Fishing for Alaska salmon on the fly is something that every serious fly angler should do. It really exemplifies the true essence of fly fishing with big water, big fish, and eager numbers of takes that you can achieve in a days worth of fishing, especially on the Alagnak River in Bristol Bay. As mentioned earlier in my last article, Angler’s Alibi on the Alagnak River is a premier Bristol Bay fly fishing lodge. Our location is suited to intercept fresh salmon every day on the tides within a 0 to 10 minute boat ride. That is right, a 0 minute boat ride because you can even catch fish off the dock if you wanted to! Picking up from the last article, I covered King, sockeye, and chum salmon. The next salmon to enter Bristol Bay are the silver salmon. Silver salmon come into the Alagnak River in late July, and really get stacked up the first week of August. Silver salmon are truly what put Alaska fly fishing on the map. These salmon have an innate ability to try and throw the hook once it is set by leaping out of the water, often multiple times. The silver salmon leap many times after being hooked, then take off on drag testing runs trying to get back to the ocean. It is this desire “not to be caught” that puts the silver salmon on top of many fly fishing enthusiasts bucket lists. The problem is, at least with our guests at our Bristol Bay fishing lodge, that the one trip usually turns into several trips back to the incredible state of Alaska. At Angler’s Alibi, we have a return rate of over 80% with close to a 90% return rate this coming season. Part of this is due to our level of customer service and fishing program, but we are not fooled that this return of silver salmon keeps our August weeks full!
Angler’s Alibi is most noted for catching Alaska salmon on the fly. This is due in large part to our superior location on the Alagnak River, and being centrally located in the tidewater section of the river. This part of the river where the lodge sits can actually see the river reverse flow on tides and raise about 4 feet above its normal height. In Alaska terms, this is not that big of a deal, but on the Alagnak River, where the salmon runs are huge and the crowds none, this is truly one of the best places in Alaska to catch salmon on the fly.
The Alagnak River is one of 4 major rivers that empties into the fabled Bristol Bay. It is here that almost half of all salmon in Alaska come from, and it is no doubt the best natural balance left in the world with commercial fishing and sport fishing coinciding together to not only harvest salmon, but also catch and release them for future generations to come. It is the management of the harvest in Bristol Bay that allows the mighty sockeye salmon numbers to be so large. Sometimes the total sockeye salmon harvest can be 30 million or more, while still providing a premium amount of spawning sockeye salmon to make it up to their spawning grounds. It is here on the spawning grounds that we target the fabled Bristol Bay rainbow trout.
Spey fishing Alaska is beginning to be more the norm than the oddity. We have been honing our skills on this two handed technique for years and love the how we can move a whole lot of line with very little effort. This two handed cast is ideal for fishing the “swing” on the Alagnak River. King, silver, pink, and chum salmon all will hit this presentation, and in many cases, it is even more effective than the traditional single handed rod. The Alagnak River has shallow sand bars that are ideal to fish the spey rod. The key component to casting the spey rod is to have moving water while wading. This is easy to achieve on the Alagnak with the gentle current and firm bottom. It is difficult to do this from a boat, due to the height off the water you are in versus having the water at your thigh level.
The primary contributor, John Perry, is the owner and manager of the lodge. He'll offer fishing summaries and tips too...check back or sign up for the email news to get updates when posted.