Streams of SE Alaska [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Streams of SE Alaska

05-28-2007, 11:34 PM
I am a beginner fly fisher. I go to Alaska once a year and fish on the streams of Prince of Wales island. I have primarily just used my spinning rod. This year I am planning to do some more fly fishing.
When purchasing fly line for shallow streams, when I am going to be using streamers and egg patterns, do I want to use sinking line? if so, fast sinking, slow sinking? This is one of the reasons I have been avoiding fly fishing, too many variations. If I then go to a lake, do I want different sinking line? If so, how do I switch it out?


05-29-2007, 12:09 AM
Hi, Bill,

I fished early fall on Prince of Wales last year and found that, in the Klawok and 108 systems at least, a floating line worked just fine for pinks and silvers. I used a nine foot leader and let the fly sink a bit on a slack line. The flies were slightly weighted.

A sink tip line would also have worked well. For stream fishing, full sinking lines are difficult to control and generally unpleasant to fish with.

A full sinking line does work in lakes -- but the big factor here is how deep the fish are feeding. If the fish are near the surface, a floating or sink-tip line will again be effective. Slow sinkers, if you use a full sinking line, are good for lakes. The faster sinking lines tend to pummit to the bottom and snag.

Don't be discouraged by the complexities of the sport. The rewards of working the tackle, gaining skill, and inching towards mastery far outweigh the difficulties in learning the craft.

Hang in there. Keep at it.

I wish I were going to POW again this year. I loved the island and the fishing. Maybe next year.

Good luck!


05-29-2007, 12:21 AM
Yes, I love that island. I love fishing with spinners there, but it really is too easy. It is always hit and miss with the silvers, but it can be fun fishing through the pinks to get to them. Silvers are on an odd year schedule up there, and as usual, silvers weren't big on pow in 2006. I wish I was able to go during steelhead time, or King salmon time, although there aren't any freshwater king runs on the island.
Since I am going to give fly fishing more of a shot this year, I hired a guide to help me out for a couple of days.
A few years ago, I purchased a nice st. croix 8wt rod and reel. I purchased some expensive line with interchangable line? half the line switches out and I have different weighted line. I don't know, that is all too confusing.
I think I will scrap that idea and go with a singe line type and make it work for everything I am doing. Or maybe another spool to switch out.

05-29-2007, 10:46 AM
Silvers are on an odd-year schedule? That's the first I've ever heard that one!

Use an interchangeabl tip line like a Rio veri-tip and you'll be covered. There's no need for extra spools.

05-29-2007, 11:30 AM
From what I've heard about silvers on POW, some hatchery runs come in very early (like July and early August).

Last year, when I was up there in early September, everyone was bitching about the silver fishing. Charter boats were going fifty miles or more in search of ocean schools, and the on-shore fishing was nil. This seemed the story from Prince Rupert to Ketchikan.

The hatchery run in Neck Creek (Whale Pass area), was comprised mainly of non-biters. The Klawok system was really hurting for fish.

While I was at Whale Pass, it began to rain seriously, and the silvers began magically to appear in most nearby streams. The week after I left, nearly all restrictions on catching silvers were lifted on the Klawok, as the hatchery and river were overwhelmed by a near-record run.

Pinks were incredibly abundant on POW and Kodiak last year. Aren't they the salmon typically associated with odd year/even year cycles?



05-30-2007, 07:38 PM
The week after I left, nearly all restrictions on catching silvers were lifted on the Klawok, as the hatchery and river were overwhelmed by a near-record run.

Pinks were incredibly abundant on POW and Kodiak last year. Aren't they the salmon typically associated with odd year/even year cycles?

I'm not sure where you got your information, but 2006 was pretty much a bust. Pinks were scarce and the coho didn't ever show up en masse. The coho return was a near a 20-year low.

Yes, humpies are the odd/even year fish depending on latitude.

06-02-2007, 05:06 PM

The info on the pinks was first hand, as I caught as many as I wanted and more from the 108 Estuary and the Klawok both. The Klawok was particularly stiff with pinks after the rains started in September. People were catching pinks off the highway just outside Craig and in that tourist-trap boardwalk bridge in Ketchikan.

Silvers were coming in in fair numbers into the Klawok on the day I left. I hooked several in the pool below the hatchery, and they were good-sized, feisty fish. A late run of coho also showed up at the Neck Lake trap -- we went over and looked at them just to check it out. Probably 100 or more fish there in the creek below the falls.

My report on the Klawok hatchery run came from a friend at Whale Pass. He says he got the info from the local rag and from personal observation as they headed for the ferry a couple of weeks after we left.

I'll ask him again for confirmation.

Be that as it may, hope things are better this year. Should be a record year, as I won't be going to POW this summer. Wait til next year!

-- Eric

06-03-2007, 10:58 AM
Hey Eric just a heads up for you and everyone else. Pescaphile is a full time resident of Klawock and lives about three blocks from the Klawock River and is a valued Volunteer fish counter even involved in Snorkel counts in the many streams on POW for the ADF&G.
Personally I take most of what he has to say regarding the runs on POW without reservation.:)

06-03-2007, 01:59 PM
I don't doubt that you caught as many humpies as you wanted Eric. But their numbers were waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down. Just google something like " 2006 'Pink salmon returns' 'southeast alaska' " and you'll probably find something that was written about the numbers in the region. There are really always plenty of humpies to catch -even when their numbers are at a 20-year low. Normally when I look out my window at the estuary in August, I see humpies rolling all over the place -literally on the order of 20 or so splashes at the same moment. This past August it was only about a couple and sometimes it was half a minute to a minute before seeing the next one. These low numbers were evident in the saltwater too. King Salmon fishing remained reasonably good well into late August. This wasn't because of an abundance of King Salmon, but rather because of the dearth of cohos and humpies. In a normal year, the chances of catching the Kings is pretty limited at that time simply because you can't get your offering to them before a coho or humpy grab it. Normally, charter boats catch their limits of coho (6/person) in just 3-4 hours while last year it took 'em all day to catch 2-4 fish/rod and there were even quite a few skunks which is practically unheard of.

I have to think our perspectives must differ due to what we're used to seeing. Given vastly different frames of reference, you might see fish as being "incredibly abundant" while Alaskan fishermen and biologists see a return that is at a 20-year low.

06-03-2007, 06:59 PM
As was said about the waters in Casablanca, I must have been misinformed. I would certainly defer to Pescaphile on all matters fishy on Prince of Wales.

And thanks to Moonlight for setting me straight.

I really hope I can return to POW when the fish are really in. I apparently enjoyed what I considered excellent fishing during a "downer" year. Your point about relative abundance is well taken.