Article by Leslie Holland-Bartels
Cooper Landing, Alaska, Sept. 22, 2018 – It was one of those clear, breathtakingly beautiful fall days in Alaska as we drove the 100-plus miles south over the mountains to the Kenai Peninsula.
The next day eleven participants and volunteers from PHWFF Anchorage and Wasilla Programs would go on our last outing of the year — where better than on the famous Kenai River targeting silver salmon and large rainbows on the fly!
The group arrived at our guide and lodging host, the Kenai River Drifter’s Lodge. Lodge owner Bob Rima received the PHWFF Patriot Award about a year ago, so we were excited to see him again and catch up on his summer. After everyone settled in a bit, we headed to Sackett’s Kenai Grill for a much anticipated dinner of amazing BBQ and pizza. As evening set in back at the lodge, several folks took rods to the river in anticipation of the next day’s guided trip, but many just enjoyed the glow of the setting sun and friendly banter at the fire pit.
Fishing in front of Drifter’s Lodge
Morning came a bit early as volunteers started the coffee and breakfast preparations at 5 a.m. By eight, everyone was fed, lunches were made, and gear was put on for the drive to our river launch and a day of drift boat fishing.
It was clear, chilly, and windy! I’m sure our guide burned thousands of calories getting us the best drift so our beads would do their job of bouncing like sockeye salmon eggs along the bottom and be irresistible to the large rainbows we hoped to catch. Wind, wind, and more wind so with four folks casting lines out a drift boat, communicating the cast, and, oh yes, joint friendly untangling of the occasional miscommunication made for good-hearted ribbing.
Our three boats returned to the lodge late in the afternoon each with different stories of the day but a common level of excitement. The drive home was filled with individual fish tales, all true for sure!