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Thread: A Day on Long Lake

  1. #1

    A Day on Long Lake

    The last (and first) time my fishin' buddy Jim and I went to Lake Louise to try to catch some lakers, (Salvelinus namaycush), Jim got skunked and I caught one nice fish and had another one on. Jim is a very competetive guy, and adding to his 'distress' was the fact that in the fishing trip immediately preceeding the Lake Louise trip, I had caught a large (25-inch) rainbow (Onchrynchus mykiss) and again Jim had been skunked.

    We were both sure that first trip was going to be the last trip to Lake Louise for the year because the water is starting to get 'hard' (turn to ice). However, (day before yesterday), the weather forcast for yesterday at Lake Louise was the same as it was two weeks ago - "Clear, high of 34* F, and light and variable winds". Jim simply couldn't resist the temptation to try one more time "to even the score", so he called me to see if I was up for another Lake Louise trip. Probably to his surprise, I said "Yes". This time, he said, we would get an "early start", and have "more time on the water".

    Since the last trip, the Alaska Department of Fish and game had changed the rules, and now the daily bag limit had been reduced to one lake trout and one burbot (Lota lota). The trip to Lake Louise was 150 miles one way, and it was about half an hour boat ride to get to the "fishin' hole" once we got the boat in the water. Nonetheless, Jim wanted to catch a laker, so we were willing to make the effort, and I picked him up in the dark at 0800.

    As we wended our way northward, the sunrise was revealing spectacular vistas, and I was rubbernecking looking at the scenery and trying to find appropriate places to stop and take pictures. Jim, on the other hand, was 'on a mission' and really didn't want to stop. Tough... I was driving. Finally, after passing up a couple of really nice shots, we drove by Long Lake that had not only good scenery but also good places to get my truck safely off the side of the road. As we stretched out legs and I looked around for some good picture vantage points, we looked down on Long Lake.

    Long Lake isn't very big. It's about a mile long and about a quarter of a mile wide. However, it is a natural "graben lake" and is very deep - 95 feet - for its width. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game stocks Long Lake periodically with Rainbow trout, lake trout and Arctic charr (Salvelinus malma). Burbot are found naturally in the lake. You can see some info here

    Jim asked me what fish were in the lake, and I responded that I knew there were burbot, lake trout and dolly varden (AKA Arctic charr), and there might be rainbows and grayling (Thymallus arcticus). So Jim pops up with the comment, "Why don't we fish here?" Now I gotta tell ya, that is the sign of a true fisherman. Competitive as Jim is, he couldn't resist the rises we were seeing all over the glassy surface of the lake. So I says... "Are you sure? "Yes" say he... So to shorten this already lengthy story, we turned around an drove back to the access to Long Lake.

    When We pulled into the primitive boat launch area, there was a young man fishing just beyond. When we asked him how he was doing, he proudly showed us about a 18" Arctic Charr. We talked politely with him long enough not to reveal our eagerness to get on the water, and then quickly got about the business of launching the boat. Momentarily, we were fishing.

    It was a gorgeous day, and a gorgeous lake. We had a wonderful time, and caught so many 8 to 10" rainbows and Arctic charr that we quit counting them. We also caught six nice big fish - three lakers and three Arctic charr.

    We first wetted our lines at 1000. We left the water at sundown 9 hours later. When I got home and told my wife that we hadn't in fact gone all the way to Lake Louise, but had stopped at Long Lake instead and spent 9 hours on the water, she couldn't believe it. She couldn't imagine sitting 9 hours in essentially a short but wide canoe. Even if the fishing was good.

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures.

    Here is looking back toward where we launched the boat early in the morning.

    Here is looking to the opposite end of the lake early in the morning.

    Here's a mid-day look back toward the boat launch:

    Here are some mid-day shots of the bluff to the north.


    Here a mid-day reflection of the bluff.

    Here is some proof we were actually fishing.

    Jim's first laker of the day.

    Another of Jim's first laker.

    My first arctic charr of the day.

    Then as the day closed, the sunset provided some dramatic lighting.

    Here is the lake as the day wanes...

    And then, the sunset behind King Mountain...


  2. #2
    Just for reference, here's a picture from "long ago and far away" of a couple of lakers and a grayling I caught while I was doing some field reasearch in the hinterlands of Alaska back in the mid '70s.

    In Great Slave and Great Bear lakes in Canada, lakers exceed 30 pounds. In the lake we fish, 10-lb fish are nice but not unexpected, and 20-pounders come out every year. For the fly-fishing fascists out there, these fish were caught on a #8 Montana Stone, (the fly with which I have probably caught 90% of all of the fish I have caught on a fly rod), a 6-lb test/8-foot leader, and a WF sinking-tip 5-weight line.


  3. #3

  4. #4
    Hi Paul,
    Sounds like great fishing, you are not just a fisherman, you are also a great photographer.
    Some cracking pics there.
    Is the lake trout a problem in Alaska?
    In yellowstone lake in MT they actively encourage fishermen to kill them all.

  5. #5
    Thanks, Richard. The truth is, it's difficult to be a "bad" photographer when you have scenery like this to photograph.

    I don't know about the Lakers in Yellowstone. They're natives in Alaska and well-liked for food, so they're actually fairly well-regulated. In Yellowstone I think they're an introduced species and considered a pest.


  6. #6
    Regular Poster
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    May 2010
    dumfries & galloway
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    great read, loved the pictures, catching fish in my books is about 5% of the enjoyment its just being in the great out doors that does it for me and great views, i like the picture 4th from the bottom would look nice hanging on my wall

  7. #7
    That's very kind calmac. If you like I can send you the original and you can print it. Let me know.


  8. #8
    great photos gitano!

    we get lakers here too in BC

    I enjoy fishing for them! and although i do eat them, I find the meat quite oily.compared to a nice rainbow.

    They get huge here in the bigger lakes and fish in the upper 20# range are common place.although they seem to always elude me LOL
    cheers dan

  9. #9

    I find the meat quite oily.
    That's one of the reasons I like them so much.

    fish in the upper 20# range are common place.although they seem to always elude me

    Yeah, me too!


  10. #10
    Great photos and good, interesting write up. Regards, Ed

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