During the break between king and silver seasons in AK, I was able to take advantage of the time to float one of the tributaries to the Togaik again this August. The last two years I had floated with my friend and fellow guide, Greg. Due to scheduling conflicts, he couldn't join me this year, so I was floating solo. I chose a different tributary this time. I hoped to find more rainbows and fewer dollies than the Ongivinuk River, our previous destination.
The water looked very fishy right after entering the river. Within a few minutes of floating I stopped and strung up my rod with a big black streamer. I cast the fly out without wetting it first, so on the first swing, it was skating across the top. A nice sized rainbow charged after it from several feet away, throwing a big wake before the take, jump, and then throwing the hook. Another couple of casts and I landed my first bow of the trip. I spent the next several days fishing the streamer without any weight. Seeing big rainbows chase down a topwater fly on the swing is just too much fun.
Being on my own, I would wake up early in the morning; coffee and instant oatmeal, then break camp and start fishing my way downriver. There would be no point in setting up the tent again until 10 or 11 at night. I didn't sleep as peacefully in a small tent by myself, without any firearm. I did have a can of expired bearspray, I'm not sure how much that would have helped through the tent.
Grayling are frustrating models for the camera. Unlike rainbows, they save plenty of energy for twisting and twitching once you get your hands on them. This one I killed to eat, so I could take my time with the camera. It was the first Grayling I had eaten, and in my opinion, they are prettier than they are tasty.