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Outdoors with John Perkovich

Posted: Tuesday, May 30, 2006

In the springtime here in Alaska there are so many things to do that I sometimes don’t know where to start first. This year we had such a cold yucky spring, when it finally warmed up there were several weeks of chores all piled up needing to be done at once. Then besides the chores there is also fish that need to be caught and left over salmon canned if you haven’t already done so. Oh yes the yard needs to be raked and those droppings the moose left behind picked up too. We are not even going to start talking about the stuff the neighbor’s dog left.

In the midst of all that I seem to get involved in here I still have to sneak out and catch a fish or two with my children. Sometimes after our projects are all done it is already late at night and we’re tired and really don’t feel much like going fishing but unless you deal with sad eyes better than I do you go anyway.

My first trip into Elephant Lake was with my daughter Jessie who is home from college for the summer and her roommate there Joanna Dube. I searched all over the lake for one of those so-called hotspots but none was to be found. I tried drifting and anchoring but nothing seemed to locate any fish. Finally Jessie pointed off yonder and said that I think the fish are over there so we motored into the bay she picked out and started drifting. Soon we were into the fish and I threw out the anchor and lucky for us we stopped right over a nice school of Kokanee. In about 2 hours we caught 37 fish, which when we sorted out the smaller fish we had a nice meal to fry up once we got home. I even had a nice rainbow grab a small spinner (the only one I had with me) and end up breaking my 8 lb test line!

I generally fish with jigs 99% of the time and generally prefer a piece of jumbo shrimp for bait on that jig. If you can exert 10 LB. of pressure off the end of your pole you’re going to get a lot better hook set with a single hook then you will with a treble hook. I have caught just about every kind of fresh water fish there is on jigs. They are cheap especially if you make them yourself and very effective on all fresh water fish here in Alaska.

I just went through a gall bladder operation here less then a week ago which was really no big deal except when I reached over the side of my truck to load or unload my boat motor and got it caught on my staples that are still in my belly. Yeow is about all I can say and if Doc Boling asks you anything about me simply tell him I’ve been taking it easy!

If you fish in a stocked Kokanee Lake and you catch fish big enough to eat please take them home and eat them. You are not improving the fishing in that lake by throwing back edible fish. There is only so much feed available in every lake and by taking home fish that are big enough to eat you are actually improving the fishing and consequently by fall you will start catching bigger fish. These fish are excellent on the table and fantastic smoked. Our elderly people love them too!

My second trip to Elephant Lake was after we did yard work here and even planted our garden that day. I took my son Travis and Colt McDonald who also currently lives with us. We arrived at the lake about 7pm and headed for the spot Jessie picked out the day before. A leaky hose on my boat motor delayed us for a few minutes before I figured out the problem and tightened the clamp with my extra tough fishing pliers. Soon we were motoring across the lake and arrived in our fishing area about 7:15pm and were greeted by a swarm of bugs that were apparently really happy to see us.

At 7:18 we had our first fish in the boat, and I might add it was caught by me! I was officially ahead of the two younger guys and determined to teach these guys a thing or two about fishing. I was officially ahead of both but my lead was very short lived as Travis took over and by the time we headed in he was ahead of me 22-14!

Travis has been watching people fish for several years and he learns a trick or two from each person he fishes with and applies it to each situation. He does a great job setting the hook and I must admit I’m pretty proud of his fish catching abilities. I also know that if something happened to me that he will be a lifetime fishermen whether I’m here or not. Colt was in the process of learning a new fishing pole but still caught several fish. By the time summer is over I am confident that Colt too will be catching fish like Travis.

I decided after losing a couple fish by the boat that perhaps I’d gotten slow and sluggish in my old age and was not setting the hook properly so on my next bite I set the hook and guess what? My 9 ft. medium action two- piece ugly stick was now a three-piece fishing pole. I snapped it off right where the two parts go together! I think they are guaranteed so I will send it back to Cabelas and hopefully get it replaced. I had over $2000 worth of Cabelas gift certificates one year and spent most of it on fishing rods. Otherwise the fishing rods would have come from everybody’s favorite store in Soldotna, Trustworthy Hardware. I know first hand that they stand behind what they sell.

We got home after ten and the boys went to helping me clean the fish, Travis was filleting and I was taking the ribs out and Colt was washing them. I had to really scramble to keep up to Travis filleting as he has become very good and very fast. We had several very nice rainbows mixed in with our Kokanee and a very nice evening of fishing that was high lighted by a cow moose who was out along the lake proudly showing off her two new red calves. Tired or not it don’t get any better then this! See you next week!

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