On the very last day of September, two of my girlfriends and I went in search of late running silver salmon in Portage Creek. Fall felt like it was turning into winter, with the high alpine trees bare and frost on the ground. But by late morning the sun was shining, the yellow leaves along the creek were glowing, and we were stuffing our coats into drybags.
There are plenty of good fishing holes along Portage Creek that can be accessed by simply walking off the road. However, we knew we might not get back out paddling again until next summer, so we floated down. We had to put in below the beautiful uppermost section, because there was not enough water for the raft up there.
Even in the lower creek, the fall water level was low. In many sections we had just a narrow channel next to the cut bank that was deep enough for the raft. With fishing poles and a nice, new net sticking off the front of the boat, we had to be extra careful not to bump the shore.
After less than an hour of floating, we reached the estuarine section of the river. We could smell the brackish air and we could see a change in the vegetation lining the river banks. There, it is possible to find fish that are still ocean bright. A school of deep red, inedible fish wove lethargically into a clear side channel. We also saw a few flashes of bright silver. It wasn't quite too late to catch a fish that would be great to eat.