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|09-05-2015, 02:41 AM||#1|
Ruby Red Lip
Join Date: Mar 2013
Clearwater Arctic Greyling!
So we were given a day off today because of Labor Day! My friends Chris, Tyler, Jesse, and Hunter decided to head off to the Clearwater State Rec Site in search of monstrous Arctic Greyling! Now usually, greyling are usually smaller in stature, but there are spaces around AK that have monstrous greyling around. We left base around 6am and got to the launch around 7, stepping out onto the launch and staring out over that water put me at peace, and for a moment, the chill morning air didn't make me shiver. We loaded up our two canoes (Chris and Tyler to one, Jesse, Hunter, and myself to the other) and pushed off from the bank making our way slowly upstream.
All was well for us as we rounded our first couple of bends...until we decided to stop and push along the canoe because it was so shallow. We pushed it until we came to a particularly deep/fast-moving stretch of the river so pushed up against the bank to plan our next move. It was simple: get on the canoe, balance out and cross to the other side where Chris and Tyler were. We barely made it to the middle before a strong current came and tilted us just enough to knock two of us out! I felt the icy water rush down into my chest waders, filling them up to my waist! But there wasn't any time to panic, because Jesse somehow managed to stay in there! Hunter and I hung on to opposite side of the canoe and swam the canoe over the bank where we took a quick head count and equipment check before planning on. We had only lost an oar, and we were lucky none of the fly rods went overboard! Despite the water in my waders now freezing my thighs, feet, calves, and male "extremities" I grabbed the bow of the canoe and led us along the bank, grabbing onto trees and shucking the canoe forward until we could reach a calm spot. We navigated the next few spots with ease until I started losing feeling in my toes...but then that loss of sensation was filled with pain as an icy-stabbing feeling permeating my feet. At this point Chris and Tyler were way ahead of us and were waiting at a dead-spot in the next straight-away with a couple of beers in hand.
After some rigorous paddling and whining, we came to a wide/deep section of the river. Chris and Tyler were about 25ft ahead of us when we heard his Texas accent scream, "HOLY SH*T WHAT THE *%$#?!" Passing between our two canoes was a school of +40 greyling dwarfing the size of any we had caught previously. We paddled as hard as our failing back muscles would allow and made it to some gravel bottom so we could practically fall out once more to throw some flies at them. With no luck here, we boarded our canoes and made our way about 50yds upstream before Hunter, Jesse, and I decided to beach our canoe and try our luck here while Tyler and Chris floated up and down stream trying to hook into some. After minutes of standing in the water my feet began to freeze up again so I made my way to the bank and threw myself onto dry land. Hunter had beaten me up there and was already taking off his socks to let them dry. As we jumped around on the bank in an attempt to fight off the cold, Jesse was still dry and waist deep in the river casting a spinner bait the toward the far bank and letting it drift before a nice slow retrieve. As I looked up from focusing on massaging blood into my feet, I saw Jesse set the hook on a HOSS greyling!! This was Jesse's first taste of Alaska fishing and he didn't know why we were freaking out over his fish, but after some old pictures of past greyling, he immediately knew what all the fuss was about.
For hours after that we sat on the bank, waiting for more fish to run upstream to our cast-able area, but no luck so we made a fire to dry off our wet clothing and sat down to another well-deserved beer. After we were contently buzzed and dry, we put out the fire, got back into our canoes and drifted back down the river hoping to bring a greyling out of the depths! No luck all the way back to the launch so we decided to detour and pass the launch to fish an open area with a lot of topwater hits from greyling. I was beyond ready to leave at this point, but I wasn't going to do so without first having one of these greyling on the end of my line! So after an hour of misses by the fish, pulling the fly away, cursing, freezing my toes once again, and hooking into tree-bass I finally hooked into my greyling! I had noticed him rising to take mosquitoes from one spot so I switched up my fly, got the whip going and cast out upstream so I could drift the fly right down to his mouth. As I waited with anticipation and a full bladder, the greyling sure enough decided to rise up the fly and attack! For such a small fish these little guys love to flair that top fin and give it their all in the fast water! After some quick pictures and hook removal I let my first monster greyling slip back into the icy Clearwater River. The last person to hook up to a greyling that day would be Chris. At this time, Chris has landed a whopping +10 tree-bass and was working his fly rod like there was no tomorrow....because I wasn't going back. He moved into the spot where I was casting from earlier and made a beautiful cast while on the phone with Hunter--who was back at the truck. As soon as he hung up the phone Chris' fly disappeared underwater and he was in! After a quick fight, I grabbed a phone to take some pictures for Chris!
In total, we only landed 3 greyling, but we wouldn't have traded this trip for anything! Sorry I wrote a novel, but what can I say? I had fun!
Bro! You'll never catch fish off the back of the boat--Famous last words of Sawyer Martin.
|09-05-2015, 11:39 PM||#2|
Join Date: Sep 2014
Great report! Reminds me of reading Field and Stream when just a lad.
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