Saturday, July 30
Today 8 km, Total 3697 km
The day started with a bear sighting, 2 bears, one across the river and a large one eating blueberries up-stream of camp. As usual I was nowhere to be found…. in the shower for the entirety of the sighting.
Breakfast today was coffee and crepe, the camp cooks (for both weeks) did excellent crepes, they could whip them up at a moments notice and they seemed to go with any meal or type of food, with jam for breakfast, sausage for lunch or dipped in the stew for dinner.
After breakfast the guides announced “We have new plan“, when the guides phoned in the morning they had been told that there was bad weather on the way and we should do the swap with the crew that was doing a wilderness float a day early, before the weather arrived. So the new plan was to float to the lower camp in the morning, lunch there and then jet boated to the lower river do some fishing there, then pack up and fly to the Wilderness float the next day.
The mornings fishing was solid, we did a lot of floating and not so much fishing, we landed several good-sized rainbows. I must note that by this stage a “solid” mornings fishing would probably rate as excellent or super excellent in most places, but we were on possible the best rainbow trout fishery in the world, so our levels of expectation of a “good” day were increasing exponentially.
After lunch we set off down stream in the jet boats, Jordan identified a likely spot and I worked one bank with a mouse while Oystein worked a central riffle. Unbeknownst to me Jordan had spotted a Cherry Salmon lying in the riffle that Oystein was fishing, he expertly directed where to cast and then I could hear great excitement. By the time I got there Oystien had the fish under control and shortly had it in the net. There was great excitement as the Cherry Salmon (Oncorhynchus masou, also known as the masu salmon or masu) is the rarest salmon species on earth and is only found in some rivers the flow into the north-western pacific ocean.
Once all the excitement had settled down we were back to fishing, I changed back to my streamer outfit and started to work a deep slow pool that was holding Salmon. Shortly I had landed my first Dolley Varden . They are beautiful fish that are also hard fighters, they dont jump as much as the Rainbows but they do a “death role” as they get close to the net. Oystein had also never seen a Dolley Varden before, he inspected it and in he said in his classical Norwegian accent “is that a Dolly Parton,… you know, like the big singer” 🙂 . The Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma) is a sea run arctic char. Within the next hour I had landed my 2nd and 3rd and 4th Dolly and my 2nd sockeye salmon, this specimen was far fresher and still silver from the sea.
Dinner that night was classic russian fair, it started with borscht followed by BBQ skewers, spices roast potatoes and tomato, capsicum and onion salad.
Later that evening some of the guys sat down for a supper, consisting of a piece of cold meat, a slice of tomato with salt and a shot of vodka, and then, a piece of cold meat, a slice of tomato with salt and a shot of vodka, and then a piece of………. and so on infinitum. They were a little slow the next morning and claimed to have been “Russianed”