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Fishing Juneau
posted by John : September 10-12, 2011


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All's quiet...


For the third year in a row Dad and I headed north for a late summer fishing trip with Uncle Tony in Juneau. Looking at the weather it was rain, rain, rain, rain. Except the three days we were going to be there. It was supposed to be mostly sunny those days. Then more rain, rain, rain, and rain. (And rain.) It's like we brought the sunshine with us and took it away when we left.

Perhaps knowing we planned to abscond with the sun and hold it hostage from Juneau for the next six months, I think our gracious hosts withheld our fair share of fish.

I'll grant you, I'm not a meat fisherman. My fish rule is right near the front of my rulebook. If it comes out of the water, it doesn't go into me. (Except tuna. Tuna comes from a can.) Still, I'd like to catch fish when I go on a fishing trip.

We actually started pretty well. Tony caught a shiny silver on his second cast. I caught one shortly thereafter. With the fish still hooked I asked if we should take it home. I was under orders to bring a few filets home and this would do nicely.

No, no. we don't need to take this one. We'll get lots more and we'll pack up some fresh meat on Monday just before you fly home.

Ok, he's the local expert. He also, apparently, had the power to jinx us completely. Or maybe he was in league with the fish. Whatever. The fish stopped hitting. But surely, this would only be a Saturday morning thing so we retired early and headed home.

Although naps were strongly considered, we instead opted to go site seeing. You know, in a helicopter. We flew out over the Juneau Icefield and landed on the Taku Glacier. Whoa. Seriously coolness.

Dinner. Sleep. Repeat.

We tried one of Tony's other secret spots. Great views. Great trails. Lousy fish.

Nah, not 100% true. There were lots of fish. Lots of stinky, dead and dying fish. Ew. Looks like the bears were having a blast. And quite honestly, I did, too. It's called "fishing," not "catching," after all. I really enjoyed wandering around in the woods always hoping around the corner would be a bear and her cub ripping into a decaying salmon. I mean, we don't carry bear spray for nothing, right?

With a lack of fish climbing on our lines we looked elsewhere. It turns out Juneau is a shroomer's paradise. Tons and tons of mushrooms of all different types. The rainbow colored ones looked like they'd be fruity, but all they did was make my left side go numb. (Don't worry. When I ate the purple one I skated the inner ring of Saturn and then got all feeling back, though now I hear even more voices in my head.) (And no, I didn't eat any mushrooms. Give me some credit. They're fungus for goodness sake! Blech!)

So... few fish. No bears (tracks, but no actual bears). We weren't easy to dissuade, though, so we tried a couple more spots before getting back in time for my annual hike with Mary. Even though we'd done part of the trail before it was well worth a return visit.

Dinner. Sleep. Repeat.

Each morning we'd have a great breakfast courtesy of Aunt Mary Ann who should have been sleeping, but was instead slaving away in the kitchen. Then we'd go to the coffee stand where the high school baristas were skipping their first period class to satisfy our cravings. We returned to the site of our initial, though limited success. Nothing.

We wandered around to the other side. Nothing.

We went upstream on foot. Nothing.

We went upstream by car. Not much. (We did get a couple of dolly vardons and Tony claimed he hooked into a lovely silver in the tiny stream, but do we really believe him? This is the same guy that sends us photos just about every day of the monsters he's catching. "You should have been here yesterday!" Sheesh. Right.

We finally packed it in so we could get back to town, clean up, and get to the airport for our late afternoon flight home. As I lamented the lack of bears a bear crossed the road in front of us. My camera was safely in the trunk so there was no danger of me proving this, but honest. There it was. Ambling across the road and down the bank right to the creek we'd been fishing 10 minutes before! At this point, I realized it would have made a good story to come face to face with Mr. Ursa, but it might also prove to be a life changing event.

After getting cleaned up we tried one last time to get my camera near a bear. The visitor center delivered again, but next time how about you bring it a little closer and make the light is better? K. Thx. Bye.

After three days of fishing and two days of glaciering we said farewell to the blue skies of Juneau and headed home. According to the locals, they also said farewell to the blue skies and have had rain since. I'm just glad we could bring some good weather to the region. Next time I expect to get some fish in return.

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