Story and Photos by Terry W. Sheely
The two dozen miles of Wild and Scenic water are bouncing through Lake Clark National Park and Preserve miles above us, the no-bait zone is below us, and the kings right where they should be—lined up like dominoes under the high bank, taking turns crushing our tumbling spinner and egg combinations.
The Judge, Maui Ben and I, are on Alaska’s ignored Mulchatna River, several twisted river miles above Old Man Creek, dialing in the kings, talking about reds, watching for bears, and trying not to think about the Pebble Mine salmon disaster being debated upriver that could snuff it all.
We are really getting this hole dialed in.
I release another chinook and we run back upriver passing the boat of head guide Ross Wilkerson who’s beaching the Judge and Maui Ben on a gravel bar to fight a big red king, I can’t tell who’s hooked up, maybe both. Their fight is still going when we reach the head of our drift, below the half-drowned spruce.
My guide Dan Holybee kills the outboard, positions the flat-bottom jon boat on the edge of a current line and feathers the drift with the oars. The quiet fills with bird whistles and river whisperings. I cast upriver across the current into slack along the bank. The big bawdy pink Blue Fox lands in 5 feet of water and hits bottom. I flip the rod tip and the spinner and wad of orange salmon eggs tumble into a 10-foot deep trough. With the sensitive braid I can feel the lure tick and clatter along the rocks for just a couple of seconds before the rod tip whips down and I slam up.
“Go to our FISH FOR FUN page for the rest of this story.