Bristol Bay is home to the last great salmon run in the world. These anadromous species travel back to there river of birth every year like clock work . Starting in June with the Chinook or "king" salmon and ending in early September with the Sockeye salmon or '" Reds" as we call them. These fish are the life line of Bristol Bay from starting out as eggs to retuning as adults they are consumed threw out there whole life cycle. People, birds, bears and yes even fish rely on this nutrient rich food source. While trying to match the hatch in the lower forty eight with insect and attracter patterns the fish of Bristol Bay eat smolt patterns, painted beads and flesh flies. Smolt are immature salmon traveling to the salt usually one to three years old. While making this journey the smolt travel long distances and pass by lots of predators. I have had great days in June guiding the mouths of rivers with clouser's and deceivers swinging the smolt patters on heavy sink tips to hungry fish blitzing the bait balls from underneath while the birds "gulls and turns" are crashing down from the sky. If you didn't now better you would think you were chasing blues in the salt. With boats having a legit shot at one hundred fish days this can be some of the of the best fishing of the year. But when the Reds come into spawn its BEAD time. I no there are people out there that have mixed feelings about the Beads, OK wait! So that we are all on the same page hear. Every fish is a good fish, but some are just better then others, and in Alaska when we say BIG FISH we are talking about Rainbow trout that start at 24 inches and can reach the 30+ mark. Yes measured. So your are probably saying well I have caught a 20 inch Bow before whats another 4 inch. And besides you are using beads cant be that hard. Ok these are wild fish that spend the winters in lakes like the land lock steelhead, then move in to the river to gorge on protein rich meat. These hungry predators lay and wait behind the spawning Reds gobbling up there eggs. We fish these spawn beds looking for the bows. If it all comes together and you see the Big fish, make the right cast and hook it thats just the beginning. You better be ready. These Alaskan fish run and I am talking about right now. Before you blink you are into your backing and that fish is screaming down stream. Then the fish stops and you are saying to yourself ok I'm in the game. Welllllll no. The next thing you no that BIG bow that you thought was done turns and is now cranking back up stream. Leaving you with the challenge of pick up all of your line before it gets tangled, keeping it tight and stripping all at the same time. And thats when the line goes slack, its game over! With most fish going into the backing two or three times it is a huge adrenaline rush that keeps you coming back for more. When you finale land one you realize the BEADS are legit. Know as far as what beads and how to paint them thats top secret. Each guide has there own likes and dislikes try with all your might, but you most likely wont get the BEAD combo. Hey guides have to have some secrets!
Enjoy the pic's and stay tuned for the flesh flies. It a furry story!
Tikchik Narrows Lodge Alaska
Head Guide Housatonic River Outfitters
Orvis Field Tester