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Michael Gracie

Very Average Naknek River Rainbow Trout

Could be considered trophies most anywhere else, but quite average as Naknek River, Alaska rainbow trout are concerned. The fact they are taken sight casting into smolt feeding frenzies puts them in a class all by themselves.

Piggy …

averagenaknekrainbow1

After piggy …

averagenaknekrainbow2

Busted with these …

naknekrainbowflies

MG signing off (a true believer in the power of smolt busts)

Practical Jokes On Me: Crab in the Pocket Edition

Somewhere between the Kanektok and the Snake, I lost my fishing jacket. Eventually, I discovered it’s locale, and it was returned to me. During a recent excursion, I decided to shed the pack, stacking a pile of streamers, a few tips, and a pair of gloves in said jacket.

Standing middle river, I reached for the box. Tied a new color on, then noticed the chest pocket was cramped when returning the fly box to its rightful destination. This beast was the culprit…

King Crab

Where did this crab come from? What did it mean? Who put it there?

(more…)

Book Review: The Alaska Chronicles

I’m driving north on Colorado Blvd. when the phone rings. I reach into my pocket and think I’ve got a crumpled up bar receipt in there – it turns out to be a mousie fly pattern, one I tried on bass at least a week ago. “These shorts went through the wash yesterday,” I think to myself. Yet the deer hair is unscathed, and I tied it myself. Then I push the answer button: “Hey…I just won the Powerball, and I want to share half the winnings with you!”

My evening would get even better – the copy of The Alaska Chronicles I ordered a few days prior had just arrived. It winds up taking under seven hours to complete the read. One trip to the liquor store once I hit the pictures – The Ocean playing on the radio during the trip there, and Lunatic Fringe blared on the way back. I must get home to those pages, but in between a decision to make: does this work require cheap beer, or a cheap wine? At less that $20 for three liters, boxed white it is.

At 11pm, snoring dogs huddled under my feet and the compelling urge to fill up the glass again, I find it fitting to address this compilation directly…

An Open Letter to author Miles Nolte

Dear Miles,

First, I hope this letter finds you, and finds you well. Guiding again this season? Or off to graduate school? Whatever makes you happy – where there’s a will there’s a way.

It is difficult to explain how enthralled I was by The Alaska Chronicles, other to say I had to absorb it cover to cover in one single evening. During the adventure I gathered supplies and hunkered down, one phone ring the only disturbance. Said call was from a dear friend, a fly fishing guide – he’s getting married soon and wanted to confirm my attendance at the pre-party. “Of course I’m going to be there.” But right now I had to get back to Alaska.

I must hereby inform you that your book will be passed on to that fishy soul, pitched as a pre-packaged lesson in perseverance and fortitude – while I’d rather keep your work in my own collection, I must now share it. As you so eloquently stated, success is a matter of both knowledge and skill, and I am now convinced there must be a symbiotic relationship between the two. The Alaska Chronicles should be required reading for both guides and clients venturing into the Alaskan experience, or setting forth into any water together for that matter. Attitude is the last ingredient in the formula – those that are fun to be with on the water make for the best days, no doubt. Maybe this is why your finest hours always wind up being those when and where you are fishing with your friends, regardless of the landed outcome.

Lastly, with the understanding that much of what you wrote was consumed by your colleagues as it happened, I can only say I wish I had been there. But the book is certainly one hell of a consolation prize.

Kindest regards…

MG signing off (to weasel my way into The Drake forum?)

Tuesday Tidbits

Mixed messages

  • Dirt is the next growth industry? Interesting expose of the problem of the shrinking amount of arable land after clicking through, although not much in the way of recommended solutions. It seems, however, that the world has a growing problem with carbon in the air, and not enough in the soil. Hmm.
  • I’ve watched about five minutes of the Olympics, and that was from a bar in Silverthorne while taking a break between line wetting sessions (happily, it was the Polish womens’ volleyball team that caught my eye). The whole IOC just seems pathetic to me, and here’s proof of my inclinations.
  • Fly fishing folks are the finest around. Not only do they (mostly) take great interest in the care of their stomping grounds (and hopefully their quarry), they are also highly compassionate. Don’t feed feral goats – adopt a lonely sofa today!
  • Warm and fuzzies complete. Now, if you think the markets have already hit bottom, think again. John Mauldin explains why.
  • And last but certainly not least…

  • Three simple reasons (in pictorial) why fishing in Alaska might not be for the faint of heart. Dummies…you’re catching someone else’s lunch!

Adieu.

Trip that never was, but not for lack of guidance

Back around the time the dot-com bubble was preparing to burst, I was planning a trip to Alaska with an old friend from California. We had tickets, flys, and even had some maps put together by a local who knew the area well.

Unfortunately…

The next tech gig got the best of me, I wound up spending late nights in the office while my buddy took his wife to Denali National Park with those tickets. The flies have long since been given to friends headed that way.

Then, the other day, I pull out an old atlas and what drops out of it? Those maps!

Might as well share them (and if anyone gets up that way, let me know how it went):

alaska-fishing-map-1

and

alaska-fishing-map

For boredom, or hunger?

I have to wonder why someone would need the ability to manage nuclear particles from the comfort of their living room? Can that thing be used to cook hot dogs?