Bristol Bay Rivers
Native Trout & Salmon
If developed, the Pebble Mine would be the largest open pit mine in North America. The problem - it's located in the headwaters of the Kvichak and Nushagak Rivers, two of the eight major rivers that feed Bristol Bay. Because of its size, geochemistry and location, Pebble runs a high risk of polluting Bristol Bay, one of the world's great wild salmon strongholds. It's up to our generation to keep this piece of heaven from going to hell.
Fishing the Muklung River Alaska
In size, Wood-Tikchik Park hardly puts a dent in southwest Alaska's 40 million acres, but it's the cradle of Bristol Bay's salmon-rich watershed which draws its water from the Wood River Mountain range. During the last Ice Age, glaciers carved huge divots in the tundra as they ground east out of the mountains. When they melted, they left a stack of long lakes connected by short rivers. The water eventually forms the Wood River, which then flows into Bristol Bay.
Pictured above - drifting beads through a run on the big, expansive Wood River. This stretch of the Wood River empties the lower portion of Wood-Tickchik State Park. It's important to pick your spots carefully on the Wood since the rainbows can hold in a large area. Also note - a not so common day with plenty of blue sky and non-treating clouds overhead. It's Southwestern... but it's still Alaska.
A bright, sunny day is less than ideal to fish for silvers, but we had timed the run well and the Muklung was basically congested with coho pushing up to reach their spawning grounds. The hook-nosed male coho pictured above stretched to almost 28 inches.
The Muklung River is a smaller trib feeding into the Wood River. Besides being swallow in many spots, getting up into the runs holding silvers can be a huge challenge as the height of this river can shift several feet in the course of a day. During the peak of the silver run, you can find big, hard fighting coho in all the usual places. So getting rocked off your seat hitting a sand-bar at speed... a small price to pay.
A Northern pike came out of some slow, back eddy pool to say hello. This guy exacted his toll - gnawed off at least one fly on the first swing through the hole, and frayed a fresh leader on the second swing.