The Heat of Spring in Alaska

We are basking in the heat of spring here in Alaska. At least it feels like heat after several months of record snowfalls and low temperatures in several locations. It’s wonderful to walk on dry pavement in sunny temperatures of over 40 degrees. My dogs and I are both ecstatic at anything above freezing. Even the 70+ sunny days in July are hard-pressed to compare to the feeling of sunny spring “heat” in Alaska.

We did get out a couple weeks ago to try and reduce the population of trout-and-salmon-eating pike in asmall lake across the Big Susitna River. We had a great, sunny day and 12 of us enjoyed the day. Of course, that means we didn’t do too well catching pike. Perhaps the heavy snow still covering the lake limited the light filtering down to activate the pike. For whatever reason, they were not biting so we caught just a few.

March 2012 - Lookin' for Pike

We planned to go again this week, but the onset of spring foiled our plan. The Su is not (safely) crossable according to those who live there, so we’re done across the river for the winter. We have made alternate plans to fish a local lake for trout. With forecasts calling for 50-degree, sunny weather, it is bound to be very enjoyable, regardless of the number of trout we catch.;

Fishing in the Valley

I tried the Kepler Bradley lake sytem here in the Matanuska Valley yesterday. Every lake I visited had visible spawning trout near shore; 14-24″ range. One lake had 70-80 visible from one spot in a 100′ circle. Fun to see them. These were even feeding, surprising so close to spawning time. I hooked half a dozen in less than an hour and released all of them. Now’s the time to get out and enjoy the weather and open water fishing in Alaska.

View From a One-person Cataraft

Valley Lakes are Opening

As I write this, I should be in the Alaska outdoors – casting into the recently opened edges of our Matanuska Valley lakes. Virtually all of them have at least 20-30 feet of open water along the edges, some much more. The first ones to go like Finger, Kepler/Bradley, and Lucille would even have enough water for a small cataraft or canoe (I have both).  Each year I plan to spend more time fishing in Alaska right now, so tomorrow afternoon I’m going.

Spinners work, of course, but nymphs are great terminal tackle for both fly rods and spinning rods. Bead head nymph patterns like a gold ribbed hare’s ear or prince nymphs are two of the best around here. Trolling or retrieving them behind a split shot with a spinning rod or fly casting and just letting them settle naturally can be deadly on trout or landlocked salmon in our 80+ stocked lakes in the Valley. See you there tomorrow.

rainbow from a cataraft
Early season rainbow fishing