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The Dean River Chronicles Part 4 ( Blackies revenge)

Posted by Mark Thursday, April 28, 2011

Now after the episode at Boulder hole, Tim regained his composure and we continued on to Alder Run.Another famous run that fished oh so well and just had everything you could ask for in a run. We hooked a couple more and since it was still early, decided to head on down and see what Moose Rapids was all about. Now everything up till now was pretty straight forward in the boats we were in but, we had heard various stories about Moose and needed to see what was up. As we neared the rapids,the ominous noise of big water had all of our attention and we pulled over above the rapids on river right and walked down to have a look. At frst glance it looked pretty hairy, super bony at the top, a couple of moves needed to be made, avoid a couple big rocks and a keeper hole,then on the sticks to ferry towards river left and catch the green tongue of the main flow and catch the 5-6ft standing waves coming out the bottom.

It was definitely a class four rapid and we were a little puckered.It was big and kind of intimidating at first to look at but we all told each other it was no biggie and hiked back up to the boats. You always get a little nervous running anything for the first time. That nervous fear is a good thing, it keeps you on your toes and alert that's for sure. The fact that we were FAR from anyone else that could help if something went drastically wrong always throws a new twist on things.However,we knew the line and staring at it too long is never a good thing, You start to over think things, second guess yourself. Usually, like in life your first impression of what you see is what you want to do. Tim and I in the big pontoon were up first.We jumped in the big boat with Tim on the sticks and headed for the bony upper section of the tail out before the drop. He made the first couple moves nicely and missed the rocks and the keeper. He pulled towards river left and the mid river tongue and dropped in perfectly. The river roared it's disapproval as we passed the point of no return. Now it was a matter of keeping the boat straight and  hitting the standing waves pointing forward and we were home free. The standing waves were bigger than we had initially guessed now that we were in them. With all the technical stuff behind us we breathed a little easier. Tim handled the craft expertly and we rambled through the mid way point of the rapid.The big boat, loaded with our whole camp easily punched through the huge rollers with me on the front thoroughly enjoying myself now. Wave after wave crested over the boat drenching us in a chilling shower of water. We rodeo-ed our way through the final set of rollers and spun lazily out into the calm eddy below the rapid. Dave was on our tail and he was hitting the top of the rapid as we turned to watch him come through. He was in a much smaller pontoon but, with many years on the river he negotiated his way easily through the same line we had just taken. His little boat was swallowed up by the standing waves but he was having a ball. We had made it and slapped some high fives all around. We scouted and ran a fairly intense and potentially dangerous rapid we had never seen before and it went perfect. We were stoked!

Drawing from a new batch of adrenalin, we continued on to Anchor camp a bit further down river. We fished, we rowed. We marveled at our surroundings. The word beautiful does not do this river,forest and the snow capped peaks and glaciers justice. We camped at Anchor and enjoyed the time hanging out and getting into the rhythm of the river and the almost overwhelming amount of day light this far North. You could fish till 10 or later if you wanted. Dinner never seemed to be done until midnight, a few hours in the rack and you were jolted awake by the realization that you only had a few more days on the river and you wanted to soak up every last second you could. You can sleep later...this was about exploring and pushing the limits of fishing endurance.Oh yeah,and fun with good friends.

As we made our way down the river the next day we started to hook fish a lot more consistently. We stopped and fished anything and everything that looked good as we floated. We decided to make a push for the lower end knowing that we would find more fish as we went. We had a couple days left and we wanted to spend them in one spot and not be messing around with moving camp. We bolted for Victoria, just below the Totems camp on river right. The Totems are a group that has been fishing the river for many years and they have, or should I say had a semi-permanent camp there. The camp has since moved down river a ways and is now on river left. Anyway, not knowing that we ended up camping in a little spot below the early river right Totems affectionately known as A-Hole, because it is kind of a junk camp. No trees to hang food,small,etc. But right out in front of us was Victoria,another famous run where uncounted thousands of fish had been hooked over the years. We had a couple days to make some magic happen and we weren't gonna let a sub standard camp get in the way.

We fished that night and actually rose a couple fish on skaters. The next morning we got up early and ate some breakfast and drank a french press or two as the sun started to hit the highest peaks around us. We packed a full french press in the boat and rowed across to the river left side of Victoria to begin the day. An unbelievable run to fish and we were first in. There was a huge log washed up on the shore and two of us sat on the log and drank coffee while one of us fished. "Take a number" we called it. The first guy steps in and has hooked a fish in less than five minutes. He either lands it or looses it and moves to the back of the log and drinks coffee and watches. This incredible rotation that first morning in Victoria lasted for a couple hours with each of us hooking 3 or 4 fish.We could have all spread out and fished but we were having such a ball watching and cheering for the other guy we didn't care."Hey, you'll be up in about 10 minutes chill out". We would yell at the guys on the bank when we were fishing.And so it went. I don't think I even landed a fish that morning. I hooked one fish in close that seriously scared me with how hard and fast it pulled. I watched helplessly as my kite string melted from my spool in an amazing display of tackle roasting runs. This fish was deep in my backing and showing no signs of stopping. Clear on the other side of the river and 100 yards away. I try and put the binder one her and she jumps clean out of the water 4ft and throws the hook. I have never seen kite string like I have seen on the Dean. What you hear people say about the strength, speed and power of these awe inspiring fish believe it. It's no bull. These fish will smoke your reel like you will never see anywhere else. Just pure bulldog power with greyhound speed and porpoise like acrobatics. Ya ever seen flipper? Spinning,twisting, tail dancing and sky walking.These fish never fail to impress.

So, as we are sitting there enjoying some of the most awesome 2 or 3 hours of fishing any of us has ever encountered, we hear a noise across the river in camp. A loud noise, a growling noise. The sound of our aluminum dry box being knocked off it's legs. It was closed of course but old blackie is trying to peel it open as best as he can. We listen to the ruckus for about 10 minutes, just fishing away. I ain't going over there just yet. The shot gun is in camp and none of us is in a big hurry to see what happened. After about 20 minutes, we row slowly over to the camp and survey the damage. The bear has indeed whacked the legs right off the dry box and tackled it like a linebacker. He did not however gain access to the goodies inside. We had actually found a small tree to hang the one remaining cooler with any food and the other was empty and the lid was closed. The bear sank his teeth into it in several places and twisted it into some amazing shapes. The power of a bears jaws are self evident when you see what he can do with the hard plastic of a cooler lid. A young male bear was reported to be on the prowl and no doubt this was him. We heard a story about a few weeks earlier when a lady was sleeping on a cot in the middle of the day in the shade and a young black bear came up and bit her right on the butt..........

Sweet dreams!

1 Responses to The Dean River Chronicles Part 4 ( Blackies revenge)

  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. I did this rapid 92 in a 9ft Achilles inflatable. That Dean trip was my first dry fly steelhead experience. Those fish were amazing.


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