Because it’s been a while since we shared a photo of an airborne coho from Alaska West.
Hang time. One of the many, many reasons we love fly fishing for silver salmon.
Over the past few seasons, mild winters and reasonably dry summers have made for some low water conditions on our home river at Alaska West. However, this year we’ve been experiencing significantly higher water levels of late, and we really dig it!
Due to a few substantial rain (and even hail) storms, we’ve seen a couple big bumps in water levels during the back half of our season. Most anglers dread such spikes in water levels, most often due to the decrease in water clarity caused by excess sediment being deposited in the river. However, believe it of not, high dirty water actually makes for some pretty exciting fishing opportunities in our neck of the woods, particularly late season, that wouldn’t be available otherwise. Therefore, we love a healthy ‘blow-out’ every now and then, and here’s why.
Just a friendly reminder, the next time you’re handling a whole bunch of silver salmon, watch those fingers!
Most anglers are aware that certain species of Pacific salmon (especially chum salmon) can have some pretty gnarly teeth during certain phases of their lifecycle. However, contrary to popular belief, all five species of Pacific salmon actually have teeth, some of which can be pretty darn sharp!
As salmon begin to break down upon entering fresh water, their gums also start to recede, often unveiling a mouth full of sticky-sharp teeth. Some species however have some pretty nasty teeth from the start.. Sort of like the chrome bright, sea-lice ridden, silver salmon shown above!
So, the next time you’re putting a hurtin’ on silvers, be careful where you’re putting those fingers!
One of the most exhilarating aspects of fly fishing is that each and every time your fly is in the water, you never quite know what could happen next – a perpetual level of faith if you will.
Sort of like when you think you’ve doubled up on your umpteenth silver salmon of the day, only to find out a massive leopard rainbow trout decided to hop on too. Thank you Alaska for keeping us guessing..
Nice work guys!
When it comes to fly fishing for silvers, it’s hard to argue against the effectiveness of stripping ridiculously colored streamers with a single handed 8-9 weight fly rod. However, one of our favorite things about silver season is that we’re fortunate to be able to target fish using a whole bunch of different methods, thus amping up the fun factor a few notches.
One such way is targeting them on spey rods! Is it the most productive method possible? Maybe not.. But it’s a heck of lot of fun, and a great change of pace throughout the day. In fact, a few of you have asked us recently how we’d rig up to chase silvers with a two-hander, so we reached out to our own spey casting guru, Whitney Gould, on how she prefers to rig up when swinging for coho.
Disclaimer: If you don’t want a sore shoulder from railing on fish after fish, stop reading this post.
“Fishing a two handed rod for silvers is a great alternative to the traditional single handed methods. Its not only fun, but your arms and shoulders tend to be less sore come dinner time.”
“Skagit heads are built to turn over big, heavily weighted streamers, which is ideal for the heavy, lead-eye flies we tend to use.”
“When swinging for silvers, the best action is a broad side presentation jigged with a downward twitch of the rod tip. I retrieve the line during the swing only to remove slack, but as a general rule I only retrieve the line towards the end of the swing to keep the fly in the zone as long as possible.”
“Feel the weight of the fish, set the hook, and let the fish run. Silvers are the most acrobatic and unpredictable fighters amongst the Pacific salmon. Therefore time is your enemy when fighting silvers, so don’t waste time, stick it to ’em! In other words, don’t be a sissy.. Fight it like a woman!
“Make sure to take advantage of a shore lunch with family and friends and enjoy the whole experience. Coho are willing players!”
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!
Silver mayhem that is!
Over the last couple weeks we’ve started to see the first signs of our annual run of silver salmon at both our Rapids Camp Lodge and Alaska West operations. From here on out, each day brings more and more fish into our systems, and it won’t be long until our rivers are teeming with staggering numbers of hyper-aggressive, acrobatic, coho eager to eat a fly. For those who have yet to experience it, mayhem really is the most descriptive word we can muster, and needless to say, we’re pretty darn excited..
Bring on the mayhem!
Few fly patterns have caught more fish in Alaska than the egg sucking leech (ESL). Whether tied in the classic “bugger style,” or in a more contemporary fashion utilizing rabbit strips, the ESL family of flies are hard to beat when targeting salmon and trout throughout all of Alaska. In fact, it has been said that the egg sucking leech has the potential to catch anything that swims, and we’d be willing to bet that if tied in a variety of colors and sizes, it could produce all over the world!
Today, we’re coming at you with a more modern spin on a classic pattern in order to create a more versatile fly. As if the rabbit tail and body of a classic bunny leech did not already provide enough movement to the fly, we added an articulation to the fly, thus allowing for even more movement in the water. Tying the egg sucking bunny leech in articulated fashion also allows for shorter shanked trailer hooks to be used as opposed to long shank streamer hooks, resulting in a larger profile fly with less leverage on the hook when fighting fish. In other words, more fish to hand!
The beauty of this pattern is that it’s hard to fish it wrong – Strip it, jig it, swing it.. It all works! Now here’s how to tie it.