Alaska Yetna River Coho Salmon  Day #46 State #49 July 28, 2009 06/13/09 Pennsylvania
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Regal Air
Pilot: Mike Laughlin
Anchorage, AK

Cottonwood Lodge
Jeff Woodward Sportfishing
Yetna River, AK
Follow Our Route

  Quick Map


Summer days in Alaska start early – or maybe they are just a continuation of the previous day as it never gets dark up here in the summer.  Our seaplane pilot, Mike Laughlin of Regal Air Service, called us the night before and asked us to get to the base on Lake Hood around 6:45am for an early takeoff.  We were anxious for a full day of fishing and wondered what 10 hours of fishing would feel like after 48 states of 4 hours each.  It was not meant to be.  The fog on the Yetna River was not lifting and we were grounded as our plane and pilot only navigate by visual flight reference so if you can’t see the water from the air you’re not taking off.  Hour by hour passed and we wondered if the weather would ever break.  Around 11am we finally got the go signal.  The flight northwest in our Beaver aircraft was as smooth as could be.  We made a quick drop in on a lake on the way up to pick up a day fisherman that would be joining us – Howard Feldman, a geologist from Houston.

We landed on the Yetna River around 12:15pm and our host Jeff Woodward of Lake Creek Lodge met us at the dock.  He was as excited to see us as we were him but insisted we first come in and have lunch in the lodge’s dining hall with all of the other guests from the lodge.  Lee, our guide, joined up with us as well.  By 1pm we were heading for our boat.  The Yetna River, was a milky brown color from the glacier runoff and so I wondered if we were fishing this water – Lee was quick to say his job was to find us clear water at the mouth of one of the many tributaries.  The four of us (Lee, Howard, Taylor, and I) jumped in the boat and within 5 minutes we were sitting over the biggest pod of salmon I’ve ever seen in my life – thousands of salmon – everywhere.

5 hours later Taylor and I had tallied 122 salmon (3 Sockeye; 7 Coho; 112 Pink).  Although the Chesapeake produced 129 fish there was no competing for size as Taylor and I estimate the average size of the salmon to be about 5 pounds each (600 pounds of Salmon).  We were wore out.  At 6pm we said “No More.”  Alaska had delivered. – BIG time.   We kept a couple Coho and Sockeyes to have smoked and shipped home – we can’t wait.

The fish race, for all practical purposes is over, as Taylor hammered me 71 to 51 to take a commanding lead in to Hawaii.  Here’s the fish tally.

Dad (472 fish); Taylor (483 fish) with a Grand Total of  955 fish to date.  Note that Taylor is now leading me by 11 fish with 1 state to go.

The best analogy I can come up with relates to a Marathoner who has lead the race for 25.5 miles and is passed with less than a mile to go – I just didn’t have any kick left to go after him.   He was “on” today and showed me, ultimately, who is the better fisherman.

Our float plane picked us up dockside at 6:30pm and we were back in Anchorage at 7:30pm.  We quickly made our way back to our hotel for a quick shower, dinner, and 2 hour nap before we caught our red-eye flight to Seattle at midnight.  As I write this we are sitting in the SEATAC Airport in Seattle waiting for our 8:30am flight to Kona, Hawaii.  We’re tired – with only about 3 hours of sleep under our belt.  We land in Hawaii around 3pm today so we are hoping to get recharged before morning.

Tomorrow we go after the famous Blue Marlin – and who knows, with the blessed journey we’ve had so far, we just might catch one.  State #50 here we come


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Fish    Last Updated July 29, 2009  - Copyright 2009