This week we welcomed back to Alaska West the renowned Dave Howe and Steve Ward who have brought with them many family members over the years.
Photo: Cameron Miller
This year was no exception. Dave was only able to bring his grandson Andrew Moura along for another great week of fishing, but he is hoping to recruit a bunch more of his family next year when he does some arm-twisting after his return home.
Steve was able to bring his wife Bobbie, his two 9 year old kids, Finn and Wren, his sister Patty, Bobbie’s brother Bill and his new fiancee Nancy Chilcote and the night nanny Katheryn Buchanan. Along with Dave and Steve’s family we welcomed a few family and friends of our staff as well. Garrett Sullivan’s mom and dad made the trip from Texas, Ben Paull’s brother Nate and good friend Steve Yuasa (thanks for the steaks Steve!) came from Seattle and surrogate father Kim and brother Jared came up to see the brothers Covich (Trevor & Tyler).
The entire week was a blast with all the family in camp joining in lots of fun antics on the river with Cam Miller taking photos of it all. Shore lunches ruled the mid-day breaks and when the weather was bad we all joined in on hot soup and a break from the wind and rain by hanging in the dining tent.
Fishing was outstanding for all species this week. On the second day Tom and Katie Olivo took the first limits of silvers for the year (and then some). Trout and dolly fishing was killer on both the Kanektok and the Arolik even through the worst of the weather. The night of the big storm, Nate Paull landed 14 silvers from the upper camp hole (in an hour! and in the wind). Katheryn, on her first fishing trip ever, landed her first silver, chum, pink, dolly and rainbow. Not bad for a neophyte!
As usual this group had a blast every day and even when the going got tough, they stuck it out and kept a super positive attitude which always results in good things.
You may have heard that the weather was awful this week and that’s a good way to sum it up. But we at Alaska West have dealt with a lot worse over the years and we know it’s just a part of making a living on the Bering Sea coast. Many of our guests have come from hot places and quite enjoy the lower temps, high winds and driving rain that we sometimes enjoy on the Kanektok. We also know that this beautiful river would not be what it is without the changes that a good shot of rain and a big storm will bring – like making the silvers darn near psychotic for the fly. It also kills off the first of the spawning salmon and therefore causes the first of the flesh migration to start, which makes the rainbow and dolly fishing quite silly. So bring it on Mother Nature – you can’t get us down when it makes the fishing even better than it has been.
The final story of the week is about our good friend Steve Ward and his search for fossils around the world. Steve is a paleontologist who has traveled the world many times over and has found fossils of all types and ages throughout his life. The last day of his trip he was standing in ‘Pipeline’ and while working down the run he looked in front of him into about 3 feet of water, and what did he see but a 10,000 – 12,000 year-old woolly mammoth tooth.
He said that this may be his most memorable find since he was spending time with the people and friends he loves the most while fishing his favorite place in the world. Something else amazing about this find is that his daughter Wren happened to bring along a bunch of play animals, one of which them happens to be her favorite woolly mammoth – go figure. Nice, Steve – and we can’t wait to see you and the rest of the family next year.