King of Talkeetna

Posted by on Jul 7, 2013 in Alaska 2013 | Comments Off on King of Talkeetna

The alarm went off at 3:30 AM and we stumbled out of bed to make our scheduled appointment with Tri Rivers Guide Service in Talkeetna. Gulping coffee, throwing on several layers of clothes and driving for 30 minutes puts us at the meeting spot by 4:30, in time to purchase licenses, pick up our hip waders and meet Niko who would be our river guide for the day.

We are fishing for King Salmon on the Talkeetna River. It is catch and release only so no fresh fish for us tonight. We run upstream to Clear Creek where we park on a gravel bar and begin casting. The temperature is in the low 50’s and an intermittent rain is falling.

The Kings are moving up the river to spawn. They are not actively feeding but will bite at the lure out of irritation. There is a marked difference in the water where the creek and river join, with the river carrying silt from a glacier making the water an opaque mocha color. The creek water from snowmelt is crystal clear. The fish seek out the clear water to cleanse their gills of the accumulated silt so we fish along the color change. The current is strong and the lure bounces across the bottom, making it difficult to sense a strike.

Soon, however, we start picking up fish and the fight is on. Most of ours weigh around 10 pounds or so, but they put on a show as we wrestle them into the shallows. We are not even supposed to raise them out of the water, so each fish is quickly unhooked and photographed before being sent on its way to complete the journey, spawn and die.

We end up catching around 8 fish during the morning before returning to the dock around 11 AM. Judy and I decide to stop by the Talkeetna Roadhouse for a hot meal then back to the room for a nap. The second run of red salmon begins near the end of July, so hopefully I can get in a day of fishing and send some home before I head south.




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