Trolling on Lake Michigan
Gotta love fishing.
6/18/99 Bubba (Michigan)

Met son #1 at the marina at 7:30am. He had the boat uncovered and the engines running by the time I had the tackle boxes and poles unloaded from the truck. We were underway at 8:45 under bright blue skies, temps in the upper 50's and a bay that looked like a mill pond. I had checked the Fish Michigan Web Site last night and they told me the fish could be found in 100-200 feet of water, anywhere from 50-80 feet down.

Headed the boat to a steep bank about 4 miles from the marina. The water there drops from about 25' down to almost 200' on about a 60 degree angle. As Andy was driving, I was rigging the four poles with chrome willow leaf attracters followed by a lime green spin-n-glow, chrome and green Colorado spinner blades with a lime green peanut, a Lehur-Jenson 6 pack attracter set followed by a chrome Loco, and finally a lone Silver Streak spoon in Monkey Puke.

I set the first pole at 85' and stacked the second over it 15' higher. The other downrigger was set at 72' with the stacker also set 15' higher. Because of the clarity of the water, I had to run all baits about 20' behind the cannon ball. We started marking fish almost immediately. They were suspended anywhere from 65' down to 120'.

About 40 minutes after we left the dock we got our first release on the bait down 72'. It felt like a nice laker and was fighting hard to stay deep. During the fight it got tangled in the stacked poles lines and just about at the surface broke free and was gone. Reset the downrigger with the same baits, same depth, and kept our course. About 15 minutes later the 85' deep pole breaks loose from the downrigger and Andy sets the hook. A 10 minute battle lands a nice 10.5lb laker. Only as it is on the surface next to the boat do I realize the landing net is sitting home in the garage.

Can't tail these slimy fish, so I gill it and dump it into the cooler. As I'm resetting the downrigger another pole gets hit and after a short fight I land a nice 6 pounder. We fish for about another hour and didn't get anymore action. Decided to call it a morning and turn the boat around and point it toward the marina. As we are about to start pulling the lines, one starts to bounce a few times but does not release. I tell Andy to pop the line and sure enough he lands a little 4 pounder.

Not bad, 4 releases, 3 fish, little over 20lbs of fresh lake trout for the smoker. I think the season is going to be good this year. Lots of forage fish available, and a darn good start for the season. Hope some of you dufes can make it up here this summer to share some of this.

First One (Walleye) of the Year
Walleye of the Year
First One (Walleye) of the Year - 5/25/99
TeeDub (Alberta, Canada)

Had a great day. Brisk SE wind but the temperature was about 86 F. The surface temperature of the water was only 50 degrees. Still pretty cold for this time of year.

We went to Lac La Nonne, about 40 miles NW of Edmonton. This is an excellent Walleye fishery with a lot of structure, but one that Fish & Wildlife have classified as endangered and for the past couple of years, have set a zero limit for Walleye. There are plenty here, but they can be difficult to find. Most are between 17 and 24 inches in the 2 to 4 lb. range with an occasional 5 & 6 pounder. For some reason, there are very few small Walleye. I've caught a ton of them in this lake, and probably only a half dozen smaller than 15". Hopefully the zero limit will allow more fish to spawn, thereby ensuring some good fishing in a beautiful little lake for years to come.

We didn't get away from the house till after 1:00 pm and had our lines in the water at 2:45. With the wind blowing from the SE, it meant it was coming right across a large sandy point that we affectionately call "pickeral point". This is where Marg and I chose to start. Dropped anchor right on the top of the point in about 14' and let the boat drift back to about 18, right on the edge of the drop. This same spot, under similar conditions, is where Marg outfished me 10 to zip one day a couple of years ago. That was not to be the case today.

Marg selected a chartreuse 1/4 oz. jig with bright red eyes and opted to have her good hubby tip it with a jumbo leech. I tied on a glow/green jig of the same size and figured I'd use a crawler. Rather than vertically jig, we'd cast our jig downwind into about 25 ft, and bounce it up the slope. First cast I picked up a small Northern. A couple of casts later and I had my first Walleye. I dedicated this one to Frank Bosemeyer, a young Alberta fisherman who was recently killed in a car accident, and sent it on it's way. This was barely after 3:00 pm and I had my second one by 3:15.

Marg switched to worms as well, and managed to pick up a couple of small Pike but no Walleye, heh heh! I love it! Actually the bite seemed to slow considerably. We tried different size/colour combinations, with and without bodies and by 4:30 we decided to change locations. We picked up a few more or those little slew sharks, tried bottom bouncers and spiner rigs for awhile and decided to pack it in at about 6:00. Had a great day! The Walleye could have been a little more friendly, but I'm not complaining... I loved every minute of it!

California Delta Striper
California Delta Striper - 9/28/98
Helen (California)

The weather was sunny and hot for all, but the last two days of the trip. I was concerned, because that kind of weather is usually best for catfishing, but not much else. Added to that, the lock to the main river channel had been closed for weeks to cope with El Nino's attempts to shove more salt water into the Delta. Normally at this time of year, the lock is open and the stripers course into the upper Delta through it. On top of that, the invasion of the mitten crabs appeared to be pervasive throughout the Delta. I snagged three really large ones on the very first day of fishing. The locals told us that they were all over the place and competing with the indigenous fish for their food sources. They are prolific reproducers and aren't even edible.

Sis and the bro-in-law joined us on the first day. They trolled for stripers without any success. I tried baitfishing off the houseboat, but only caught those damned crabs, baby stripers, some small catfish, and a smelt. We consoled ourselves with a great BBQ and cooling margaritas.

The next day, Sis and bro-in-law left for home, trolling much of the way. I went out with my friends on their ski-boat and we trolled a few channels without any luck. I opened my trolling tackle box and saw the lure that the bro-in-law found at a store that touted it as a striper-killer and bought for me. I showed it to my buddy and he agreed it was a funny looking thing, but suggested I try it. We had just arrived at Snodgrass Slough just around the corner from where our houseboat was anchored. I tied on the lure and set it out. Within 5 minutes, the pole arced down and the line zinged off the reel. I shouted to Carole who was driving the boat to stop. I thought I hit a snag. There are a lot of them in that slough.

She stopped the boat and Dave said, "Oh yeah, well your snag just flipped his tail up over there and you are going to really have to work this one. I've only got 10 lb test on that pole . Don't try to muscle him in or you'll lose him. He's big." Then I felt the yanks. I reeled in cautiously, keeping even tension on the line. He zipped from one side to the other. Sometimes the water boiled at the surface and the tail flipped up again. Then the drag screamed again and he pulled off straight away from the boat. Dave assured me there was plenty of line on the reel and just to let him run for a bit. He ran. I reeled him back. This went on for what seemed like a long time, but Dave and Carole assured me later that it only lasted a few minutes.

Finally, I had him right next to the boat when he did that final head-jerk that stripers have done to me before that caused lines to snap, but I was ready this time. I dropped the tip of the rod at the same time, giving him just enough slack to prevent a break. I HAD HIM! He rolled over on his side and Dave said, "Sh!t! The net isn't big enough. Where's the gaff?" Dave scrambled and found the gaff, looped it under the gill and pulled him on board.

We all agreed that it appeared to be a 30 pounder. We took it to a local marina and had it weighed. It came in at 21 lbs. I guess it got dehydrated along the way. Anyway, it took me a long time to clean that bugger. We had grilled striper for dinner that night and it was delicious. We also have a lot of striper left in the freezer right now.

The next day, Dave used my lure when he went out trolling. No one else was getting any bites. Dave got a 15 pounder in the same area I caught mine. We got a 10 pounder and a 7 pounder on successive days with the same lure in the same area. When we stopped at the marina for some ice and people heard about our success, they followed us to the boat to check out the lure. They said that they thought the striper bite was dead in the area because everyone else who came in reported getting no bites at all. We let them see the lure, but we got rather vague about where we were catching them. One can only help these fellow fisherpeople so much.

When I called Sis and told her about our results, she yelled over at her hubby, "Didn't I tell you to use the lure like the one you got Helen, huh? No, you wouldn't listen. Well, guess what they got." The poor bro-in-law is going to hear about this for a long time. I wonder when he is going to learn to listen to Sis.

Sojourn at the Little House on the Prairie
Enter at your own risk
Sojourn at the Little House on the Prairie
TeeDub (Alberta, Canada)

OK, so I'm NOT the world's best fisherman. I may well however, be the most gullible. Let me explain!

As mentioned in a previous post, some friends graciously offered the use of their "little house on the prairie" as my wife likes to call it. The "house" is a little bungalow of early 40's vintage, located in the old dying farming community of Riverhurst, Saskatchewan. Our friends bought it a few years ago to use as a summer retreat and we've since used it ourselves on a couple of occasions. Neat little place in a neat little town that was located on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River valley, when it was.... in this location at least, still a river. The building of the Gardner Dam in the 50's has turned the river into what is now Diefenbaker Lake. Diefenbaker is a gorgeous lake that is maybe three miles across at it's widest point and stretches for over a hundred miles, with Riverhurst located at about mid-point on the East shore. An East/West highway runs through the town, but comes to an abrupt end at the lakeshore. A free ferry, operated by the government, takes the place of a long lost bridge that crossed the river at that point. Why am I telling you all this you ask? Because my friends.. the fishing was the pits and I have to have something to talk about, so bear with me.

Once we decided upon Diefenbaker as our last fishing trip of the year, I made a call to an acquaintance in Riverhurst to inquire as to the latest fishing reports. Now I admit that this acquaintance is not a close friend, but he does operate the only gas station/grocery store/tackle & bait shop in Riverhurst. Who better to ask for a fishing report.... I ask myself? Business must have been slow for him, as he seemed genuinely pleased to receive my call. This should have been my first clue! He reported that the fishing had really been picking up lately and although he was almost out of night crawlers, he'd save some for me. "Come on down Terry." he says. "I'll keep the store open for you in case you're late getting in on Tuesday."

OK it's settled, we're leaving Tuesday morning! Fishing at this time of the year you have to understand, in this neck of the woods, can be bone-rattling cold. My good wife, as in keeping with her gender, started packing three days in advance, while I in keeping with mine, started at about 10:00 PM Monday. Every fool knows that dressing in layers is the secret to staying warm, so into my little travel bag, the one with Molson Canadian on the side, goes a pair of long johns, four pairs of heavy woolen socks, a couple changes of shorts, couple pairs of jeans, three or four T-shirts, the same number of heavy long sleeved shirts and a dozen handkerchiefs. (My nose runs in cold weather, so what?) Heavy boots, Mustang Survival suit, six ball caps (one of them has to be "the lucky one") and an extra jacket thrown in the boat along with my tackle and I'm ready.

Tuesday morning about 10:00 AM and we're on the road. Uneventful drive to Saskatchewan and we arrived at the Riverhurst Ferry on the West shore at 6:20 PM just as it was arriving and the attendant waved us right on. I recognized the attendant as one of the guys who fished the Walleye tournament here last spring so I asked him how the fishing was. "Slow" he says! "Real slow. Walleye must be down real deep, cause nobody's been catching anything. Few Rainbows coming in, but no Walleye. Good luck!"

I just gave him that cute little grin of mine and thought to myself, "yeah sure, typical tournament fisherman. He can't fool me. They're probably biting like hell." 6:45 and we're at the bait shop. Sure enough, it's still open. In the fridge is three tubs of 30 Night Crawlers each so I bought them all. That'd be about 90 worms added to the three or four dozen that I brought with me. If they're biting as good as I suspect, we could be short a dozen or so. We've had a long drive and were anxious to get to "the little house" so we didn't spend much time chatting with the proprietor. Just long enough to confirm what he had told me on the phone. Man, I'm pumped now!

Part 2 "The Little House on the Prairie"

7:00 PM and we arrive at "The Little House on the Prairie". The key to the house was safely tucked into an envelope as given to Marg, along with a ten-point instruction sheet on "winterizing" the house before we leave, as well as a few things to do to make it livable now. Helpful little reminders like # 1. " On arrival, turn on water at main tap in furnace room". Or #6. "On leaving, open water drain-cocks in crawl-space in downstairs bedroom. Do this AFTER opening all faucets in the house. Shut off the water at the main tap in furnace room BEFORE opening drain-cocks. Also put a large bucket under drain-cocks BEFORE opening drain-cocks. Or # 9. "Flush toilets AFTER shutting water off and opening drain-cocks. Pour antifreeze into water that remains in the bowl." Simple enough! Even I should be able to follow these simple little steps.

Down to the basement where I shut the drain-cocks and into the furnace room where I locate what appears to be the main water valve. I open the tap and nothing happens, no water running anywhere. Great! I did three complete circles of the house and searched everywhere to no avail for anything else that remotely resembled a main tap. Being a relatively swift individual, I concluded that the town must have shut the water off. This was confirmed by the neighbour Lady, who offered the use of her phone to call Wayne, the town worker who looks after such things. Good old Wayne confirms that the water had been shut off, but informs me that he injured his back yesterday. Maybe I can phone old Alfred who is the town councilor, he tells me. If old Alfred is not in bed, maybe he'll come out and turn the water on.

Well, I reached old Alfred on the phone and he seemed quite eager to help us out. Said he'd have to go over to Wayne's house to pick up the tools, but he'd be there in about ten minutes. Good I think, that'll give me time for my first beer of the day and with any luck I'll be able to hold off for another 15 minutes or so on my first bowel movement.

Old Alfred finally shows up in his truck at about 8:00, climbs out of the cab with much effort and promptly informs me that the reason the water was turned off was because the owners haven't paid the water bill since last spring. He says he has strict instructions from Jo-Anne, the Town Clerk, not to turn the water on until I give them 250 bucks! Between Marg and I, we have $102.38 in cash, no cheque book and he won't take Visa or Mastercard. As nice as the old boy was, he wasn't going to budge on this. Says Jo-Anne calls the shots and she said no way. He did offer though, to drive me to the local Hotel where I just might be able to convince the bar maid to give me an advance on their Interac machine. By this time I'm not sure what I need worse, a good crap, or the cash in hand. Off we go and Alfred and I go into the hotel where I make a bee-line to the washroom. Half the battle is won! Alfred, the bar maid and three or four locals were sitting around a table when I emerged from the crapper, so I pulled up a chair, bought a round of beer and told them my sad story and the fact that I had to draw a couple of hundred bucks on my Visa card to have the water turned on. "No problem" says the bar maid. Wouldn't you just know it, the bloody long distance lines were down and the Interac machine couldn't make the call. For some reason, the locals were finding this all to be somewhat amusing. Farmers do tend to have a strange sense of humour! Old Alfred though, he was sympathetic and finally agreed to give me Jo-Anne's phone number. This really brought a grin to the faces of the local boys. This Jo-Anne must be a winner, I thought. Sorry folks, I'm well beyond the point of making a long story short, but I did convince darling Jo-Anne that I would drop around to her office first thing in the morning and pay the bill, so long as the phone lines were back up.

Off we go, back to the house and locate the main valve in the driveway. Alfred the dear old boy, hauls out these three long steel tool thingys out of his truck, figures out with only a little prodding from me, which one unscrews the lock nut on top of the valve and without too much effort, manages to remove it. Now we've got two wrenches left and they both have strange little notches on the end. Alfred studies these two wrenches for what seems like ages, gets down on his hands and knees, whips out his lighter and tries to peer down the little hole to see what it is he has to turn. Again with a little prodding I convinced him to just try one of them and if it seems to grab on to something, then it's got to be the right one. Poor old Alfred was in over his head here but there was no way he was going to admit it. Nor was there any way that he was going to let me get my hands on the wrench. Guess he was afraid Jo-Anne wouldn't approve of it. The first wrench just turned and turned and he had me run down to the basement twice to see if the water was on yet, which of course it wasn't. Finally he picked up the last wrench, stuck it down the hole and there was no way that he could turn it. I begged him to let me have a crack at it and he finally gave in, but made me swear that I wouldn't turn it too hard. The last thing we want he says, is to have a broken water main. Let me tell you folks, at this point in time I would have loved to have seen that. Would have served the whole damn works of them right! I took the wrench stuck it down the hole and wiggled it till I was sure that it had a good grip then grabbed the crossbars and threw my weight into it. It turned about a half a revolution and Marg immediately hollered out the door that the water was flowing. I thanked old Alfred for his troubles, bid him good night and promptly tied into a good stiff drink of Rye! After about three more of the same, I was finally beginning to see the humour in the situation. Marg and I had a good laugh over the embarrassment our friends would have when they found out that their water bill hadn't been paid. By this time Marg had unpacked the Jeep and the boat. We hit the pit in relatively good spirits with visions of a great day of fishing ahead of us.

Part 3 Day 1 fishing

05:30 and I'm wide awake, been tossing and turning for the past half hour. I wanna go fishing! Dragged my sorry butt out of bed, put the coffee pot on and hit the shower. It's still dark and there's frost on the Jeep, so I decide to let the good wife sleep a little longer while I tie a few fresh spinner rigs. I called Marg at about 7:00, we made breakfast, threw a few snacks, some cokes and a couple of beer (in case of emergency) in a small cooler and headed off to pay the water bill. The Hotel bar was of course closed, so I had to go over the preceding nights events with the gal in the restaurant and she, bless her little heart, agreed to give me a cash withdrawl on the Visa card. This time the Interac lines were up and I got my money. Now it's over to see the lovely Jo-Anne and pay the bill. It's now shortly after 9:00 and of course, there's no one at the Town Office. Sorry 'bout that Jo-Anne baby, I'm going fishing!

It's about a five minute drive to Rusty's Marina where we've always launched the boat in the past. This time, Rusty's is closed for the season. Docks are all pulled into the middle of the coulee where, I suppose, the winter ice will not damage them. No problem though, as the launch itself is clear and I can see a path among the docks out to the main lake. It's still pretty cool, so we put on our Mustang suits and big boots over the three or four layers of clothes that we already had on. Wish I'd have thought to turn the radio on this morning to get the forecast! Finally we're on the water and it has the makings of a fine day. Just enough breeze to put that "Walleye chop" on the lake. I have a killer plan all set out in my mind. We're going to head up the lake a mile or so beyond the town and try our luck off the points by the pumping station, pick up a few there (it's always a hot spot), then cruise on up the lake about 10 miles where I have a number of places plotted on the GPS from previous trips.

I pull the boat into the coulee by the pumping station and it's time to bait up. I've been waiting for this moment for a long time it seems. Just because I'm a nice guy, I let Marg have first choice of the spinner rigs and she selected one with a pink float, blue and glow beads and a #5 hammered silver Colorado blade. Damn, I thought to myself, just the one I had my eye on and even though I've got a couple more exactly like it, it doesn't make much sense to start out with both the same colour. I opted for an orange float, red and chartreuse beads and a #5 chartreuse/green blade. Although Marg is pretty handy with a fishing rod and has an excellent touch with both jigs and bottom bouncers, she still hasn't gotten over her squeamishness with night crawlers, leaches, maggots or all the other little goodies that we have occasion to use. That being said, you know whose job it is to bait the spinner rigs! Picked out a couple of big juicy crawlers, hooked them up on the dual hook rigs, pumped a little air in them to keep them just up off the bottom and to make them look all the more appetizing and we're ready. Right after I check for fish on the sonar that is! We cruised around the rocky points with the big motor at about the 15 to 20 foot level, where I expected to see Walleye hanging off the bottom and we couldn't find a fish. Nothing on the sonar at all, so we moved on out to the 30 ft. range where we started to see a few small marks on the sonar which appeared to be Perch. Hmmm! Strange! There's always Walleye here!

We decided to give it a shot anyway and see what if anything, we could pick up. I lowered the trolling motor and we worked every point and every other likely spot in the area, at depths up to about 40 ft without so much as a bite. Oh well, it's only about 11:00 now and we've still got the whole day in front of us and I've got lots of other places to check out. The sun has come out now and the chill is off the air. Gonna be a great day! Trolling motor up and we haul ass up the lake about 7 or 8 miles to a spot that I was saving for later in the day. I ALWAYS catch fish here! There is a small, rocky point that juts out into the main lake with a bay on either side. Depending on which way the wind has been blowing, the Walleye tend to hang off the lee side of the point where the bait fish accumulate. We usually begin our troll about 50 yards above the point in about 15 ft. and troll across the point with the wind, making a sharp cut as we come across. They normally hit, just as we make our cut. Not a lot of wind today, but it had been blowing pretty good for the past few days out of the north west. We made 3 or 4 passes as described and nothing, Nada, ZIPPO! Again, there is nothing showing on the sonar, but that doesn't surprise me here, as we're fishing pretty shallow, the cone is narrow and the Walleye will often just move on out from under the boat.

Another feature of this location, is that with the exception of the point, the bottom is basically featureless. A couple of transition areas that change from sand to rock but the bottom just gradually slopes on out to about 75 ft which would be maybe 100 yards from shore. It's about there where it meets the old river channel and drops right off to well over 100 ft. I suspect that that in itself, is what makes this such a prime spot. The Walleye have ready access to deep water where they will often suspend when they're not feeding, yet can come right on into the shallows with ease when they're hungry. When the fish aren't off the point, I've often caught them on the flats here in up to 30 ft. of water. That was our next attempt! We started making passes out in front of the point at about 20 ft. and continued to go deeper by about 5 ft. at every pass. I don't think we even bothered to change spinner rigs yet. The two colour combinations that we had chosen are as good as anything to at least find them. As we got out to about 50 ft. we started to see some nice arches just of the bottom on the sonar. Looks like Walleye to me!

The problem is, at this depth it's not only hard to feel the bottom, but if you do catch one of those toothy devils this deep their swim bladder extends on the way up, sometimes right out of their mouth and the chances of successfully releasing them are very slim. Not a real problem here in Saskatchewan as there is no minimum size limit and you are allowed to keep one over 22 inches. There is a technique called "fizzing" that many Walleye fishermen use that involves submersing the fish in water and injecting a hypodermic needle just to the side and ahead of the anal port. When the bubbles quit coming out of the needle, the bladder has deflated. Often after fizzing it you can put the fish in the livewell and it will recover. A lot of controversy surrounds this as there is some doubt as to whether they survive for any length of time. Even though we have a lot of fish to go before we exceed out limit, I did ponder this briefly before we made another pass five feet deeper. Hey, I'm desperate at this point. Hot too! By this time we've shed most of our outer clothes and the temperature must be close to 20 degrees Celsius. (68 F ?) Hard to believe for this country in late October.

Back to the fishing, how did I manage to stray so badly? I threw on an additional ounce of weight on the bottom bouncers, bringing the total to 3 oz. so that we had a better feel for the bottom and the next pass I catch about a 2 lb. Sauger which is a close, but smaller cousin to the Walleye. Every bit as good eating though, so into the livewell it goes. Funny thing is, it's swim bladder is not extended and it's as lively as can be. Do they not have the same bladder arrangement as a Walleye? Is this a research project for Cliffy? We, or I should say I, caught two more Walleye and one fairly large Perch over the course of the afternoon. Fizzed both Walleye and one died. The other survived until we reached the launch and I clubbed him with my terminator. We tried jigs and a variety of crankbaits as well, but the only thing that was working was the spinner rigs and night crawlers. Not a real productive day as far as catching fish goes, but a great day just the same. The score is Terry 4, Marg 0. Ya gotta love it!

We came off the lake around 6:00 just as the sun was going down. Stopped by old Alfred's house on the way to ours and gave him the 250 bucks and the two Walleyes. His little old wife looked to be having an orgasm. Said they hadn't had Walleye for over a year. I'm gonna hate getting old if that's what it takes. On second thought, sex IS kind of messy,. and Walleye DOES taste better! (continued,)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Unfortunately, the second part of TeeDub's report has been lost. Neither he nor I can find it. Sorry about that. I wish I could remember the details. Didn't it involve something about Marg racking up an impressive Walleye catch?

Fishing in the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
Fishing in Alaska's Kenai Peninsula
Helen (California)

Day 1

Arrived in Anchorage, picked up rental car, and checked into motel. Other than the enormous stuffed polar bear in the airport, looked like any other large city.

Day 2

Drove to Soldotna. It was a 3 hour drive with stunning scenery almost the whole way. There were snow-capped mountains, rivers, and lakes. After pulling over several times to take in the view, we decided we had to fight down the urge or we would never get to our destination. At one point, we rounded a curve in the road and were startled by the sight of a wild goat calmly munching on a clump of greenery midway up a sheer rocky bank next to the road. Cars, buses, and RV's drove by, but he didn't seem to notice. As we neared Soldotna, we spotted a large moose in a field adjoining the highway. It appeared to be just "hanging out" watching the traffic go by. When we arrived at the lodge, we found that the cabin we had booked did not exist. It was supposed to have been built before the season started, but the owner was injured in a fall and couldn't get to it. Instead, they pulled in a new 5th wheeler travel trailer for us to use. That worked out just fine. It was comfortable and had all the amenities.

Day 3 - Fishing on Cook Inlet

We had a one hour drive to get to Deep Creek where we met our guide, Rod and his deckhand Tee. Tee is a 16 year old girl and we soon saw she not only knew her stuff, but was one of the hardest working teens we had ever seen in action. We found that we were sharing the boat with a group of 4 fun-loving guys from Minnesota. After we reached the first fishing spot, Rod introduced us to the equipment and the fishing techniques for halibut. I have been on halibut fishing excursions on SF Bay, but fishing on the inlet was quite different. The poles they use are short, stocky things. Because of the depth (130-200 ft) and the current, they use 2 to 4 lb weights. It seemed like it took forever to reel in and even if there wasn't a fish on, the weights really made for hard work. We anchored, Tee baited our lines with herring, we put the rods in the holders and bottom-bounced the weights waiting for hits. It wasn't long before we got our first hits. Detecting them wasn't as difficult as I expected. The rhythmic slow bounce of the tip of a pole was suddenly interrupted by a couple of quick jerks. When that happens, the fisherperson grabs the pole out of the holder and tips the rod down, waiting for the next hit. When it comes, it is time to jerk back to set the hook. The hardest part was restraining oneself from setting the hook too early. The adrenaline rush caused by the sight of that jerking rod tip just screamed for action. We all lost a few by jerking in too soon. Anyway, when done right, the rod tip vibrates wildly in what they call the "headshake" as the halibut tries to get off the hook. Then comes the hard work. Reeling in all that line with all that weight and an angry halibut yanking back and forth. We all had sore muscles and a few bruises well before the trip was over. At one point, one of the Minnesota guys had a nibble and was holding his rod waiting for the next hit. Nothing happened. He was about to put his rod back into the holder when there was such a hard yank that he was pulled down over the side. Rod grabbed him by the belt and pulled him back, preventing a man overboard emergency. He never let go of the pole though. However the fish got off. I can't imagine how big that one was. In the end, we all caught our limits of 2 halibut apiece. We also tried trolling for salmon, but no hits on that. The hubby got the biggest halibut for that trip. It came in a 30 lb. The trip took 12 hours because the bite was slow and Rod refused to go in until we limited out. We were exhausted but happy. We had grilled halibut for dinner which we ate at about 10:30 pm, but that didn't matter because it was still broad daylight in the land of the midnight sun.

Day 3 - Fishing on Cook Inlet

This time our guide was Mike Garcia and his deckhand was Matt, another hardworking teen. We limited out on halibut. Hubby and I only caught 15-20 pounders, but one of the other passengers caught a 50 pounder. A couple of other boats reported getting 100+ lb halibut and one had a 210 lb. After we had our limit, Matt switched the rods to set up for trolling for salmon. Some lines had bait, others had lures. I picked the one with a rainbow T-Spoon. It was cold and rainy and several of us went into the cabin to get out of the elements as we watched our rods. There were a lot of other boats trolling the same area, but no one was reporting any hits. After about an hour, it all seemed pretty futile to us and we talked about getting back to our warm, dry cabins. Suddenly, I saw my pole arc down hard. There was no mistaking there was something big on it. I exploded through the cabin door out to the deck and almost ran over Mike as he was reaching for my pole. I didn't have to set the hook. By the time the pole was in my hand, the fish was stripping off line. It ran straight out from the boat. Then the line went totally slack. Mike was yelling at me to keep an arc in the pole. I was reeling like mad so I could, but I thought I probably lost the fish. Just as I got it tightened up again and could feel the fish, the line screamed off the reel as the bugger dived down. Mike was behind me yelling, "Pump and reel! Pump and reel! You got yourself a king, honey. Nothing else dives like that. As I wrestled with it -- I reeled in line, he stripped it out, I reeled, he stripped, he suddenly took off to the side and I practically knocked people over as I followed him across the back of the boat. Then he made a run at the boat. Mike yelled, "Don't let him go under the boat!" Yeah, right. Like I had control over that. I could not believe the power of that fish. I did manage to hold him to the side of the boat and finally got him up to the surface. Then he realized he was in big trouble and went into a wild frenzy, but Matt was there with the net and scooped him up. Turned out he was really a she. 44", 42 pounds. I was ecstatic and everyone on board enjoyed my victory dance.

Days 4 & 5

Fished the Kenai River by backtrolling with our guide. I caught an overinquisitive rainbow that embedded itself on my salmon lure. Hubby caught a small salmon (by Alaskan standards - big by Californian standards). I don't remember its exact weight. I think it was arount 10 lbs. That little bugger managed to pull our boat against the current while the hubby was fighting it on the line. Those kings have awesome swim power. Others on our boat caught 40 and 50 pounders though. It was an expensive trip, but both the hubby and I agreed it was well worth it. When we got home, we had to borrow space in a friend's freezer to store all the fish we brought home, and that was after we gave away a significant amount to our grateful friends.
Almost Fishing
Warning, you'll busta gut reading this one
Almost Fishing
Herb (Oklahoma)

Well, I think I mentioned here that I was going fishing this weekend , so I guess I better make a report.

I left town Firday PM and drove to Tulsa to pick up my sister. The whole reason we were going is that she had the weekend off (rare) and need to get out of town. Our deal was that she would bring the food and that I would take care of the cabin, and any incidentals. First thing, one of her two little yappy dogs (LYD) had broken into the refrigerator the night before, and had polished off two T-bone steaks. She knew this because the same LYD had then puked it back up all over the living room for her to find that morning. She was in a GOOD mood.

We get down the the cabins without incident, and office was locked up and empty. No problem, we have been comng down here for 70 years (both the resort owners and us are on our fourth generation), and the owner had told me on the phone which cabin to take, and had mentioned that they might be watching a little league game. So we get to the cabin, and unload. By the time we finish, we have just enough time to start a fire and grill the (replacement) steaks. We have a grill, we have charcoal, we have steaks; we have no charcoal lighter. There's plenty at the resort office, but it's closed. We make do with pork chops; we'll have the steak later.

The next morning, I get up to go fishing. The river is a little higher than normal this trip, and the really good fishing is on the other side, so I decide to reconnoiter without my tackle first. To cross the river at this point is tricky, as there is one small ridge under water that you can usually wade across; the water hits about your waist at the highest point. On either side of the ridge, the water is over your head.

I head across on the ridge, and sure enough, the water is higher than normal. It get up about one higher then the top of my waders, if in fact I was wearing waders. Of course, as a wise angler, I had recognized that that could be a be problem, and had waded across in a bathing suit and sneakers. Did I mention that the water is cold? Certain more or less mobile parts of my anatomy started a northen migration, much like the geese do in springtime. I'm pretty sure that I exclaimed something along the lines of "Great Caesar's Ghost! This water is certainly cold" but it was in such a high voice, I don't think I heard it all.

Anyway, I get over to the other side and scope out potential sites to fish. Everything looks good; the water is high, but clear, and while the fishing may be tougher than usual, I am certain I can catch a few.

Now to go back to the cabin for gear. Did I mention that the ridge in the gravel bar, my one sure lifeline back to civilization, does not cut straight across the river? In fact it angles downstream as you got from the cabin side to the fishing side. This means I have to cross the river into the current to get home. No problem. I've done it hundreds of times. However, I fail to factor in: a) the additional drag effect having water to your chest rather than to your waist causes, and 2) the fact that the water is moving fast enough so that parts of the gravel bar are actually eroding from under my feet.

My first attempt to cross ending when the ridge actually crumbles beneath me, depositing me into a 10 foot deep fast flowing channel. I manage to swim out of the current only 1/4 mile downstream, on the wrong side of the river. I had bashed into about 137 logs, rock, and (probably) bodies of other foolhardy adventurers who attempted his crossing before me.

This enjoyable pastime (fun, and so good for you) continues for several more attempts, until I get behind a big rock just at the head of this chute.

In the meantime, my sister has been screaming at me, and in the shelter of the rock. I can finally understand her. "Is your life insurance all paid up? Where are the car keys?" These are intermingled with totally unseemly bouts of mirth.

From the shelter of the rock, I can reach the far bank and using tree roots sticking out of the cut bank I pull myself back to shore.

I decide that trying to cross the stream in full regalia, and with a fly rod might be a little impractical, so on to plan B. There are a few rocks sticking out this side (mostly covered with what I sincerely hope to be unimportant chunks of Herb, but I digress). I will sit majestically on one of these rocks, and will fish right there. But not just then. I had to stagger back up to the cabin and paint on most of a gallon of iodine.

When I get back the float trip, yahoos are coming in full force. The one bad thing about this stream is that is very close to a college town, and every weekend a horde of people descend on the river to a) drink and b) insure that any angler is totally frustrated in their effort to catch fish.

I watch maybe 100 canoes slide down the chute that I know so well. Most of the ones that hit the top of the strech pointy end first do OK (yes, going down forward is better, ma'am), and only about 10 % of the ones who decide to go down side-wise have much trouble.

In all this viewing, I have seen exacty one canoe exhibiting fishing tackle. Let me say right now that the single most attractive accessory a woman can buy is a spinning rod. It beats canoe paddles and beer cans hands down. While I watched these fishing types work the spot I picked out, they caught three fish.. Ah Ha! I KNEW that was a good spot.

I decide to wait until evening when the ijits crawl back under their rocks. My sister and I spend the time playing Scrabble. IMPORTANT! This is the higihight of the trip. We end up tying @ 235 points each, and I go take nap to while away the hours 'till sunset.

When I awake it is to a crash of thunder. We are in the midst of a thunderstorm. I decide that standing in a thunderstorm holding what would make a very good antenna is not the best idea; I'll fish tomorrow.

Besides, tonight is steak night! Oh boy, lets get those T-bones out and fire up ....the grill. Outside, in the storm. Damn!

After a nice meal of pan broiled steak, we decided to go to bed. After all, the electricity is going out about every 30 seconds, so we couldn't actually see to do anything else. Of course, since I had taken a nap, I was as sleepy as an insomniac on speed, but I finally got to sleep, about 4:00AM.

I woke the next morning and looked out at the river. It was about the color of cafe-au-lait. I made a comment of a fecal nature, and woke my sister up. We decided to pack up and go home.

After I dropped my sister off in Tulsa, I went back to Pawhuska. On the way there, I got stopped by the highway patrol and I got my first speeding ticket in over 15 years. By the time the patrolman stopped me I could see the humor in it, so I didn't smart off to him and make it worse. I explained about my weekend and he sympathized. He also gave me the ticket. The end to a perfect trip.