Alaska 2010 Trip Report (aka Fish-apalooza)

alaska landscape image

© Kurt Budliger Photography

Well it’s been a week or so since I returned from Alaska and this trip report is long overdue.  In a word Alaska is simply awesome.   It’s awesome on every level and if you’ve never been there you owe it to yourself to go.  The scenery is awe inspiring, the landscape is rugged, the rivers wild and pristine, the summer light is magical and the fishing is simply second to none.  This trip was primarily a fly fishing adventure but as always I worked in as much photography as possible.  Actually, I’ve been dedicating a lot more of my outdoor photography time the past couple of years to shooting fly fishing images and this trip resulted in some nice additions to the portfolio.

I met a good friend in Cantwell, AK (just south of Denali National Park) and we based our excursions out of his cabin which is located off the Denali Highway.  It’s really nice to have a warm dry place away from the bugs to crash at the end of a long day, many of which were rather cool and damp.  It being early summer our primary target  was Chinook or King salmon, big rainbows, and arctic grayling.  There had been lower than expected returns of Kings in many of the rivers of central Alaska this year, combined with later than normal runs which resulted in a lot of river closures and reduced bag limits.  Although we didn’t find as many rainbows as we hoped for there were lots of eager Kings to play with as well as a bunch of spunky grayling.

Here’s a few highlights:

– sunrise 3:30 AM, sunset 12:30 AM, average length of day 21 hours

– weather ran the gamut, one day topped out at 84 F while several struggled to get higher than 46 F

– fished the East and Middle forks of the Chulitna River, Byers Creek, Indian River, Jack River and little tundra stream called Fish Creek

– tons of Kings hooked, many landed with one of the bigger fish measuring 46inches and approx. 40lbs

– broken backing resulting in lost fish and lost line

– 4 hours later retrieved line while fishing another hole several hundred yards down stream, fish still attached

– sight fished to several big rainbows on Byers Creek, largest landed was 22 inches

– epic dry fly fishing for arctic grayling the Jack River, multiple fish in the 17-18 inch range

– didn’t get chased by a bear this time although we found fresh bear tracks in the river mud on several occasions

– 3 moose and too many bald eagles to count

– cold Alaskan brew, especially fond of the smoked porter

– lots of quality time spent with old friends

And of course the photos, here’s a handful of the keepers from the trip although I’m still editing.

alaska landscape image

© Kurt Budliger Photography

alaska landscape image

© Kurt Budliger Photography

alaska fly fishing photography king salmon

© Kurt Budliger Photography

alaska fly fishing photography

© Kurt Budliger Photography

alaska fly fishing photography king salmon

© Kurt Budliger Photography

alaska fly fishing photography

© Kurt Budliger Photography

alaska fly fishing photography king salmon

© Kurt Budliger Photography

alaska fly fishing photography

© Kurt Budliger Photography

alaska fly fishing photography

© Kurt Budliger Photography

alaska fly fishing photography

© Kurt Budliger Photography

alaska float plane image

© Kurt Budliger Photography

alaska fly fishing photography king salmon

© Kurt Budliger Photography

alaska landscape image

© Kurt Budliger Photography

alaska fly fishing photography

© Kurt Budliger Photography

alaska fly fishing photography

© Kurt Budliger Photography

alaska fly fishing photography king salmon

© Kurt Budliger Photography

alaska fly fishing photography arctic grayling

© Kurt Budliger Photography

alaska landscape image

© Kurt Budliger Photography

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~ by kurtbudliger on July 27, 2010.

One Response to “Alaska 2010 Trip Report (aka Fish-apalooza)”

  1. You are amazing. I love the Fish-a-palooza 2010 photos. D

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