Because if the election didn’t quite go your way, what better way to cheer up than a photo of not one, not two, but three fish hooked and landed at the same time at Alaska West.
Alaska West guest, William Alexander, and guide Greg Houska, kicking off hump day right with one slab of a Kanektok pink salmon.
Our 2016 run of pinks returned unusually large in comparison to past seasons, making for a heck of a lot of fun in between more ‘target’ species.’
Nice work guys!
More on Fly Fishing for Salmon
It’s hump day today! And, it’s a humpy year here at our lodges. So, naturally we felt it necessary to present you with a cool photo of a humped out pink salmon caught by Alaska West guest, Worth McAlister.
Pinks return to our rivers in force every even-numbered year. We get a few here and there on odd years too, but unlike the other four species of pacific salmon, pinks return in staggering numbers only every other year (2014, 2016, 2018, and so on).
While they might not be the primary target of your fishing trip, we look forward to their return every other year.. Why? Not only do they keep the rod bent throughout the day (ahem, take a closer look at the photo above), or because they look really cool in their spawning garb (prehistoric really), but they also contribute a substantial amount of biomass to our river to feed our trout and dolly populations.. And that’s a really, really good thing.
Happy hump day!
More on Pink Salmon
We’re really lucky to witness prolific runs of all five species of pacific salmon throughout our season at Alaska West. That means that each year some of our guests (particularly those joining us from mid/late July to early August) get a shot at the ol’ grand slam; All five species of pacific salmon, all on the fly, all landed within in a single day’s fishing.. It’s a pretty special feat, and certainly not one many anglers are fortunate enough to experience.
Today we’re happy to announce that just last week our good friend (some might even say family member), and long time Alaska West guest, Bryan Whiting, nabbed our first grand slam of the 2016 season!
However, not only did Bryan land all five species of Pacific salmon within a single day, each salmon landed was chrome bright, far from their spawning colors. We call that the ‘Chrome Slam,’ that’s an even rarer feat, and we don’t think it could happen to a better guy.
Awesome job Bryan!
More on Salmon Fishing
We talk an awful lot about ‘chrome bright salmon,’ but we’d be lying if we said we didn’t think some of the colors pacific salmon take on as they start their spawning ritual were anything short of spectacular.
We’re lucky that some of our lodges are located so close to the ocean that we’re able to target steelhead and salmon that are as bright as physically possible. However, one of the coolest parts about spending an entire season on a salmon river is that we’re able to witness the entire spawning cycle of all five species of pacific salmon, and its pretty amazing.
Most of our guests are only able to witness the presence of a couple species of salmon at a time, and often ask what other species look like during other phases of their life cycle.
So, on that note, we thought we’d share a mini-gallery of photos highlighting all five species of pacific salmon, all dolled up in full spawning colors..
More About Salmon
- Pacific Salmon – They All Have Two Names
- Coho Salmon Lifecycles
- 9 Questions About King Salmon You Were Afraid to Ask
It might not look like ideal weather to most, but when we’re chasing salmon in Western Alaska, we long for days like this..
Bright sunny days can make for epic trout fishing, but dark, gloomy, and down right miserable looking days means happy salmon, and we like that.
More on Salmon Fishing
If our fishery at Alaska West wasn’t already diverse enough for you with kings, chums, sockeye, silvers, leopard rainbows, dolly varden, and Arctic grayling, not to worry – it’s 2014 and that means it’s a Pink Year! Unlike the other four species of Pacific salmon, the pink salmon’s pilgrimage to their spawning grounds occurs every other year. Aside from a few stragglers during odd years, at Alaska West we witness an extremely large run of pinks during even-numbered years.
Although Pink Salmon may not be the target species of your Great Alaskan Adventure, they are a great change of pace on light tackle and we look forward to their return. Load up that 6 weight with a popper and get ready for some aggressive surface activity! Planning on bringing the kids? Pinks will keep the rod bent and the smiles coming. Not to mention they add more biomass to the river for our beloved Rainbows…
Thinking of tackling the Salmon Grand Slam? Pinks are a part of the title and this is the year to do it!
If you are joining us this year at Alaska West, we look forward to sticking some Pinks with you. If not, maybe you should consider it!
More Props for Pinks
Catching a fish on a fly you tied yourself is a special thing. It gives you a closer connection to the sport and the fish itself. If you have never experienced this, Alaska is the place to do it!
Whether you’re a beginner or experienced fly tyer, here are a few patterns that we tie a lot of (or variations of) at Alaska West. These flies are simple to tie, require no more than three materials that are all readily available, and super effective! Sure, we love the creative side of fly tying too, but if catching fish is your prerogative, these guide flies are hard to beat.
Marabou King Tube
We fish a lot of tube flies in Alaska, especially when targeting Kings on the swing. More so than the pattern, versatility is the most important thing here. These simple tubes can be fished alone or stacked on top of each other in order to vary both the color and the profile of the fly. This is very helpful when targeting fish in differing light conditions.
Almost any color combination has its place, but combinations such as chartreuse/white, chartreuse/blue, or black/blue (for the darker days) are often standouts. Try any variation of pink when swinging for Chums as well.
These flies are extremely simple to tie. Make a few wraps of polar chenille (or any bulky material to flare the marabou in front of it), followed by wrapping two marabou blood feathers, add a few strands of your favorite flash material, whip finish and melt the end of the tube.
Simple as that, but super effective!
Egg Sucking Bunny Leech
When targeting silvers, chums, or pinks, this timeless pattern is hard to beat. The egg sucking bunny leech is a very quick tie and requires very few materials. Try tying these in a few shades of pink (such as pink and cerise) and purple, and you should have all you need to tackle these three species of salmon. Make sure to incorporate lead eyes onto these flies as this will provide that “jiggy” motion that drives the fish crazy!
Tried and true, many people look past the ‘ol wooly bugger in their box when fishing in Alaska. Our big resident Rainbows love to eat sculpins all season long, and if tied in the right combination of colors, a bugger is a fine imitation. Try tying an assortment in different color combinations to achieve that camouflage look of a sculpin such as a black body with an olive tail and hackle.
For many of us, the wooly bugger was the first pattern we learned to tie. It will catch fish all over the world and Alaska is no exception.