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Since summer requires advanced planning, I had to figure out what 2018 will look like. So while this might sound like some sort of streaming consciousness resolution from a guy who says he hates them – well, I don’t hate them, but I don’t like the idea of trying to reinvent yourself – it’s not.
Jeff Lund: Sacrifice for the summer 010318 AE 1 For the Capital City Weekly Since summer requires advanced planning, I had to figure out what 2018 will look like. So while this might sound like some sort of streaming consciousness resolution from a guy who says he hates them – well, I don’t hate them, but I don’t like the idea of trying to reinvent yourself – it’s not.

Planning for a big summer? Hope you're saving. The author found a 3-day river float down the Stikine River near Wrangell is pretty cheap if you're splitting the cost. Photo courtesy of Jeff Lund.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Story last updated at 1/2/2018 - 6:52 pm

Jeff Lund: Sacrifice for the summer

Since summer requires advanced planning, I had to figure out what 2018 will look like. So while this might sound like some sort of streaming consciousness resolution from a guy who says he hates them – well, I don’t hate them, but I don’t like the idea of trying to reinvent yourself – it’s not.

My buddy Kurt and I drove from his place in California to Montana last summer. It was everything we could have wanted. Three of the days were warm, one day was snowy, but all of them were super trouty, the exact result you’re hoping for when putting down some bucks to do something big.

Naturally the initial plan for June 2018 was for another trip. Book a place on one of those online condo rental sites, and drive out again.

But we’re not going to go.

You know how when the process of booking takes a series of four or five phone calls because you have to work out dates, then location, then possibilities, then you finalize? Well, on call number two of all that, I floated the idea of just staying in California and Kurt agreed.

It’s not that we can’t afford it, it’s that we’re going to prioritize time on the water and fish California better and harder. We’ve fished almost two dozen rivers, but there’s so much we want to revisit and even more we want to fish for the first time. I went back on an impromptu August trip two years ago and caught golden, brook, rainbow and brown trout all in the same day – the Sierra Slam – which is probably something no one really cares about, but I thought it was cool.

I’m now almost more excited about fishing the old California rivers than I am about fishing some of my local rivers this summer, which is absurd. But it does make sense on some level because when there is more effort or resources put into an experience the potential benefit increases.

For example, I’ve caught rainbow trout before, but not in Russia. If I was tranquilized and woke up on a river I thought was in Kamchatka, but was really just a stretch of the Thorne River on Prince of Wales Island I hadn’t fished, would I enjoy it more? Probably, because I’d think I was in Russia, catching Russian rainbows.

Anyway, the more expensive the June trip south, the less money I have for an auxiliary or impromptu adventure. If I want to get really serious about seeing farther-away parts of Alaska, say the Bristol Bay area, it’s going to take real saving, like skip-the-trip-south-one-summer type saving. It doesn’t seem like a bargain trip up there exists. (Message me, @alaskalund on Instagram if you have a tip.)

By the way, if you can catch the state ferry right, heading up the Stikine River from Wrangell is a total bargain adventure. Split the cost of a jet boat shuttle, get dropped off in Canada and float down for a few days. I did that with 10 friends in 2015 and it’s one of my favorite Alaska memories. Granted, it was 70-degrees and sunny, so that helps. The side sloughs had a bunch of cutthroat trout and we even got to sample some of the local karaoke while in Wrangell.

So really, I’m complaining about being spoiled. Poor me with all these fishing adventure opportunities as a preamble to next hunting season, right?

I guess the real question is not how I feel about sacrificing Montana this summer, what if I could only do one thing in 2018. Not hunting and fishing, just hunting or fishing.

It’s a thought too terrible to take further.

Jeff Lund teaches and writes in Ketchikan.