Jenna faces reality

Author’s note: In yet another attempt to teach readers about fish and fishing while they enjoy a steamy romance novel, here’s another chapter in the lives of hunky river ranger Rod and scrumptious Kenai River guide Jenna. — LP


Jenna liked to start her day with an hour of Pilates exercises, which was why she could still get into her high-school cheer-leader outfit. She had just done the Series of Five when her mobile roused her with its “Ride of the Valkyries” ring tone. It was Rod.

“Good mornin’, Good Lookin’,” he said.

At the sound of the swarthy ranger’s manly voice, Jenna’s heart fluttered like a Spin-N-Glo with a bad wing.

“Hi,” she said, breathlessly. Waves of passion swept over her like the waves on the lower Kenai in July, the waves that might cause the river to be listed as “impaired” due to excessive turbidity.

“I have a proposition for you, and it’s not the usual one,” Rod said. “The Alaska State Troopers want to set up a sting operation to catch an illegal guide on the Kenai River. They need to put an undercover officer in a guide’s boat, and they asked me to recommend a guide. I thought of you.”

Jenna didn’t need to think about it. She knew of several “bandits” who guided without a permit, and when guides weren’t allowed on the river.

“Count me in,” she said.

“There’s one catch,” Rod said. “He’ll have a TV photographer and producer with him. They’re taping a segment for the Alaska State Troopers reality TV show.”

She said she could do it the following Wednesday, when she had only two anglers booked. Rod said the TV people would be in touch with her.

As it turned out, two undercover troopers were involved in the sting. On the appointed morning, one of them was fishing with a suspected bandit guide, and the other was aboard Jenna’s boat, along with two fishermen and the TV crew. Jenna anchored her boat about 100 feet upstream from the bandit’s boat.

While the TV crew interviewed the trooper in the bow of her boat, Jenna had her anglers fishing for silvers in the stern. From behind her Ray-Ban RB3268 sun glasses, Jenna studied the tall, handsome trooper. He had that authoritative, can-do way about him that attracted her like a hunk of smelly herring attracts halibut. The thought of him in a uniform, with a gun, a badge and one of those wide belts with all the dangerous looking things hanging from it made her legs wobble like a cheap fly rod.

Taking down a bandit guide was exciting stuff, and Jenna looked forward to seeing it on the Alaska State Troopers TV show. It would be good to see something besides the drunks and druggies on the “gritty streets of Wasilla” and on the “dangerous streets of Anchorage.”

The sting went down as planned. After a couple of hours, the trooper in Jenna’s boat boarded the bandit’s boat and arrested him. The TV crew caught all the action, including the part where Jenna noticed that the “guide” was wearing felt-soled wading boots, which are illegal to wear while fishing in fresh waters of Alaska.

“You could be spreading Didymo, sometimes called ‘rock snot,’” Jenna told him. “While not considered a human health risk, it can exhibit growth patterns with potential impacts to fisheries. It can significantly affect freshwater habitats, including foodweb structure and hydrologic patters of rivers and streams. Impacts to tourism economies may occur when anglers experience interference by the algae or when recreational activities become unpleasant.”

“Hmm. I’ll have to look up the number for that charge,” the trooper said. “By the way, Jenna, can I get your number, in case we need you to testify in court?”

As Jenna handed him her number, her hand shook like a Wiggle Wart in the Naptowne Rapids.

Les Palmer can be reached at


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