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#12407747 - 08/30/17 09:17 PM Going to Alaska
Bugzout10 Online   content
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 06/23/13
Posts: 4253
Loc: Above ground
Next summer going to fish for salmon I've never fly fished but figure if I have a year maybe could learn how. Any recommendations on a rod and gear for a beginner?

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#12408441 - 08/31/17 12:00 PM Re: Going to Alaska [Re: Bugzout10]
Meadowlark Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 3031
Loc: East Texas
There are several options depending on which salmon species you're targeting and where (that is the conditions) you are targeting them.

Reds (sockeye) runs are probably the most prolific and longest lasting runs of the salmons. A good 7wt set up works great on them. Just about every stream, creek, river, etc. holds reds. Now, they normally don't actually eat during their runs, rather they are most often caught by dragging your fly across the bottom and hooking one. Snagging is of course illegal, but the reds are often so thick in numbers in areas that you simply can not avoid hooking them. Fresh caught red salmon on the grill on an Alaskan streamside is one of the greatest experiences any angler can experience. Highly recommended.

Silvers run a little later than Reds and generally are larger in the 13 to 16 pound range. In many areas of Alaska, the really big numbers of silvers are just now showing themselves. I have used 10 wts, 9 wts, 8 wts, and 7wts on the silvers and my preference for all around would be a good 9 wt. Silvers readily take flies and one of the most exciting ways to get them is on top water poppers. Its hard to describe the excitement of 15 pound silvers crashing those top water flies. One of the truly most amazing experiences of any fly angler.

Kings run early compared to the others and best runs are generally over by early July. They aren't called kings for no reason with size ranging from the "small" jacks at about 15 pounds up to the mature fish that can easily exceed 50 pounds. The kings will take flies...but in my experience you have to work at it. Big flies, articulated and with lots of color, work best for me. To throw the big flies required you really need a 10 wt...and honestly no fly rod, even a 12 wt is going to turn a big king salmon(50 pound class) in a small stream. I have successfully chased big kings for several miles in a river boat after hooking them and watching them run. They are one of the most powerful fish that you will ever encounter in fresh water. Even the small jack kings are terrific fighters. I suppose a single handed 9 ft 10wt is probably the best all around choice for kings, however in some situations the spey rods up to 12 and 13 ft can really be effective...and save wear and tear on your body. 8wt and 9wt spey rods are ideal for this application. This is a somewhat specialized technique...but it is very popular in certain locals in Alaska where you can't get in a backcast because of vegetation or whatever and/or the water to be covered is larger than what you can cover than by the traditional single handed rods. IMO, king salmon is pretty much the top freshwater fish in the World for the fly angler...but may not be ideal for the beginner.

Pink salmon have shown up in my experience on small streams relatively early in the year and run 5 to 10 pounds with 5 pounds being much more common than 10 pounds. They are fun to catch on flies and 7wts are more than adequate for handling the flies and fish.

Chum salmon aren't in my experience base...that is, never targeted them and never caught them even accidentally. They are not a preferred eating fish and are largely used by the locals as dog food.

So, what's your target pleasure?

Summary: As for a general purpose set up...it would probably be a 9wt with floating line and various sinking tips to match the stream conditions. The Rio versa tip is absolutely outstanding and indispensable for covering multiple type stream conditions. The larger the fish, the better the reel you will need. However, I have had reds in strong current completely strip an excellent reel and , of course, with kings in relatively small streams you better be prepared to chase them....or loose everything.

Definitely go to the Great Land! There is nothing like it.

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#12408711 - 08/31/17 02:51 PM Re: Going to Alaska [Re: Bugzout10]
krawlin 47 Offline
TFF Guru

Registered: 02/24/08
Posts: 16948
Loc: Sachse Texas
We may be combat fishing together...I'll be up there next summer too! What a treasure it is - get ready to have a blast, this will be my third trip.

All of the info above is spot on! Nice write up Meadowlark!

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#12408878 - 08/31/17 04:36 PM Re: Going to Alaska [Re: Bugzout10]
Bugzout10 Online   content
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 06/23/13
Posts: 4253
Loc: Above ground
From what I understand we will be going to prince of whales island with a friend who lives there. I'm not sure on species yet I will find that out so I can buy the correct set up, I would like to target silvers.

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#12409010 - 08/31/17 06:29 PM Re: Going to Alaska [Re: Bugzout10]
Meadowlark Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 3031
Loc: East Texas
I've fished the spring steelhead run on Prince of Whales island and had very good success. That early run is late April and early May. Not sure about the silver run there but I'd bet its very good, and of course it would be much later. I know there are some giant halibut in about 300 fow there that can go to hundreds of pounds...but don't take your fly rod for that, LOL. Good luck!

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#12409202 - 08/31/17 08:40 PM Re: Going to Alaska [Re: Bugzout10]
ssfireman Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 03/31/05
Posts: 2837
Loc: Dallas
like meadowlark said it all depends on where and what your going for. You have to go for halibut it is a blast got a 300lber this year. of course that one what a release fish. Those big are not that good but fun if you are not use to a fly rod I would say just stick with and spin for halibut. Its just as fun and alot more options.
_________________________
The gene pool could use a little chlorine.

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#12411683 - 09/02/17 06:19 PM Re: Going to Alaska [Re: Bugzout10]
Jaustin Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 07/18/17
Posts: 28
I've been fishing POW very summer the last four or five years. If you are going with a local they should be able to help you out with equipment and location questions. Timing is everything there. Too early and there won't be much in the way of salmon in the streams and rivers. Do you know where you are staying while on the island? My Alaska 2017 post on this page is from POW.

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