Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Southeast Alaska

So there I was sitting in a Horizon puddle jumper on the tarmac at Portland International Airport about to fly up to Seattle and then up to SE Alaska and all I could think about was why the hell was I leaving. A drizzle and overcast skies in late July mean one thing to the Pacific Northwest steelheader, GAME ON! The rivers are finally in shape and the overcast skies and light rain are going to push more fish into our local rivers. Sure catching a lot of salmon and spending quality time with my father, brother and good friends sounds great, but I could be home swinging flies for steelhead. I am sure the reports I have been receiving from friends on the Deschutes are not true anyway. Fourteen fish in two days does not sound right for August, but alas I was not going to find out. I was on my way to estuary salmon fishing.

Going to a big charter town is always a trip. Meat hunters and tourism are funny things to me. I never really understood and especially so with the current gas prices, why people would fly all that way to fill their freezers. This year was especially so because the sockeye and lingcod fishing was closed, king salmon fishing was closed to retention of fish smaller than forty-eight inches and even the limit on rockfish was limited to three per person in this area. Oh well, this kept the tourists and charter boats away. Then again spending all that time and money to practice catch and release in AK is odd to some as well.

River fishing was slow this year and the fish were late to arrive. There seems to be a lot more chums in the systems but few pinks. The majority of the pinks were in the estuary and the fishing was stupid. Doubles, triples and even having multiple fish on one rod happened. Dry flies and poppers were fun, stripping streamers and swinging flies all worked. We did manage a few chums, dollies and some rockfish as well.

I learned a few valuable things on this trip. One was fifteen pound tipped works great on all the above species. You really did not need lighter line. Checking how fast the tide is coming in and going out is a really good idea, regardless of how good the fishing is. Breaking your back moving an eighteen foot skiff and 40 horse Yamaha is not a lot of fun. This is especially so when there are only four of you to do it. Four weight spey rods kick ass with pinks and spey casting from the bow of the boat is awesome. Poppers are a great idea with a floater or an intermediate line. The intermediate line keeps the popper under the water and when it floats to the surface the takes can be amazing. Beer battered pink salmon kicks ass and six weights really can work with chums.

Rock on!

1 comment:


This is an awesome trip and photos! Mike

Jealous! : )