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News from Bristol Bay

Bill Babler

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Another quick update from Phil. Marsha reports that yesterday might have been the best day yet.

Phil told her they dressed over 30 Sockeye, and caught absolutely huge numbers of quality Rainbow. I belive Jim's group caught the majority of the Sockeye, but am not sure.

I believe from what I gathered Jim Johnson, guided a group across Naknek lake to the Brooks River. There were over 35 bears on the river, and it is only 2 miles long. Jim and his group, I believe caught the salmon in Naknek lake and then played catch and release with the salmon and the bears on the river.

Marsha said they had to break lots of fish off so the bears would not associate, them splashing on the end of the lines with the folks catching them. Truely an unbelievable day in Alaska.

I guess the rangers had no idea so many bears were on the river. When Jim's group starting catching fish, the bears just exploded from the brush. I guess a ranger ran up and was going to cite Jim for fishing to close to the bears, and Jim said "there were no bears there a minute ago, I don't know where they all came from." About that time the rangers radio broadcasted an alert that bears were simpley all over the river and had just arrived. Jim got off with a warning to break off any fish when a bear was present.

Phil on the other hand thought he was having a day to remember, guiding a group on Idavane Creek. From the way Marsha explained it, probably the best day that Phil has ever had in Alaska. Great fishing and no bears.

Lots of Big quality Rainbows, Char, and Grayling, with constant action and good weather. He was ready to brag it up till he saw all the salmon coming from Jim's boat.

These 6 to 10 pound, chrome bright Eye's, will really pull your string, and then catching the huge bows that are chasing them is nothing but the biggest bonus in the world. I'm having spasm's just wishing I was there. In stead I'm here guiding for that creep that is in Alaska catching fish. Something about this is just not fair!!!

I also asked about the Kings and she said she believed about 10 or 11 had been caught, thus far. I don't really believe they fish very hard for the kings and they are mostly caught by back trolling up there. From what I understand, talking to people and reading, very little fly fishing for the king's

One bad thing happend however, on the way into the camp, after such a great day, Jim hit his lower unit on a boulder, on the still very low Naknek. I guess it was totaled. They were going to have to use Phil's boat, until a unit could be shipped in from Anchorage and installed. No more than a few days they hope. Huge cost however.

People wonder why things cost what they do, here is a great example. I would bet you a tea leaf to a totom pole that little hick-up is going to be 3 to 5 thousand bucks on that 175 4 stroke yama. Maybe a lot more.

Can't do that a lot and still make money at $1,795.00 per guest. If you can get away too go to this camp at that price, and they have openings you will never find Alaska for less, Never.

Phil will be home on Sunday, and I can hardly wait for the full report.

Hopes this help tide you over.

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Hi Bill,

Just got home from Naknek about 3 PM today. Just so you know, I never saw Phil wet a line all week...the amount of work he is doing with clients and construction and maintenance would kill most people.

KFF and I have lots of neat pix that will be coming soon. Lots of sockeye, lots of bears, lots of pretty country. FYI, Jims group on the Brooks was charged by a sow grizz with triplets. I'd guess the point she stopped was about 50 feet from then group. To his credit, Jim stepped out toward the between bear and clients and faced the bear down, armed with a can of bear spray. And she WAS close enough to spray!

Lots of excitement...been up 48 hrs, more tomorrow.


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