Our front yard at Alaska West is the Kanektok River. The Kanektok is, like other rivers in Alaska, an amazingly consistent, productive, varied fishery. However, unlike any other river in Alaska that we know of, the Kanektok provides a unique opportunity to swing flies for kings.
What makes the Kanektok different? Here’s the secret sauce.
- A productive run of kings, in a wide range of size classes
- The right level of flows– big enough to swing a fly, but small enough that almost all of it, right down to the mouth, can be covered effectively with a swung fly
- Fly fishable water ‘down low’ – specifically, the fact that the lower 10 miles or so of river – in which the kings tend to be hot, bright and aggressive to the swung fly – contains run after run of perfect swinging water.
When we’re targeting kings at Alaska West, we like to spend most of our time swinging flies. We use fairly typical winter steelhead-type techniques– sinktip lines, large flies, and a cast-across-and-mend presentation that swings slowly, with a straight line to the fly. There are other ways to catch kings in Alaska, but we love big bright fish, aggressive takes and the overall pace of swinging our way down a gravel bar.
Single-handed and double-handed rods are both very effective on the Kanektok, but that’s the subject of another post.
Like a wise man once said, the tug is the drug.