Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Johnnys Lake 2008

With the weather having taken a fortunate turn the last few days of July and the first week of August- Jeff, Dan, and myself decided to quit wasting time and get out on our annual camping trip to the lake before it soured. Good thing we acted when we did- we caught the last three good days!

This year we decided that bringing kayaks would be the ticket. They would open up a whole new avenue for exploration and photography. Unfortunately- they also added a bunch of weight! This was to be the first run of any significance for the redesigned jet sled and I guess we needed to put it through it's paces. In fairness, the kayaks did little weight wise- it was all of the other stuff we packed along, as well as the additions to the boat (built in fuel tank, floor boards, duel batteries, etc...) So we learned very quickly that travelling at our expected speeds was not going to happen. That was o.k. though- we got to enjoy the ride a little and drink more of the obscene amounts of beer we brought. The weather was nice but as you can see there was a front moving in.

First stop- Johnny's Lake, a segment of the far larger Naknek Lake. We had never really explored this portion and decided it was going to be our first destination. We found numerous creeks loaded with spawning sockeye. Experience tells us that where there are sockeye, trout are usually hanging around. We picked a likely looking stream that would provide a chance not only of catching the trout that would be feeding on the sockeye and their eggs, but may also gives us a photo of a bear or two.

We dumped one of the kayaks in and Jeff went on ahead up the stream. The ripple and waves you see are sockeye scattering from the kayak. This particular stream was loaded with the colorful fish.

Try as I might- I could not produce a rainbow out of this hole. We caught plenty of sockeye and even a few humpies, but the trout were tight lipped.

Aside from the beauty of this stream, there was plenty of sign from feeding bears- and most of the carcasses along the shoreline were pretty fresh. As you can see- the grass along the shore was pretty tall- between four and five feet to be exact- and thick. We knew the sounds of us approaching had most likely chased the bears away. We also knew they would be back! Not long after taking this image the golden brown ears and head of one rose from the grass right across this stream from us! Sorry no photo- we took off!

This must have been the view from the kayaks (which Dan and Jeff were in) as they paddled to deeper water.

Next we went searching for a place to camp. Again Jeff paddled ahead and Dan and I lounged back. Most of the shore of the lake was thick with brush and offered little in the way of a decent campsite. Jeff did find a wide enough stretch of gravel for us to put the tent and make a fire. Right behind camp was a large hill that Jeff ventured up and snapped this photo of Dan arriving at camp.

Though humble, it was home for the night. We were a little leary of the brush being so tight, and not leaving a margin for error, in the event a large, furry, uninvited guest wanted to join us for the evening. But nothing came by save for the wolves howling from the ridge top behind us all night.

The next morning again found Dan catching salmon along the lakes many streams. As fun as it was- we were on the hunt for predator type fish, and a new camp. We found both. Pike was what we were looking for and we happened upon a little island that was higher than most of the surrounding marsh. It would make for a much roomier campsite and also some shelter from the winds that were picking up across the lake.

With the tent pitched and enough firewood collected we began plotting the rest of the days fishing adventure. Jeff wanted to tie up the fly rods and go after the pike with some top water poppers. That sounded like a great idea to me.

In the midst of our preparations these two loons swung by to say hi and welcome us to the neighborhood. There are few things more beautiful than the call of a loon across a northern lake.

Pike is what we were after- and pike is what we caught! We could see them basking in the shallows and sight fishing is a great way to pursue these voracious feeders. I couldn't say how many we caught, but they hit on anything we could throw at them.

We eventually switched to tossing the hardware at them- pike can't resist a flashy spoon or spinner.

Dan was having the time of his life catching and releasing these aggresive fighters.
When Jeff wasn't catching them out of the kayak......he was boating them out of the sled.

We continued on throughout the day and only had one little mishap- when some hack ran over a gravel bar and loaded the pump full of rocks. Not too big a deal, just a couple of bolts and the shoe is off and we dug out the rocks. We made it back to the launch just as the rains came. Great couple of days.

1 comment:

  1. You guy's have all the fun! Great photo's.