This was our second trip to Kodiak, since we had a blast fishing the island in 2007, we booked our tickets early to ensure a spot on the plane and for our accomodations. Gil C., Harris G., Charles W., Gil’s Uncle and myself journeyed to the land of famous Grizzly bear to sample some Coho fair. In 2007 we fished several river systems including: American, Olds, Pashagshak, Sultry, and the Buskin. Catching Dolly Varden and Coho salmon were the usual fair. This year was a much different year, we had planned to go up a week later in the season, but somehow we must have missed the peak of the run, as based on the fish weir counts at the guaging staion. It appeared that the Coho peaked around the first week of September and we were a couple of weeks late! There were still some fish to be found, but they seemed to be extremely turned off with our offerings and were not good biters at all. To add to this it was a slug fest of fish lining and combat fishing at its finest. Not something that we were too thrilled about after spending money, time and effort. We could have stayed in Washington to combat fish for a few fish on the Buskin. It is always odd that it usually takes a few days until we figured things out. The second to the last day, we finally found fish and were somewhat alone, except for the numerous Grizzlies that were around. It had been a very weak run of Sockeye and Pink Salmon, and forced many bears down to the lower elevations seeking their fair share. I would expect that many bears didn’t survive that winter with the lack of food. We saw then at the garbage dumps, in the street, in the rivers, on the beaches. We probably sighted a dozen bears during our visit. On one particular day we were able to get very close, within 10 feet, from above, watching the bear eating a salmon. Salonie Creek, a river halfway between DT Kodiak and the Pashagshak did hold a good number of Coho that were in a nice pool and run at low tide. They were waiting for the incoming tide and the cover of darkness to make their way up the rest of the river to spawn. What worked was #5 split shot with a heavier weighted fly. I was using a size 4 conehead egg sucking leech in black. A nice place to stay was Bev’s Bed and Make your darn breakfast, a duplex with the owner’s living above. Bev sold the business to the Lyman’s. John and Bronwyn who took care of us, stocked the fridge with breakfast foods, full TV, DVD separate rooms, several bathrooms, deep freezer, vacuum packer, smoker and covered patio. Very nicely located and reasonable rates. The second to the last day, we also had some vandals damage our beloved Ford van. While it was parked on the driveway, someone thought it’d be funny to throw a rock on the door, or perhaps aiming for the window. We had kept our rods inside the van, and it was likely they were targeting our gear while we slept. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to Kodiak but the good experiences of 2007 and some decent fishing in 2008 made it a memorable time indeed.
Kodiak, Alaska: Sept. 16-20, 2008