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Ocean Flyfishing for Salmon Perhaps the most under-rated fishery in the world

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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-31-2006 12:07 AM
mugsy Finally getting around to posting results of our trip to Sitka. Seems like it takes a month to catch up for being gone a week! The trip was great! Fly fishing was pretty much a bust - salmon were deeper than deep, and we had 15 to 20 knot winds every day but mooching was a blast. Limits of kings and halibut by early to mid morning, catch & release for a few hours, back to the lodge for a nap, a few cold ones and fresh salmon or halibut hot off the grill to top off each day. Most kings were caught at about 100 feet, and even the handfull of silvers we caught were at 60 feet plus. Kings averaged about 25 lbs, and we purposely targeted "chicken" halibut - preferring table fare over barn doors. Did get some shots at some sockeye that were just starting to stage at a river mouth - a few follows on one of the flies I picked up at the Fly Away Fly Shop, but just wouldn't hit. The folks at the fly shop were great, and they were pleased to hear that their shop was mentioned on an internet forum.

Sitka is a cool place with a facinating history. The town gets a little crazy when the cruise ships are in, but it definely is a place where non-fishing spouses can find plenty to do. The lodge we stayed in was top notch, going out of their way to make our stay everything we wanted it to be. It's not the kind of trip I could afford to do very often, and if I go back I would probably go later in July or in August when the silvers are thick and the rivers offer some salmon possibilities.
05-02-2006 08:03 PM
mugsy Moonlight,

I did find their web site. Thanks for the tip. I will stop in to see them in June.
04-24-2006 09:43 AM
pescaphile Make sure you see the Nat'l Park Museum. Last time I was there they'd just received a brass helmut that was given as a peace offering to Tlingit Chief Katlian by the Russians when they returned after being expelled a couple of years following the first battle of Sitka.
04-23-2006 07:11 PM
mugsy Moonlight,

We are staying at the Eddystone Inn for a few days and fishing one day with a local guide - Marcellus, referred by the Eddystone folks. Then we are staying at the Island View Lodge for a 3 day, 4 night package. Some touristy type stuff is in the plans also, so I probably won't get to fish everyday while we are at the Eddystone unless there is some shoreline opportunity fairly close by. Sitka sounds like it has a very interesting history so I should enjoy that also.
04-23-2006 01:45 PM
Moonlight I can't seem to find the website for the Fly away Fly shop in Sitka but there phone number is 907 747 7301.hey did have a website maybe its down for repairs!! What Guide service are you fishing with?
04-23-2006 01:14 AM
mugsy Thanks all for the input! We are booked for 4 days of mooching targeting the kings and halibut. With luck there will be a few cohos mixed in. I have drift fished with light tackle before and I love it! But I will have a fly rod at the ready. I have a Winston 9 wt and 10wt. I prefer the 9 wt, but will it be enough for the kings?
Moonlight, thanks for the tip on the fly shop! Tough to beat local fly shop info & flys! Do you know if they have a web sight?

Juro, hopefully I'll get some pics. Then I have to figure out how to post them. I have trouble remembering to take the lense cap off, let alone figuring out all the technical issues of digital picture editing. I've tried to post pictures on the site, but the file size is too big. Our home computer can't handle the image sizer program on the site, and I can't seem to remember to download it and try it with my work computer. When I do remember, I hope it is something a techically challenged old geezer like me can figure out!
04-18-2006 12:48 PM
juro Can't go wrong with kings on the bite!

On kings on the fly...

I've had luck three ways in salt:

1) sh*t luck

2) shoreline feeders in the rocks (visible activity)

3) deep ascent in rips

No explanation for #1

Feeders in the rocks are usually a dawn/dusk thing but good tide currents and migratory times of the year can create mid-day opps. Cast right to the edges of the rocks and when the kings are using the rocks to trap bait they are up high and slashing, you are pretty likely to hook up. I know of many good kings hooked this way on the fly including my own but unless the fish are doing the wall wacker thing it can be a black cod show.

Deep ascent is done by casting ahead into the drift, letting the line sink as deep as it possibly can, I prefer a Rio Deep Sea hi-density line or a shooting head with Rio slickshooter running line is even better. Let the rod come'around to the down drift side, then start very short little jolts as the rip current and your strips bring the fly up. I usually go to about the head length, then cast again to the updrift side. Kings love the ascent but the problem is getting your starting point down far enough. The earlier in the day / later at dusk the better, and the more activity in the ripline you are working the better. A sea habit tube fly is a good choice, purple streak under baitfish angel hair and a polar bear white belly with pearl, don't be shy on the size the fly should be about 3" long. Clouser is another good choice because it tends to keep the leader straight during the descent.

As mentioned, even if you gotta mooch the whole time you are going to have a hard time getting that grin off your face when you get home!
04-18-2006 09:23 AM
Moonlight There is a Lake about 15 minutes by a fast skiff from Sitka that has chrome bright Sockeyes holding in the estuary by the last few days of June, it is called Redoubt Lake and the river is a waterfall right into the Saltchuck. If you find a way to get there be sure and have serious bug dope with you the no see-um's are worse at that place than any other I have ever encountered!!!
There is a Fly Shop in Sitka that is run by a friend of mine and he will be able to give you a good low down on what is happening from the beaches and the road system. ( I think he calls it "The Fly Away fly shop" Bill Mcnally is his name great source of current local info.
If you are going to try and fish Kings in the Salt with your Charter boat connection be sure and take your own rod and such with you. With very few exceptions there will be no fly equipment on the boat.
The kings from Sitka that time of year are great fish have a good trip.
04-18-2006 06:05 AM
juro Thanks for the reality check

With the Situk to the north and the fishing as it is to the south I figured it had to be as I imagined, and read about. Guess I fell for the PR!

Here (well I mean where I used to live) the coho population consists of residents and southern populations feeding north of their natal streams between migratory seasons. So June has a lot of coho around although mostly under 5-6 pounds with an occasional 7 pounder and they are fun on a fly when the seasons permit fishing for them - I haven't lived there in oer 10 years but there were often May and June seasons before the fall fishery in the Strait of Juan De Fuca.

But this is not pertinent to Sitka, where I have never fished so your local testimonials are valuable advice. Chinook fishing sounds real good, Mugsy I think your party is in for a treat!

I know people are down on kings on the fly but if you are able to do it and pull it off big kudos.
04-17-2006 09:38 PM
pescaphile June = King Salmon. Saltwater only.

Possibly some Coho (saltwater) by that time but not in any large numbers, certainly not enough for flyfishing. Any you catch will be incidental while fishing King Salmon at that time.

Forget about summer-run steelhead because they simply do not exist. Rainbows are quite few. No sockeyes on the road system (all 25 miles of it). Too early for dogs. Maybe a few dollies. Don't expect much in the streams. I think there may be some Dolly fishing at the stream mouths.

Your best bet is to go mooching for Kings. You'll be there at a prime time for that and the fish will be in prime condition. It aint flyfishing, but it's great sport nonetheless and somewhat of an art too. Don't bother going on a charter boat where trolling is the technique used. Much better to fish actively with your rod in hand, not passively with it propped in some rod holder.
04-17-2006 07:25 PM
juro Not a Sitka guy but I fished a bit down the coast a LOT (too much perhaps)

That time of year you will have great king salmon and halibut, lingcod etc with your friends out on the saltchuck. Kings are challenging but can be had and will succumb to a deep sunk fly raised with the drift. I have landed kings in the 30# class on a fly. Some have landed huge halibut on flies out in that area but it's probably not too practical.

The coho salmon out there will blow your mind out on the salt the way they hit, jump and run. They love flies too if the captain will let you fling flies out there. Just look for them feeding on the surface or drag a bucktail in the propwash (yes right in the propwash) while the rest are trolling and hang on tight!

Inland the native rainbows and summer steelhead should be peaking, I hear they peak April - June there you lucky dog. Nothing like a hot summer run on a flyrod.

Also sockeye run in June. The river should be alive with activity.

Alaska is synonymous with insane fishing I think you guys will have a blast and also in for some fine eatin' too! Dungeness crab, fresh halibut and wild salmon on an alder coal fire with a blackberry cobbler (might be too early up there).

Take pics and please post a report!

(others from the area may chime in with more localized info)
04-16-2006 11:55 PM
Sitka - end of June

My In-laws are taking my wife and I to Sitka Alaska for a week at the end of June for some salmon fishing (anniversary present). They aren't flyfisher persons and aren't able to do a lot of walking, so they have hired guides to take us drift fishing using light tackle. However, I may have some time to explore some fresh water opportunities and possibly some saltwater with flys, although I won't have a boat. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! We will have a vehicle.


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