by Ron Hayes – Owner, Alaska Rainbow Lodge
KEEPING IN TOUCH….
I’ve been making calls to my customer base these past few months. This is something I do every off-season. Mostly to visit and hear how everyone’s doing, partly to put a bee in your bonnet about making a trip to Alaska Rainbow Lodge this summer and partly to listen to your feedback on your trip so I can improve my fishing program. If you didn’t get a voicemail or call in the past month and a half that means your number has changed and I couldn’t reach you by phone. Id’ sure like to hear from anyone who wants to reminisce about their trip with me.
Not only phone calls – I sent out an email asking you to write a review on our Trip Advisor page a few weeks ago. I used every email I could find. And I found out that there were quite a few that came back as undeliverable. The email address was no good. Darn, I really hate losing touch with my fisherman! To those of you who took the time to write a little something about your trip, thanks you. I find myself using the trip advisor site to check out places I’m going, so I know the value of your opinion and appreciate your time to share your views with anglers looking to go fishing in Bristol Bay and particularly with Alaska Rainbow Lodge.
I’m working on another segment to my stories. When I’m cleaning up the language in the stories, I usually recall that I had some old photos to go with the story I’m talking about. I have a lot of photos, I have boxes from my hunting days sitting in storage, just deteriorating away. Kind of like me, come to think of it.
So who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? I learned how to use a scanner. And I learned how to put my scanned photos on my computer. And I even learned how to find the darn things after I scanned and put them on my computer. Believe me, that was a real learning curve for an old dog. So I’ve been digging through those old pictures, every once in a while I laugh out loud and long when I run across an especially meaningful shot. My wife, Sharon, gives me that look when that happens, so I’ve leaned to tone it down just a bit. But you’ll see some of the results of my photo scanning on my stories. I think you’ll enjoy these old photos as much as I do.
THE SALMON RUNS OF THE KVICHAK AND ALAGNAK RIVER SYSTEMS
Salmon runs on the Kvichak and Alagnak River include all five types of Pacific Salmon – King, Chum, Sockeye, Silver and Pink Salmon. This is very unusual since most rivers of Bristol Bay only support one, two, or three species of Salmon. We are fortunate-our home river, the Kvichak, along with the Alagnak, have an abundance of all five species, which includes the largest Salmon run in the world, the sockeye. Sport Fishing, commercial fishing and subsistence fishing are all allowed on the Kvichak and Alagnak rivers.
In addition to huge runs of Salmon. the Kvichak and the Alagnak Rivers are popular fly-in location for the world’s prized trophy rainbow trout. It’s hard to describe the experience of intense action hooking into wild rainbow trout. Strong and acrobatic, these beautiful fish take to the air multiple times, many times shaking off your fly. This is what makes for those great fish stories about the one that got away. Coloration varies from stream to stream on these wild fish. One stream might have ‘bows that have lots of spots(Leopard Rainbow), another stream they have bright red stripes, another and you’ll see chrome silver with very light pink stripes.
The subsistence fishing on the Alagnak and Kvichak rivers is for locals only. During the summer, resident Alaskans set up camps at favorite locations where they net the salmon for smoking. Salmon harvested is a primary food source for subsistence users. Generations of Alaskans use the same summer camp and the same methods season to season.
The biggest run of Bristol Bay salmon in 20 years is projected to slam nets and reach spawning grounds in 2015, presenting a bounty for commercial fishermen and a challenge for processors.The Alaska Department of Fish and Game last week forecast a Bristol Bay run of 54 million sockeye. That’s up by more than 50 percent over the long-term average of 32 million, biologists said.
Read the recent article at the Alaska Dispatch News for this year’s upcoming Salmon forecast.