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  • Mystic Fishing
    United States, Alaska
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  • Highlights of the Trip:
    The nature of the Kenai River combined with the preparation, knowledge and effort of Fred Telleen make this day float a memorable experience. We only had one day to float because we were heading out to the Alaska West fishing camp on the Kanektok River the next day. The Kenai Peninsula would be a very pleasant way to spend a week fishing. One could float with Fred three days during the week and intersperse those days fishing other areas the Cooper Landing has to offer. The boys and I had fished with Fred two years earlier also, by coincidence, on August 1. That year most of the sockeyes were gone and there was no one fishing the "combat" area around the Russian River. This year when Fred said we could spend a couple of hours fishing for sockeyes at the start of our float, it was both an unexpected and pleasant surprise. My wife, who had been unable to join two years prior due to hip surgery, is a much experienced and skillful trout fisherman, but had never caught a salmon. I personally, will never forget her screams as she hooked her first salmon, a 12 pound sockeye, which proceeded to jump three times no more than 15 feet from her and then take off across the river. The sockeye fishing technique is a little different from anything we had done, but we soon got the hang of it to where at any given moment at least one of us was into a fish. As we came around the first corner after the put-in, we could see a bear which seemed to be literally out in the water at the next corner. As we drifted closer it was a large grizzly which had waded into three feet of water and was dragging dead sockeyes off a snag. The bar at which we stopped to fish for sockeyes was about 1/2 mile downstream. About 30 minutes later, the same bear came strolling down the beach stopping every 10 feet or so to look in the water. She never even looked at us as we stood in the water 30 feet away. About an hour later a black bear with two white spots on its chest also came by. We also saw a number of eagles and fox. Between the sockeye bar and Jim's Landing we stopped at islands to wade fish for rainbows with beads as well as float. Fred was constantly changing the size and color of our beads to correspond to whether we were fishing in the wake of sockeye or king salmon spawning beds. This section of the river yielded an equal number of rainbow and dolly varden. After we turned at Jim's Landing and headed into the Kenai Canyon, Fred changed us all to flesh flies and we focused on deep eddies, runs,pools, backwaters where the flesh from decomposing sockeyes would be swirling. The switch to the flesh fly reduced the number of dollies we would have on,but increased the size of the rainbows. The average size prior to the canyon seemed to be around 18" with a few larger ones into the twenties. In the canyon the average was 22-23 inches with quite a few in the upper 20's. The largest we landed was 28". We had on a few which looked to be over 30" either when they jumped, got tangled in a snag or in one my wife had on, decided to jump over the my line before I had a chance to reel in and subsequently went under the drift boat and jumped over one of the boy's line. We always had great fun when we had two or more fish of significance on at the same time. Fred seemed to have as much fun as we did in those instances. At one juncture, Eric and Jason both had on what ended up being virtually twin 27" rainbows and it would have been quite a "rodeo" to watch as they switched sides, went over and under one another's rods, climbed over Fred's lap while all the time Kathy and I tried to just stay out of the way and not get knocked into the water my two rambunctious teenagers. At the same time we entered one of the many series of rapids on the river, but somehow Fred managed to get us to shore past the rapids and landed both trout. The Kenai Canyon is quite a gorgeous area with quite a variety of fishing water. When one emerges from the canyon there is the last 1/2 mile or so in whi
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