Anticipation of the upcoming Sockeye run has been getting me excited. The freezer, now devoid of last year’s catch and sitting unplugged awaits. Set netting these critters opened legally on June 1st and will close again on the 15th for six long weeks in order to protect the mishap harvesting of the rarer and rarer King Salmon. Just because the season is open, does not mean neccesarilly that the fish are actually running. Truth be told, after spending a number of hours attending the net at various points along the mighty Chilkat, I have not brought home a single fish.
Today, I pack the truck with camera gear and fishing gear and head for the hills, as it were. I decide to drive up to 18 mile where the previous winter I had bushwhacked and post holed into the deepening forest to discover a Salmon stream where Bears had their way with many a Salmon, judging from the months’ old Chum carcasses Lying about. Today, I wanted to see if there were any signs of both Bear and Salmon in this very spot. Once again, I bushwhack into the now overgrown and spooky, and potentially Bear populated forest, bound for said creek. Soon I am billowing through five foot tall grasses and thickets, talking to myself and singing softly in hopes of deterring any Bear encounters. Soon I am at the splendid little creek, running clear and strong. No fish. No signs of Bear. I make my way back to the truck and head north.
This time, I aim to get to the braided confluence of the Klehini and Chilkat river’s where I had fished last year for Coho. At that time, I had seen the biggest Grizzly tracks of my life there and felt a presence of great and large beasts around me. Today, after sifting through the maze of dirt roads in the area, I come to the place where I take off on foot to inspect what the creatures are up to. As expected, I see large Brown (Griz) Bear prints. There are two sets, a mother and adolescent cub I believe. I bounce back to the truck and meander along a series of dirt roads not previously traveled by me, and soon the highway comes round again and it is decided to head up to Dalton Cache at the Canadian Border where there is a beautiful pond next to the Haines Highway and often portraying a pair of Swans I hope to shoot footage of.
Heading up the highway, I spy magnificent views of the peaks of the upper Chilkat and Boundary ranges. The Jarvis Glacier comes to view and I marvel at it’s presence. The clouds have parted just enough to cast an epic nature on the scene unfolding.
I feel blessed, and the underlying nature of these mountains and glaciers become me once again. Summer is unfolding and the Bear and the Salmon are just now emerging in an unstoppable and exponential fashion. It is a glorious time of year in Alaska…