Here's a shot of my son with the Kodiak Brown Bear in the background. After this sighting our evening of fishing was over as the bear was in the same hole that we wanted to fish at. So we just took photos and left him alone to enjoy.
On the evening of July 13, 2005 my son and I went to the Pumphouse Hole on the Buskin River and we were treated to a fantastic show of a Kodiak Brown Bear trying his luck at fishing. He was probably a 3 year-old and didn't seem to have any fishing skills except stealing fish. He stole one fish from the river banking that a fisherman had caught. After he ate that one he did try his luck at fishing and couldn't catch one even though there were probably more than 100 Red Salmon swimming in the same hole with him.
There are several spots along the river that the world famous Kodiak Bear shows him/herself during the salmon season. The first one is located at the Broken Bridge which is also know as Bridge #1. But don't go there expecting to see a bridge because it's long gone!! hhahaha The trail to get there is located about 125 yards back up the road from the public toilet located near the beach. You will see a sign at the end of the long parking lot. I haven't seen any bears in this spot but I have seen fresh Bear Scat along the trail so I know they frequent the area. Many of my friends have seen the bears. It seems like high tide is a good time as it brings in a fresh batch of salmon. If you don't like the look of slugs and bear poop please don't enlarge the photo......
Here is a shot of my son fishing for Silver Salmon with an 8 Weight fly rod. Some people prefer a 10 weight for the added control of the strong acrobatic Silver salmon. But unless you want to land each and every fish that you hook up with a 6 weight is a great way to fish for Silvers. That is what I use with either a floating line or a sinking tip. I've had great results with either in the Buskin as it's not that deep of a river. There are many fly patterns that work well on the Buskin River including the Egg Sucking Leech, Supervisor being two of my favorites then I have a couple of others that I tie myself that don't really have names but work very well!
At most times of the year you can spot Bald Eagles in the trees along the river. In the months of January -March you can see groups of 20 or more of them hanging around looking to spot a fish in the river.
At the mouth of the Buskin River you'll quite often see families walking their dogs as it's a great spot to go for a walk especially at low tide. Duke loves to smell the dead fish!! hahaha My old dog Sha-sha used to go here so she could roll in the dead fish! She would wonder why she couldn't come in the house after doing this!?! haha
The fish weir is set up at 2 different spots on the river and at different times of the run. Sometimes it is set up at "Bridge 2" which is found at the first right on the Buskin Access road. The other spot is right at the headwaters of the river at the lake. It can be quite interesting to talk with the technicians that count the fish and keep track of what is happening on the river. There is a gate that is opened several times per day the technician counts every fish that goes through and keeps a tally. If there is a low "Escapement" then the river could be closed to sport fishing! this year we had a huge run of all species of salmon on the Buskin River so the Upper River which is usually closed to fishing from August 15 - September 15 to allow salmon to "escape" and spawn. Well this year it opened up a couple days early because of such a large return of salmon. So us salmon fisherman were quite happy!! There ended up with an escapement of over 23,000 Red Salmon on the Buskin River. The average is only 12,000 on the Buskin and that is what makes it through to the Lake to Spawn!! It doesn't count the thousands that are caught by sport fisherman, Subsisitence fishman and the commercial fisherman with big boats! There are hundreds of rivers like this in Alaska!! There was an "Escapement" of over 13,000 Silver Salmon. For more information you can check out this informational Website put up by the Alaska Deptarment of Fish and Game. http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/statewide/SF_home.cfm
As you walk through the park you will come upon many patches of Salmon Berries!! Late July and Early August are the best times to find the Sweet, Ripe Berries!! Bring a bowl and fill it up or just eat'em right off the vine!
I've been emailed several times asking if they taste like Salmon.....Well No they taste like a cross between Raspberries and and strawberries....but a bit different. You'll have to try them yourself someday. They range from the Coastal areas of Northern California all the way through western Canada up to Alaska. But I think our Alaskan variety is sweeter due to the longer daylight hours that we have here. I never go hungry when i'm out fishing as I snack on Salmon Berries as I walk along the river.
Roasting Marshmallow over hot coals is a yummy treat. First of all you have to find some sticks that are still "Green" So that they won't catch on fire. Then sharpen the tips so they are nice and pointy. They should be at least 2 feet long so you burn the hair off your knuckles!! haha I can see you ladies checking your knuckles now....I won't say any names.....Just kidding!!
Then put one or two Marshmallows onto the stick and hold them a few inches from the hot coals and slowly turn them until golden brown then eat them. If you use flame instead of the coals you will increase your chances if turning your marshmallow into a flaming ball!!! If you are with young kids make sure they don't fling one of these flaming balls at another kid!!! They can be quite dangerous!! And make sure the flame is out before putting one in your mouth!! hahaha That would hurt like heck!!
Right at the mouth of the Buskin River there are lot's of nice smooth flat rocks that make great skipping stones...sometimes if the fish aren't biting my son and I will skip rocks until my should feels like it's going to fall off! My record is 27 skips including little pitty pats!!
When the salmon are running good I always run into friends at different spots on the Buskin River! Here are my good friends Randy, Nick and Godfrey. They are also on my basketball team. We just won the Christmas Tournament (2003) in the Open Division so these guys have helped me add several trophies to my display case over the years!
There are some Lunkers that run up the Buskin River and my son was lucky enough to latch onto one of them this past August. He caught this on my 8 wt fly rod using a #6 Supervisor fly. It was quite a battle for him as I was down stream about 200 yards. I could see him fighting with with it.....The fish would run down river and then back up river.....I thought about going to help but ......figured he could handle it just fine....which he did!! He was proud as could be to be dragging this 20 LB Salmon down the beach to show me!! And of course just as proud to drag it all the way back up the beach to the truck as everyone had to come and check it out!!
Here in Kodiak fishing is very important to alot of people. Alot of people will catch the salmon in the summer months and freeze, can, or smoke them so they can eat it during the winter months. Here is a shot of my friend Val teaching his kids about fishing!! The excitment of watching a young kid catching his or her first salmon is a pretty fun sight to see!
Here's Jamela enjoying the battle of the salmon vs human......she won this battle and we enjoyed the meal of fresh baked salmon with rice and string beans.....one of my favorite meals!! But I've got lot's of favorites as I like to eat.....ahahaaa
This is the last fighting moment for the salmon. If you fish for the salmon with a lighter tackle as I enjoy doing you will have to fight them for a while as to tire them out. Or they may just pretend to be tired and at the last minute they will fight hard and try to break the line! It's happened to me many times!!
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