…that decided to eat a popper in late August at Alaska West.
We’ve posted this picture on our blog before – on Thanksgiving of 2008.
Since our blog’s readers on Thanksgiving of 2008 consisted of yours truly and my mom, we figured it was time to show it to all you folks!
More on Our Fishery at Alaska West
We’ve gotten a lot of questions lately from anglers wanting to know what combination of rods is most appropriate at various times of year at each of our lodges. We’re happy to answer those questions!
Today starts a series on rod ‘quivers’ – combinations of rods that work well in a certain location at a certain time of year. We’ll start with August in Alaska.
Besides the salmon and the leopard rainbows that we target at Alaska West, we have a whole lot of fun fishing for Dolly Varden.
Dolly Varden and Arctic Char are really closely related in our part of Alaska. So closely related, in fact, that the Alaska Fish and Game biologist responsible for them thinks we’ve got both in our river. They have complex life histories and in our neck of the woods =they’re indistinguishable without a genetic test…we tend to call them all ‘dollies’ regardless but we know for sure they’re a ton of fun to catch.
Most of our dollies spawn multiple times. They run up the Kanektok pretty much all summer long, with a number of noticeable ‘sub runs’ overlapping and containing fish of different shapes, sizes and colors. In general they’re chrome with a slight green tint when they enter the river, and some in their spawning phases turn the wacky circus colors that led to dollies near the spawn being called ‘clowned up’.
They sometimes eat flesh and streamers, but most of our time spent targeting dollies involves fishing beads. Fishing your 5 weight on a productive dolly flat is a whole heck of a lot of fun. Some sections of river have an almost uncountable number of fish. The action is fun, fast-paced and easy!
If you find yourself on the Kanektok one of these years, make sure to spend some time fishing lightweight gear for dollies. You’ll be glad you did.
Cameron Miller does it again – angler fights fish and guide nets fish. Chances are it wasn’t their first that day.
One of the really neat things about fishing at Alaska West is that the two rivers we fish provide a huge amount of variety.
In addition to the fact that we chase 8 different species (kings, chums, sockeye, pinks, silvers, rainbows, dollies and grayling!), our rivers are heavily braided in some sections. We can fish big water in the main river, but the braided sections provide some really intimate fishing in their side channels.
Some side channels are pretty substantial, containing nearly half the flow of the main river. Others have just a trickle of water, and in fact many side channels completely dry up by the time the river has finished dropping near the end of the season.
Since we prefer fishing for salmon while they’re hot and bright in the lower stretches of the rivers, most of our side channel fishing is for resident species – rainbows, dollies and grayling. Spawning activity in the side channels attracts plenty of egg-hungry critters, and submerged logs, root wads and undercut banks provide plenty of cover. Beads, flesh and sculpins all produce fish in our side channels, as do the always-fun mouse patterns.
Yes, we ‘only’ fish two rivers, but each has so many braids and side channels that they’re like dozens of rivers in one.
Mike Erickson is an attorney at Summit Law Group in Seattle. He’s also a good friend of Deneki Outdoors. Mike has brought some of his best clients on fishing trips with him, and he was kind enough to put together a guest post for us about why he thinks that’s a good idea.
Some guys like to take their clients golfing or out to dinner. I like to take mine fishing. And there is no better way to really get to know someone on a personal level than chasing salmon or rainbow trout on the mighty Kanektok (or its sister river the Arolik). I’ve had clients up to Alaska West in early season for kings and, more recently, in late season for silvers and the famous leopard rainbows. Both are incredible fisheries in their own different ways.
Historically, I preferred the kings, mostly because of the incredible fight they put up once they’re hooked. But lately, one of my best clients has been opening my eyes to the more subtle (but no less exciting) world of rainbow fishing. For an angler like me it’s perfect because delicate presentations are definitely not required. This last year was incredible . . . the mousing in particular was a hoot.
But back to my original point – spending all that time on the river, and then telling stories over a cold beverage afterwards followed by a delicious dinner, really is a fantastic bonding experience. If any of you have clients or customers who like to fish (or even better, who’d like to learn), the unforgettable experience of bringing them along on a fishing trip more than justifies the expense. The combination of one-on-one time on the water, group time in the evenings and the countless stories as a result most definitely builds relationships that stand the test of time.