09-28-2005, 03:10 PM
Anyone contemplating a last minute jaunt to Southeast Alaska freshwaters will NOT be disappointed! I just returned this past Sunday from my annual trip to Prince of Wales Island for a week of fishing for Silver Salmon. They(the fish) are there in droves. Unfortunately or not, the Humpies (pinks) are also there in bigger droves. More like wall to wall. Most of the trip was catch and keep as the one river we fish the most has a hatchery program. The hatchery utilizes the 'almost free range' style of raising fish by starting with wild fish eggs and raising the smolt in the lake above the river only long enough to get them on their way and then releases them downstream to fend for themselves until they return and most are commercially netted in the salt and a small percentage make it back to the river for sport fishing and cost recovery sales and brood stock for the next cycle. Anyway, Humpies, Chum, Sockeye and Silvers were all present in various stages of spawning in the Klawock River system while I was there. Reports from other anglers indicated the same conditions occured in other drainages around the island most being wildfish and natural runs. The most effective patterns were black and pink such as ESL's and other similarly styled flies. I don't know if this describes an egg pattern or a bead belly fly or not but one of my most effective and quickly wrecked and retired recipes is a Medium Black Wooly Bugger with an 8 mm pink beak tied onto the hookeye with a one inch mono line knotted on the end which allowed the bead to slide up and down the mono. Don't know if this is original or copied as I just thought it up and tied and tried it. It caught 3 of the four species aggressively! A purple zonker bunny leech with 3 beads slung below it was also ferociously attacked by Salmon. I tossed a Green Butt Skunk many times but was skunked and changed to the egg/bead/leech hybrids. Lots of knuckle busting and palm burning action as the Silver Bullet Express hit the afterburners! Can't hardly wait until next year and hope to take another flyguy with me from NC to even the odds with the hardware slingers in our group. Mostly, I had to go with the program until the rental vehicle was freed up later in the afternoon to have the unpressured solitude and casting room on the river when the morning HOT bite was off and the crowds (other small groups) had cleared out. I saw a pair of Spey casters (first time for me) on one hole and they had a rather synchronized style together(imagine twins casting D loops side by side) with matching chartreuse speyline and cast into the same pool. Don't know if they had flies tied on or knot as they were too far away( I took off my glasses too from being splashed by fish so much) but they did not hook up with any fish which I found difficult to fathom as even the Humpies got foulhooked by my flies once in a great while from just the sheer number and volume of Humpies present and cruising the surface from one end of the river to the other. The Silver fishing should be good into October as the fish were on swelling side of the peak and contiued to improve while we were there from Sept 19-24. Average silvers caught were in the 9 pound range with a 12 pounder thrown in occasionally. Humpies were 3-6 pound with a big one now and then. The Chums were all BIG!12-15 pound average, canine toothed, purple striped, monsters with the large fish just doing whatever they pleased once hooked and usually just swam away from you and snapped your line. Many of the Pinks and Chums were still fairly ocean fresh by their lighter coloration and the Silvers were Chrome bright with sealice attached. The Sockeye were dark red and green. In the Southeast, the Sockeye go towards maroon versus the bright scarlet coloration when spawning. A pic or two maybe next week. Looks like my next outing is local this weekend, either for big gar on the Neuse River with 5 and 8 weight and home tied nylo-flies or pantyhose streamers or just to a local pond for panfish and Bass.