View Full Version : Me and my dollies.....

08-26-2008, 09:27 PM
It was hard going nearly 2 weeks without fishing this time of year but duty called and last week I helped transport my 18 year old daughter (the Princess of the Universe) down to Southern Cal to help broaden the horizons of her knowledge at Cal State Long Beach. She is living with her brother in an apartment complex on the beach…..life just isn’t fair. But it did take up the entire last weekend. Then I had forgotten my inlaws were arriving Tuesday night but my wife still granted me an act of special dispensation to go fishing Friday and Saturday morning…..that will cost me dearly I am sure.

Friday morning I did not exactly get away early as I had about a 2 hour drive down to my favorite dolly varden stream….Quartz Creek. As I was enjoying the beautiful, but cloudy view driving down the Turnagain Arm….


I was awarded with a rare view of a large pod of beluga whales, with some seals, chasing silver salmon along the shoreline. It is only the second time I have seen belugas while living in Alaska….and .along with more than a few tourist buses sat and watched these chubby little whales for nearly an hour. Despite my best efforts it was difficult just to get a few pictures of their backs…..and a short video of some:



http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j32/DocEsox/th_Belugas.jpg (http://s76.photobucket.com/albums/j32/DocEsox/?action=view&current=Belugas.flv)

After this “worth the entire weekend” experience I continued my drive down the Kenai Peninsula controlling my rising “gotta get a line in the water” urges and drove past Quartz Creek down to a nice spot on the Kenai River. But after an hour there and only 1 dolly I hopped back to Quartz for some serious dolly chasing…..enjoying the scenery:


Didn’t actually get in the water there until about 1 p.m. due to an extremely arduous hike into this out of the way spot (had to walk close to 60 feet from where I parked the truck to get to the river…..very strenuous)…..it was much lower than 2 weeks ago and there were dollies everywhere around the spawning sockeye. Only had to change one bead color before it was fish on:


This was followed by several fish over the next couple of hours…nothing spectacular but nice solid dolly action….most fish were in the 17 to 21 inch range….a few smaller ones and a few bigger ones (the largest topped out at 24 inches):




The reds were just getting into the egg laying stage and most of the dollies were parked right up behind any spawning sockeye…..which were just about everywhere:



About 2 or so hours into this fishing extravaganza the dollies just went on an extreme feeding binge and I was catching one every 3 or 4 casts for the next 2 hours. This is not exactly a top secret spot as it is just off the main highway and right next to a campground….but still fabulous fishing.






At one point it almost got silly with 6 dollies in a row. During this time there was a very elderly gentleman fishing a bit above me…..probably in his late 70’s and having a difficult time wading with a walking stick. I started chatting with him as he commented about me having the fish “dialed in”…..it was his first trip to this area and he didn’t quite have the right terminal gear but he really knew how to fly fish. After a few more minutes I pulled out my bead box and offered him a half a dozen of the hand painted beads which were working for me and a little information on how to “peg” the bead properly on his leader. He was extremely gracious and started to quickly pick up several dollies of his own….I always find taking the time adds tremendously to the entire fishing experience.

These dollies start to color up for spawning about this time of year but can have some very different variations in color. This dark phase is one of the less common spawning colors but I find it fascinating:



Well the fishing slowed down but stayed pretty steady until I called it quits around 8 pm….near as I counted about 42 dollies caught and released:




Drove around till I could get a cell signal so I could let the wife know the bears hadn’t eaten me yet. Pulled the Avalanche over next to one of the streams and sacked out for the night in the back seat….had a great sleep. Got up about 6:30am and hit the stream again about 7 for another 3 hours. The dollies were still in their seemingly unending eating frenzy on sockeye eggs…..and I managed about 20 or so before having to depart about 10 am. A few more pictures to bore you further….I love the twisted fish picture…really allows the colors to be seen better as the light isn’t reflected right back into the camera:




Right before heading off Quartz Creek I attempted a one handed video while hooked onto one of the dollies. Hopefully it will come through from photobucket…haven’t tried to attach a video before. Didn’t drop the camera but you can get an idea what the dollies have to avoid while they are feasting on their “easy” meal of salmon eggs. You may have noticed scratches all over the bodies in some of the pictures…those are a result of the spawning reds, especially the males, to drive off the marauding dolly varden….watch this poor hooked fish as a couple of reds take swipes at him while he is hooked:

http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j32/DocEsox/th_DollyReds.jpg (http://s76.photobucket.com/albums/j32/DocEsox/?action=view&current=DollyReds.flv)

By the time I hit the road to go pick up the wife, kid and the inlaws I was nearly an hour late….WHAT???? You certainly couldn’t expect me to be right on time with that type of fishing going on…I thought an hour late was a rather remarkable performance for me. Did get down to Seward, found the family herd and we mossied around Seward the rest of Saturday. After eating we visited the Marine Mammal center….my 12 year old thought this pic was me taking a break on the rocks:


This couple was dragging herring below a bobber trying to entice silver salmon to hit their offereing::


And this is the view looking out from Seward into Resurrection Bay:


We drove up a small canyon housing the Resurrection River:


And finally stopped at our final observation destination….the Exit Glacier:


We headed home the next morning…I begged and whined to my wife to let me stop at Quartz Creek “for just a few minutes” so I could catch HER a dolly to eat…..she didn’t buy it….so we went home.

There’s always next weekend……


08-26-2008, 10:35 PM
WoW. Thanks for the awesome pics and vids. Hopefully I get to see some of that stuff next year.

08-26-2008, 10:53 PM
man awsome report and picz :Cool: a trip of a lifetime im sure. hope to get out there one day.

08-26-2008, 11:01 PM
What fantastic fishing you have up there. :Envious: Thanks for the great photos and post. I could never tire of fishing up there.:Big Grin::Wink: Thanks

08-26-2008, 11:05 PM
Another excellent report!
Nice work!

08-27-2008, 03:32 AM
Hey Brian, thanks a lot for the great report and awesome pics.

I'm still hoping to see a floatplane fishing report from you one of these days.


08-27-2008, 04:00 AM
Wow, that's God's country right there. Healthy lookin fish, i bet they fought pretty hard.

G Spot Tuna
08-27-2008, 04:30 PM
I hope you enjoyed your trip to So Cal. Looks like another fabulous trip catching the dollies. Two weeks before some serious south of the border palegic action. Good to see life is great and the fishing fantastic.

Looking to hook up with you again.

G Spot Tuna

Granny Fish
08-28-2008, 10:56 AM
Beautiful, beautiful fish. I enjoyed your report.

If my husband asked if he could stop and catch me a dollie, I would have asked if I could help. :LOL:

08-28-2008, 03:30 PM
Great report and pics...You truly live in God's country. Those fish are beautiful too!


08-30-2008, 12:21 AM
Looks like a great trip good job on the dollies