Andi and I woke up with the sun on Day 2 of our Alaskan adventure. We pulled on our running shoes first thing, and headed out the door for a little exercise. I'm not sure if a run was on Andi's short list of activities that morning, but a short conversation about our unfamiliar surroundings convinced him to join me.
Me: "I'm going for a quick run to get some steps in before we're confined to a fishing boat all day."
Andi: "Think you'll need the bear spray?"
Me: "Um, I hadn't thought about that..."
Andi: "I'd better go along, just in case."
There's a reason this blog is named Live Inside My Bubble; I can be a little naive sometimes!
Our quick morning run was the perfect start to the day, and worked up an appetite for breakfast. When we returned to our fishing cabin at Orca Lodge, Andi whipped us up some poached eggs with baked salmon and wilted spinach to eat. Then, we packed our things and headed off for a day of fishing on the Kenai River.
Andi hired the fishing outfitter, Alaskan Widespread Fishing, to take us out on the Kenai for a full day of fishing. Initially, we were scheduled to meet our fishing guide, Reuben, on the dock of the riverbank at 6:00am, but our call time was changed last minute. The fishing might've been better before the sun came up, but Andi and I were glad to have the next time in the morning.
We met Reuben at 9:30am instead, and hopped into his aluminum fishing boat. The weather wasn't the best that day -- cloudy, cool and rainy -- but we dressed for the occasion with stocking hats, coats, boots and rain gear. Reuben took us down the river about 18 miles from the mouth of of the ocean to a spot he'd been catching Silver Salmon the day prior. Andi and I quickly gathered by his conversation that Silver Salmon were the preferred fish to catch that day. Unfortunately, not much was happening in the spot our boat was anchored. We spend about two hours there without much action before Reuben pulled up and moved up the river to a different location.
Around Noon, we picked up another couple who'd signed up for a half-day fishing excursion with our outfitter. They were an older couple named Kay and Chuck from California. They must've thought fishing the Kenai was easy-breezy because the second they hopped into the boat, we started reeled in Pink Salmon hand-over-fist. This new location up the river from where we were earlier that morning was full of "humpys" as local Alaskans call them. We couldn't keep them off our hooks!
These fish were about 5-6 pounds each and so fun to catch. The minute they'd bite your hook, your fishing pole would nearly bend in two from the drag underneath the water.
Unfortunately, we weren't able to keep many of the 40+ Pink Salmon we caught. All of these salmon were swimming up stream to their original birthplaces to end their life cycle. Some of the salmon were still in good condition to eat, but others had started the process of decomposition. It was amazing to see these fish swim against the strong current of the Kenai River in their final voyage.
In the end, we kept four Pink Salmon and one fillet of a Silver Salmon. It wasn't enough fish to fill our cooler and bring back to Minnesota, but it'd surely be enough to share with our friends for dinner over the campfire the following evening.
After a full day of fishing, Andi and I were both starving so we grabbed a quick bite to eat at a local Mexican restaurant. We headed back to our cabin at Orca Lodge where I fell asleep around 8:45pm. I was exhausted after a long, full day of fishing!
Catching salmon the Kenai was one of my favorite parts of our Alaskan adventure. I can't wait to return to Alaska again one day, and will definitely plan to do more fishing while we're there.