At Alaska West we have the incredible opportunity to host a handful of guests each day on the Arolik River – a pristine, totally undeveloped river a few miles from our camp that was tailor made for rainbow trout fishing.
Arolik rainbows are like no others. Here’s why we love ’em.
- Each one is different. Rainbows in the Arolik get really old. We’ve been told by ADF&G that the average 27″ rainbow in the Arolik – and there are quite a few – is between 10 and 12 years old. Just like your grandpa, they get some very distinct looks as they age. One’s got a giant kype, one’s peachy colored, one’s got thick shoulders, one’s got uncountable spots. Part of the thrill of hooking these fish is that you never know who you’ve hooked until they get up close.
- They love eating mice. Fishing mouse flies for rainbow trout is just about as fun as it gets. The flies are huge, the takes are…let’s just say ‘noticeable’…and the fish come from a long ways away for those mega-doses of calories. Much of the Arolik is lined with grassy banks, and that makes for lots of opportunity for little furry mammals to fall into the river, and that means Arolik River rainbow trout love eating mouse flies.
- They’re not that predictable. As productive a fishery as the Arolik is, its rainbow trout take some figuring out. If you just strolled up to the Arolik knowing how awesome it is and expected to catch a bunch of fish…yeah, it might be a little tough. We’ve spent many years learning the ways of rainbow trout in the Arolik and we continue to be surprised about what they want to eat and when…and that’s part of the joy in it.
- Two-handers are perfect. We’re not shy about the fact that we love spey casting and two-handed rods. We think the Arolik is just about the best place ever to fish flies for rainbows with a lightweight spey rod or a switch rod. Swinging sculpins, stripping smolts, bouncing mice off the far banks…it all works, and it works real good.
- You can see ’em! For the majority of the season, the water in the Arolik is really, really clear. Spotting individual fish is not a problem. Recognizing which species you’re looking at – pretty straightforward. Deciding whether to cast to the 21″ fish with 7 spots on its left cheek or the 22″ with with 6? Maybe a tiny bit of a stretch, but not by much. Regardless, fishing water as clear as what’s in the Arolik is an amazing opportunity to watch a fish holding in the current, see your fly land, watch the fish move to your fly, watch your fly go into the fish’s mouth…you get the picture.
Can you tell that we love Arolik River rainbows?