POST-AK trip report..... - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 09-28-2005, 02:10 PM
fishhead fishhead is offline
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Location: North Carolina, USA
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POST-AK trip report.....

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.
"Time's fun when you're having flies!"
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Old 09-28-2005, 07:22 PM
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Quentin Quentin is offline
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Berkshire County, MA
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Awesome report! Can't wait to see some photos! Alaska is very near the top of the list of places I intend to visit someday. Until then, I guess I'll have to be satisfied to read about other people's adventures. Thanks for posting


p.s., go for the gar -- I'd like to see those reports and photos too!
The farther you can cast, the easier it is for a fish to take you into your backing. I seldom see my backing . . .
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Old 09-29-2005, 06:46 AM
fishhead fishhead is offline
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Location: North Carolina, USA
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Q- go for it! AK, that is!

My trip is right at 2 grand, including airfare of roughly $800.00 from east coast USA to Ketchikan, AK via Seattle overnight each way. My co-workers who fish also wish for such a trip and I just say to them "save your lunch money". Literally, they could stop eating out for a year and sock that cash away and join me in Alaska the following fall. No takers so far but a new fly buddy I just met here had spent a month around the Kenai fish bumming with a pal is now saving up to go with me next fall. Believe it or not his name is Quentin. Chapman being his surname.

This trip could be done cheaper if you pinched a little bit harder but this is a three way split cost for the lodge we book, the rental truck, food and misc. expenses. A regular, guided, all expenses included (nearly) trip would go for around $3500.00 depending on how pampered you want to be. We feed ourselves, process and pack the fish we keep, go to whatever stream, river or crick we choose and due to the frequency of our annual visits, consider ourselves "local tourists". Folks don't realize that Southeast AK is a late season gold mine for hot fishing action whereas the upper part of the state has frost and snow on the heels of September. Fishing is good year round on POW island depending on which species you target. I caught Pinks by the score, over 40 silvers, around 20 Chums (no Sockeye though they were present and spawning) and two small freshwater Sculpins that were very greedy. And this in 55 degree weather with mixed sun and rainshowers plus one tiny little brief hailstorm during 5 days of fishing for about 6 hours a day average. Now if we had packed our lunches and put our keeper fish on ice and skipped supper until after dark.........well, there's no telling how much more time on the water we could have had. My bro-in-law is not that hardcore yet. Alas, sigh, some people and their mixed up priorities?!?!? I would beg the vehicle keys and go back out whenever they kicked up their heels at the lodge and this tactic resulted in my sweetest moments on the river.

Save your lunch money! Sell junk on eBay like I do.....just enough to get me back to Alaska each year! and move that AK trip to the TOP of your list! I'm hooked on it as this was my 6th annual trip. (insider tip...shhh....'07 is going to be VERY good!)
"Time's fun when you're having flies!"
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