These are pictures of the big ones that didn't get away.
The silver salmon pictured on the right was caught in a river (name long forgotten) down south on a trip near Homer, Alaska. I caught the one on the left in a river north of Montana Creek. Again I don't remember the name of the river but I told my next door neighbor Tim where I caught it and he said "Let's go." So the very next day we were on the way to the river when we heard on the radio that there was an emergency closure by Alaska Fish and Game announcing that you had to release any King Salmon hooked in the river we were almost at because too many were being caught and not enough were getting through to spawn. Probably the reason I was lucky enough to catch the one I did.
Almost as soon as we arrived at the river Tim hooked into a really big King. It took him almost an hour to land it and there were actually tears streaming down his cheeks as he held it in the water between his legs taking the hook out. I would guess that it was around 60 pounds. Tim didn't even take it out of the water as there was a game warden watching him play the fish for the last thirty minutes.
The pictures above and below show salmon that had already spawned and were on their way to expire whether they were caught or not. During the spawning run some of the creeks were so full of fish that you couldn't walk into the water without stepping on a fish. At this time of the year we always took the kids along as it was fun watching them catch fish as big as they were. We ended up smoking these fish and I'm told they were very delicious.
The fish pictured below was the third largest fish I ever caught. You've already seen the two largest at the top of the page. The fish is actually larger than it appears. I should have used the one with an 8 inch trout on top of the salmon and you could have seen how big it was. I almost cry when I think of this fish because the base had a power failure for over 24 hours and every thing that was in our freezer spoiled because we couldn't keep it all refrigerated.
I've already included the story of this fish and Ptarmigan Creek somewhere else on the site so I won't repeat it here. There are so many cool stories about fishing in Alaska.
I remember one particular trip to Mount McKinley with Randy Forth and his wife Nancy. Randy and I decided to climb this one mountain and were on the mountain for about 5 hours climbing on shale. Every step that you took a piece of shale usually came loose and slid down. I have to admit I was a bit frightened when we got to this one outcropping and looked down and saw Dahl Sheep BELOW us. I was never so glad to get back to camp. On the same trip we went fishing for trout in one of the streams and I caught a beauty. It was in the ice chest beside our truck when I decided to walk around the campground. I had just gone over a slight rise when standing on his hind legs was a grizzly that appeared to be about 10 feet tall not more than 20 feet away. I made a hasty retreat and returned to our camp telling my wife that there was a big grizzly headed our way. Naturally, I got the response SURE. Nobody ever believed anything I told them. Within minutes though the bear was at our campsite and Iz was throwing the kids in the truck. She and I climbed up on the back of the camper and watched as the bear drank her hot chocolate (Styrofoam cup and all) and knocked the cooler over that held the fish and a container of butter among other things.
The bear threw the fish behind him and devoured the butter (This time he managed to get the lid off and licked it out without eating the container. He then sauntered off ignoring my beautiful trout. I still catch flak for the day even the bears thought my fish suck.
I think the Arctic Grayling is the most majestic fresh water game fish. When its dorsal fin is up there is nothing to compare to its beauty. The photo of me holding the grayling is my favorite fishing picture.
At work we had been discussing a trip to Homer to catch King Crabs and shrimp all through the winter. When spring arrived the trip actually materialized. We hauled up so many shrimp and King Crab over that unforgettable three day trip.
We even used formaldahyde so that we could mount the largest one we caught. Twenty-five years later and countless moves around the world the King Crab still survives and is displayed on our wall.