One thing you will notice on your way to Angler’s Alibi is that we are the true definition of a “remote Alaskan fishing camp”. You see, the closest town is King Salmon, AK and we are about a 30-minute floatplane ride from the there – and that town is reached through a commercial flight from Anchorage that takes just over an hour. The bottom line is that by the time your journey ends at our dock, and the fishing week begins, you are pretty much left with what you brought with you. That can make packing for this week of fishing in Alaska a daunting task – but is actually pretty simple if you follow some of these guidelines.
Anglers Alibi is an all-inclusive Alaskan fishing camp, so you won’t need much outside of the clothing you bring with you and that’s what this post focuses on. It’s important to realize that, during the fishing season, average Alaska temperatures are in the upper 60’s during the day and lower 40’s at night. HOWEVER, it can get as low as 30 degrees at night and into the 90’s during the day! The coldest days fishing will be in the 50’s and the hottest in the 90’s, so you want to be prepared for these potential huge temperature changes. So, we’ll cover what clothing to bring for your time fishing…
Sockeye salmon are noted as being the best tasting salmon in all of Alaska. They are the number one targeted species for commercial fisherman with their rate of $1.00 or more per pound every year. But, this is not an article on how to catch sockeye salmon with a net. Fly fishing for sockeye salmon is also very popular and this article gives tips and advice for those anglers looking to target sockeye.
Sockeye salmon spawn in a lake or most spawn above a lake as part of their life cycle. Once the sockeye salmon hit their native spawning river, they usually only stop a few times to rest unlike the other salmon species. These salmon pretty much charge up the river in a migrating stupor that is an amazing sight to see. Just think what it must look like when over a million salmon swim by our shoreline hugging the bank on this migration that lasts weeks. It is truly a sight to see.
Spey fishing has really grown in the past several years to become a much more “normal” way of fishing in the US. It is even being used anywhere there is a current and swinging flies is a key. We encourage our guests to take a break from traditional fly fishing and give spey fishing for salmon a try…and one of our fishing guides even targets snook in Florida near bridges and jetties on the spey rod!
Why has Spey fishing grown? The spey rod has grown so much in the US, well, because it works! It works with a lot less effort, and if swinging flies is the best method for your targeted species, then spey fishing is just the ticket. The line technology has evolved a lot in the recent past as well. This is also a huge contributing factor to the techniques popularity. The newer “compact Skagit’s” are really making a huge difference in the fly-fishing industry. These large, short heads attached to the running line make roll casting much easier and more powerful. Yes, power! You can actually spey cast and shoot line even further from a roll cast than one can do with a tradition single hand rod utilizing a double haul method.
Dolly Varden must be considered one of the most beautiful fish in Alaska. They look like a close cousin to the Brook trout in the lower 48. Like the Brook trout, they appear to be hand painted by someone and at times take on the look of a circus clown with all their bright colors. The Dolly Varden are also quite numerous in many streams in Alaska, making them a top species to target while on a fishing trip to this amazing state.
Fly-fishing in Alaska is definitely a bucket list item for most the are both new and seasoned to the sport. From my early beginnings in the sport, it was always at the pinnacle of my fishing dream trips, and I think I am not alone.
Alaska fly fishing can range from “as good as it gets” in the sport to “almost as hard as it can be”. Targeting some species can be a huge test of patience and will. For example, there are times when the king salmon may not be in a river system in great numbers, but you are there at an off period and trying to catch that needle in a haystack. Kings tend to hold and run in the deepest portions of the river, and therefore demand a sink tip line to get a fly swung in front of their face. This short window of presentation coupled with low numbers to begin with has been the hardest species we target at times. BUT, this article is about the easiest and, lucky for you, there are plenty.
When you think about an Alaska fishing vacation, you think about catching your limits of salmon and trout, surrounded by dramatically beautiful scenery. Experience the serenity of nature with nothing around you except the people you came with, your fishing guide and all that peace and quiet that comes with being in the wild outdoors. Well, at least it’s quiet until an energetic salmon takes the line!
Bristol Bay, Alaska offers some of the best salmon fishing in the world. Depending on the time of year you visit, you can find all five species of salmon plus rainbow trout, Arctic char, Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden. Avid anglers travel here to visit remote fishing grounds and to catch their limits of these fish.
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.
Angler’s Alibi is situated on the Alagnak River, one of Alaska’s best Alaska salmon fly fishing rivers in the entire state. We are fortunate to experience all 5 species of Pacific salmon on this river, and most notably are the king salmon, silver salmon, and chum salmon runs. These 3 salmon species account for most of out catch rates throughout the summer. We also have a phenomenal sockeye salmon run on the Alagnak River, with this years estimate to be near 2 million! The pink salmon runs are something to behold! The numbers are truly mind blowing with unbelievable action on sub surface and top-water fly patterns for weeks! The Alagnak River is noted for these prolific salmon runs fresh out of Bristol Bay every summer, and Angler’s Alibi is situated right on the tidewater section of the river so that we can experience world class Alaska salmon fishing right at our lodge daily on the tides.
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.