Week 3 brought fair weather and good friends back to Alaska West. In addition to warmer weather, the water had finally dropped enough to leave behind more defined ledges, drop offs, and bars. This definition created some unusual fishing situations too. The fish seemed to be funneled into a few small spots with clear water or along shallow buckets at the bottom of bars that would usually be thought of as holding water for Chum Salmon.
While Professor Chumley was out in force in almost all locations, the Chinooks were pushing almost as hard. Some pockets behind snags acted like Pez dispensers, consistently popping out one or two nice Kings only to reload again a few hours later. Three visits to the same snag in a day could yield five to seven shots at fish in the same 10 yard stretch of water. Other stretches fished so well that the guides established a beat rotation to share the wealth among the anglers, giving everyone a shot at having excellent fishing.
The Leopard Bows seemed very hungry during Week 3. Side channel fishing was as good as it gets for the pre-spawn period on the Kanektok and one could only guess that based on the aggressiveness of the fish to take a fly, the life expectancy of a wayward Sculpin was quite short during this week. Arolik River anglers found that fishing a mouse isn’t only fun, but it catches lots of Rainbows and large Grayling as well.
Like Week 2, Week 3 saw light sink tips and unweighted flies at the forefront of King Salmon fishing tactics. Tips from 2.5ft of T-14 to 7.5ft. of T-14 were the standard for most applications and some lucky anglers even waked a few Kings up on the surface with dry lines only to fall victim to over anticipation and set the hook before the fish could turn on the fly.