I worked on my new (used) boat all winter. I had the Ford 460 Marine engine rebuilt, pulled out the old floorboards and waterlogged foam and replaced it with new closed cell foam and aluminum floor boards, reducing the weight of the boat by over 650 pounds. I also put in new electronics, a new combination graph and GPS fish finder and marine radio. We christened the boat the Non-pelagic Squid after one of my most productive (and favorite) original fly patterns for bottom fish in the salt.
Mike Bracken and I tried to fish Quarts lake at ice out but the ice went out so early this year we missed it. Though we were late, we did fish and caught some land locked silvers on nymphs and streamers.
We decided to run down and check out the ice at Paxson Lake. As soon as the ice goes out there you can catch lake trout as they ambush salmon smolt at the mouth of the river on their run to the ocean. The ice looked to be about ready to go out in a week or two, so we made tentative plans to return.
On June 15 we went with my buddy Greg Chapin in his boat to Paxson to fish the mouth of the river. The ice had been out about a week and the lakers and whitefish were at the mouth. I wasn't able to pick any lakers or whitefish up on fly fishing gear but I did do on grayling. Greg and the others did very well with lakers and grayling on conventional gear.
Mike and I tried to fish the mouth of the river at Paxson again a week later with my boat. We brought camping gear and food so that we could spend a couple of days and really concentrate on catching fish on fly tackle. On the way from the boat launch to the mouth of the river we saw an eagle eating on a floating moose carcass and a moose swimming across the lake. As we we neared the mouth of the river the engine quit. We did some deductive reasoning and checked a few things, the brand new fuel pump, with only two hours on it, had broken. This began an ordeal to get back to the boat launch with a gravity feed gas system. When we got back to the boat launch we found two flat tires on the boat trailer. Combined with the boat trouble it would take us 27 hours through the night to get back home.
Next I took my boat down to the Kenai river to dip net at the mouth for red salmon. It was a little hectic with all the boats but still fun.
While down on the peninsula we fished out of deep creek for halibut with conventional gear. The huge tides in Cook Inlet do not lend themselves to fly fishing very well, opportunities are very limited at best.
We spent five days in early August fishing for rock fish, halibut and ling cod out of Seward. The relatively small tides and protected waters around Seward lend themselves very well to fly fishing for bottom fish but I had a full boat (6 people) and I was doing the captain thing so I didn't do any fly fishing. We were, however, able to bring home limits of fish every day with conventional gear.
In mid August we went to Valdez and fished for Silvers, Rockfish and Halibut for two days. It is possible to fly fish for bottom fish and Silvers in Valdez when the tides and weather permits. We had four in the boat and it was a quick trip so we didn't use fly tackle. We did catch limits of rock fish and a few silvers each day. We only caught one halibut during the trip.