Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Bird Creek Experience

"One fish. Two fish. Red fish. Blue fish. Black fish. Blue fish. Old fish.
New fish. This one has a little star.
This one has a little scar. Say! What a lot of fish there are."
~Dr. Seuss

We (Sam, Derek-who works with the boys, Richard-works with the boys, Mom and I) joined the masses along Bird Creek this evening for the beginning of the late run of Pinks (also known as Humpys) I'm slowly learning all these different salmons. http://library.thinkquest.org/05aug/00548/species--kinds.htmll They call it 'combat fishing'. Here's an article about the combat fishing on the Russian which we did earlier this summer. http://www.ktuu.com/Global/story.asp?S=10553485 Anyway last night it seemed like the whole city was out:) Bird Creek is one of the closer and easily accessible from the highway, salmon streams near Anchorage. http://www.alaskanoutfitting.com/fishing/birdcreek/birdcreek.shtml We sneakily, according to Sam, (Sam and Mom down climbing )chose a parking lot on top of the ridge (less cars, traffic, and people) and rightly so because the trail we had to navigate to get down to the river while arms loaded with rods, tackle and mom was straight up and straight down through the brush (remember what loves to be in the brush by heavily fished salmon streams....yeah). Then we managed to emerge just past the wrong side of a "Private Property" sign posted on the bank. (Sam, Richard and Derek fishing right) Quickly moving to a legal location, we commenced fishing! Within 5 minutes a big brown bear lumbered out about 50 yards upstream to join the festivities, only to be shooed away by a father/son pair uncomfortable with sharing the same portion of river. (left high tide that's us in the middle) We waded out almost to the opposite side of the river (knee deep). I found myself continually backing up toward the middle of the river (toward the bank from which we had started) little above my knees...thigh high...waist high...Mom bellered from her post on the bank (she was stationed there to keep track of the bags, fish, etc.) "Hey, you guys everyone is out of the river?!?" just as one of our backpacks was floating past her. We looked around...ah, yep, sure enough we hadn't noticed that the tide was rolling in, everyone else was climbing out and we were still in the middle of the river. For Sam and I, in our chest waders this wasn't a major emergency but for poor Richard in his thigh high boots, whoops, though a little more wet than he'd have liked he made it back to shore. (Right us in the river)We all caught and released lots of pinks. We think I almost caught a King too!!! I didn't get him in all the way. Sam caught a Chum. Meanwhile, investigating a secret spot further up the road, closer to Girdwood and evidently having quite an adventure of their own was Josh and Mike. As later recounted by them over pizza at the Moose's Tooth, what had started as a short scouting venture turned quickly into a episode off Survivor Man. (left catching a fish!) Apparently the hike across and up river was considerably longer than estimated and included bushwhacking through a 'bear maze'. Along the way there was a brief and unsettling encounter with a very agitated mother moose and calf. Convincing them rather than trek back the way they had to come they should instead, according to Josh, "Fjord the river!" Again the estimated depth was sightly miscalculated and significantly over their heads. Mike flailed across with 2 fishing poles and Josh splashed over with 2 backpacks strapped around him. Both characters were in full fishing apparel including chest waders (not the smartest move). Mike hauled Josh in with a branch he found, increasing the likelihood of both surviving, cold but oxygenated. Unfortunately, they never did get to see if the secret spot was full of fish, but were thankful to have lived instead. (above my first 'pink')

"I'm going out to fish,' Simon Peter told them, and they said, 'We'll go with you.' So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing." John 21:3

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