Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: McCallister Creek
Small Water and Big Dollies
My kids decided they needed to see their parental units before their busy Summer schedules imposed so they flew us to Juneau to visit over Memorial Day weekend. Despite the short stay we were able to do a lot including chasing some fish. While he was getting his boat and gear ready for the commercial salmon season, my son was filling as a guide on fly out trips for Bear Creek Outfitters. As it happened, the trip he pulled while I was there had a seat available so I was able to tag along.
We flew to a smallish creek that dumps into the waters of Lynn Canal flowing from the east side of the Chilkat Range, a bit south of the Endicott River Wilderness Area. After gearing up, my son designated me as the fish "scout" while he taught his clients some rudimentary casting technique - better him than me, that's for certain! I took my job as "Scout" to heart and went to a stretch of the small estuary where I thought the Dollies would concentrate to intercept the out-migrating salmon smolt. We were fishing on an incoming tide within a couple of hours of high water so "the zone" of smolt concentratation with intercepting Dollies changed about every fifteen minutes but I found a sweet spot within 30 minutes. From that time until we departed the process was basically - land a fish (thus demonstrating to the clients that there really were fish to be had), give my spot to the sports and my son, shuffle upstream a bit and find another sweet spot.
Biggest Dollie I landed was close to 19 inches with the average between 16 and 17 inches. It was a ten fish afternoon for me and my son's clients landed a couple too. I was fishing with a 5 weight switch and a 320 grain scandi throwing "the Guide's Special Orange" on a number 6 saltwater hook for most of the time... Tried the pink and the white versions but orange was the money fly.
Aside from my kid getting stiffed on tips, it was a great afternoon of chasing Dolly Varden on a pristine stretch of water close to where God lives. No complaints, but I did buy my kid dinner when we got back to town to kind of make up for his getting shorted.