-Eggs, Egg Sucking Leeches, Flesh Flies, and Alaskabous. I have never visited Alaska nor have I fished for salmon (or the egg-feeding trout and Dolly Varden they attract), so the entire experience will be new. I've based all of my preparation on various books I've picked up, guide recommendations, forums, and other Internet resources.

To start the trip I will be visiting the Lake Clark National Forest, staying at a lodge in Port Alsworth. Afterwards I'll fly back to Anchorage and spend the following week and a half on the Kenai Peninsula. I'm tentatively planning to spend a day or two on the Kenai Canoe Trails, followed by a couple days in the Upper Russian River area fishing for sockeyes and trout, then finish up the first week with a guided float trip down the Upper Kenai River for world-class rainbow trout fishing. The second week is still unplanned but hopes to include a deep-sea charter or two to fish for halibut and salmon.

Finally, months of research, planning, and fly tying will get put to the test in just over 24 hours. If things go according to the master plan in my head, I'll have plenty of trophy trout, char, grayling, and salmon photos to share on my return as wells as a few stories regarding close encounters and spectacular sightings.

And let's hope I don't get eaten by a bear.

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Comments

zstroud

My advice is to not get skunked while you are up there. I would hate to see you cry.

zstroud

I just noticed that you did not debarb your hooks while you were tying the flies. Are you planing on fishing barbless in AK?

cwtob

I'm taking needlenose, so I'll debarb them as needed. If we plan on keeping some of the salmon we catch in the rivers, I'll probably leave the barbs on.

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