Alaska has some of the best fishing in the entire world. Have you been lucky enough to wet your line in the land of the midnight sun?
This is possibly the coolest youtube video I have ever viewed. This video shows world champion archer Arthur Young on an epic expedition across the state of Alaska subsisting with only a traditional longbow and arrow. He takes on dall sheep, moose, brown bear, small game, salmon, and basically everything in between. Arthur shoots a moose with his longbow, then uses its hide to build a canoe and float down the freezing Yukon River. He spends times hunting with the Alaskan Natives on the his way to hunt brown bears in Kodiak. This black and white video is awesome, watch legendary bowmen Art Young take on Alaska “old school” with only stick and string.
Image Courtesy of http://www.stickbow.com/stickbow/history/ArtYoung.html
Check these links out if your interested.
Alaska experienced a record setting snowfall this 2012, the effects of this massive snowfall are felt across the state. Record snow falls means enormous amounts of mountain and glacier run off, basically the rivers are flowing at a much faster rate than normal years. All this water melting and pushing its way towards the ocean has begun to effect the fishing quality of salmon runs for all anglers alike. The Sockeye salmon run follows generally two “runs” during the Alaskan summer months. One “run” being in June while the second “run” comes in July. A “run” is a large influx of salmon moving toward their spawning grounds. This gives anglers one last opportunity to harvest their quota of salmon before the spawning process begins.
The lifecycle of the salmon is an interesting one. A salt water fish, not meant to live in freshwater, head from oceans to rivers on a quest to spawn. The spawning cycle is essentially the last effort of survival and restarts the life cycle of the salmon population. Once a salmon begins to spawn, their flesh and bodies deteriorate, giving their offspring the ultimate sacrifice of themselves; this sacrificial gestures purpose is to feed their hatchlings eventually making them into larger fledging fingerlings. These fingerlings will then travel to the ocean for 2-3 years, generally speaking, to “fatten up” into large 5-10 lb Sockeye salmon.
The main mission of this Alaska fishing trip was to go fishing with my brother and his daughter, this was Taylor Manelicks first fishing trip. Fishing in one of my favorite childhood fishing spots, it wasn’t long before Taylor got her first fish nibble. As we arrived at the creek, Dad (Auggie) carried Taylor down stream to an over hanging limb; the perfect place for hiding trout. Taylor put her pink colored hook in the water and in the blink of an eye something tugged her Barbie fishing poles line. Immediate laughter and excitement ensued… Taylor really enjoyed her self. This was the most memorable and special moment of the entire trip. I could not have been happier as her sweet little face said “can we go again?” Dad and Uncle Austin said ” whenever you want!” After catching Taylor’s first fish, the fishing game plan changed and we headed South.
Heading to the Kenai Peninsula this 2012, to fish the legendary Russian River Red salmon would be dismal at best. However the catch isn’t always as important as the adventure itself. The overflowing headwaters of the Kenai River made fishing for Red Salmon extremely difficult. Fishing the “first run” of Sockey Salmon was very anti climactic. Not experiencing any luck of the Kenai river, hiking toward the Russian River Falls was the best option. The hike to to falls was around 2.3 miles from the Pink Salmon Parking lot, not to bad of a hike. The only problem is walking through brown bear territory, the concern is keeping your salmon after you catch it… Several piles of large bear scat littered the trail, but not to much of a concern as the owners were not present to claim it.
Reaching the “red hole” was easy enough and the fishermen littered the river banks. Shouldering up to the fishing spot and fishing for an hour or so provided only eight snags (on the river bottoms rocks) and one brown bear encounter. As we left the fishing hole and began to walk up the ankle busting trail, we had an adrenaline filled encounter. Cresting the hill near the fishing grounds Greg and I came nose to nose at 4 yards from a 500 pound female brown bear. I yelped “hey bear” while simultaneously jumping behind a small spruce tree(as if it would save me). The bear was very uninterested as we didn’t have any salmon, and trotted off across the trail. Hiking back to the parking lot and changing our fishing game-plan was the best option. It was later decided that we should probably stick to Rainbow trout fishing, and using rafts to float the Kenai River was our best tactic. Using “micro flesh flies” to simulate dead salmon chunks, a 9-13ft leader with a strike indicator, and one split shot 18 inches above the fly was the key set up. Putting our raft in the Kenai River, fishing began immediately.
Auggie the captain and oarsman of the boat, believe it or not, had the hardest job of the trip. The oarsman must keep the vessel floating strait ahead downstream while steering the boat float safley through the “best holes” while dodging rapids. Auggie put me in the hot spots the entire time, and I credit his long oar sets to the trips fishing success. Thanks Augg.
After fly fishing and producing several trout and one monster 23 inch Dolly Varden, I decided to hike back up near the Russian falls and try one more time for Sockeye salmon. Upon arriving at the “honey hole” and heavy moving water, I knew the key to catching a salmon in the fast moving current would be heavier weight. Using a longer leader with a heavier weight, I needed to feel the weight bouncing off the bottom of the river. This new tactic allowed me to feel my fishing gear touch bottom and put my monofilament in a direct line with the low swimming salmon. After five minutes of fishing with no other fishermen insight besides a meandering brown bear, I hooked into a large Sockeye. “zzzzzzz,zzzz,zzzz” the line bailed out of my fly reel as the salmon screamed down stream. The heavy current made the fish feel three times as heavy, out of fear of breaking my 7-8 weight rod, I bowed my rod down stream. The fish using the current to his advantage snapped my line after a 5-10 second fight.
So exhilarating! Fighting a sockey salmon on the Russian River with only one brown bear to combat fish with, is rare indeed. Usually there are fishermen standing shoulder to shoulder, however the dismal salmon run discouraged fishermen from treking to the Kenai leaving the river all to me. Quickly retying my home made “Russian River Fly”, I was fishing again in no time. After another two hours, I hooked two more fish in the mouth, only losing the fish down stream in other hard fights. Not having any fish to clean, I wasn’t to worried I didn’t “catch” a salmon. I felt the rod pull hard and the salmon swim with mighty strength, fun enough to have one on the end of my line. The trip was highlighted by Taylors new enthusiasm for the outdoors and new found excitement in fishing. Grandpa, Auggie, Sarah, Paxson, Taylor, including me Austin Manelick had a wonderful time spending moments together in the great outdoors.
The fishing report:
Kings Salmon: Closed throughout most of the state.
Kenai River first Sockeye run: dismal at best : Fast moving water makes it difficult to use the “floss technique” on the Sockeye Salmon. Heavy weight with a “Russian river” single hook fly is the best method.
Technique: Use a 5 foot leader off of your heavy splitt-shot weight, attach the Russian River fly. The more material on your Russian River fly makes your fly sit higher in the water, more material equals more boyancy. The Salmon swim low to the river bottom, remove material from you fly until you get your weight and hook bouncing off the bottom. You must bounce your weight off the bottom or you waste time fishing.
Second run: Picking up on the Russian River as Sockeyes begin to make their way toward the Russian River Falls. Hike up river and spot for fish in the river before attempting to fish.
Trout fishing as usual is great on the Kenai River, you need to have the correct flies in order to hook them. Steak and EGGS patterns and or white micro flesh flies seem to be working the best. Use single egg pattern bead for a secondary option as the salmon have began to spawn.
Caution: With high fast flowing rivers, the bear population cannot fish as well. Be careful and bring bear spray or handgun with you. People have reported being chased by bears on the public walking trail systems.
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I found an interesting article regarding a filming gig I filmed last summer 2011. A true role model to the next generation will be outlined, noted is his message to the next generation of outdoorsmen.
During my professional career as field producer and videographer, I’ve had the remarkable opportunity to meet astonishing people with messages strong and resounding. True heros of conservation, the people who have planted the metaphorical “acorns” or strong outdoor moral values in the next generation, people like the man I met this past summer during a film shoot. This documentary style shoot was a float trip down down the Green River in Utah, the very same river Butch Cassidy the Sundance kid took refuge to hide out from the law in classical western stories. The man I speak of, Jim Roche, is the ideal role model for the next generation of outdoorsmen. Jim a professional hunting guide and owner of Magnum Guide Service in Eldorado Texas, after years of much guideing success found new enjoyment helping boys become men through faith and the outdoors.
“There’s so many kids that need to hear the word about Jesus Christ and who also need the hunter safety course. You’ve got to get outside the church to get across to most of these people.” -Jim
This float trip planned by Jim was a mission trip with a group of “boys” who would walk the steps of boyhood to manhood, walking the steps with Jim and Christ himself. These 12-15 year old boys/men would be completly devoted to christ during the 100 mile or so float trip, learning campfire lessons about stories from the bible. Each story had a different meaning, but all carried the same message, that message “Be a respectable, honoable man of society, who finds strength and courage through the almighty”. These men would be taught by Jim how to be sheppards of the land, good stewards of mankind. They would also learn a valuable outdoor message through the bible and Christ “One of the things that we have to realize in the Bible, especially in Genesis, God’s given us dominion over the animals and over this Earth,” Hill said. “And so we really are in charge of this resource. and one of the things that we thought was important was to also work with the young people, boys and girls just like we have today, that help them be in a situation where they can manage that resource as they get older.
This trip was wildly unexpected and unanticipated, as I myself found this message to touch the roots of my christianity. I could not help but to listen to the morning devotionals by the campfire as I filmed the young men read and follow Jims thoughts through each biblical verse. I began to look at myself and how I could improve my relationship with Christ. During this week long trip, I found myself on about the fourth day taking part in all parts of the mission trip, including prayer, sharing thoughts on bible verses, and sharing my own stories. This became a very personal experience, not a work experience, I developed deep friendships with the young men around me and became one of the guys.
I immediately wanted to share my knowledge of nature with these young men, they were all very interested in what I told them before we embarked on the float trip. I said “grab some hooks and some line, I maybe able to teach you how to catch a fish in a survival situation”. The fourth night of the trip we ended up catching and realeasing a fistful of catfish, enough to feed the 16 or so people on the trip. We used balled up whitebread on a single weighted hook, fishing right on the bottom. We released the fish as we had enough food already reserved for the week, however we proved we could catch fish. I taught the young men how to hand-line catch fish in a “survival situation”, to be ready for anything during adventures into the wilderness. I imposed a small biblical lesson of my own, catch a man one fish feed him for a day, teach a man how to fish feed him for a lifetime.
I learned a few things from these young guys myself and ended up learning more than I could possibly teach. I learned to speak more with the big man up stairs, and He discussed with me on this trip the mission of my manifest destiny. The youth and the next generation of Outdoorsmen, teach them how to become respectable honorable men who care about nature and a healthy population of animals. “On a mission trip to Green River, Utah, two boys accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior. Surprising Roche and everyone else, a cameraman with a postproduction company in Denver knelt down and accepted Christ, too.” Short Stories for Children writes.
I was hit with this epiphany like a thunder bolt from God, as I gasped for breath being pulled from the bottom of the Green River. By the 6th and final day of the trip I became one of the guys, and found myself being baptized by my new buddy Blaine in a circle of men who were accepting Christ in the Green River. What a wild experience, I was convinced the entire production crew and all those involved were brought together for this very special mission trip for a reason. What each person would walk away with, was the discovery of why they were called to this Adventure in Youth Mission trip, and where they would go next.
Each of these men found friendships in both themselves and with the almighty above, they would leave with the fundamental values of how to be a respectable, honorable, god fearing and loving man. These men would leave with a sense of pride an accomplishment, my new friends would leave me with an inspiring thought to encourage more youth to become men just as they. My relationship with these young men continues today, Spencer Brent pictured above is a gentlemen I met on this float trip. Spencer was offered a field editor position at missionak.com and will be reporting his findings in the field during the Texas hunting season. Check back for more in the field action from our field editors like Spencer, the youth has been inspired! Thanks again to Jim Roche for being such an outstanding role model to the next generation of outdoorsmen, the world needs many more of you!
If you have been reading missionak or following at all, then you would know that MA is all about the next generation and spreading the word on how “cool” the outdoors is. I have been talking with every person I know personally and contacting all of the youth I have met over my lifetime of friendships, in attempt to spread the good word of the outdoors.
I want to thank all of the readers and followers of Missionak, since summer of 2011 MA has grown greatly and viewer numbers are through the roof! I want to thank you again for following and reading my personal message to the woodsmen in all us. If you have or feel like you want to be more involved on missionak.com, please feel free to do so, in fact please help me!
If you have any pictures, videos, stories, anything that you feel appropriate for missionak.com, please email me at email@example.com
Once again, I would love for anyone to send me interesting photos they have found on trail cameras, taken on hunts, taken on fishing trips, taken on antler shed hunting trips. Tell me a story, it doesnt have to be a trophy buck that you have taken I would be just as happy with a picture of a readers first deer harvest of a doe than of a monster 10pt buck.
I want to connect with my readers, help me!
SEND ME PICTURES AND STORIES!!!
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Ever since my father took me trout fishing in a local stream after my first day as a kindergartner at Pioneer Peak Elementry School, I was hooked for life. I had recieved a new telescopic (totally BA) trout fishing rod set up and I could not wait to test my new implements of attack upon the majestic rainbow trout. My dad picked me up after school and we headed to Wasilla Creek. It wasn’t too long before we found ourselves 50 yards from the road, in a perfect trout hole. My Dad rigged me up with a small spoon lure and told me to cast in the dark, deep hole behind the log…. I did so expertly, as if I had been a bass master my entire 5 year old life, after my third of fourth perfect cast I felt my pole tip jerk directly toward my line..
What happened next was almost unexplainable, to this day I still have a hard time finding words for it. My tiny stomach lurched forward and downward at the same time, and for a split second I swore I was levitating. For a brief moment, my body seemed to have defied gravity. I did not know what was happening but I knew I had a trout or something on my line and I did not want it to get away. After landing the trout my dad and I shared a moment of silence and awe at that little trout flopping on the bank. My body let me feel the ground once I got a hold of my very first self caught trout. My body experienced one of my first adrenal highs. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but if fishing could give me that knee shaking experience….then I would catch more fish!!!! At a very young age I knew I was a thrill seeker, and believe it or not fishing gave me that thrill. It was only later that I experience hunting for the very first time, which brought the thrill to a completely different level.
Everyday after school, between sports and home work, I would head to the woods or the streams carrying my fishing pole on my mountain bike. Later that bike would become an ATV.. Yeah sure I had video games, but getting to the next level was not gratifying for me because I knew the next level would always be there and I would always be able to beat the game. There wasn’t too much fun in video games for me, deep down when I played them, I knew there would be a monster trout sitting under that log that I wasn’t fishing. The outdoors was a challenge for me, every time I left the house I knew I would have to be clever enough to outsmart a fish or a squirrel. My next personal metaphoric “video game level” would be my next small animal target, or my next dream hunt for Moose or Dall sheep. After many years of small game hunting, I wanted to challenge myself, I wanted to to start hunting big game animals.
I will not tell a lie, the outdoors gratifies me beyond words. The only way to break the experience with nature down such as catching a fish, harvesting an animal, or even seeing an animal, is the chemical response in the brain linked to adrenal release. Adrenaline so to speak is what I chase, this chemical is released when your “rod tip jerks” or when you spot a grey squirrel and you’re hunting for dinner, or when you’re hunting for bull moose and a trophy 60 plus incher walks out with a rack thats wider than a door frame. Your body’s natural instinct is to release this super human chemical giving you seemingless power, you must seek a thrill to experience it. The harvesting of an animal is not the thrill, I get just as much satisfaction releasing a 26 inch rainbow trout as I would harvesting and eating the fish. The kill is not as important as outsmarting the game animal, for instance letting a legal but small antlered animal walk by you instead of needlessly taking a life just because you can. The taker of a life involves maturity and respect for the animals as well, close relationships are formed with the animals we pursue. A last second buzzer beater, a half court 3 pointer shot with no time left to beat the other team, that feeling as the ball goes in the hoop is a similar feeling to the experience of catching or harvesting an animal.
I don’t discriminate. I follow each U.S. state Fish and Wildlife regulations and within law, pick several legal game animals to pursue whether it’s big game or small game the thrill is the same. I have been an accomplished big game hunter most of life, in part to a father who at one time was a Master Alaska Guide. We have hunted both big and small game together and to me the adrenaline rush is nearly the same. More exciting to me than hunting or fishing for myself, is sharing the sport with someone new, sharing the experience (the rush) of animal encounter with someone who is interested. This last winter I decided to take my best friend and high school sweetheart Jordan Pokryfki small game hunting.
In high school her father, Vince, would teach us how to make port orford cedar arrows and osage orange self made D-bows. We both had a love for the bow and making beautiful arrows, it was now time to put these arrows to action in the next challenge. Noticing that Jordan was deadly with a bow I suggested we purchase a hunting license together, she asked me if we could actually hunt legally if she had purchased the license. I told her yes we could hunt small game (Snow shoe hare, ptarmigan, red squirrel, and spruce hen)because thats the small game open this season and off we went.
Our first time out, we definitely looked deadly, however we spotted no bunnies during our snow shoe adventure. Un-deterred we decided we would head back out to a different bunny hunting location the following weekend, and this time we would use snow machines to get further from the road and deeper into bunny country.
Our new game plan, using snow machines to get further into bunny country worked! Jordan and I would succesfully harvest several bunnies this day, and had a blast doing it. Jordan liked it so much we decided to go the following weekend to the same place, this time we would bring her dad and have equal success.
Like I said, I don’t discriminate in the adventures I go on, the satisfaction I received would only be comparable to the happiness of Jordan and her first successful hunting experience. Seeing Jordan come to full draw with her home made refinished bow as bunnies zoomed through the willows, would bring me to a full draw smile and many awesome memories.
This year big game hunting is essentially coming to a close, and the populous of hunters are beginning to find themselves in a hybernation type pattern. This is the exact time when the hard yards are earned help you have succusfull 2012 hunting season. If you have ever dragged a deer from the woods or packed out a bull elk, or bossed up a 200+ pound moose hind quarter then you know that you must be in not the best, but a pretty good shape to safely bring your quarry from the field. It’s to often that you hear a hunter tell a story of how he busted his ankle, or threw his back out, pulled a hamstring, the list of injurys goes on and on. Being healthy and fit for the outdoors can only help to make you a more successful hunter, going further to help you get to that secret spot you only wish you get during the rut. No matter if your a tree stand whitetail hunter or a back country elk hunter, being in shape both mentally and physically are factors playing into a successful hunting season. Besting game this day an age takes hard work and perseverance, this is why I enter my hunting seasons as a professional athlete would enter his pre-season training camp.
I begin my pre-season hunting workouts during the winter, starting with an alternate cycle of a month of heavy weights with light conditioning such as non-weighted hikes or back country snow boarding hikes. The second alternating month is an anaerobic high intensity high repetition excercise which is a simliar variation of the popular work called CrossFit. Crossfit, focuses on a combination of different excersise in non-step repetition with little to no rest between exercises. I made up my own variation of cross fit and p 90x, I like to call my workouts Wilderness X because its a combination of the outdoors with functional workouts. The work out is similiar to what a hunter would go through during his time in the field(think spring bear on an Alaska hunt deep snow), I begin a snow shoeing hike with a weighted pack and enter one mile onto a pre-designated national forest trail in the middle of no-where Colorado. Once a mile up the trail I pulled out my 40 pound dumbbell and begin the work out doing a combination of 5- 10 exercises between 15-30 repetitions each. Once I finished this I would pack my weight away and hike back to the base of the hiking trail.
This work out mimics a spring bear hunt by placing the hunter in a game time situation such as a bear that is spotted, then stalked, then harvested. Long periods of heavy walking with a pack leading into several high intensity moments followed by another long period of walking.
-The Wilderness Work Out
One Mile Hike with weighted pack (I chose 40 pounds)
Standing Triceps extension-20
Push ups 20
lunges 15 X each leg
Push ups 20
Standing Triceps extension 20
One mile hike down with weighted pack
This one way I prepare myself for success, some would call it a little crazy but each hunter has there superstitions. How do you get ready for your hunting season? Do you work out or go through some other form of ritual? To each his own, what has helped you have you most successful year ever, and what will make you have the most successful 2012 season?
Stay tuned for the next post, the youtube video of the actual work out.
Stalking animals with primitive archery equipment takes stealth to a whole new level. An animal taken with any kind of archery equipment is, in my opinion, a true trophy. An animal taken with primitive equipment means dinner, not to much argument with food on the table. Any legal hunting means to ethically harvest an animal should never be discouraged, to each his own. Respect other hunters, fishers, and outdoorsmen methods as you would enjoy others to respect you. Compound archery, traditional archery, primitive archery, rifle hunting, muzzle loader hunting, or even spear hunting try to enjoy others successes regardless of take method.
I have never fully understood my fathers obsession with trees and his infatuation with planting acorn after acorn, especially now when reaching a mature age in life. He has always had a scrupulous love affair with two kinds of trees, the red and the white oak trees. He would always convince me, some how, to channel my efforts in the woods like busy squirrel with winter fast approaching to gather, collect, and plant as many acorns as I possibly could. He would promise me that in my future years of life, I could sit under the very same trees I had planted and reap the benefit as monster Pennsylvania buck after buck would pass directly under my tree stand; within bow range of course. All I had to do was plant acorns and all my big buck dreams would come true. It is now in life after these buck dreams have come true, I must plant a different type of acorn.
My personal life message is geared toward the youth and the next generation of outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen, there is clearly a decline in the numbers of purchased hunting and fishing licenses in most of the United States. My message is to the youth, “GO OUTSIDE”, next challenge yourself. “I dare the youth to catch a fish”. I have played video games, and I have caught trout on fly rods and I promise you the thrill of catching a fish is much greater than acheiveing the next level in a video game.
The revenue associated with video games, does zero to help with fish and wild life. Meanwhile, the money raised from the purchases of hunting and fishing license directly helps to maintain abundant game animals in the states that we hunt and fish. The costs of hunting/fishing licenses funnel directly into the state and wildlife agencies such as each U.S. State departments of Fish and Game, the money from these licenses staffs wildlife experts and biologists who are in charge of regulating game animal and fish numbers. In essence, hunters and fishermen subsidize the costs associated with staffing and employing professionals to maintain healthy hunting and fishing for the next generation of hunters and fishermen. These professional are paid to keep our resources abundant and our forests healthy, purchased fishing and hunting license are vital to sustain our natural resources period.
With a decline in hunting and fishing license sales across the U.S., who will pay for true conservation in order to keep our game and fish numbers healthy? The answer lies within role model type outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen who take a member of the next generation of hunters and fishermen outdoors with them. The answer to the future sales of hunting and fishing license start with a very small seed, the gardener who plants this seed must be some type of influential outdoorsmen. The seed planted, metaphorically, would be taking a child or teen into the outdoors and getting them “hooked” on fishing or hunting. How do you do this? Simple, you take an interested young person or friend outdoors and help them catch their first fish or harvest there first animal. Next show them the process involved to be an ethical fishermen or hunter, including respect for the animal or fish, and help them to prepare a cleanly and tastey meal of wild game.
The simple act of having a fish on your line, or having your first whitetail walk under your hunting stand evokes an adrenal response from the surrounding environment. This interaction with nature releases serotonin a chemical in the brain linked to pleasure and satisfaction or the well being and happiness of an individual. Receiving pleasure response from a nature encounter will only help to make the acorn of the next generation of outdoorsmen or outdoorswomen sprout into a beautiful red oak tree. A red oak tree that will, hopefully in the future when reaching fruition will go forth and produce more acorns to ensure a healthy forest.
After all of these years I have come to some understanding as to why my father loves his trees so much, the trees he loves will be around for hundreds of years after he is gone. Those very same trees will be enjoyed by his grand childrens children, a pleasure he will only be able to smile down upon. I have yet another challenge, this is to the role models who find themselves reading this article and who can make some kind of difference. I challenge you to gain the interest of a young person into the active lifestyle of the outdoor world, to take a young person fishing, or an interested person antler shed hunting. I challenge you to plant a metaphoric red oak acorn, after all, the acorns that grow into beautiful red oak trees will be around much longer than we will be.