We’re lucky at Alaska West to be able to get pretty close to some pretty cool wildlife at times. However, we’ll admit this is a little closer than normal.
Contrary to popular belief, at Alaska West we don’t see too many bears over the course of the day. Unlike other parts of Alaska, bears in our neck of the woods are not very comfortable around people, so when we’re lucky to spot one, it’s usually a ways off.
That’s not to say they’re not around however, and often times a quick look around the gravel bar is all the proof you need.
More on Alaskan Wildlife
We consider ourselves very fortunate to operate lodges in some very unique places in the world. While our main focus might be on the fishing, every now and then we take our eyes off the water and are often humbled by the diversity of wildlife around us.
The wildlife of Western Alaska is no exception, and today we present to you a series of photos highlighting some of the wildlife we see on a regular basis at Alaska West.
Here at Alaska West things change fast, whether that change is the river, flora, fuana, people, or even our camp, it is constantly happening. Our camp is located on the Kanektok River, and the crew spend over three months enjoying every change it has to offer on and off the water.
Fireweed Chamerion angustifolium is a great example of this change happening. Fireweed is a “pioneer species” which basically means it is one of the first species to colonize after an ecosystem has been disturbed or damaged in some way such as flooding, freezing, or after a fire. There is even an old Alaskan wives’ tale that says when Fireweed is in full bloom, summer is almost over, and when the flowers have turned to seed, the first freeze is right around the corner. When we first arrive in camp the ground is frozen and no Fireweed can be found. Soon enough however, green shoots start popping up. Around the last couple weeks of July, flowers start to bloom, and by the first week or two of August it is everywhere. By the end of August through the first part of September, those flowers have started to turn to cotton and fall.
Year after year we are always amazed by how fast things change here on the “River of Changes.” It is an amazingly beautiful place!
More on Alaskan Flora and Fauna
At Andros South, one of the most amazing things about our flats, aside from the shocking number of bonefish, is the diverse wildlife and ocean life you can expect to see on any given day. Don’t worry, you will have plenty of shots at bonefish, but in between those shots take a look and enjoy the diversity around you.
On a clear day on the flats, it is not out of the norm to see dolphins, turtles, ospreys, iguanas, rays, numerous species of shark (both large and small), hundreds of stunning aquarium fish, barracuda, needlefish, several species of snapper, jacks, huge blue crab, live conch, and more. Given the time of year, it is possible to see a few rolling tarpon or if you’re lucky, some tailing permit as well. If you are really lucky, you might even get a shot at them!
That’s more than you could ever expect to see swimming around on your local trout stream. Our flats are like our own private aquarium, except we don’t get kicked out for casting a fly into this fish tank. Come check it out for yourself!
More on South Andros
Jordan Sly joins us again today with a cool little story about the nature surrounding Alaska West.
New Life on the Island
One of my favorite parts about working for Alaska West is the growth and wildlife I get to see throughout our fishing season.
I’m on the setup and take-down crew, so I’m among the first people to camp, and one of the last to leave. Often when we arrive in camp there is still snow on the ground, and when we leave it isn’t far off. The branches are all bare when we arrive, soon the leaves start to show up, the flowers bloom, everything is green, but shortly after the leaves turn and start to fall.
Within the three and a half months I spend at Alaska West I see three of four seasons – it’s amazing. The fishing is great, camp is fun, the guests are awesome, but one of my favorite parts is the life and growth one can see.
This year we are lucky enough to have a visible bird’s nest around camp, and the other day four little guys (or gals, I don’t know how to tell) hatched. One took an extra day to hatch out, but all four look healthy and fuzzy.
Editor’s Note: Any ornithologists out there want to ID these little guys?