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Exciting adventures and misadventures in Alaska in 2014

By Troutnut on December 23rd, 2014, 11:11 pm
I finally found time (with my dad's help) to post about several of this year's adventures. I was too busy early in the summer, finishing my Ph.D. and starting my new research project, to get out fishing. In August, my dad (having just retired from the Wisconsin DNR) flew up to Alaska to help with fieldwork. We didn't have enough fieldwork to justify hiring a technician this year, but it was too much to do with day-to-day volunteers, so his help for a couple weeks was extremely useful.

We blazed a trail at a small-stream study site and tested a bunch of equipment.

Later that same day, we met up with my wife at Denali National Park and celebrated our 4th anniversary with an exciting packraft float down Class II-III Riley Creek.

That night my wife's parents flew in, so my father-in-law came out to help us record data on Chinook salmon in the Chena River.

After that, dad and I traveled to a large spring creek study site to set up the camp our study will use for the next few years.

We accomplished a lot of productive technology testing and fly fished for big grayling to gather diet samples.

After finishing fieldwork at all of our sites, we took a few days just to hunt and fish.

Our first and most exciting trip was a caribou hunt in the Alaska Range. We hiked in about 13 miles and floated out about 15. My dad wrote up his account of the hunt, too. We saw some epic scenery, and courted disaster multiple times--the story is worth a read!

After that adventure we took a day in Fairbanks to recuperate before heading to the Kenai peninsula, where we fished the Kenai River for trout and did a saltwater charter out of Homer.

We broke up the 12-hour drive back to Fairbanks by spending a night in Talkeetna, where good weather the next morning encouraged us to take a spur-of-the-moment flightseeing tour over Denali National Park with K2 Aviation.

A week or so after dad left, Lena and I participated in the Denali Park road lottery, driving our vehicle in and seeing some great wildlife.

A few weeks later was my first trip to the bush to help some USFWS scientists with technology I developed during my Ph.D. See sights in Kotzebue, sights from the trip to camp through the village of Selawik, photos from the Selawik River, traveling from Selawik to Kotzebue, views of Denali Park the flight back.

Most recent comments on this post (latest on top)

CoreyJune 29th, 2015, 10:37 pm
Tampa, Florida

Posts: 6
Congrats on the PHD and appreciate you sharing these awesome pictures. For now I am enjoying my 90 degree days in Florida before heading up to chase some big salmon.
Trout Lures For Sale
Tomsix1February 18th, 2015, 10:01 am
Posts: 7Wow very very nice pictures.
Live 4 flyfishing
MacnsiennaJanuary 23rd, 2015, 5:08 pm
Posts: 1Mac: I am so so jelly! (of everything, but especially the sheefish)
Sienna: I am super impressed that you got Lena out on Riley Creek. Go Lena!
Mac: Come to NZ, I have some great local trout spots figured out here.
Sienna: Last night Mac was out fishing until 11pm. I'd better get a trout license and figure out how to flyfish or I'm going to be spending a lot of time alone!

Thank you for your comment on our blog and we really have enjoyed reading about your adventures as well. Keep up the awesomeness!!

PaulRobertsJanuary 4th, 2015, 3:50 am

Posts: 1776
Loved reading of your adventures Jason. And the best part is that there's more to come.
Jmd123January 1st, 2015, 1:47 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2520
P.S. Kyle, sheefish are related to whitefish and cisco ("herring" here in Michigan), in the family Coregonidae. Some taxonomists put this family into the Salmonidae as a subfamily, though I think that's fallen out of fashion these days.

The "pikeminnows" or "squawfish" are actually great big "minnows" in the family Cyprinidae, the carp or minnow family. But of course there are similarities, it's called convergent evolution, where creatures from different lineages develop similar body forms to cope with similar environments or other survival problems, e.g. competition. Like there are tetras and livebearing aquarium fishes that look like little pike, and barracudas in saltwater look like bigger pike...

But I digress - sorry, out comes the biology teacher...oh, and if my taxonomy is wrong and anyone knows better, please feel free to correct me!

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...

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