Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Whenever I have a list of chores in front of me to get done generally nothing fires up my crew any better than a promise to take them fishing. I had a pretty long list of things that we needed to finish which included three stumps to dig out and several other projects around the yard. Digging out spruce stumps is no big chore if you have the proper equipment like a backhoe.

However if you're going to dig out the stump from a huge birch tree you will have quite a chore as birch trees have at least ten times more roots under them than a spruce tree does. Once you start digging you will see the ground move all around the stump as you start to break it free. Once you get one end free you still have to cut off the other end and sometimes that can be quite a chore too.

I really hate to run my chainsaw to cut off roots because the chain is always in the dirt and dulls almost immediately. Using an ax is slow because generally you don't have a solid surface to chop on. So at times it is just slow tedious work. It took six of us nearly 5 hours to dig out three birch stumps cut all the roots, load the roots and haul them to the dump plus return and rake up the yard plus lay the sod back down again. Then return all the equipment and tools where they belong.

If my kids are excited about wanting to do something like fishing after we are done they can compete with any crew around. But if they simply are not inspired or motivated by something or in the mood to work they are .well like kids! Fortunately the kids came ready to work and we completed the job about as fast as we could have.

We loaded up our gear and headed to Elephant Lake (aka Spirit Lake) and concentrated on catching some rainbows or kokanee. The fish apparently were not very inspired or motivated about anything as we only had ten fish in the cooler after 3 hours of fishing between 4 of us. Colt McDonald had to go to weight training at Skyview High School that evening so we took him to shore at 6pm so my wife Taby could take him there.

Travis, Harley and I stayed there till 10:40 despite some windy and cold conditions mixed with some rain too. For the day we came home with 27 fish and really had some nice fish too. The fish were not real aggressive that day but we did manage to catch a few. 99% of all the fish we catch except for halibut are caught on jigs! Yet I know of no place in Alaska that sells a large assortment of jigs. A jig tipped with a piece of shrimp or fish belly is about as productive as anything I have ever used. I have also caught fish using a small spinner especially those that have a small fly on them tipped with a tiny piece of shrimp. Another method that works is drifting with a weighted fly that is bouncing along the bottom tipped with shrimp.

Trustworthy Hardware also sells the power bait leaches that work well and are really easy to use besides not being messy like eggs are to use. I have heard of people trolling these behind cow bells and doing really well on them. Be sure and tell them big John sent you there for the leeches though. If they smile when you tell them that, stick around for a while and maybe you can con them into throwing in a free hat or something! If you get no response or anything your next best option might be to run! I still think I can out run Paul but not so sure about the two boys Scott or Brian or even Keith!

My next fishing adventure was also back out on Elephant Lake but this time there were 6 of us. I pulled my brother Jim out in his boat and we started fishing only to have rain find us about the same time. It wasn't your typical Alaska drizzle but a real down pour and despite putting up my canopy we were all pretty well soaked in minutes. One of those hurry up and go trips and none of us brought along any rain gear except Jim. For the first time ever we were chased off the lake by bad weather.

Jim stayed and fished and was rewarded by catching some really nice kokanee. He uses slip bobbers and has been really successful using this type of method. He said we could go in as he could make it off the lake with his trolling motor but ended up paddling his boat the last half an hour with a landing net because his battery was dead!

I caught one really nice kokanee before getting rained out and gave it to an elderly lady who was sitting by a campfire (my kind of women) along the lake. I think perhaps that was the most appreciative person I have ever met there on that lake! I really don't think giving her $100 would have made her any happier.

Funny how a cold wet rain tires a person out, once you're in dry clothes again and get some hot chocolate in you before you know it you're dozing off..

If I wake up I will see you next week!

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