The UNREAL weather continues!!! After having an incredible week prior to this trip - the guides were fired up for some more trophy rainbow fishing and stronger returns on the Dolly Varden and Coho runs. An extra special caveat for this trip was A) Return guests who we had a blast with a couple years prior and B) A friend of Davo's from his Montana days - Joe Moore - Owner of Big Sky Anglers in West Yellowstone, MT / outfitter, guide, general badass - joined us as well!
The guests arrived as early as possible via their amazing Beaver flight with Papa Bear Adventures out of Bethel. Since we got them on time we were able to disembark quickly and get the float under way DAY ONE!
Our lunches are a smorgasbord style deli lunch every day with a rotating protein. There isn't a condiment we don't carry - mayo, mustard, hot mustard, horseradish, pickles, pepperoncinis, tomatoes, onions, jellies, jams, lots of snack items - you get the picture! All of our lunch sites are predetermined to get out of the elements and typically have some great fishing!
We have a sweet view from a bluff from our first camp site in the Upper River. The range of mountains visible are the Ahklun Mountains - the Eek Range.
Early enough still in the season, we really didn't have to worry too much about low water conditions yet. With that being said the endless days of UNREAL summer weather continued in to this magical date as well. At this point the Dolly Varden have started to come in real numbers in to the system and the full blossom of the bio-mass of Southwest Alaska has started to show. All 5 species of Pacific Salmon are in the system at this point, along with resident Arctic Grayling, resident Lake Trout, resident Arctic Char, resident Leopard Rainbow Trout, along with the dollies has created what we call the "Grand Slam" date.
2019 was a pink salmon year for Southwest Alaska, but honestly it was not the GIANT braid plugging runs like we have seen in the past. We feel the lack of strength in the run was because arguably the Kanektok experienced one of the biggest King Salmon runs in recent memory. Technically the river was still shut down for King fishing by the time we got there to guide in July - but a later run snuck in to the system and FILLED the beds with King eggs.
The Sockeye run wasn't quite the "Tail to Mouth" run like we saw in 2018 - but it was very strong run indeed. Southwest Alaska has the largest run of Sockeye salmon in the world, and the Kanektok harbors one of the largest spawning grounds in the region.
The rainbow fishing was exquisite!
The first few days of rainbow fishing was unreal on forage and mouse patterns. There are older and hidden braids in the upper river that have resident rainbows in them who have migrated up from the lower river. This is a special and magical place only accessed by the put in at Kagati Lake and floated to from there.
Our average trout is around 20" - and the above specimen is about what we expect as an average size visually. They all have different characteristics and some of the "smaller" 17-19" rainbows can kick ass much more so than the bigger ones - and we consider any trout over 22" to be in the BIG range. Multiple fish over 20" were landed on this particular date, and it was perhaps our best rainbow date of the 2019 season.
With the incredible weather and voracious rainbow trout all week - why fish for anything else?!
We discovered a new camp in 2018 in a braid in mid river and have since started to fall in love with said campsite. We had an amazing Moose sighting upon first strike of the location and it is a mossy spot so its called "Moose Moss." And it is a very special and magnificent camp for wade fishing.
With only 5 permitted float fishing outfits and 6 person capacity trips - these float trips are as exclusive and private as one could imagine. We have a 100 mile river inside of a 6 million acre wilderness refuge (that is 10 times the size of Great Smoky Mountains National Park) that only has a total of 15 float fishing guides - TOTAL. Imagine the incredible fishing right at your fingertips as you float through a Permit Only Exclusive Float Trip in Southwest Alaska. We have availability for this date in 2021.
(Best for Last)
Capt Chris guided Joe on to this BRUISER of a leopard rainbow. Naturally it was on a mouse - and luckily for everyone we ALL got to see it first hand. The take, the fight (which was epic - nice job JOE!), and the landing. All at our lunch sight for the day as we came in to dine!