The first week of anglers at Alaska West has come and gone, though we won’t forget the guests, the fishing or the weather anytime soon! All of our guests this week traveled to camp on our direct charter with Era Aviation from Anchorage to Quinhagak. What a sweet ride, comfortable, fast, and quiet. It is amazing to leave Anchorage and in less than two hours find yourself dropped into the middle of the best salmon fishing on the planet.
Many of our guests this week were first timers to the Kanektok and even Alaska, but all were more than prepared for the rigors of king salmon fishing in June in Western Alaska. Tom Larimer brought possibly the largest contingent of Oregon anglers ever to ply the Kanektok River at the same time. Thanks Tom!
Jeff Hickman and Jason Koertge both came back for more big pulls with guys like Rob Elam and Ed Hepp looking for some as well. Ken Morrish came back after not seeing the river for many years and he brought with him Brian Gambini who ended the week with a couple toads in his hands. Nice job Brian! Peter Laskier and Pete Bracken visited us as singles, but were quickly brought into the inner circle and shown the way. Peter ended up landing the first two adults of the season and was top rod for two days in a row. Overall this group knew how to fish and they surely proved they could have a good time, even through the tough times.
And the tough times were aplenty with the way the weather treated us! Temps were between 35 and 50 degrees the whole week so with wind between 20 and 40 mph you can imagine the wind chill we were dealing with! Not even once did we see the sun! Even though the weather sucked we did have to remind ourselves that we are fishing within sight of the Bering Sea coast and it’s still mid June in the far reaches of Western Alaska. This kind of stuff should be expected and it should never be a surprise, even in July.
As for the fishing it seemed on schedule for this time of year. Our guides had only hooked into a few fish prior to the guests showing up on the 11th. The first day on the water was quite tough due to wet and windy weather. The water temps were in the mid to low forties so the fish we did have in the river seemed to have a case of lockjaw for a few days. The second day Peter Laskier was at the right place at the right time and nailed two nice adult kings on the double-hand rod. The next day he did the same thing and then it was game on through the rest of the week. We did have a couple guests who had tough fishing throughout the week, but the fishing gods ended up giving up some treasure to them by the end of the week. Also a few large kings in the 25-35lb range were landed the last two days which really made it feel like a payoff for many of the anglers.
Though the kings were the focus of the week we did have some guys take advantage of some killer mousing and leech fishing on the Arolik and even a bit on the Kanektok. This time of year the larger trout are ravenous so they pretty much eat anything that gets in front of them. They are also as pretty as you will ever see them due to having spawned within the last month.
Overall it was a great way to start the season and we look forward to the rest of it!