Alaska King Salmon Fishing
Alaska King Salmon are by far the largest salmon in the Pacific. Average size varies on each river, but our average size is about 25 pounds. This is a great “average” size because what that means is that we catch plenty of kings in the 15 pound range through the 35 – 40 pound range, and our largest Kings on the Alagnak River are in the 50 pound class – some above 60 pounds!
King Salmon are targeted on both conventional and fly fishing gear. The kings prefer the channels in the river to hold in and use as a travel corridor. We swing flies much like steelhead fishing using flies representing herring and squid which make up most of their diet. We use both single and double handed rods with appropriate sink tip lines to get down near the bottom. Some of our favorite flies are the “squidro”, prom dress, and the intruder style flies. All these in either chartreuse/blue combinations or pink/orange combos. These flies are the staple in our arsenal.
On conventional gear, we use large egg imitations. King Salmon have a genetic trait to eat other kings eggs when in the river system just like the Coho salmon. We take advantage of this and use bright colored artificial eggs drifted or cast into prime holding areas. The kings are very aggressive on this style of fishing and it is by far the most productive method to rack up the numbers.
The peak fishing time for kings can occur any time in the month of July. Several factors such as weather, ocean conditions, and river temp have a big impact on when they arrive. We usually see several “peak” tides during the month of July. Usually one on the 4th, 9th-11th, 15th, and 21st. We have had years when our 12 rod total for the lodge on the last day of the season is over 100 kings! We see the largest kings come into the river system towards the later part of the month.
Kings are the largest salmon and by far the hardest fighting fish we target per pound. Nothing better than swinging into 40 plus pounds of hard fighting, jumping king salmon, the closest thing to tarpon in Alaska!