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ALASKA, LAKE CREEK, TALACHULITNA RIVER, JUNE/JULY 2012

Infected by the King Salmon virus, my son Andreas and I planned a two-week trip to Alaska. A week should be pure nature, that is to say, with an inflatable boat floating on the river and then one week at a comfortable lodge.

For the first week, our choice is Lake Creek, which we wanted to follow from the origin at Chelatna Lake 100 kilometres to the river's mouth in the Yentna River. Guiding and equipment took over Frontier River Guides. For the second week, we had chosen the Talaheim Lodge on the Talachulitna River.

LAKE CREEK

The flight from Frankfurt to Anchorage is over the North Pole and only takes 9 hours. Departure and arrival coincide here almost from the time – and that makes an ordinary jet lag.

Arriving in Anchorage, we are picked up and taken to Regal Air, where we meet our guides Ben and Martin. An hour later, we fly to Chelatna Lake. The lake is located directly at the foot of Mount McKinley; the images from the air are breathtaking.

The Guides prepare the boats, stow everything – and begin fishing. In summer it is never completely dark in Alaska, and so on the first day we fish extensively until two in the morning. The outlet of the *Chelatna Lak*e flows the first kilometres quite slow, but the water is crystal clear. We catch a grayling (Arctic char) one after the other.

DAY 1 - 3

We are lucky with the weather: It's raining only briefly, and then the sun comes again, and it is not cold – so really good fishing weather.

We enjoy the three days in the upper and middle reaches and fish from the boat. We are looking for particularly beautiful places for the evening camp. There we fish from the shore, mainly for trout and grayling with the dry fly and the streamer.

After we pass two passages of the Class 3, we see in the lower middle reach, the first salmon. Fishing for King salmon was banned by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game shortly before our trip. // The reason: the rise this year is as low as it has been for a very long time. There are also Red salmon in the river, and therefore we are fishing for salmon. We get several Kings on the hooks, which, of course, we all instantly throw back

DAY 3 - 5

The river is always wider. About 20 kilometres before the mouth of the Yentna River are the large pools, where the salmon are.

The pools are changing quickly into fast flowing water; after some minutes of hard play with the 10 rod the fish go in the direction of the pool outlet and then into the current. I lose two great Kings after a long play. With one, I have a real chance; he is just before the landing as the leader, in the last burst of power. The fish has definitely 25 kilos. But with the play even the mosquitoes are exhausted, nothing unfortunately has become of the great Kings.

DAY 6

Now it's the lower reaches. Impressive to see how the river and the surrounding area of origin change to the mouth. The last part of the river has a special attraction. Many fallen down trees are in the water, the river winds its way slowly through the landscape with countless birds and animals.

Finally, we reached the mouth. We leave the boat and go to Cotton Lodge, where we treat ourselves to a beer and wait for the pickup from a Regal Air seaplane.

We are certain that the life on the water day and night is an extraordinary experience. In addition, there is fishing for real aficionados around the clock!

TALACHULITNA RIVER - TALAHEIM LODGE

After the seaplane takes us back to Anchorage we spend one night at the Millenium Hotel, the next morning the pilot from the Lodge picks us up. Four other anglers are on board. The flight only takes about 40 minutes. We have the Talchulitna River, our later fishing destination, already several times in front of our eyes.

The Lodge is in an idyllic location in a forest clearing quite close to the river. Around the main building, where you can cook and can eat, there are some small cabins. The cabins have individual bedrooms, a shared bathroom and a living room with a fireplace. Really very comfortable.

The Lodge has two helicopters and a Piper on site; so you can quickly overcome the distances. We are flown every day: to the Talachulitna River with the helicopter and to distant rivers with the airplane

DAY 1

On the first day, we fly to a main pool on the Talachulitna River. Around the tenth cast with the two-hand rod I have the first bite and land a King with 16 kilo – a great fish! Again, he moves from the pool in the quick water; however, I take up the pursuit and can land him, in the end. Finally, a big king! Unfortunately, Andy has no success and also no bite.

DAY 2

The rise this year is late and the numbers low. The guides decide in vote with us that we fly out with the Piper and fish for red salmon. Then in a small side arm of the Susitna we catch several red salmon; the guides play one of them for us. Indeed an excellent fresh red salmon!

DAY 3

Andy has wished for a long time, to properly catch many Pike. On the third day, we fly to Lake Alexander – and gobsmacked as we see there a Tyrolean flag. The Lodge at Lake Alexander is owned by the Swarovski family, as we found out.

Then we really catch extremely many pike, but unfortunately they were not particularly large. At Lake Alexander pikes were put in many years ago, and since then there have been no other fish. The pikes wiped out the salmon; now they are cannibals, and there is no other fish stock anymore.

DAY 4 - 5

We fly with the helicopter close to the mouth and then float from Pool to pool to the mouth. We catch there three kings and some large rainbow. Andy catches his first salmon – one of them is real major.

DAY 6

Dolly Yarden is on the program today. The lodge owner, Mark Miller, tells us of a higher crystal clear, small river. It should have many Dolly Yardens, if you are there – a small risk. The change appeals to us, and we decide to fly there.

The river is exceptionally beautiful. At the first pool, alone we catch with nymph in dead drift and also with many small Cristal buggers many Dollies up to 65 cm long. In many places, we can first recognize the larger specimens and specifically fish for them. Excellent conditions.

SUMMARY

Mark Miller and the Talaheim Lodge are really to be recommended. Accommodation and food are very good as well as the price/value for money ratio. With the helicopters, it is flexible and one can go anywhere, the lodge is within walking distance of downtown from Anchorage and you have many excursion possibilities.

I find a little disturbing the limited fishing time. Meal times are specified, the fishing takes place according to schedule. Together, not more than eight hours fishing; was actually too little for us. For whom that is enough, you are well accommodated and served.

ALL IMAGES FROM THIS TRIP