The Alagnak River in July of 2013 lived up to it’s glory, despite the heat that raised the river temperature to almost 70 degrees. The season started off with a bang. In the pre-fishing time of June, before the guests arrived on July 1, we had a friendly competition amongst the guides to see who could catch dinner in an hours time. This was June 25, and the weather had been very hot all of June. Hopes of catching a jack king salmon or maybe a big jack king near 2o pounds was all that we could expect. In an hour, our boat landed 2 king salmon, 1 at 37 pounds, and 1 at 32 pounds. This was incredible, and a sign of how our first week of the season was going to start.
The sockeye salmon started early as well, with catch-able numbers coming into the river by the 26th of June, which was 3 days early. The weather shifted, and as our guests arrived, we had one of the best week 1 king salmon weeks ever. The heat subsided, the kings were thick, and the sockeye just kept coming!
Our first run of chum salmon started as well this week, about 3 to 4 days early. Our guests had a ball catching dime bright chums while wading the lower river bars, mixing it up with kings, sockeyes, and chums daily.
As week 2 began, the king fishing continued to stay at a very good level, but the heat cranked up again. The king bite slowed a bit, but the chum and sockeye fishing remained excellent. Braids trips to where the salmon spawn on the Alagnak River were wonderful as we saw a new age class of rainbow trout. This new age class of rainbows showed a successful spawn had occurred and the future of the Alagnak River trout is on a great rebound. All rivers go through cycles, and the Alagnak River is definitely on a rebound bouncing back to elite status as one of the top Bristol Bay Rivers for trout. This occurred as well on the Copper River, which is also a good sign of a rebound to the once elite Lake Illiamna trout river.
Week 3 came, and luckily we had some breaks from the heat. The Alagnak River water temperature was still above normal, but we still managed to have some excellent days, landing some strong numbers of king salmon, as well as some great chum salmon fishing, both on wet and dry fly!
Week 4 came, and this was by far the hottest week I have ever witnessed in 20 years on the Alagnak River. The air temperature rarely went below 86 degrees for a high, and the river temperature was almost 70 degrees. With 2 guests targeting king salmon on the fly, I thought this may be a long week. Right out of the gate, one of the guests landed a 25 pound king on fly, and several more were landed on conventional gear to start off the week. The second run of the chums were well underway, and the guests had the opportunity to “catch” fresh powerful chum salmon almost at will on top and subsurface patterns.
Our first silver salmon was caught on the 23rd of July, and a sign of a strong run that was coming. Fly out fishing was great in July, with trips to Brooks River, Contact Creek, and Moraine Creek. The highlight was a Moraine trip that saw 3 anglers hook into over 100 trout! This was one of the best Moraine days I had ever witnessed!
All in all, we battled through some tough, hot, weather, but the Alagnak River lived up to it’s glory as we could go and “catch” fish any day of the month!