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  • Denis Isbister

When The Float Plane Leaves You

Plane dropping the crew off at the Narrows

What do you do when you are hundreds of miles in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness and the float plane doesn’t pick you up? You make the best out of it!

On a recent filming trip to the King Salmon Lodge, located on the NakNek River on the Alaskan Peninsula, the Wild Fish Wild Places crew was anxiously waiting to fly to a spot we had fished about 5 years prior. A spot referred to as “The Narrows” about a 300 yard stretch of river in-between two massive lakes where the Silver Salmon, Sockeye, Arctic Char, Mackinaw and Grayling stack up to either spawn or feed but either way the fish are likely to be here in August! As our friend Chris from Trygg Air loaded up the crew at the King Salmon Lodge dock and headed out we discussed fishing options, local hunting hot spots and of course what to do if the wind comes up. Chris said to me “if the wind starts blowing out of the Northeast a little harder than it is now I will pick you up on the opposite lake that I and dropping you off on, so just take your gear to that side and be ready about 5.” Okay, easy enough!

We fished the day at The Narrows catching Silvers, Char and a few Mackinaw. Like Chris had mentioned the wind picked up, a LOT! We moved all of our gear to the other lakeshore as instructed and awaited our pickup. We heard the plane coming and started making our way to the rendezvous point but the first pass Chris didn’t land. Hmmmm weird, so he made his way to the other side and another low pass but still no landing. He made his way about 4 different angles and attempts when my producer Greg says “I think he is waving to us to get us to move to the other spot” but as we watched close as Chris made his way low right above us it was clear, I told Greg “That’s a goodbye wave and we are staying the night.” After the initial shock of realizing we were getting left for the night subsided we started to discuss a game plan and that is where our boy Ludwig came to our rescue! Ludwid is an 85 year old German man who has been coming to Alaska since 1974 and has himself a little cabin about a mile down the lake! I made my way over to the crusty old German and asked if he would mind if we stayed the night.

He of course obliged and the 4 of us found ourselves packing all of our gear down to the cabin. Ludwig isn’t really prepared for company so the food situation was a little bleak. Dreu and I decided we needed to catch some fish for dinner!

The day went from fun fishing to fishing for dinner but luckily we were on a pile of silvers right before the float plane left us so we were fairly confident we could produce dinner. Dreu and I both tied on a spinner and started casting. Fish on!!!!! The Silvers were here and they were on fire, one after another to hand and of course, getting a rock to the dome because we were like a fat kid on a donut with these fish. Dreu and I landed enough fish for the camp and Ludwig prepared a nice batch of noodles to compliment the fresh salmon.

Ludwig prepared fish, noodles and a nice tea for dinner, he did not share his one piece of Twix but we totally understood. He provided us with a nice warm place to sleep for the night and some coffee when we woke up.

Chris picked us up that morning around 8 but of course we were slamming silvers at that point and didn’t want to leave! As the float plane idled up to get us we had to make Dreu reel in and load up. What at first seemed like a bit of a disaster turned out to be a very memorable and fun experience in the wilds of Alaska hundreds of miles from the lodge thanks to our new friend Ludwig.

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