John from Soldotna and his son were fishing near us so I asked for expert advice. He showed me what to do, even had me stand where he was catching fish, and told me where to cast. I hooked two salmon but didn’t land them. I cranked too much instead of dragging them to shore. Randy snagged two and hooked 11 but no landing.
Then later in the afternoon, a guy from Anchorage gave us pointers. He stood next to Randy and showed him how to pull the line across the salmon’s mouth. You need polarized glasses to see the fish in the river.
Each day we learn a little more thanks to all the nice people showing us how to catch these darn salmon. I kept getting caught on the rocks so we stopped at Kenai Cache and bought more tackle; have to use Russian flies on this river to catch salmon.
Today's the day--hopefully! Got up at 6:00 so we could go out fishing early. We didn’t have any line to tie up the fish we plan on catching so stopped at Kenai Cache again. Got out to the spot that John showed us yesterday. Talked to the men fishing by the steps where you come down from the trail.
Randy landed one shortly after we started fishing—Hurray! He cut the gills so it bled out and tied it to a rock along the shore.
Then a large grizzly came down the same steps right into the river—about 20-30 feet from where we were standing. The men by the steps yelled, but I didn’t hear them and didn't see the bear. Randy and I are in the middle of the river, and I have a real problem walking on the slippery rocks.
I was in the middle of the river, casting toward the deeper calm part where the fish swim up, when I looked up and there was a black bear looking at me from the edge of the bank. This time I slowly backed up, turned around to yell bear to the other people, and very quietly got to the bank. The five people all grab their cameras to try to get the bear’s picture. The bear just turned around and went back into the woods. I was so concerned with getting to shore that I didn't even get a good picture.
Couldn’t see any more salmon for quite some time so when the five people were leaving, we walked out with them. We felt much safer being around a lot of people with all these bear. Sure is much scarier than seeing them from a car.
Finally, after four days of learning the techniques to catch salmon, we’re going to have fresh salmon for dinner. Sure was fun being on the river! The bear encounters were not fun at the time, but it sure makes a good fishing story now.
Fishing & Bear Encounters on Russian River
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Cooper Landing, Alaska, United States