Some of my fondest memories are fishing with my children when they were little. We would grab our poles and waders, and hit the water near and far in search of the perfect trout or salmon.
Sometimes we’d go to the Mat-Su Valley and fish one of many lakes close to home, either on the banks or by renting canoes from the local campgrounds. Those were our day trips and always involved a hike and laughter, as well as lukewarm hot chocolate poured from a thermos.
Then there was the mighty Russian River where we’d plant a tent and stay for the weekend. My oldest daughter, Sarah, could out-fish nearly every angler on the crowded riverbank.
Men and women would pull out of the water to give her room as she hooked fish after fish with perfect technique, one her father, an avid fisherman, taught her. He made his own flies and showed her how to fling and tug in perfect symphony with other anglers.
“Fish on!” she’d say time and time again as others watched as this 10-year-old would bring or reel them to the bank, where her dad gutted and filleted them. We’d then sit by a campfire while my family ate the catch of the day: home fries, cobbed corn and more, cooked over a campstove. Those were awesome times.
Other fond memories are of fishing in Homer, either tent camping along the Homer Spit right on scenic Kachemak Bay or in a hotel. We’d ride horseback along the beach, then fish for salmon off the Spit in a small alcove of water. Sarah, Jenny and I would take a tour boat over to Seldovia or Halibut Cove, while their dad took a halibut charter. And we’d return home with enough halibut and salmon to last the winter. We’d also make trips to Seward, an easy day trip from Anchorage. We’d fish for halibut there as well when the kids grew older, while watching whales and sea otters surface and swim around our boat.
Jenny, who married a military man and now lives in Georgia, loves halibut to this day, and has me special order it fresh for her through one of our local seafood suppliers. A recent note on her Facebook page said, “I miss Alaska!” She also misses the poles that go with it. She sent me a picture of a Tennessee fish. Not sure what it was, but it was microscopic compared to Alaska’s premium species. So, fish on! And fish Alaska! Enjoy your summer while creating memories that last forever.