Monday June 20 – We are out of Fort Richardson and headed toward the Kenai Peninsula where we will meet up with Dan Jacoby and Donna Barker in their 1999 Discovery. We are all members of Discover Owners Association International (DOAI) and we met them last spring at the DOAI Southeast Rally (Camp Discovery) at Lazy Days RV Park near Tampa, Florida. They have been coming up to the Kenai each summer for the last 5 years to go fishing in the Kenai River, Russian River and surrounding area. At the rally the President of our DOAI gave a presentation on he and his wife’s trip to Alaska in 2009 and Dan and Donna had shown them how to fish for salmon with great success. We talked to them after the presentation and they offered to do the same for us and this visit was to take them up on their kind offer.
Our route to join them at a campground at Cooper Landing took us down Alaska’s only highway to the Kenai Peninsula. This road circumnavigates the Turnagain Arm off Cooks Inlet. The inlet is the waterway off the Gulf of Alaska. The drive along the northern side of Turnagain Arm is very scenic and is tightly packed between the mountains and the edge of the water, sharing this narrow strip of flat land with the railroad. We passed the town of Girdwood without stopping as we plan to visit there with granddaughter Ellie. The weather was gorgeous with nice puffy white clouds and the snow capped mountains made for some wonderful photo opportunities. Once you round the end of Turnagain Arm and head onto the Kenai Peninsula the road again enters the beautiful mountains. We found more snow remaining on the mountains than we had expected and it was beautiful.
We found Dan and Donna at the Kenai Princess Campground (yes it is associated with the Princess Cruise Lines and there is a lodge adjacent to the campground) and as luck would have it we got assigned to the spot directly across the roadway from Dan and Donna. We were able to get our reservation at this small but very busy campground through Thursday night. We spent the evening catching up and learning more about each other over a spaghetti dinner Pat made that we shared in our RV. Dan and Donna had not had any luck catching salmon yet as the run of Red Salmon to the Russian River was late this year.
Early(5:45) Tuesday morning June 21 Dick, Dan and Donna went fishing with Dick using his spinning rod and a Russian River Fly. Dan and Donna were using fly rods and Dick would have but his rods are much too light for salmon fishing. They fished the Kenai River just below what is known as the Russian River Ferry Crossing. This type of fishing is known as Combat Fishing with folks lined up quite near each other and casting and recasting their heavily weighted lines into the swiftly moving current only about 6 to 12 feet from shore. They saw a few folks catch some salmon but they had no luck after three hours of trying although Dan said that the catch they observed showed that more fish were coming up the river than had been in the past week.
After lunch we all headed about 30 miles down the road into the city of Soldotna where they introduced us to The Moose is Loose Bakery! Yummy pastries and breads of all kinds and we sampled them liberally. We also stopped by a place where they sell chain saw carvings and several craftsmen have their shops right there. The photos show some of the really neat work they do. Dick even found a wall section in the inside store of Cottonwood Bark carvings somewhat like the carvings he does and he photographed them too.
The last stop was at Trustworthy’s Hardware, the best place in Soldotna to find any and all types of fishing supplies and tackle. And yes, that is a well deserved plug for the store. Dick bought a nice nine weight fly rod and reel and associated forwarded weighted quick sinking fly line and some 1 ½ ounce weights. Now he feels ready to do some more salmon fishing!