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Thread: Hiking/Floating Little Willow Above the Hwy Report

  1. #1
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    Default Hiking/Floating Little Willow Above the Hwy Report

    My brother was talked into hiking with me to the Little Willow for a fish-filled float. I have an Aire Lynx and an NRS Bandit that have been wanting some use for a while. Weather has been discouraging so we took advantage of the good forecast. He showed up at my house with his sleeping bag, food and fishing poles at 1pm on Friday. I packed the loaner backpack for him with my boat and off we went.
    I told him we'd be in the brush and it was "approximately three miles." Our packs were pretty light with these boats and gear plus it wasn't raining. Our ultralight tennis shoes did a good job of keeping thorns out.
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    It took maybe only three hours to get to the nice sandbar where we assembled our rafts and set off for fabulous fishing. We started floating around 7pm. After making some delirious decisions around logs we called it enough and set up camp about ten. After a pleasant night with no sleeping pad we headed out for a the day. Fishing was iffy the night before with just a couple grayling and no sign of salmon.
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    We had not expected quite so many logjams requiring portaging on this float. You could slide the boats over a lot of the logs but the visibility was short and the current fast enough to occupy most of my brain wondering if I was going to get a boat stuck under one. Fishing wasn't very active and we were trying a little of everything but the slow progress and distance to travel made us want to skip stuff we should have fished. We finally started seeing a few spawning salmon and then my bro called that he'd caught a huge "rainbow-colored fish." I took a picture in the classic pose.
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    Member power drifter's Avatar
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    Nice Rainbow (colored fish) I hope there is more?

  5. #5
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    While the chum were definitely scattered around were weren't seeing or catching any rainbows behind them. We only saw a couple making reds in several miles. Hoping that the fishing would get faster farther down and not knowing how long it would take us, we called home and said not to expect us till Sunday instead. We were still excited about the prospects of solitude with huge rainbows. Instead, about an hour later of rough portages and a few small rainbows and grayling, we were trying another logjam when a jetboat showed up. Nice guys who said there would be no more portaging and it wasn't as far as we thought. So we started making tracks and trying a few more likely spots with limited results. Sometime in the afternoon it started dumping rain and the creek was taking on it's brown, cloudy characteristics helped by the heavy rain, swamps and boat traffic. Just about at the railroad tracks where the cabins are is where the salmon were alot thicker and the fishing was probably better but we were tired, stiff and sore so those 25" rainbows didn't get to have their pictures taken.
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    Overall the trip was great. We caught around only ten fish total, but the hike wasn't too long, there were trails for portaging and the water was beautiful. There are much better creeks on the road system for more and bigger fish than we caught for the time we spent, but I had really been wanting to do this float. Both boats did really well, but I think I prefer the lighter Bandit (thanks MarkOathout.) When both boats are wet, the Lynx seemed more than ten pounds heavier; however, it is tougher feeling and much stiffer and drier.
    When we got to the highway there were several groups of people fishing. We had packed our fishing gear away. A nice guy there caught a ten inch grayling in front of us as we were waiting for a ride, he excitedly asked if we had a camera. We assumed he wanted a copy of the picture. Turns out he just thought we might want a picture of such a beauty. How did he know? He then proceeded to tell us about the
    seven-pound rainbows he used to catch fifteen years ago; they were so big that he "could cut the fillets into steaks," but he'd heard it wasn't that great anymore. I didn't know what to say. Good thing I was so tired, wet, stiff and sore.
    My little grayling and a moose kill on a portage trail:
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  7. #7
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Ben: Looks like you had a great time.

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    Enjoyed reading about your trip, BTK. Maybe not all the weather, fishing or river conditions were ideal, but you both certainly had an adventure! Congratulations. Thanks for posting the photo of that rare Calico Rainbow.

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