In the meantime I am going to share a story with you about fishing for KINGS one night on Little Willow Creek in Alaska. For the followers that do not know me I used to live in AK and while I was up there I worked at a fly shop for a period of time “3 Rivers Fly and Tackle” and while working there I always new where the hot spots were during the salmon runs. Obviously I knew where the bows were because I was addicted to those damn fish.
Little Willow Creek is located at Mile Marker 74.7 on the Parks Highway. It is about 5 miles north of the main drag of Willow. The main drag in Willow is the Parks Highway and consists of several businesses but one building sticks out the most. That building is what I call the Willows Strip Mall. All in one building consists of a Auto Parts, Beer & Liquor, Movie Rental, Gas Station, Grocery Store, Tackle Shop, Restaurant, and a couple sketchy things that I never investigated even when I lived in Willow. Enough of the location thing lets get to the fishing story of this blog.
Let me set the scene ( it was about 4:00 on a Friday afternoon and I called up a couple buddies and ask them if they wanted to go float the Little Willow and the consensus was R.J. will drive, John will bring the GUN, and KG got the raft…..lets do it) I heard that the Little Willow was the best trib to the Big Su that was producing a lot of Kings at the time. We had to use RJ’s rig to hull the raft because my little rig would not have worked out as you can see.
We get to the Little Willow and get the gear ready to realize that we need to shuttle the rig. So a fast call to Farley at Willow Creek Campground “907 495 6343” and we would be ready. We shoved off the banks around 9:00 p.m. with myself behind the oars and Jon and R.J. taking it easy. Two things to keep in mind, it was June and the season was weekend only at that time so we could not start fishing until midnight. The second thing is if you are wondering why we started floating at 9:00 at night well that’s simple it did not get dark until midnight, so we had plenty of light to get to our spot where we wanted to fish.
The Little Willow float takes a few hours and the distance to the mouth from the parks highway is around 3.5 to 4 miles. With that said we floated down a little better than a mile before we found a good hole with no one around. We beached the raft and started to get some gear ready. Midnight came and 3 lines went into the water. We all were using some combination of Corkies and yarn with a few of us throwing Vibrax’s at times. By the time it got pretty dark I hooked into my King to only have it run me down stream about 50 feet to where R.J. had the net waiting. It seemed like a forever fight but after 5 minutes and R.J. doing a great net job I had the first King which was a nice 45 lb. Buck.
After catching and retaining a King I could not fish any more until the following day due to the fact that ADFG rules and regulations state that the season limit for that year was only 1 King a day 5 for the year. With that being the case obviously I switch into rainbow fishing with good luck again.
Around the same time I was catching bows I here a big fish thrashing above me and R.J. yelling FISH ON. A few minutes later I was netting his 30 lb. hen.
After R.J. hooked and landed his King it was about 2:00 a.m and we all were getting pretty tired since we worked the day before. We decided to build a fire and try to get some rest before it got daylight.
Around 5:00 a.m we started floating down stream again to try to pick Jon’s King up. We came around the bend to find a camp that looked like a hurricane just went through it and no one around except for one dude passed out in a lawn chair, I think he was still holding his beer. I wished I had a picture of that but what happened next I will never forget. The stream flowed down and went into a hard 90 degree turn creating a deep pool. I told Jon to cast down stream and to run his Vibrax back and forth through the current but to keep it in the deep pool. Sure as shit he hooked up, we made noise and scared the hell out of the dude sleeping. It was hilarious but it gets better, Jon ended up losing that fish but I stilled stayed rowing in the current while he fished the same way for a couple more minutes and once again he hooked up and apparently the dude fell asleep again and we woke him up again to find him looking annoyed that we woke him up from his hangover twice while catching fish right in front of him. Jon lost the second fish as well. After about 5 minutes of rowing backards into the current my arms were worn out and we headed down river some more. A little ways further we came up to a few guys that were tagged out and packing there rafts up to float down. We talked to them and found out that there were Kings holding in the whole we were about ready to float over so I beached the raft and we had Jon go to town. Several cast later and Jon had a solid hook up and in no time another hen was landed. That’s right folks these 3 boys were tagged out for the day.
With us all having caught nice Kings we decide to row down because I had to be back to work at 10:00 a.m and I knew I was going to have to call in and tell them I was going to be late but I had the best excuse I could ever have for working where I did. We got down to the mouth where it flows into the Big Susitna and had a little more of a float down on the big water to the take out just down stream of Willow Creek. All in all it was a good trip that left us with good memories.
If you are planning a trip to the great north anytime please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need any information.
Live the Dream