Alaska 2013, Day 42, Klutina
Saturday July 13, 2013
The River Wrangellers had a boat with 3 going so they put me on that one. We left at 4:30 AM out of the Princess Lodge. We had one no show so my boat had 2 people; 2 teenagers who had not fished salmon. The plan was to try for kings on the upper river and reds on the lower river. The river was running high and fast, full of downed trees from fall flooding. We fished several holes on the upper river for kings but both boats came up empty. Doesn't sound like they have been picking up many, maybe a handfull so far this season. Each boat saw one roll but that was all. We tried 2 holes for reds on the lower. The first hole had a narrow side channel where we could see reds rolling. We fished reds with fly rods. With a fly rod you have more reach and can flip more line, maybe 12 foot of line. It took some work to get the retrieve speed right. I picked up 1 nice red here. The others couldn't pick any here so we moved to the next spot along the main river channel. At this hole the other boat was already fishing and had landed 2 already. It took some more playing with the retrieve. The key was 2 large split shot 24" from the fly, when you feel the current drag the weights on the bottom start your retrieve, finish with a hooking flick. I think my spinning rig from home has too much weight and I may have been below the fish. Also the guide was using 20lb line, I was using 14lb with a 10lb fly. I picked up 3 more reds here, 1 large one, maybe 5 lbs but I also had a small jack. The 2 kids I was with picked up 5 reds between them. We ended up getting back over an hour late. The guide, Brandon, wanted to make sure the kids picked up some fish. I kept 3 fillets and shipped 7 lbs home.
I hear you can buy cheap ($50) sockeye fly rod combos up here (8wt). Need to check around on the internet. If you did this enough it would pay to buy a cheap 4 piece 8wt combo and case. I will look around in the stores here in AK to get some names and prices.
The campground had a salmon BBQ tonight, you bring a side dish, they provided the salmon. They actually put BBQ sauce on the salmon, along with black pepper. The reds were really good but have lots of bones.