You might have heard that Alaska West runs a spey instruction program during our king salmon season – we bring the best casters and teachers in the world to the lodge to help you get better with your casting.
Charles St. Pierre is our longtime instructor during the first week of our season. Today he checks in (likely between practice casts for Spey-O-Rama) with five reasons to join us for the first week of our season.
5 Best Reasons to Fish Week One at Alaska West
There are a few things you should know about Week One at Alaska West but I may have to pay some heavy karmic dues as a result of revealing them. I humbly ask those who know and bank on what I’m about to tell you for their forgiveness.
You probably already know it’s hardcore & it’s the most challenging week of the season. This week has the searching, probing, & hoping characteristics similar to any day of winter/spring steelheading anywhere in North America. But the no longer well kept secret is, and much like winter/spring steelheading, Week One is about the hunt and you have to earn it. And exactly what you will be hunting & earning are biggest, baddest, & most beautiful fish of nearly every species this amazing river has to offer of the entire season! If you prefer “easy” or “guarantees”, this isn’t the week for you.
This is the week of a select group of anglers who choose this week for the exact reasons I have already mentioned and the rest I am about to share. Will the river conditions and weather be a factor? Yep, but so is every day this far north, so don’t forget your warmest layers, rain gear, & SPF 50 sun block. You don’t think we can actually raise and lower the river or “make” the fish bite, do you? King salmon don’t bite anything; they use their mouths to maul & literally crush whatever goes into it. Trust me on this – an already angry, sea lice covered, mint bright wild king salmon at the end of your line doesn’t need that kind of encouragement.
In total, there are a lot more than five reasons to be here Week One but these five are the highlights.
The Freshest Salmon
I would like to officially make a motion, here & now, to propose changing the name of this week at Alaska West from the numerically based name, “Week One” to “Week OMG!!!” The highest tides of the year are rapidly bringing inshore the freshest King & Chum salmon this river is so famous for; when it’s on, you can smell them in the air from Zoo Bar on down as they surf the tide into the river. Transparent fins, sea lice covered silver bodies, exploding graphite, bloody knuckles, & extremely heavy lifting (see exploding graphite) are all week long possibilities & commonalities. “Choker” Factor Scale Rating: 10. “Chromer” Factor Scale Rating: another 10. Trophy time.
These fish have recently spawned and are moving out of the back channels & creek tribs into the main river. They have left the highly competitive spawning beds & the comfort of their female companions behind & are generally very unhappy about it. I dare you to swing any large black & blue king or mouse fly in front of them & find out. Hooligans are to our rainbows what Cliff Bars are to professional endurance athletes & they are constantly gorging themselves on these and anything else that swims by. If you find large wood piles and thick snags, you’ve found “Bo Bo”. Careful, some of these goliaths have fangs!
Since leaving last season, few Ak West guides have had a day pass during the winter where they didn’t daydream themselves back here to the previous summer. They are rabidly foaming at the mouth to hunt at your side & for the spectacular mayhem game to resume again. They only need a cup of hot coffee, whistling fly lines, spontaneous announcements of “fish on!”, & the smiles they bring to everyone in the boat.
I’m used to fishing the rivers of the Olympic Pennisula for wild winter steelhead & the Cowlitz River for hatchery summer runs. An entire season on the Kanektok could never be as crowded as one of the busiest weeks on one of these northwest steelhead rivers or the Kenai! The truth of the matter is, the fish simply don’t care who is fishing or driving over them; they aren’t sentimental or discriminating creatures by nature. Another truth of particular interest to those who live & breathe “fish” is; they haven’t seen a fly in front of them for the better part of nine months if ever! That sounds as good to me as butter cream frosting on oven hot chocolate cake. Second helpings are pretty much S.O.P (standard operating procedure).
Spey Casting Instruction
This is part of the program every week of the king fishing season at Alaska West but Week One is mine. No other operation or outfitter in North America provides this service amenity for its guests other than Deneki. Those who have yet to experience it don’t know what they’re missing but those who have participated in this kind of program & venue certainly do. Beginning spey caster? No problem, we’ll have you casting well enough to be over fish in no time. Advanced spey caster? We’ll have a few tidbits that might improve your game…Let the hunt, the challenge, the fish, & the vibe here do the rest.
Motion carried & adopted?
P.S. There are a few spots open in Week One for 2013 – drop us a line if this sounds like your kind of fishing.