Spring in Alaska

Alex Spies

The end of May for many in Alaska means it’s time to get your favorite gear ready and get the game face on for the next three months of chasing salmon from shore to shore river to river.  It is the dream that many of us up here share as we spend the next few weeks scouting around the rivers and creeks that the salmon will be flowing into and now searching for rainbow trout and grayling that have moved in further upstream.  I have spent many nights taking a 2-mile drive on our 6-wheeler down to the landing at Miller’s Reach on the Little-Su river just waiting for the time to be right. I would take out the fly-rod and do some practicing trying to get lucky with a nice rainbow trout or try casting small in-line spinners.  Since the bite is really slow now, there is more time for mudding around the trails and I have been enjoying doing some scouting for moose season in the fall.

We now have a cow and her baby that frequent our front window and check in from time to time, making sure to eat all of Sam’s raspberry bushes and flowers.  Many of the flowing waters along the Parks Highway nearby are catch-and-release only for rainbow trout until mid-June when they will open back up for the salmon runs.  So what I have also been targeting (literally targeting) has been a lifelong favorite of mine—the northern pike.  Where we are located in the state, northern pike are an invasive species and in most lakes it is illegal to release a live pike back into the water. Anglers may retain as many pike as they can catch as there isn’t a possession or bag limit so when a friend of mine invited me out bow fishing for northern pike, I was all in. I have spent so many years casting and trolling for northerns but had never tried bow-fishing for them!  We ended up going to Long Lake in Willow, Alaska to search the shallow, grassy waters where the pike should now be aggressively feeding following the spawn.  Even though Mother Nature was not cooperating with us, the first trip we were still able to land an arrow through a northern pike and had a blast chasing them around in the shallows with my Clam 7-Point Spear just like my younger years chasing carp around in my backyard creek.

It has not been all fun and games up her in the Last Frontier though.  To cap-off Samantha’s birthday week we were taking a drive to Hatcher’s Pass.  A massive 300,000 acre management area which houses the Talkeetna Mountain Range with spectacular mountain summits and glacier views.  However, we never made it to those views this time as I forgot the rear window lock and our dog Pasha decided that he wanted to do some more of his own exploring and out the back window he went.  He is basically a Great Dane trapped in the body of a 35lb Shiba Inu, which in a ‘Big Dogs World’ didn’t work out the best for our little guy this time.  From what I could tell it was hip or leg and dollar signs.  As soon as we got cell service, we called our friends at the Big Lake Veterinary Hospital and they were able to get Pasha looked at.  They confirmed our suspicions as they showed us the X-Rays of his rear femur.  Thankfully he is a young dog and would heal quickly from surgery and maintain the use of his leg so we opted for surgery.  A plate, 7 screws, 3 wires, and some 50 staples later he was back good as new just as if nothing had happened while we were handed the laundry list of medications and daunting task of making sure there is to be “little to no movement for the next 7-8 weeks.”  Remind you, we are also expecting our first born baby girl in 7-8 weeks so the timing of his injury was just marvelous to say the least (sarcasm).  I am now tasked with keeping the both of them company and keeping a watchful eye for the next two months rather than weekend runs to Seward, Kenai, and Homer to chase halibut and rockfish—so a tip for the men out there, when she says yes to letting you go fishing…get it in writing.  So for now it is yard-work and Honey-Do-Lists but in a few short weeks, when the salmon start to run, I will be free again.

Until then we are looking forward to keeping up all updated on our adventures up here.  Tight Lines, and see you all soon!

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Alex Spies

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