This summer was a bit different than had any I had experienced in the past 4 seasons spent in the Bristol Bay Region. It started off very hot, 80+ degrees every day. In Alaska 80 feels like 120, combined with the bugs and the joys of the manual labor that comes along with setting up a fishing lodge for the season. Makes for some long days and tired nights. Once all the setup was done and over with, the season started as usual.
Early on I had the chance to stay out at the King Camp we had posted up on the Lower Nushagak River. The fishing had been spotty, so my expectations were not too high. The plane dropped me off and within about 45 minutes, I had landed a nice hen pulling a plug then quickly released her to do her business.
The Weather had made some pretty thick fog sit over the area, so clients couldn’t get in. This wasn’t too big of a bummer, as the fishing was quickly deteriorating. What else to do but head to only a few miles from the ocean, and swing for some kings?
I spent a full day without so much as a touch. Next day it was the same plan. There is a beach that has to be almost a mile long, with decent current and a drop off only a few feet out, allowing you to pretty efficiently swing for kings with traditional method of down and across with a spey rod. About halfway down the beach, my 20 feet of T-14 and 6″ long 6/0 chartreuse fly felt like a freight train attached itself to it and was on its way back to the ocean.
After a pretty nice fight this buck slid onto the beach. After quickly dispatching it, dinner time was approaching and fresh fish was on the menu.
Beautiful weather over big water.
To the victor go the spoils!
After returning to the lodge, it was business as usual. Before too long, the sockeye spawn had started, and one of my favorite spots on Lower Ugashik Lake was rocking. Arctic char almost every cast, some pushing the 30″ mark.
The confluence of the upper forks of the “Chargash” as we called it, always holds at least one big fish. We saw him, re-rigged a heavy rig to get deep right off the drop off, and hoped for the best.
About 5 casts later, there was a slight hesitation in the line, reminding dave to set hard, he swung and got a solid connection to this big boy! After a good fight he came to hand, a beautiful specimen of an Arctic Char.
Having my bride-to-be with me was a great experience, I had been hoping to have to opportunity to share Alaska with her for quite some time, and we had a blast together. She even caught a few fish!
Buck the boat dog. Once this young pup fell asleep you would literally have to manually move him if need be.
Fattest rainbow I will likely ever see. Pushing the 10lb mark at 28.5″.
The silvers came in with gusto! A banner run meant plenty of action for everyone, anglers routinely landing over 25 hard fighting silvers in a day.
Santa’s favorite fish….
No matter the amount of eggs in the water, mice are always on the menu!
A beautiful sunset in Shellikof Straight, near Kodiak Island.
Top water action for silvers really can get your blood pumping at times, this fish smashed a pink wog as soon as it hit the water, and it was a big fish compared to the average on the Nushagak.
I saw him.
BT got him! This kid has a future in this business!
Convoy down the Moraine.
Found a new spot on the upper Naknek, and it played for me quite a while, kicking out quite a few quality bows like this.
Fat fish on the Moraine.
Father/Son double, California boys know how to get it done!
Second year here with me same thing happened for Erin and Dave, lots of fish all day. Fall in Alaska is something special!
Loading up to send one out to the cheap seats!
And thats why we cast over the right shoulder here……
These east coast boys came to catch a 30″ rainbow, and on the second to last day, we got a 31″ pig! A fish like this does not come around very often.
The last fish that I had the chance to reel in, maybe my last fish in Alaska. Getting married this summer and wont be making my yearly pilgrimage to the far north, and somehow I am totally ok with it.
The fiancee letting me relax as I point her up river.