One of the excursions that the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge offered it's guests was fly fishing in the town's Kenai and Russian rivers. My mother and stepdad, Ray, came to visit me while I was working there, and I mentioned this option to Ray, who likes to cast a line or two on the lakes back home in Minnesota. He was excited about the idea, and booked a morning with a local guide through Alaska Troutfitters.
It was an early morning indeed, as we had to meet the guide before 7am. Mom drove us to the designated meeting spot - down a dirt road, because of course it was - and waited until the guide arrived before heading off to do her own thing for the morning. Fishing is, uh, not her thing. As she drove off, our guide handed us waders and galoshes. Once we were suited up, we followed him through the trees to the river.
This being the Kenai Peninsula, it was a murky day. Before moving there, I had never heard that Alaska is ridiculously rainy and drizzly, but...well, it is. I was there for an entire summer, as well as part of both spring and fall...and it was maybe sunny 20% of the time.
But, this being the Kenai Peninsula, it was beautiful even through the mist. The three of us waded into the water, and spent the next several hours casting and recasting our lines.
Our first target of the morning was trout, which we have in Minnesota but the nutrients available to the fish in Alaska mean the fish are much larger. In fact, a lot of animals are larger in Alaska. We also have moose in Minnesota, but whenever I saw them in Alaska I was floored with how much bigger they seemed to be. Anyways, our first bait was used to lure in trout. And guess who took the first fish of the day? (Hint: I type this with a smirk. That our guide did not share, look how unenthused he is).
My luck continued as the morning went on and we switched from trout to salmon bait. Apparently Sockeye salmon sleep in, because it took a few hours for them to start appearing in the water. They're such brightly colored fish though, so it was easy to see them making their through the glacially-fed river. At one point there were so many around our legs that we didn't even need to use a lure, we just scooped them up with the net. We released everything, of course. It was such a fun morning spent in the cold river under the shadows of the mountains. Or at least there would have been shadows, had it been even remotely sunny.
And to this day, Ray jokingly complains about how many more fish I caught than him. "Girl babies aren't supposed to be better than their dads at fishing!" (He's a good feminist folks, no worries over the joke).