Trout By The Million: Fish So Thick in Alaskan Waters They Were Crowded Out., Daily Racing Form, 1918-12-13


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TROUT BY THE MILLION Fish So Thick in Alaskan Waters They Were Crowded Out Much i erfeetly good ink lias been spread over equally good paper in an effort to describe what various writers consider extraordinary trout fishing in various sections of the country Even the writer used to think that the lakes anil streams of Maine and upper Michigan were hard to beat when it came to the question of trout But since taking a little trip in Alaska I have changed my opinion opinionI I landed at Anchorage August 11 1916 and after looking over the situation decided to help my Uncle Sam build a railroad into the Chicaloon coal fields Although Woodrow Wilson never knew that I actually existed I could tell by stealing furtive glances at the faces of officials comprising the Alaskan Engineering Commission that they were glad I came to help them as I did Panama Bill the roadmaster often admitted that without me the entire project might have collapsed collapsedHe He that as it may the commissioners declared the first Monday in September to be a legal holiday and invited all hands including the cooks to come to Anchorage on that day and participate in the fes ¬ tivities Now my idea of festivities when Im in or near a good fish or game country consists of camping hunting fishing or exploring and as the Moose Creek camp then the end of the steel path contained two other bipeds whose tastes leaned toward tall timber the three of us decided to take a trip to a little lake that had recently been dis ¬ covered by a party of decidedly uncivil engineers I say uncivil advisedly for when we questioned them as to the whereabouts of the lake they made that kind of replies That it was about two miles southeast of the Matanuska Canyon was the best we could get out of them themHowever However having Sunday and Monday off we de ¬ cided to make the trip and even if we failed to find the lake to enjoy the glorious privilege of camping out among the Kadiak bears bearsSunday Sunday morning was as clear as a bell and spurred by the anticipation of our first camping trip into the Alaskan wilds we packed our outfit with all the avidity of born sportsmen and started off up the rough rightofway that was being blasted along the edge of the canyon just above the river bed bedTRIP TRIP IN DOEY THROUGH GLACIAL WATER WATERIt It was tough traveling those four miles to the head of the canyon now plodding over the unfin ¬ ished surface of the rocky roadbed now wading through water and treacherous quicksand across to the next section of roadbed now halting at the timely warning of a laborer to watch an entire promontory being blasted off the wall of the canyon but after two hours of hard work we reached the spot where we had been told we could find a boat belonging to our Uncle Sam SamWe We launched the craft a dory that weighed about 800 pounds and started across the swift muddy glacial river We were still in the canyon and as the river at that point made a sharp turn the current of the main channel flowed directly across striking the opposite wall of the canyon at right angles We made the trip across in about two minutes On our way back in order to leave the boat where we found it we had to pull and wade and pole and struggle against the mighty crosscur ¬ rents exactly an hour and a half to cover the same distance distanceHaving Having tied the boat to a clump of willow that grew out of the rocky wall just above the water level we began the tedious ascent of the four hundrcdfoot cliff Loaded down as we were with bedding tent grub aiid rifles this was no easy task as the rocky wall was so steep that at some of the higher points it seemed to lean out over the river riverAfter After reaching the top we sat down for a breath ¬ ing spell Our panorama included the entire Mat ¬ anuska Canyon to say nothing of the mighty snowy Talkeetna Mountains just across the river re ¬ splendent in their September sublimity Even my companions rough and unlearned as they were ad ¬ mitted that the scenery was good goodDEVILS DEVILS CLUB AND MOSQUITOES THICK THICKAfter After a long breathing spell we resumed our jour ¬ ney only to be introduced to that ubiquitous enemy of the Chechawker devilsclub Besides emitting a disagreeable odor this chubby shrub is covered from the roots to the ribs of the leaves with sharp spines similar to those on a chestnut burr These spines cause itching and festering whenever they are introduced into a human eplr derm is isWe We got our bearings with the aid of a compass and struck out bravely in a southeasterly direction The first half mile in from the river we encount ¬ ered besides devilsclub a rank luxuriant tangle of ferns high bush cranberries alders willows and blue joint grass as high as a mans head The forest consisted of spruce white birch and cotton wood As we forged ahead we blazed a trail which we intended to use as a reference in case we became lost or failed to find the hike hikeThe The mosquitoes were holding their annual re ¬ union and seemed to resent our intrusion It would be impossible to exaggerate the number of insects that attended the meeting but suffice to say that they were well represented by the committee which met us usOwing Owing to the thick spongy moss that everywhere covered the ground the tangle referred to above and the numerous halfrotted logs and windfalls our progress was necessarily slow After trayelng about three hours and finding ourselves on a sort of a wooded tableland my companions began ask ¬ ing me where I had learned the subtle art of wood ¬ craft and just how far in which direction in my judgment the fabulous lake was wasMy My neck and face were covered with mos ¬ quito bites and I felt hurt However within half an hour I led them proudly to the head of the lake and at the first glimpse of water I rose just one hundred per cent in their estimation estimationThe The head of the lake which was about half a mile wide by a mile long was fringed with a nar ¬ row grassy marsh and the water was barely two feet deep Here we made a few vain casts for trout but it soon became obvious that it would be necessary to find deeper water before we could expect good fishing We therefore started down the marshy shore of the lake toward the outlet hoping to find deeper water there thereBROOK BROOK FULL OF TROUT TROUTW W had gone about half the distance and were wading through the high grass of a natural meadow that extended from the lake to the base of the mighty Chugach Range barely a half mile to the south when we were startled by a splash that seemed to be almost under foot At first we thought the splash had been made by a mink or muskrat but investigation showed that we had stumbled upon a small brook almost hidden in the tall grass and that the author of the splash was a trout that looked big enough to vote voteI I hate to go on with this narrative beyond this point because it would be hardly fair to ask any reader to believe what is to follow However the scene that we beheld was so unusual and as far as my knowledge and experience go unprecedented that I feel I owe it to the sporting fraternity of this humble planet to write an account of the facts in the case Before proceeding further I must ask the reader man to man if he has ever caught me redhanded in a lieV If not and he is willing to take my word for it I will continue otherwise the world will be none the wiser wiserTrembling Trembling with avidity that amounted almost to buck fever we rigged our fly rods separated and began whipping the tiny two by three brook Dur ¬ ing the ensuing half hour such ejaculations as the following were common commonGreat Great Jehoshaphat Judas Priest Wow E Pluribus Uiium Reader and editor too for that matter that brook was so full of trout weighing from two to three and onehalf pounds that they were actually and literally in each others way when they wanted to turn around in the confusion resulting from every strike strikeOf Of course not having dip nets we were obliged to stiff heel them out of the water but even at that It was sport Dont tell me about the ethics of fly fishing s my companions unanimously put it We didnt need no dip nets netsTo To draw this narrative to a close we reveled among those spotted beauties till sundown putting back all that were not badly wounded and pitched a shed tent After a delectable supper we cut a vast supply of white birch firewood surrounded our little open canvas shed with mosquito smudges and tried to sleep We would in all probability have succeeded as we were weary after the hard days trip but a large Kadiak bear insisted on prowling around all night eating the offal of the trout we had cleaned just out of reach of our firelight He seemed to be laboring under the delusion that he had just as good right to those particular woods as we had hadThe The next morning we rose at dawn since we were all wide awake caught a few more trout to take back to the boys at camp who had probably by this time spent their substance in riotous living in town picked up our blazed trail and started back to camp 3 M Stolle in Outing

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