Friday, 31 July 2015

Humpies on the fly

A feisty humpy.

Garrett and I fished north of Juneau - throwing flies at Echo Cove for pinks.  We arrived at high tide, which may not be the best time.  There was the infrequent fish that jumped, indicting there were at least a few in the cove.  I caught a nice one on a purple and pink marabou intruder. I was fishing Garrett's 7/8 weight 10' 6" Beulah switch rod with a Wulff Ambush line - a perfect set up for thsi type of fishing.

A nice chrome female pink caught in the salt.

After only one fish caught - we moved on to Cowee Creek.  There were a bunch of folks spin fishing at the bridge so we wandered down the path along the stream into a real bear garden.  Later found out that there is a mother Brown bear with two cubs in the area.  Cowee was full of pinks, more spent that the one I'd caught in the salt, but Garrett hooked and landed three.  I hooked up with one, but lost it.

Female Pink.

Male Pink salmon, AKA Humpie.


Spawning Salmon, Sheep Creek, near Juneau

First trip to Alaska!  Garrett is flying for Wings of Alaska based in Juneau and we're here for a short visit. These are mostly chum salmon and a few pinks/humpies.  The coho will start running in another week or two.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Reflections on Late Summer Mushroom Hunting

Boletus Edulus + Forest Kit (Cane, Browning Hi-Power and Leica Trinovid 10x42)
Back in the end of August I drove up into the National Forest for the afternoon.    By the time September rolls around it's getting late in the season to find King Bolete mushrooms.   King Boletes are big enough and, with their distinctive brown orange color, I imagined I could do some road hunting for them.  I drove slowly trying to spot them from the truck.  The bright yellow orange Siberian Slippery Jacks (Suillus sibiricus) are also easily spotted from a distance. Suillus are edible though David Aurora describes them in his book Mushrooms Demystified as "thin-fleshed, insipid and slimy". I've tried them and, sadly must agree.   In my experience, they can be indicators for Kings and so a bloom of Slippery Jacks is worth investigating.

Not far into the forest I stopped the truck in a spot where I've been successful before and decided to walk a little.  Almost immediately after getting out of the truck and stumbling around with my cane a bit I found a King Bolete!  I collected it but fully expected it to be worm ridden as they often are by late afternoon.
Driving very slowly and looking hard reveals what otherwise might remain hidden.
Quick success can make a hunt (of any kind) seem too easy.  After finding one bolete, I was certain I'd find many more.  I entertained visions of pounds of perfect boletes, enough to dry some for winter stews.  I worried that I had not brought enough bags with me to carry them all.   I did not find another.  And the further I drove into the forest, hunting for at least one more, the more I became convinced that the one I had found was inedible because of worms.

I drove home the long way, exploring some new country.  At one point, I stopped the truck for a few minutes to admire the view and in another minute saw a grouse head bobbing through the tall grass.  ... and then another and another.  I'd stumbled on a covey of six young dusky grouse.
Dusky grouse in the tall grass.

The covey headed for cover - the nearest tree in the open landscape.
It would be hard to convey the pleasure I got from seeing the grouse.  It had been a wet summer and the tall grass in this country was atypical, I've never seen it this tall.   

*            *             *
When I got home I cut up my King Bolete. There were a couple of small worm tracks in the stem, but it was otherwise perfect.  Sauteed in butter and served together with a nice steak it made for a wonderful  meal.

Simply sauteed in butter with salt and pepper.