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2018 A Bucket-List Highlight in Pictures

Some year-end highlights capture three or four events that made the year significant or memorable.  I’ll be doing a blog in the next day or two that compile our Guides’ memorable events for the year.  But my memorable event for 2018 spanned a week in Alaska.  I suppose bucket-list material is worthy of its own blog.  And the trip to Alaska is most definitely worthy.

Our destination was the Iliamna River Lodge with this panoramic view 

from the front deck.

A short flight from Anchorage in a Beechcraft King Air twin turbo prop dropped us off at Pedro Bay.  I’m a writer, so I needed to pack a journal and some inspirational reading for the trip. I wouldn’t need the readings — fly fishing in Alaska was inspirational in itself. 

Trout on the Copper River

Nothing like the sights and sounds as your plane leaves.

My first full day of fishing was on the Copper River, fishing for rainbows.  The first leg was

on the famed de Havilland Beaver, the most renown bush plane ever.  The second leg

was rafting from the upper Copper to the lower.  Eric took the raft down a small waterfall

during part of the journey.

And my first Alaska fish.

At just about 5:00 pm, we return to the Iliamna Lodge.

Arctic Char on the Iliama

Arctic Char were our most targeted fish during the trip.  And the Iliamna

River provided!

This bear dipped down into her favorite hole for a quick bite.

We invented a game called the “Rotting Salmon Challenge.”  If you were the

angler who didn’t hook up for the triple, you had to hold a rotting carcass

of one of the many salmon dotting the bank.  Jon Easdon was pretty happy that

I was the one who failed to get the hook-up.  And, yes, I pretty much refused to

hold that rotting fish in the more celebratory “trophy fish” pose.

 Silver Salmon on the Kamishak River

Fishing for Silver or Coho Salmon was a memorable day!  The four of us

had ten or twelve fish by noon — and nothing like fresh salmon for lunch!

The Highlight Day within the Highlight Week

Our final full day at the Lodge was a great mix of adventures.  From fishing for pike in a small lake to fishing for Chum Salmon, also called Dog Salmon, at the mouth of Cottonwood Creek, the week ended on such a high note.

We hiked up to a small lake for some pike fishing … and those lily pads

really made it pike-y!  First pike ever — an added bonus to this bucket list. Our 

guide, Wheeler, was at the oars while Jon fished.

After fishing the lake, we took an hour-long trip in the truck to fish the mouth of Cottonwood Creek.  The target was fishing for Chum Salmon, also called Dog Salmon, and we had some anglers who did not want to share the hole!

Bill Betts, managing partner at Iliamna Lodge, is the captain of the ship as

we head to Cottonwood Creek.  This bear kept our “head on a swivel” but 

he was way more interested in pursuing lunch than he was in us.

Cottonwood Creek — not a bad place at all to spend an afternoon.


Jon and I enjoyed a handful of doubles to end the day.

Bucket list.  Highlights.  What ever we want to call it, the destination trip to the Iliamna River Lodge was most definitely the outing of the year.  Five different species to the net.  Outstanding scenery.  And a week spent chasing fish that had never been caught in a landscape that is indescribably beautiful. 2019?  Let’s see what you got.

Join the conversation and share your 2018 Highlights over on our Facebook page. Find the post pinned at the top of the page!  Let’s see your pictures and hear your stories.

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