Lake Creek Report
Well folks, just got back to work after 7 days floating Lake Creek. We put in at Chelatna and floated all the way to the Yentna. We found Kings only in the last 2-4 miles of river, along with about 908 fishermen tossing huge lures and flies to the limited kings in the river. Some other points
I will post pictures when I get my camera (it is with the rest of my gear in a crate shipped from the float plane service).
- what an amazing river (whoever named it a creek needs to re-evaluate his rating system)
- no bears at all, saw a few tracks but not a single bear
- plenty of mosquitoes though....
- great rainbow fishing, several 30-40 fish days, the largest landed was a 25" inch near the Yenlo confluence
- I had 1 larger on, but he broke off before I could coax him to the net. Such is fly fishing
- The river was challenging enough that I would not recommend it for novice oar-men, but easy enough that we never had any trouble at all. We floated it in 1 man pontoons (3 of us) ranging from a small 9' to a nice 12'
- others we met on the river did have trouble, one novice flipped his 14' raft, loosing gear, oars and soaking his passenger.
- Alaskans are wonderful people, another board member here actually ran into the same group and loaned him their extra oar so they could continue down river, (thanks Travis, good job man!)
- Lots and lots of 2 rated water, probably three 3 rated sections including 1 very long run in the upper canyon, Not difficult, just a very long swim if you did get into trouble.
- Lower river is full of strainers, but I get the impression that this is rather normal.
- I spoke to a couple of biologists working a smolt trap in the upper river, on the day I spoke to therm, they counted 126 smolt, and told me that this time last year, they were counting from 2-3 thousand... but that everything is just running late. They are increasing.
- every time I got out of my raft, I found trash, ranging from full beers, (which I added to our cooler) to broken fishing rods and reels. I collected all the trash I found and had almost as much from others as I had from our 3 man group. No way is this acceptable. People, pick up after your self, don't just leave it in the river for someone else to find. not cool at all man, not cool at all... (ok off the soap box now)
- Great recommendation form the board on the skeeter repellent, "Ben's" is the goods.
- No need for the bear spray.. so I do not know if it works or not
- we were just fly fishing, we had great luck with white bunny leaches, purple egg sucking leaches and back woolly buggers... oh and I found this black fly, great big bead eyes, I named it the "Scratch, after ice age movie squirrel" because that is what it looked like. It worked wonders. Until I lost it under a log on the lower river. I have no idea what it is called, I have never seen anything like it before. I did not even take a picture of it, so I cant try to tie my own version.. oh well
Oh and if any one is floating lake creek, stop on the island just below the canyon, look on the lower end of it for a small wrist band digital camera. One of my partners took off his jacket there and left the camera... Just send the pic's, you can keep the camera for your efforts.
This was my first trip to Alaska, I will be back. I even enjoyed the craft fair in downtown Anchorage on Saturday before we left for the airport. It is where I finally ate some Salmon. Had a salmon quesadilla. Good stuff.
Thanks all for the advice and support. And again, kudos's to Travis for his help when others were in need. Many in the lower 48 would have just left the uneducated stranded. Seriously, good stuff man. And from what I hear, his wife can fish great and cooks a mean grayling too... Lucky guy!
Thanks again, I will post pics as soon as I am able.
Sounds like you had an awesome time, I look forward to the pics!!!
Despite the high water conditions we did well on grayling
and rainbows but no kings. The best fishing was a black wholly bugger with big bead eyes although we had a blast using dry flies on the slower holes! We caught several huge grayling and small rainbows but no bows big enough to brag about. (Wife outfished meÖ. again) We did a 5 day float and if anyone else is doing it I recommend at least a 7 day trip. I didn't expect near that much whitewater and itís definitely not a river to learn how to row a raft on! We did have to help out a few guys who had a little trouble. They didn't recover all of their gear so if anybody has found any Orvis fly rods or dry bags PM me and I'll give you their contact info. They also want to thank the other rafters that helped recover the raft and some of their gear. I have to second Greg on the recommendation about Ben's bug spray. That was the most mosquitoes I have seen!
Great trip and thanks to Rustís Flying Service and Alaska Raft and Kayak for donating the trip to SCI.
You are Welcome back
The trash issue kind of bothers me. Most of the time Lake Creek caters to Europeans, so I hope they are treating out land with respect although I have seen some Alaskans do the same thing!
Glad you all had a great trip. The lack of Kings is depressing.
Some more details, and a sincere thanks!
New to the forum here and just found this thread. As much as it pains me to admit this, the flipped raft was from our group. We were on day 2 of the float, my brother was at the oars in the first raft and I got to watch the whole event from maybe 1/4 mile back in a second raft. I can tell you now that it is amazing how quickly you can go from ops normal, just fishin' and floatin' to a life threatening situation. My bro actually had some experience floating class II water in his canoe, but I think the fast Alaskan waters (we were doing better than 6mph) combined with the much less maneuverable 14' raft is what got them in trouble. They got too close and broadsided a sweeper, flipped the raft almost immediately and then took a nice long swim in Lake Creek. The current was swift enough that it ripped the door completely off one of those Flambeau Bazuka rod cases, spilling some nice rods. They also lost some gear secured under one of those orange cargo nets. Note to self, in the future use cam straps to tie in everything, lots of straps. They also lost 2 out of the 3 oars on the raft. Another note, make sure your oars are well secured to the raft!!! The best news of the whole thing is we started the trip with 4 people and finished with 4, and for that we are very thankful.
My main point with this diatribe is to say thanks. We met nothing but outstanding people during that week, and we appreciate everyone's help. To the 4 paddlers from FL and the three guys with the fantastic set-up at the high cut-bank, thanks for returning our gear. It was great hanging out with Chris, Pete, and Art. They were old river pro's who provided the best advice of the trip, "Rig for flippin' and dress for swimmin'". They also had hand's down the best beverage, their homemade IPA. I'm also glad we had the opportunity to chat with Greg, Rick, and Corey. Wish they could have found some Kings. Finally, a special thanks to Travis and Lori who lent us their spare oar and who we had the pleasure of camping with for the next 4 days. Great people, a pair of fantastic fishers, and one outstanding cook!
All in all, except for the swim (and maybe the mosquitoes), and fantastic and beautiful trip. I'd go back tomorrow.