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Archive for July, 2011

Pathfinder with Kassidy and Tristy

We may start sounding redundant when we talk about taking kids out fishing and hunting and the importance of doing so.

“Passion does not arrive on videotape or on a CD; passion is personal. Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young, it travels along grass- stained sleeves to the heart. If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.— Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, 2005

It was awesome to see Kassidy and Tristy light up as they reeled in fish after fish and contemplate touching the slimy things.  By the end of the day they were measuring, weighing and discussing fish.  Tristy even picked one up that had been gutted!!

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Popo Agie

Snow, snow and more snow. Much more snow than we have ever seen before. The mosquitos were pretty numerous too, but good ol’ deet does the trick. If anyone ever tries to sell you some other product to keep mosquitos away, DON’T FALL FOR IT. We decided to try three different alternatives to deet this trip; 1. citronella bracelette, 2. skin patch, 3. buzz off bandanas. None of them even came close to keeping the bugs away. We even had all three going at the same time and still the only thing that worked was the deet.

We stayed the first night at Tomohawk lake and caught severl brook trout for breakfast before heading for Thumb Lake a several hundred feet above.
As far as the fishing, it was more like being in the mountains in June, the fishing was somewhat slow. On the upside, Michelle hooked her first ever golden trout; although it got off just before landing it 🙁

It is still always good to get the backpacks on and live in the wilderness for a few days! On the way back to the trail head, we ran into some friends of ours from Casper, Ken and Amber Christianson.





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Fish Lake…and other mountain camps

Top 10 reasons to spend your days off in the mountains!
1.  Cooler temperatures. In our 90+ degree mid summer pattern life gets to dragging by, lethargy takes over drive and everyone gets cranky.
2.  Have the area to yourself. You don’t have to go to the same place as everyone else. There hundreds of square miles in the State of Wyoming and only 600,000 people; who all seem to congregate in the same 10 places.

3.  Quiet. As the day passes the most peaceful sounds surround you when you are in the mountains; birds, lapping water, breeze through the trees… And at night- silence.
4.  Great fishing. Often the less pressure a fishery has the easier it is to catch fish. Throw out a fly or even power bait and catch yourself a tasty breakfast.
5.  No services. Are we really better off with Internet and TV everywhere we go? We lived without these for most of our lives and what a nice time to live without during our down time.
6.  Cooking over a fire. It takes time to get good at making sure you have just the right amount of hot coals under your meal, but if you spend all your off time around the fire you will get good fast!
7.  Wild flowers. With the exception of the drive to Pathfinder, you will be hard pressed to find as much color around the well used areas for weekend goers. In the mountains, however, the flowers abound and the varieties are endless.
8.  Milky Way. No, not the candy bar. When we spend our evenings around city lights or campground lights we miss the endless stars our sky shines down on us. In the mountains you can see satelites, planets, the space station and even galaxies!!
9.  Hiking. Exploration is one of the more enjoyable ‘do nothing’ activities. Climb a hill and look back; you may be amazed at what you see and where your mind takes you.
10.  Mosquitoes. Ok, not the best part but look back at this list.  Pretty good trade off, eh?  And if you bring the deet you will have no problems 🙂


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Middle Fork

It was about a month later then usual but the fishing was fantastic. With all the above average snowpack and late spring the river was running like it usually does in late June not late July. Fishing was a bit slow from 8:30 till 10:00 on this morning,  but once the sun warmed the water the fish got more active and started hitting big dryflys.  It was one fish after another from 10:00 until 3:00 when arms were sore and a rough hour and a half hike back down the river and up the canyon trail to get back to the 4 Wheeler was still needed to make it back to civilization.

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Halibut fishing

Our good friend, Allen Dodd, is a captain in Alaska.  He lives here is Casper during the winter and guides for Halibut and Salmon out of Ninilchik in the summer.  When we started planning this Alaskan adventure last fall, one of our first calls was to Allen.  We asked him to let us know when he thought the best fishing would be and we booked our vacation around those dates.  He sure hit the nail on the head!  We fished two days with Allen and his deck hand, Zack.  The trip was amazing, not only was the fishing phenominal, we had a great time with Allen and Zack.  On the first day we reeled in nearly 20 halibut.  Michelle caught an 81 pounder and Geoff brought a 79 pound halibut onto the boat.  On day two it was rainy most of the day but calm waters. As soon as the tide slowed we started catching nice fish. Erik caught an irish lord that he gave to Mary for bait and she pulled in a 72 pound halibut. Michelle caught a big cod and used it as bait to lure in a 120 pounder! Gordon and Erik each reeled in very nice fish and we ended up quiting early due to too many pounds of fish for the trip home 🙂 Overall a truly incredible trip!




Kenai King Salmon fishing

We were disappointed when we found out that our guide, Aaron Cooper, had a torn achilles tendon and was not going to be fishing for a few months.  We fished with Aaron in 2008 and he is a great guide and a great person!  He let us know well in advance of his situation and set us up with another guide service, Early Fishing.  The averave time spent on the river has been estimated at 20 hours per king caught.  We expected the day to be long and knew our chances of boating a big king were slim.  We had seen several fish caught around us and our hopes soared a bit knowing we were in a good spot.  About 20 minutes into the day, Mary hooked into a fish.  It took more than 10 minutes to land him and it turned out he was a 40 pound king!  This is how our trip went last time as well.  Erik hooked a king right off the bat and then we spent 8 hours in vain trying to get another fish in the boat.  We began to think that we were in store for another similar day.  We caught up with Geoff a little later (he was in another boat) and found out that he had braught in an 18 pound king.  As the day wore on our hopes dwindled.  Just before the day was ended our guide, Tyson, took us back up river a little closer to camp.  We had about 20 minutes left in the day.  About 5 minutes into that hole, Michelle got a good hard hit, but the fish didn’t stick.  Then Gordon hooked into a king and the fight was on.  Between Gordons steady reeling and Tyson’s driving, he got her to the boat within 6 minutes.  His king weighed in at 41 pounds!  Not many people can say they caught a king that day on the Kenai and for our group of 5 to bring in 3 and two as big as they were…..

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After landing in and touring Anchorage we met up with our Kiwi friend, Geoff, and boarded a train to Denali National Park. The evening we arrived we attended an historic dinner theatre with stories and songs about Alaska’s past. Goeff even got to be part of the show when he was called up by a cast member to help act out a Robert Service poem.

We booked a bus tour that would take us as far into the park as was allowed by vehicle. We were hoping to see a lot of wildlife and the tallest mountain on the North American Continent. Only 30% of tourists ever get to see Mt. Mckinley and we were fortunate to see a few parts of the mountain throughout the day, however, it was socked in for most of the time. We did see some wildlife; caribou, dall sheep, moose, red fox and even the elusive lynx.


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