Mike and I flew to the small village of Shagaluk on July 19th to begin the first leg of our journey. Shagaluk is the only village on the Innoko river. A native fellow named Randy was there to meet the small plane and he was willing to take us and all of our gear to a landing on the river a short distance away. Upon arrival at the landing, we found the river to be everything we had heard it was. It was big, wide and slow moving. The banks were full of knee deep mud and the mosquitoes were voracious. We put the boat together as fast as we could and cut some brush to give us something to walk on to keep from sinking into the mud, we loaded up the gear and got out on the river. Out on the river the bugs were not so bad.
On our approach to the Shagaluk, we could see that the river was running murky with mud from resent rains but the sloughs feeding into the river were clear. We knew we would need to fish the sloughs to have any luck. It was already starting to get late so we headed for the mouth of the very first slough we saw. Once in the slough we checked a few possible camp sights and settled on the third place we checked. The bank there was also knee deep mud, it was quite a struggle to get all the gear unloaded and up the banks with the mud trying to suck the shoes off of our waders with every step, and then there were the bugs.