The very best fun of the year was seeing the fellows catch trout. Unlike salmon fishing there was no pressure because the trout were everywhere and they provided some memorable days for each angler. These are some of the trout of 2014, everyone caught plenty of trout. The size range of these fish runs from 13″ to 22 – 23 inches. Average catches will be 15 – 18 inch rainbows. There are a lot of pictures on this post so take your time and enjoy the absolutely beautiful coloration of these marvels of nature.
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Not many Grayling at all this year, I don’t know why.
Everyone had to stop and admire the fish at least once or twice. however some fellows caught and released a great many fish each day with hardly a photo snapped. The trout fishing when combined with the scenery and solitude are second to none.
Now this last picture……….. you had to be there to get the irony of this. Chris is from Switzerland, he learned to Spey cast on day 2 of his week long fishing trip. During his days he was catching a lot of really nice trout and I believe he became desensitized to the fact that these fish were big and fat. I kept urging him to allow more pictures but he just kept on unhooking trout and casting again. He told me that when he caught a really big one we would take a picture. When I saw this fish on his line and he was so far from shore I tried to get him to come in with the fish. Finally I called for him to “lift the head” so I could tell how large it was.
He did this.
Of course I hollered “No No not like that”. Oops, that ten pound test popped like 6X tippet. The knot attached to that tube fly hook broke when the trout protested a split second after I took the picture. I know now that I should have ran out to net it but honestly he was catching a fish every other cast. He was just reeling them and unhooking them one after another and told me we didn’t have to mess with a net……………. As far as we know it was unharmed but with a size 6 trailer hook stuck in the tip of the bottom jaw. The tube fly was retrieved when it fell free but we never had a chance to have a good look at the trout. The fisherman is 6 foot 2 inches tall and I’m guessing that trout to be the largest ‘landed’ all year, perhaps an honest 26 inch or a little more. I myself as well as others have hooked some truly large trout this past year, the problem is getting them into a net before they escape………………… Great catch Chris!
There were hundreds of rainbows caught in 2014 and I’m going after some just as soon as this winter is over. If you decide to come up I’ll be taking you with me on another adventure to where we can fish in peace.
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In short, I am a Spey caster who uses floating lines ranging from 45′ Scandi lines to 70′ long bellies. I know where the best water to swing flies for salmon and trout are on my regular rivers and believe that positions me to be a good guide to other long rod fly fishers. I am just now beginning to update the website with what I hope will be useful articles about the flies – tackle – and techniques I use here to feel some life on the line as often as I can. Please keep the site bookmarked and check for new posts as we head into 2015. Your comments and questions will be answered promptly as long as I am home and not working at the cabin.
Fishing the 2 hand rods here is the very best way to approach the various conditions on the rivers I fish. They allow for casting a wide range of fly sizes and weights and will enable the skilled caster to reach the holding water where those fish are at. I have begun using a lot of tube flies and Sculpin patterns with great success. The few flies I’ve posted above are all proven fish getters and I will be providing some step by step tying posts as January takes over Alaska.
For those who are new to the Spey rods and wanting to learn how they work I have a matched set of rods and lines especially for instruction and for your use. The outfit rods are 11 and 1/2 foot Hardy Swifts in 7 weight and are lined with 475 grain Beulah Elixir short Scandi lines. They are easy casting and make learning the basics a snap as in Snap T. There are also 13′ eight weights for once you have the basics working and the longer rods will enable you to reach more fish.
Above; a nice rainbow and some Wilkinson Sunray tubes that the trout grab.
Above; An orange tube design and small Green Butt Dee pattern both very good patterns.
Above; One of my best Sculpin patterns and a salmon who took a small shank tied fly.
Above; A typical fall rainbow and the fly that will catch them.
And that’s me looking way too serious, I’m working on my smiling fish pictures but most look like this.
Thus far while the salmon returns can be hard to predict the rainbow trout continue to support day to day angling with some of the most beautiful fish I’ve ever seen caught daily. In order to experience trout fishing at its best multi day trips are necessary. This is due to the locations we will be fishing for the trout. The easiest way to reach the best river in South central Alaska is by air and I will be happy to help you arrange the most affordable transit into the Interior. Once you are on the ground I will meet your plane and finish the transport via river boat to a camp that will serve as our home until your departure. Here in Alaska there are few roads compared to wherever you may be used to fishing. There are roads that cross many streams but as you may suspect those access areas suffer a great deal of pressure. There are places that see very little fishing pressure but those are the ones that require some logistics planning to reach.
The trout take up all the slack in a days fishing and they average right around 18 inches in size. Throughout the season they continue to increase in weight as they feed like crazy all spring – summer and fall. This makes for fishing where the fly pattern does not matter as much as your ability to cast to where we need that fly to land. Below are a few of the trout and silvers that were caught in 2014.
Every trout was released unharmed and those pictures were staged with just a quick lift of the trout or salmon to provide some memories. Many, many more fish were caught but I won’t bore you with a never ending string of photos. The fishermen also caught Chum and Pink salmon as well as a few Grayling and Char. All in all a great days fishing for everyone and those who were here know who you are…………
All King Salmon fishing will be Catch & Release fishing only in 2015 going forward.
The king salmon returns for 2014 were fair in this part of Alaska. For the first time since I’ve been fishing here we had low water conditions throughout June.. This low water I believe had a great deal to do with the daily fishing because the fish were not moving as usual. I don’t want to see flood stage rivers in June but this was a tough spring in which I had to worry about the water being deep enough to navigate with the jet boat, it was low. The river where we focused most of the fishing had a very good number of salmon present and that alone is key to good days. Every year is different with some seeing as many as 30,000 come in to spawn. Right now we are seeing returns grow each year to some extent and with continued management actions and fewer anglers choosing to kill fish the numbers will increase. In this coming season I will be out on the water soon as the ice clears working to stay on top of the best possible locations so that we can experience successful days.
Getting back to last spring, finding fish wasn’t a problem and some anglers did very well. The overall size of the fish caught was off for 2014, while we watched many salmon in the 25 pound size range roll and jump around us every day the rods brought only 2 and 3 year fish to the net. The number of small fish that returned in 2014 gives us hope that the 2015 season will bring larger than normal salmon. Although the fish were smaller, still these were beautiful fish but for me to see the larger fish every day but find that we were not getting the big boys was very hard. Everyone was confident that I had put us in a good spot with many salmon present and we accepted with great excitement whatever fish grabbed the flies and there was quite a bit of that.
Below is Steven shown with a nice bright fish, one of seven he landed that morning. He had hold of some larger fish but they seemed to have an uncanny ability to come off the hook.
Largest of the spring perhaps 15 pound male released without weighing or measuring. There were many large fish present and as I have said it was just luck of the draw that we came up without any real monsters. I guess the angler should know that this is big game fishing and on any given day anything can happen. Everyone who fished kings knew what I knew, we were surrounded with fish every day. The challenge was getting them onto a fly…………………
The area below will be a prime holding water for the kings come June. I really wish someone had landed a 40 pound fish but that was not meant to be this year. I do believe everyone had fun and enjoyed the area. Where the fish are at from day to day is my job to figure out and I can help to fast track you with technique and tackle and will do my best to help you catch the ever elusive king salmon here.
All tolled my 7 anglers caught a total of 26 kings in the 2014 season all by swinging traditional salmon flies! Given that there were not many trips it was a good catch rate with just 2 anglers suffering the day with no fish landed. Although the fellows who went fishless all had multiple hook ups ……….. Some of the best fish I saw hooked all season came lose from the hook before landed but the excitement of seeing a big one rocket from the water was more than enough to keep the intensity level of the fishing high. I look for the coming season to be better because we will be covering more and more places in search of these sometimes elusive fish.
I now have three full seasons experience working with anglers who have made Alaska their destination for a fishing trip. One thing I can offer in the advice category is that you should make sure that your fly casting is as good as it can be before arriving. Many times it will be necessary to make casts of 70 feet with either a sink tip line or weighted fly such as a cone head or Intruder. While this may fall into the ‘I can do that’ list as you prepare I suggest you make sure of it. If you will need some fast tracking in getting some distance into your casting I am ready and able to help you to reach out farther when you need it. I chose to mention this right up front because the single most important skill needed to aid in your success fishing here will be the casting. I’ll do everything I can to get us to where the fish are at and once we are there I’ll be standing by to help with developing your casting if you need it.
If you have been reading about Spey casting and think you would like to try this style of fly fishing please know that I have many Spey rods here and you do not have to buy an outfit just for use here. So far everyone who has tried the 2 hand rods caught on quickly and then chose to use them throughout their trip. If you have questions about rods – lines and reels for the trip just ask and I will help you to understand whether your current rig will be right for the destination fishery. I’ll soon be adding a Spey specific article into the blog so stay tuned for updates.
As we march toward spring I will be adding posts with information as well as pictures to help you develop your gear so that you will be ready to hit the ground running here.
Remember this, Felt Soled Wading Boots are not permitted here.
To obtain your license online this is the link to AK. Fish & Games website; http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=sportlicense.main You will be able to chose when the license becomes valid and it’s duration, we can fine tune the hour & day to activate your license based on your individual trip and destination river / rivers.
If you have any questions at all just use the Contact Us button ontop the page to send e-mail,