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Just got back from a week's Coho (Silver) fishing at the Neck Lake outlet, Whale Pass, Prince of Wales Island, SE Alaska. I've gone every year for the past eight years.

I've written about the unique fishery before. The target fish are summer-run Coho, raised until smolt stage in Neck Lake, released in the Spring to swim down the outlet stream over a barrier waterfall, spend their less than two years in the ocean, and return to the inlet leading to the waterfall. beginning in late June. They wait off the outlet and out in Whale Pass bay until it rains enough to start the fish ladder streams flowing, at which point the climb the ladders into the processing/packing facility (google Snow Pass Coho).

This year the fish were very abundant but very reluctant to hit my previously effective flies (typically slender, lightly weighted Clousers). I went five days without hooking a fish before a kindly soul told me I needed to get out on the water earlier than I had been doing. Got a couple after that.

The sheer number of fish posing off the Outlet is astonishing. No matter where I cast I was positive I was covering fish -- they leap constantly, porpoise, swirl and otherwise provide sight targets.

They are easy to catch on hardware -- a popular lure, called the Flying Condom (or, in polite company, the Flying C) as weilded by my host, accounted for the fish I brought home. Said host had little trouble hooking fish whenever he wanted.

Other fly fishers were much more successful than I (how could they not be?) and favored sink tip lines and lightly weighted Schminnows in pink or chartreuse.

I'll be there again next year, host and hostess willing. I bought a fishing license, but I guess I failed to buy a catching license. Hope this is the last "snake bite" for the season.


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