Lake Clark is home to many different species of fish, and all of them are only a short boat ride away from the lodge.
The Aquarium pool.
The water was a deep turquoise color and glassy calm, as we touched down in the super cub on floats, and idled into the shallows. We hopped off the floats into the water, and surprised to feel it was warm. We unhooked our kayaks from the plane and headed for the shore, getting excited for the trip that was in store. The rest of the group had arrived before us, and were taking turns pumping up the raft, and making a few casts at the outlet of the lake. This was going to be a great day! It was my first time descending a river in a Kayak in Alaska, and I was stoked. Soon we were on our way, down the river/creek, which would eventually dump into Lake Clark. The first part was quite slow, with the depth of water only inches in spots, but it was beautiful. The mountains still held a bit of snow, creating a wonderful contrast to the dark green alders and trees, and the cool blue water. A picture perfect afternoon on the river. It wasn’t long before there were grayling surfacing all around, so we dismounted from our kayaks and raft, and began to fish, and what awesome fishing it was.
Standing above the “Aquarium Pool”, drifting dry flies and spinners through the hole, they couldn’t resist it. Grayling unlike most trout come out of the water and take a fly as they come back down, rather than sucking it from below, which gets the water almost boiling with action. The takes are never subtle, giving a good fight with aerials and twists, rivaling many trout displays. Although a big grayling would be twenty inches, they make up for their size with fight, and also quite often get overlooked when fishing in Alaska. We enjoyed every fish that we caught, and even kept a couple for dinner. However a late start in the afternoon, and a meeting time at the mouth of the river, kept us from spending more time there, but it was time well spent.
We then began our descent upon the main body of the river. Although probably considered only class one white water, it was rapids nonetheless, and I relished every moment, even the moments of anguish when a detour led to shoving and sliding across gravel, quite laboriously, to regain the swift flow. I even lost a fight to a tree, while trying to lift a branch out of the way. Needless to say the branch didn’t move, but I did, and ended up upside down. Thankfully, many hours on the lake and in the pool, practicing, paid off. With a mere swish of the paddle and a snap of the hip and I was topside again, only slightly colder. It was only a few miles, and we were at the lake. The second half of the group was waiting for us, and had caught several grayling and lake trout already. We had quite a full load of people in the boat on the return trip, but there were smiles all around, with another great weekend evening spent enjoying each others company and catching fish.