If you follow our blog, you’ve surely noticed we talk a lot about fishing for king salmon using one of our favorite methods – swinging flies with spey rods.
Some of you out there may have never used a spey rod. Others may have only swung flies for popular species like steelhead and/or Atlantic salmon and might be thinking, “what’s the big deal about swinging flies for king salmon?”
Great question.. And here’s our answer.
- King salmon are like steelhead on steroids. Any devout spey angler will tell you that the initial grab of an anadramous fish is what swinging flies is all about. The tug from a wild steelhead is special, but the tug from a chrome adult king salmon is often incomprehensible. Like a steelhead, the initial take from a king can be anything from subtle to heart-stopping, but the blistering run following the hook set is like no other freshwater fish on earth.
- They’re usually difficult to target with flies. King salmon aren’t abundant everywhere, and even where they are their preference for deep water can make them difficult to target with flies – A big reason why they’re not on the radar for many spey-obsessed anglers. However, the shallow overall depths and low gradient of our home river at Alaska West makes them easily targeted with a short cast and a standard length of T-14. An opportunity not readily available where most king salmon are found.
- They travel with other willing species. While we wouldn’t necessarily describe spey fishing for kings as a ‘numbers game’ per se (think silver salmon if you want ridiculous numbers), a solid day of swinging flies for kings in our neck of the woods would certainly provide more action than a benchmark day of straining water for most winter steelhead. Plus, during the height of our season, our adult kings travel alongside a huge run of feisty chum salmon as well as scrappy jack (juvenile) kings. That tends to keep the action up and the rod bent throughout the day while searching for that special fish, something that’s not typically the case with most spey-rodded species.
- That makes for great practice. Experience is a product of repetition, not time. Swinging flies for low returns of steelhead or Atlantics can make for a slow learning curve to becoming a better angler. On the other hand, our healthy run of kings alongside our mind boggling runs of chums and resident trout, dolly, and grayling populations make for a lot of action on a two-handed rod, providing more reps of hooking, fighting, and landing fish on a two handed rod than you’re likely to find anywhere else.
- They test gear. Kings aren’t for the faint of heart. We’ve seen rods, reels, lines, arbor knots, and grown men break under the pressure of a hot adult king. For that reason alone, we think they’re the most intense species you can target on a two-hander which is why we just can’t get enough of them.
Interested in swinging flies for the baddest fish in freshwater? Our king salmon dates typically fill up well in advance, but we still have a few more prime-time spots available for the 2018 season. Now’s the time to book! Drop us a line for more information.