The sockeye season was another one for the record books here on the wild Alagnak River. Although it started extremely late, I would say around the 5th of July was the first day we could really go after them with limits a non-issue. This run usually starts on the 29th of June – July 1 like clockwork, but not this year. Many were getting very nervous about the fish having some high seas catastrophe over the winter but I can assure you this was not the case. The sockeye salmon started late and ran later than we have ever targeted them. We were still catching limits of sockeye in the mornings and catching silvers in the afternoon in late July. I have to admit, this is something I have never seen in over 25 years on the river.
The upper rivers where they spawn will have plenty of biomass to feed a thriving wild trout population. These wild Alaskan trout are so coveted to the many sport fish anglers that fish this watershed on an annual basis. The huge biomass will also feed the entire ecosystem from the trees and brush that line the banks of the river to the bears and many bird species that call this river drainage home. The sockeye are no doubt the largest supporters of this watershed in terms of fertilization, and this year is a banner crop yet again.
Increased Sockeye Salmon Limits
The Alaska Dept of Fish and Game counted over 1 million sockeye salmon through the counting towers on the 18th of July and therefore initiated an increase in the sport fish limits of sockeye from 5 to 10 per day per angler! This is the second season in a row that this has been done in order to help with our sockeye salmon issue…well, a good issue so far. Nobody will know exactly the final count with sockeye salmon still coming up the river the first week of August, long after the counters have left their camp up river for the season. One thing is for sure, we go through cycles – from what I have seen in my short time here (27 years) and right now we are on a peak sockeye fishing period on the timeline of Bristol Bay.
I hope we can continue this incredible fishery for all species of salmon, rainbow trout, grayling, char and dolly varden….with this biomass of protein, it sure should keep right along in harmony for sure.
Get Ready to Fish: Tips to Fishing for Sockeye Salmon