As you might expect, we hear a lot of great fish stories over the course of a week. In fact we’d go out on a limb to say there’s not a day that goes by during our season when we’re not swapping stories of a great fight, a killer eat, or just an all around stunning fish from the day before.
If you stare at the water long enough, you’re bound to see something truly amazing. Therefore, we thought it would be a good idea to kick off a series of posts we’re dubbing the ‘Weekly Fish Story,’ where we share all the details of a moment on the water that blew our minds, and think it will do the same to you..
So, to kick off our series, Alaska West guide, Jason Whiting, presents us with a quick snapshot of some aggressive trout behavior that you just don’t see every day..
Weekly Fish Story – “Competitive Predators”
Afternoons are a common time of day here on the Kanektok to change up the program and go trout fishing. My guests at the time had their fill of salmon in the morning, so after lunch we headed up river to try and stalk some leopard rainbows. After lathering up the bug repellent (the noseeums were out in force that day), we headed across to the backside of a gravel bar to see if we could entice some rainbows that were sitting behind some spawning salmon.
As we approached the salmon, there he was – An emerald shadow in the water with a stunning red bar down his side, glowing as if a beacon. Seemed like an easy catch. First cast, upstream from behind him, and plunk! Right on his head. “Oh no! Oh wait, ok he didn’t spook. But he also didn’t really move at all.. Keep casting, but try and get your fly a few feet outside of him so he can see it.”
After a few more casts with our large sculpin pattern, the fish had still hardly moved. Perhaps he wasn’t going to be catchable after all. Before giving up, I went ahead and asked the angler to send a cast much further above the fish, making sure the sculpin was all of the way down to the bottom of the river for a more realistic approach when it passed him. He made the cast and not two seconds after the fly hit the water did a dolly varden choose to take a swipe at it. However, seeing the dolly heading toward the fly, the previously stagnant trout exploded forward crushing the sculpin in what almost seemed to be out of pure competition. But now, we were on!
A couple runs and a nice jump later he was ours. Although, the most extraordinary thing of all is that after landing the rainbow, he still had the entire tail of a smaller fish (a dolly in fact) he had previously eaten still sticking out of his mouth. Truly a predator.
“Dang that was cool to see..”