The king run this July was definitely above average. We had strong king salmon fishing through the entire month with some kings still being caught while targeting chum salmon on the fly from the sand bars! The only slow periods occurred during warm spells that brought the river temperature up into the mid 60 degree range. This is normal, but with the river being so low, it did not take long for a few warm days to really spike the river up to high levels. Chum salmon fishing and braids fishing were great while this was happening and we were able to keep going day in and day out with bent rods a common sight. The mighty chums kept us going with plenty of rod breaking action and amazing runs.
Alaska has hundreds of rivers that have king salmon runs. There are only a few that experience consistent runs with strong enough numbers that allow anglers a great chance to catch them on a daily basis throughout the season. When you mention king salmon fishing to most people, the Kenai River comes to the forefront of conversation. The Kenai River at its prime was no doubt the best king salmon river in the world. It had not only the largest run of king salmon in the modern era, but also yielded the largest kings on the planet every year. Those fortunate enough to fish this river in its hay-day had a legitimate chance at landing kings on a daily basis over 60 lbs and some over 80 lbs!
Unfortunately, this river has gone through a major down swing in its fishing cycle to the point that they even closed it to sport fishing in past seasons trying to get its numbers back up to support sport fishing again.
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.
Our first week was nothing more than amazing as usual, that is if you like sockeye salmon so thick that limits were taken daily on the fly while king salmon were in full force pushing the scales at over 40#’s per day…YES, our guides boated an average of 1 king per day over 40#’s! This is going to be a great run for sure.
The sockeye run has been really strong this season despite being a little late. They really started pouring in on the 2nd of July and did not have a stop until the 7th of July when there was a slow down. BUT, on the 8th, they kicked right back up and were really thick, creating wakes along the banks of the lower river for miles on end.
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.
The opening of Angler’s Alibi went pretty smooth this month. We arrived at camp to find that the only damages over the winter were done by a bear in the fall.
The bear tore off our plywood door cover in the back of our kitchen and went through the storm door, pushing in the glass and tearing through the screen.
The bear went through the freezers and fridges, then decided it would be nice to take the BBQ grill out the other entrance that was shut tight with plywood. It looked as if the BBQ was jammed through the plywood like the old Cool Aid commercials where the Cool Aid man busts through the wall.
Needless to say, a destroyed grill was not all that bad. We were able to repair the back storm door which was pretty amazing since a brown bear went through it!
There are so many lodges and do it yourself areas in Alaska that boast about catching “Trophy Alaska Rainbows”.
So…What constitutes a “Trophy Alaska Rainbow”
Truth is, just like the lower 48, they are not a dime a dozen. The next question is, what is a true trophy for Alaska standards? Most guides, lodge owners, and die hard locals would agree that a 30″ or larger rainbow trout is the trophy size for Alaska and for that matter, the globe. Sure, there are a lot of places that hold these fish in the lower 48, but most are on private tracts of land or have just been released from a hatchery because they will no longer produce eggs. These large “brood stock” rainbows and browns can be caught in tail-waters where there is enough food to sustain such a large fish. A true 30″ fish in the lower 48 that is wild and not associated with a tailwater will live in a river or lake that has a ton of biomass to produce such a beast of a trout. There are not many places where this happens naturally. In Alaska, there are few river systems that can hold and routinely yield fish of this size. Yes, even in Alaska, the amount of true 30″ plus trout water is not a common place.
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.
We want to thank a relatively new website about Alaska fishing lodges, www.myalaskanfishingtrip.com, for their feature article on the Angler’s Alibi fishing experience. The article gives a nice summary of the typical day that a guest will have at our camp; literally covering everything from sunup to sundown. It touches on the great meals that Chef Ben offers up but also dives into the species of fish a guest can expect to catch, the potential sizes, the flies used to reel them in, and more.
As the article discusses, the value that Angler’s Alibi offers reaches beyond the great food and great fishing location – it comes from our great guides. They note the 2:1 guide to guest ratio but we are proud of them highlighting that our guides are “fishermen who know the river, know the fish, and know how to make your fishing adventure the best seven days of your life”.
In addition to the article and our lodge overview page, we are also excited to see that we made two of the sites top ten lists. It should come as no surprise to any of our past guests that Angler’s Alibi made the list of Top 10 Alaska fly fishing lodges as well as the list for Top 10 Alaska fishing lodges under $6,000.
Thanks to My Alaska Fishing Trip for highlighting the incredible experience and service we offer at Angler’s Alibi. Check out the article on Angler’s Alibi.
The silver salmon run of 2014 on the Alagnak River in remote Bristol Bay Alaska was somehow even better than the previous season. The Alagnak River saw a little push of silvers during the fourth week of July, but the run exploded again starting August 1st and lasted well beyond our shut down week into the month of September!
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.