After spending a long winter in the Nushagak river’s deep holes and eddies, the rainbows, grayling and dolly varden jump started the 09 season with a force strong enough to knock out a grizzley. Shooting out from submerged logs and deep cut banks, fish engulfed anything that twitched, whether it was a skated mouse or a weighted streamer. The day of lip rippn began at 6:30 am with coffee at the door, then followed by a hearty, rib-sticking breakfast.
Frank and John are four year returnees. Being long time fishing companions, both know eachother like a reel and a line. It was humerous to hear the two battle back-and-forth over minor issues. One evening, John made the statement that he wanted to get his big fish picture over the course of the next few days. Frank, who had already achieved that goal earlier on in the week, volunteered to be the photographer. The next day, John hooks into and lands a 23+ inch rainbow. A perfect specimen for the big fish shot. Frank snaps a few pics. Later that day, John decides to take a look at his prize fish picture. To his dismay and horror the only thing that would pop up on the screen were three pictures of Frank’s eyeball.
This week’s fishing was fairly good. The water level is lower than usual at this time of year so the boat rides have been full of excitment. It’s difficult to say, “we want rain,” but if the water level continues to drop then fishing up river will be a thing of the past. So we are praying for rain. The water clarity is perfect. At the beginning of the week there was some color but it was more than likely due to late spring run-off. Streamers such as woolley buggers, sculpzillas, silvey sculpins, and several others have been producing well. Mouse fishing has also been very productive. Frank and John spent one full day fishing the mouse. “We caught fish all day,” they boast. “We probably could have caught more if we used streamers, but skating a mouse was just too much fun to pass up.” Streamer colors vary from day-to-day depending on weather and water temperature. White is always a fun color to fish because it allows you to watch “the take”. Swinging a white streamer under a log and witnessing a fat-pig rainbow come out from the depths and crush it, always sends your heart to your throat.
Artic Grayling and Dolly Varden are littered through-out the river. The Grayling have been raging on the dry-fly hatches for the past several days. Small caddis and stoneflies have been peppering the river and providing anglers with a fun and action packed time throwing dries. It’s not unusual to see a grayling snag a mouse too.
The camp atmosphere was super this week. At dinner, everyone shared their most memorable fish story and at the campfire everyone enjoyed a jam session with a scotch. My mother is an accomplished pianist, Nick and Kris are hardcore guitar pickers, and I play the old moose jaw. We haven’t practiced in awhile but after a few off keys we managed to come together and make some good ole Nushagak music. Roger and Kathrine started dancing as John chimed in some lyrics, while everyone else laughed and took pictures. It was John’s 73rd birthday so we watched him make a wish and blow out his candles (matches). I’ve never seen a happier 73 year old. Later that night John pulled my dad aside and said, “You have a place here that enables you to enrich people’s lives. I’m happy to say that you’ve enriched mine. Thank you.”
The first week was a wonderful way to start off the season. Salmon are starting to show up and the mosquitoes are scheduled to slow down within the next week. The weather looks good and the fishing is only getting better. Myself and everyone here at camp is looking forward to the rest of the season and the memories to be had.
For more information on Egdorf’s Nushagak River Lodge please visit this site: Http://flyfishingtravel.com/alaska/egdorfs.html