Fishing with Captain Greg on the Tale Watcher, my group had a fantastic day of flounder and king fishing. The Tale Watcher belongs to the Grande Alaska Lodge. They handle everything for you, even vacuum sealing your fillets when you get back to the dock, even providing salmon rub for your next grill out. After we caught our flats (the big one was 127 pounds) we trolled for kings off Montague Island, in the Gulf of Alaska. Everything is wild and big here. The weather is often bad and getting worse. The Tale Watcher was able to fish in weather most boats would not even consider. Montague is an uninhabited place, a 90 mile island of rollicking coastline and diving birds. There was no one else around, which was great, but also scary. Over two days I kept only two halibut, each about 45 pounds. These are the best for eating. They will be riding the Al-Can with me this week on my way back to Wyoming.
I didn't catch this 50 pound halibut; Rocky Ferreria did on his dad's boat. I caught plenty of 10-15 pounders though. I've been fishing the Anchor at midnight on weekends. It's really bounced back from the bad days when the salmon numbers were so low. I caught a king on a 6 wt Scott rod. I had dinner with Marsha and Milt, who live 8 miles out of town on a small farm. We had king salmon, fried morel mushrooms, and a garden salad made with vegetables from their hot house. They raise chickens, turkeys, and make their own milk. Marsha is famous for her jams and jellies which she sells at the Homer Farmers' Market.
My fishing trip has become a morel trip. They're having a big year here, so I'm in the woods picking. I'm having mine dried so I can bring them back to Wyoming. I've never seen wild mushrooms like this before. We hunt the burn areas. The guy with me--Richie Morel--is an expert forager. He knows wild plants inside and out. He says after the morel season there will be others, such as the chanterelle and the king bolete. He makes part of his living foraging and selling wild edibles.
It took over 6 hours to get a bite, but when it's a king salmon and you're using a fly, that's a pretty good day. It took over 20 minutes to land this fish. I started fishing at 4 a.m., and landed this fish around 10 a.m. This week the writer's conference begins. The high tides are bringing in more kings, and there's rumors the sockeyes will be early this year. Rocket and I are having a great time in Alaska.
Bill and I fished for two days with Steve Hahn of Headwaters to Ocean Outfitters. We had a terrific time. We caught grayling and trout in wild Canadian rivers with no one in sight. Steve taught me how to cast a "switch" rod, which is half spey, half one-handed rod. Bill managed a lake trout on a streamer too. On our way to Alaska, we saw a burned area and spotted some folks picking mushrooms. Bill went out and talked to the guy (who was carrying a .44). The guy was protective about his spot, so we went down the road a bit, jumped out and picked enough morels for dinner. Only The Rodfather would risk his life (and mine) for morels.