Fish Species

The fish runs begin at Bristol Bay Lodge after ice-out in mid-May, and excellent fishing is possible until ice fills your rod guides in late October. The resident freshwater fish, rainbow trout, arctic char, dolly varden, lake trout and northern pike — are available all season long. The salmon return to the rivers of their birth to spawn and die at varying times during the summer beginning with the chinook (king) and the chum (dog) in June, the sockeye (red) and the pink (humpy) in July, and the coho (silver) in August. The anadromous dolly varden run in our rivers in June, July, August and September. Twelve species of fish either inhabit the waters or return here to spawn, making the Wood-TikChik/Togiak area a true angler’s paradise with good, reliable fishing at all times during the season. The salmon are normally running fresh for 5- to 6-week periods, making it possible to fish for more than one anadromous species during many weeks of the season.

2008
Species Chart
June
July
August
September
14
21
28
5
12
19
26
2
9
16
23
30
6
King Salmon
**
**
**
**
**
**
Chum Salmon
**
**
**
**
**
**
**
Red Salmon
 
**
**
**
**
**
**
**
Pink Salmon
**
**
**
**
Silver Salmon
**
**
**
**
**
**
Sea-Run Dolly
Rainbow Trout
*
*
*
*
*
*
Arctic Char
Dolly Varden
Arctic Grayling
*
*
*
*
*
*
Northern Pike
 
 
 
 
 
Lake Trout

* These are the best weeks for dry fly fishing, although it is possible at any time during the season.

** These are the best weeks for fly fishing for specific species.

Back to Top

Rainbow Trout
Scientific Name: Salmo gairdneri

Clearly the most popular of North American game fish, Alaska is blessed with an unrivalled population of these stunning, aggressive and hard fighting fish. The Alaskan rainbow can vary in size and coloration from river to river, but one thing remains constant: they are magnificent! Taken on both dry and wet flies, throughout the season you can be guaranteed of an unforgettable encounter with this beauty.

Common Patterns Used: Dry-Flies: Adams, PMD, Elk Hair Caddis, Adams, Blue-Winged Olive, Light and Dark Cahill, Quill Gordon, Royal Wulff, Kaufmann’s Stimulator, Royal Coachman, Royal Trude.

Nymphs: Pheasant Tail, Prince Nymph, Zug Bug, Tellico, Hare’s Ear, Green or Brown Caddis Pupa, Squirrel and Stonefly (Bead Head or Standard is acceptable).

Egg-Patterns: Glo-Bug, Iliamna Pinky, and Polar Shrimp.
Other Patterns: Minnow imitations, Wooly Buggers, assorted flesh patterns, ESL’s (egg-sucking leeches) Sculpins, Mouse.

Pattern Notes: Early in the spring the water and weather conditions determine the use of either dry or wet flies on a day-to-day basis. Hatches are frequent and fairly unpredictable so a good selection of attractor patterns is usually carried. Later on the rainbows feed on nymphs and salmon eggs, with dry fly action becoming more sporadic as the salmon are spawning.

Rods: 4-8 weight with floating and sinking line (depending on river and water conditions).

Back to Top


Dolly Varden
Scientific Name: Salvelinus malma

The most often caught variation of a dolly in the waters we fish is the anadromous or sea-run dolly (the nonmigratory resident is almost indistinguishable from the arctic char). They are suckers for an egg pattern and hundred-fish days are not uncommon at the peak of the run!

Common Patterns Used: Babine Special, Polar Shrimp, Glo-Bug, Single Egg, Travis Trout Egg Cluster, Mega-Egg, ESL (egg sucking leech), etc.

Other Patterns: Common nymphs including Pheasant Tail, Zug-Bug and Prince as well as Wooly Buggers.

Pattern Notes: While catches on dry flies are not unheard of, most dollies prefer wet; particularly the egg-patterns, as their peak arrival (into the rivers) corresponds to that of the salmon.

Rods: 4-8 weight with slow sink or floating line (depending on water conditions).

Back to Top


Arctic Char
Scientific Name: Salvelinus alpinus

Resident in all of the waters we fish, (including rivers, lakes and streams), this brutish char can often weigh as much as 10 pounds. Available just minutes from the lodge, it is a favorite of many of our guests as an evening or after-dinner pursuit.

Common Patterns Used: Zonker, Typical blue/white or green/white streamer, Black Nosed Dace, Gray Ghost, Silver Darter, White Rabbit Streamer Babine Special, Glo-Bug, Typical Single Egg (orange), Iliamna Pinky, Polar Shrimp, Travis Trout Egg Cluster, ESL (egg sucking leech).

Pattern Notes: Typically more char are caught using wet flies rather than dry. In the early- to mid-spring the char feed voraciously on smolt (baby salmon) that are attempting to return to the sea. Therefore patterns that imitate these little fish (green to dark blue back with silver to white sides and belly, 3-4 inches in length) are the preferred choice. Later on in the season as the adult salmon return to the rivers to spawn, the char fall easily to egg patterns.

Rods: 4-8 weight with floating or sinking line (depending on river and water conditions).

Back to Top


Northern Pike
Scientific Name: Esox lucius

This toothy carnivore inhabits the nearby bays of our lake, just a short boat ride from the lodge. Coming on in early spring and again in the fall these "water wolves" are a joy on the surface with mouse patterns or poppers and hammer the streamer flies!

Common Patterns Used: Streamers (any color), deer-hair mouse, bass bug, poppers, etc.

Pattern Notes: Northerns are not too picky about the fly they will hit, but when the action is hot, nothing beats top-water flies common to bass fishermen. Steel leaders or heavy test monofilament are highly recommended as they can easily shred most line in the first seconds of the fight.

Back to Top


Arctic Grayling
Scientific Name: Thymallus Arcticus

The arctic grayling (now an endangered species in most parts of the Lower 48) is more than abundant in all the rivers we fish. They are most often enjoyed on the dry fly but readily take nymphs and egg-patterns as well. These spunky fish are a beauty to behold firsthand, as no photo ever does their coloration justice .

Common Patterns Used
Dry-Flies: Adams, PMD, Elk Hair Caddis, Blue-Winged Olive, Light and Dark Cahill, Quill Gordon, Royal Wulff, Kaufmann’s Stimulator, Blue Dun, Royal Coachman, Royal Trude.

Nymphs: Pheasant Tail, Prince Nymph, Zug Bug, Tellico, Hare’s Ear, Green or Brown Caddis Pupa, Squirrel and Stonefly (Bead Head or Standard is acceptable).

Pattern Notes: There has yet to be a dry fly invented that a grayling will not at least consider, within reason of course, as the size of their mouths determines their final choice.

Rods: Best fished with a 4-6 weight.

Back to Top


Chinook Salmon (King)
Scientific Name: Oncorhynchus tshawytscha

It is not uncommon for lucky anglers to bring home 40-plus-pound kings early in the year. They are most often taken using spinning gear but fly -fishermen bring home more than their share as well. Heavy tackle is the order of the day for these monsters!

Common Patterns Used:
Spinning: Wiggle Warts, Tea-Spoons, Large Pixies or other spoons.

Fly: Dark-colored strip leeches, Starlight Leeches, any patterns in Chartreuse, large egg patterns.

Other: Kings are occasionally taken on all manner of flies including nymphs, streamers and Wooly Buggers.

Pattern Notes: As stated above, often kings are caught on spinning tackle because they prefer to run in deep water with less clarity. This necessitates a large fly and sometimes makes for difficult presentation. However, in many of the rivers we fish the opportunity does arise often for a fly fisherman to try his hand at these brutes – particularly in the intimate private waters of Birch and Rainbo Camps where a 40-pound king can be hooked in one of many pools covered easily by just a short cast. Large, dark-colored patterns with heavy hooks tend to be successful.

Rods: 9-12 weight with Hi-D sinking line or heavy grain shooting heads; a slow sink or floating line is also useful as a back-up should a shallower situation be encountered.

Back to Top


Coho Salmon (Silver)
Scientific Name: Oncorhynchus kisutch

Called by those familiar with its fight "the acrobat" or "silver torpedo," the silver salmon is the ultimate test of tackle and angler endurance. With screaming runs and wild leaps, this salmon can wear down the best of anglers in short order.  As the runs enter the rivers in increasing density, phenomenal catches of silvers can be recorded by single anglers in a single day. In the right situation, which your guide can help you to identify, these silvers can be taken on skated dry flies — this makes for virtually unbeatable sport.

Common Patterns Used: ESL’s (egg-sucking leech) , Comets, Standard Streamers red/white purple/white pink/white, Pink or White Bunnies, Starlight Leeches, Coho Candy, and the occasional Polliwog.

Pattern Notes: Traditionally in Alaska most of the proven patterns for coho were usually purple or blue (the origins of this are clouded); however, we have found that many flies throughout the color spectrum will work with pink seeming to be particularly effective. Because when they are hitting it would seem that there is little they won’t smash. Even silvers taken on deer-hair mice have been documented!

Rods: 7-10 weight with sinking and floating lines (depending on water and weather conditions) and plenty of sturdy backing.

Back to Top


Sockeye Salmon (Red)
Scientific Name: Oncorhynchus nerka

A very hard fighting and extremely acrobatic salmon, these fish average 4 to 8 pounds and anglers feel every bit of it in screaming cartwheeling runs.

Common Patterns Used: Large nymphs, small sparsely tied bucktails, and Teeny nymphs.

Pattern Notes: The more sparsely tied flies are the order of the day when fishing for sockeye.

Rods: 6-8 weight typically fished with a floating line and plenty of sturdy backing.

Back to Top


Chum Salmon (Dog)
Scientific Name: Oncorhynchus keta

These salmon average 6 to 12 pounds with some reaching the high teens. They are very aggressive toward flies and great fighters, hence why they are the lodge’s favorite.

Common Patterns Used: Egg Sucking Leeches, Strip Leeches, Wooly Buggers, and Bucktails.

Pattern Notes: Chum seem to really like the color purple although they are known for being aggressive toward flies and will typically take any number of flies in any number of colors if presented correctly.

Rods: 7-8 weight with sinking and floating lines (depending on water and weather conditions) and plenty of sturdy backing.

Back to Top


Pink Salmon (Humpy)
Scientific Name: Oncorhynchus gorbuscha

The pink salmon is the smallest of the Pacific salmon with an average weight of about 3.5 to 4 pounds. They are often found in large numbers and are aggressive toward flies. Pink salmon run only on even years.

Common Patterns Used: Strip Leech, ESL, Starlight Leech, Comet, and Bucktail.

Pattern Notes: Anything pink.

Rods: 7-8 weight with sinking and floating lines (depending on water and weather conditions).

Back to Top

Newsletter Photos Brochure

Rated 5/5 based on 5 reviews

Login