In a few short months we’ll be heading North to kick off our summer seasons, swinging flies for one of our favorite species of all time – Big, bright, sea-lice ridden, king salmon.
Due to their affinity for deep water, kings are a notoriously difficult species to target on the fly in many areas throughout the Pacific Northwest. However, at Alaska West, we’re really lucky to be situated on a lazy, low gradient, coastal river that’s relatively shallow under normal flows. That not only makes for targeting kings with spey/switch rods possible, but super effective as well!
Over the last couple years, our friends over at Aqua Flies have produced quite the collection of chinook worthy fly patterns, several of which were designed by friends and/or alums of ours at Alaska West!
Needless to say, they work really well on our river, so today we thought we’d share some of our favorites.
- Stu’s Chinook Intruder.Designed by our pal, and Alaska West host, Stuart Foxall, the Chinook Intruder is the ultimate tube fly for king salmon. At roughly four inches in length, its much larger than your standard steelhead fly, maintaining a huge profile in the water for big eats from big fish. Available in six popular king salmon color combinations.
- Stu’s Rhea Intruder.Tied on a 40mm shank, and modestly weighted with 5/32 brass eyes, Stu’s Rhea Intruder (also designed by Stuart Foxall) works great for presenting a medium-large profile at deep holding fish. Rhea shoulders create an extremely life-like movement in the water which works great in a whole bunch of depths and water speeds.
- Dirty Hoh – Chinook Size.A larger version of Alaska West alum, Jerry French’s innovative steelhead pattern. A combination of an intruder and a string leech, the broad composite loop front shoulder pushes water, while a hitched rabbit tail provides incredible movement. We’ve seen it in action, and trust us, it works. Chinook sizes (4 inches long) available in four popular colors.
- Hartwick’s Flashtail Tube.Like a marabou tube fly on steroids, the Flashtail Tube presents a larger profile than your standard single-station marabou tube, while remaining really easy to cast. A brass cone head helps prop up the front shoulder to maintain a large profile while under tension. The fly also uses a generous amount of flash adding more ‘sizzle’ than most the patterns listed above, which we find can work really well on bright, sunny days.
- Fish Taco.Designed by yet another Alaska West alum, Jeff Hickman, the Fish Taco is a great option when a sparser, less obtrusive, pattern is desired. Believe it or not, when it comes to king salmon, bigger is not always better! Probably best to have a few in your box.