Like an episode of “Friends” circa 1996, Week 2 at Alaska West is in Prime Time. This year we had a mix of some comedy and some drama, but no matter what happened, our anglers were thoroughly entertained.
The water for Week 2 was still at a juicy level and the Kanektok continued to force its way south through the tundra bluff just above camp causing a chuffy plume of mud to all but choke out the lower river. These conditions created a need to continue to fish the green sloughs fed by long forgotten back channels that had been rediscovered in Week 1 and the numerous clear runs along the gravel bars above camp.
“Small Ball” was the game to play for Week 2. Instead of launching long casts across the entire river, our anglers soon discovered that fishing just the Skagit Head, or sometimes just a few feet more than the length of the sink tip, was all that was needed to cover the small clear pockets that fish were pushing into.
Some of the most epic days in Week 2 were had by the single hand crowd. One pair of single hand aficionados was rumored to have landed 16 adults and numerous jacks in an afternoon. Those willing to go even more off the deep end found that chrome King Salmon could be sight fished to in gin clear, waste deep water with a floating line and a selection of flies that would be scoffed at by most swinging purists.
This year demonstrated that lighter can better when it comes to fishing for chrome Kings fresh from the salt. In years past, some have emphasized that you can not go too deep for King Salmon. As it turns out, we may have been swinging under the majority of the fish adhering to this advice. Gone are the days of chunking 12-15 ft. of T-14. This year the MOW Tip revolution hit Alaska West hard and the most popular tips during Week 2 were the 7.5 ft. and the 10 ft. lengths of T-14. If you ask us, easier casting and more fish hooked up is never a bad thing.