One of the annual traditions of spring for me is to take my eight foot cataraft out of storage and float the lower Kenai River. There are three reasons why I do this. First and foremost, it’s the first time being on the river for the year. Second, it’s great exercise rowing a cataraft, and walking gravel bars. And, finally, it’s a chance to find lost treasures.
Jane conveniently calls what I do dumpster diving. Au contraire. I look at in a much more noble way. I see it as doing my part to help clean up the river. If I find items of use, well, that’s a risk I’m willing to take…
How did it go this year? The pickings were slim during the first half hour of the float. I kept thinking to myself, “it’s nice to be out, but did someone else get to the good stuff before I did?”
That thinking changed when I found a fly rod partially submerged in the river. Yahtzee! What a wonderful first find.
As I made my way down river, my luck continued to improve. More rods, a pool cue, an empty wallet, a fillet knife. They are just a few of the treasures discovered.
Can anyone tell me what this is all about? I’ve found many broken fins from a prop, but never a useable prop. How did it end up here? Did the prop just fall off the motor, or did someone use a spare prop as a frisbee and try to launch it across the river just for fun? Crazy.
I ended my day with this great find. If you’ve lost a stainless steel gaff, and can tell me within 50 yards of where this was found, I would be happy to return your lost item.
After five hours of floating and walking, this is the final haul: 4 fishing rods, 3 fillet knives, 2 scissors, multiple lures, pool cue, rod holder, net holder, prop, screwdriver, port navigation light, skeg, wallet, gaff, child’s toy, and the cover of a boat box with half a seat. It would be interesting to hear the stories on how these items were lost.
If I had any disappointment with the day at all, it was not finding an anchor. For a river salvager, an anchor is the holy grail. Oh well, next year. I’m sure I’ll get back on track and find one (or two).
Final thought. Today is Les Anderson Day. Thirty five years ago this day, Les caught the world record king salmon on the Kenai River. It weighed a whopping 97.4lbs. When hearing the news of a new world record, my dad and I drove from Fairbanks to Soldotna, and two days later fished the Kenai for the first time. As they say, the rest is history…
See you next week.