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Saturday, December 4, 2010


By Brett Coffman

So our last blog ended with us disembarking from the MS Oosterdam. After spending the day at Jean’s house (Angela’s roommate when she worked in Seattle) we boarded the Alaskan Airline’s flight back up to Anchorage, AK. We picked up our rental car and promptly got lost finding our way around the city. The next day after picking up supplies at the nearest Fred Meyer, we set our sights along the Parks Highway north to Talkeetna. The scenery was absolutely amazing - we had a such a hard time keeping our eyes on the road - and were a little skittish due to the strict rental car agreements. (I have a tendency to pull off on any dirt road I think leads somewhere.)

As we pulled off the highway onto Talkeetna spur rd. we scoped out many a clear water tributary to the Big Susitna River which we followed up the road. After finding where we would be staying we checked out the little town of Talkeetna AK. In town there’s a small brewery, a few restaurants, and some tourist attractions that all rely on some sort of Susitna river recreation. We ate dinner at the West Rib and got the best in fresh salmon and seafood.

The next morning we woke to cloudy skies and decided to take a drive down to one of the creek inlets we had seen the previous day. After taking a small hike through bear country, we saw a few gear fisherman nab a few salmon and decided to take a few casts. So we geared up and took the small hike to inlet of the Susitna River.

Immediately my wife and others began to hook up. I was still swinging flies and continued to have problems catching fish. I then began to think of these fish as river fish and looked for structure for which they could take refuge. My first cast behind a current blocking sweeper produced a huge silver flash which was the only time I saw the identity of what was on my line. After fighting the beast for at least 10min he popped off. I’ve never been frustrated, as this was my first big hookup on a real Alaskan silver. The next cast produced nothing. Then WHAM! A big Coho at the end of my line. I got my wife’s attention and eventually led him downstream to an island to land him. We were both ecstatic - despite our catch and release ethic, this fish was to feed us for at least part of the week as we hadn’t bought too many provisions on our trip. Soon after, fish after fish hopped onto our lines - we had a blast catching 3 species of pacific salmon. We had caught the run perfect. Pink, Chum and Coho. To us lower landers this was bliss.

Enjoy the pictures part #3 Denali and beyond is coming soon.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


by Luke Harris

Gramps and I recently floated the Klamath River with guide Ken Ratihn. Ken's been all over the world on foot and by raft. He's pioneered many rafting expeditions in Asia and was the first to float many of them. He's guided tricky stretches on the Colorado and several other places that only the most elite and skilled navigators go. Ken also orchestrates journeys to primitive places where the modern world has no influence such as New Guinea. His picture albums are fascinating, filled with pictures of his adventures and the tribal people he has hung out with in order to learn more about the art he likes to produce. In short he's California's version of an actual Indiana Jones.

Did I mention he's also a fishing guide. He's had his drift boat since 1984 and spent a season guiding in Alaska before "settling" near Sommes Bar, Ca. His place overlooks the river and I swear most of the fish on this section of the Klamath hang out in his backyard. If you're looking for a day on the river or maybe want to purchase some primitive art or (if you dare) fly across the world to meet some folks that are still living like Adam and Eve, I highly recommend looking him up. At the very least check out his website:


Thanks again Ken we really had a blast.

Crystal Clear Day on the Klamath

The Coolest Drift Boat Ever

Ken the steelhead master shows how its done right from his own backyard

Monday, September 27, 2010


by Luke Harris

All perverse tendencies aside, this stuff works great on foam body flies (and any other adhesive situations). It’s about $3 for .25oz so remember there’s only so many gaps you can actually zap. Okay there’s a comment section so go ahead and knock yourselves out just read the label so you don’t go blind.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


by Brett Coffman

After spending our honeymoon and 2 ½ weeks in the great land to the north, I guess I should report on the trip, the cruise, wildlife viewed, and of course the fishing. The best way for this is to break up the vacation into a 2 part series. The first part will be the week of Aug. 1st-8th, when we set sail aboard the ms Oosterdam. This was something my wife and I had never experienced before. We’re used to backpacking and camping for our vacations so the structure of everything was almost a little overwhelming. The food was exquisite however, and made the mandatory 8:00p.m. dinner seating worth the inconvience. I know I’m about 10lbs heavier. Our port stops were Glacier Bay, Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria, Canada.
The first stop of Glacier Bay was absolutely breathtaking. When the glaciers “calve” (ice chunks breaking off) the sound is thunderous with a subsequent wave large enough to surf on. We had an absolutely crystal clear day, (unheard of in Alaska) and we actually got a lot of sun.
The actual first port stop was Juneau. The crystal clear weather continued, and we were able to take a ~6mi hike to get away from the crowds, but also get a commanding view of Medenhall glacier. Along the way we stopped at Steep creek and observed some sockeye salmon that were spawning. Check out the underwater pictures my wife got below. Just before we got there, a couple told us we had barely missed a brown bear that was fishing. Dammit, maybe next time.
The 2nd stop was Sitka, AK. This is a small port town on the southeast part of the state. At breakfast we were talking of the sea kayaking expedition we had booked later that day, when Angela started noticing splashes along the inside cove of the bay. These were definitely within casting distance, and some were fairly large. So after rushing to finish our food we packed our gear and took the short shuttle boat ride over to the town. While I was buying my license we found out the fish jumping were pink salmon that were staging to spawn. They say that the fish jump to “break up their eggs” prior to spawning, but we mostly observed them feeding on small schools of baitfish. And so it was-wait for the schools to start jumping, then cast into the frenzy. We really didn’t have saltwater patterns, but these hard fighting guys didn’t seem to care. Egg sucking leaches and black with red Pyramid wooly buggers worked remarkably well. These fish averaged 5-6lbs and could put a hurt to your drag when in the salt. We almost missed our kayaking tour they were that fun. Sadly as we boarded back up, we could still see the fish out there splashing in the bay. We left Sitka shortly after, but promised ourselves to return to this unique and pretty coastal town.
The 3rd port stop was Ketchikan, AK. Again, as we got off the boat we were greeted with the usual barage of vendors trying to sell overpriced tours, Alaskan jewelry, and of course clothing articles that say “Alaska” on them. Once we were able to get past the crowds we again noticed salmon jumping around the boat docks. We didn’t have any gear with us so we just took a little walking tour around town. We finally found a sporting goods store and were able to buy some actual salmon flies too. Upon a stroke of luck, we came across Ketchikan creek and watched as gear fisherman caught fish after fish. Mostly pinks, but also some larger chums. It was raining pretty hard, but the boat was close and we decided to get a little fishing in before we had leave. After getting my fly rod I noticed on my license that Alaska day licenses are for 24 hours, not just the day you buy it. Awesome! I still had an hour and a half left. We ran down to the creek mouth, and also joined the local gear anglers in catching fish. When my time was up, we ducked into a cool little bar called Fat Stan’s and chatted with some local fisherman and artists. This was a nice way to end our all to short of time in this unique fishing town.
The last port stop was Victoria, Canada. Within the city, there’s unique architecture, totem poles and beautiful parks. All this surrounding a rather large port. We only had about 5 hours to spend in the city so we just took a long walk around, and eventually ate dinner at a small little crab shack. It was a relaxing way to end our cruise, but our real adventure was about to begin.

Mendenhall Glacier

Packing on the pounds.

Sitka, AK

Mendenhall Glacier...Wow.

Views of Ketchikan

Victoria, Canada

Totems galore.