Alaska Rainbow Adventures
Alaska's Premier Multi-Day Wilderness Float Fishing Trips.
Trip Review ~ Kanektok River
When my grandson, Mason, was born 13 years ago, I vowed to take him fly fishing in Alaska.
Years earlier I had made a few trips to the Bristol Basin
area with my zodiac and a few friends, fishing and camping
our way down various rivers, seldom, if ever, encountering
other people. Such was the style of trip I had in mind for
Mason. But as he grew up, I grew old and the
effects of several cervical spine surgeries left me
concerned that the best I could do would be a lodge trip.
Nothing against lodges; I have enjoyed one before, but they
are a far cry from what I consider experiencing Alaska
wilderness. After two years of lobbying his parents, I
received to OK to take Mason North as long as there were
professional guides. While Googling around searching for a
trip, I found that Paul Hansen’s Alaska Rainbow Adventures
was offering a trip down the Kanektock! This seemed, and
proved to be, the perfect trip for a gimpy, picky old man
and his grandson.
Our 95-mile float began on the 4th of July on Kagati Lake. Fog kept us grounded in Bethel until late in the day, but by midnight all 3 Beaver-plane loads had us encamped. Two women and 6 men of various ages made the gang; 3 were professional guides (including Paul) to care for the remaining 4 of us and one of the 4 happened to be quite the guide herself, not mention a national champion fly-fisher and instructor. It was immediately clear that Mason’s parents had little to fear regarding his safety and learning experience!
The camping was unforgettable luxury: a ten-by-ten foot stand-up super gortex tent with cots for each pair of campers plus the monstrous dining/cooking tent that taped out over twenty feet long. Master chef Paul created most of the dinners; huge affairs with enlightened seasonings and sides. Every evening would find us building our little village in a new, beautiful, and very fishy location.
Mason, who had never handled a fly rod before and had come prepared to spin-fish, opted to try the fly first and was immediately hooked, thanks to the efforts of Nancy Willette and the other guides’ expert instruction. The spin gear stayed packed! Within minutes he was making 30 foot plus presentations, and landed his first fish (a plump 18 inch Dolly) with an hour. He soon learned roll casting and the double-haul, and landed countless fish daily, including Rainbows, Grayling, Pink, Chum, Sockeye and jack salmon. He learned to accurately fish from the drifting boat as well as from shore.
With guide Hopi Salomon's encouragement, Mason manned the oars, lined his grandpa up on several fish, and even beached the craft while grandpa fought the fish into the youngster’s net. Every night, after a hearty meal spiced with lots of laughter, Mason and I headed to our “cabin” and snuggled into our sleeping bags. Then Mason would invariably say, “Grandpa, would you tell me another story?” Sworn to secrecy, he would listen to tales of my earlier Alaska adventures, true stories of encounters with wild, dangerous things like grizzly bears and Anchorage dancing girls. But the very best stories will be Mason’s: about our voyage down the Kanektock with Alaska Rainbow Adventures.