Chum Salmon know as the “Dog” Salmon by Alaskans
The Chum Salmon—know as the
“Dog” Salmon by Alaskans—is unquestionably the
most underrated fish in Alaska. It is called a Dog Salmon because
the native Alaskan people would feed this fish to their sled dogs
in the winter. It is the least flavorful of the salmon. But, having
said all that, this is a great fighting fish. The Chum Salmon
averages 15 pounds and is a very aggressive fish when it first
enters its native streams on its way to the spawning beds. These
fish aggressively attack a bright colored fly that is presented
in an erratic stripping motion. Once hooked, they will easily
test the skill of the angler on the other end as they make strong
runs. Our guests can expect to hook into 20-30 fish per day when
the run is on. This is a great fish for the first time fly fishermen
as well as the seasoned veteran. There are plenty of fish so the
novice fly fisher will have the opportunity to hook and land fish.
The Chum Salmon is a “catch and release” fish, but
imagine catching 20 fish that weighed 15 pounds and fought very
hard. That would be a great day and your arm will probably be
sore! The prime dates for chum fishing are from July 15—August
The Arctic Grayling is abundant in the cold water streams of the Lake Iliamna region. These fish average 12-20" with a fish that is 22" being large. Arctic Grayling are very enjoyable to catch late in the day as they will aggressively take a dry fly floated on the surface of the water. These fish are also a great "Training" fish for the first time fly fisherman. A beginner will catch plenty of them their first time out. The Arctic Grayling is active and available all season.
Chinook “King” Salmon
Alaskans appropriately name the Chinook salmon “King” because of its enormous size and strength. These fish will challenge even the expert angler with their brute strength. The Kings are the smallest in numbers of the five species of salmon to return to their spawning grounds each year. A one or two fish day is an excellent day for many guides and lodges that fish for these fish. But not for us at the Alaska Sportsman’s Lodge. We fish the largest King salmon run in the world! Period. We fish rivers where anglers will typically catch 10 – 20 fish a day in the thirty-pound class. This makes for some very tired arms and shoulders at the end of the day. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game bag limit is a total of four King salmon taken from this drainage. And as always we encourage catch-and-release.
Techniques for catching Alaska King Salmon
Conventional gear – We want you to fish the way you like to fish and our guides are experts in all manners of fishing. Drifting with bait or back drifting or “Plugging” is a very effective technique that produces many fish.
Fly Fishing or Spey Fishing – The rivers that we fish these Kings on are big water. Therefore, your chances of hooking into a King on the fly are improved by drifting in our boats. We do have clients that catch fish from the bank every year.
Best dates: June 15 through July 31
Other fish at these times: Rainbow Trout June 8 – June 28; Sockeye Salmon June 28 – July 20; Chum Salmon July 15 – August 15; Pike, Arctic Grayling.
Rainbow Trout and King Salmon
The Kvichak is the home of the Largest rainbow Trout in Alaska. These prized fish make the Kvichak their feeding and spawning grounds because of the abundance of food that is available from the spawning salmon. Each spring hundreds of millions of srnolt begin the journey of life by leaving Lake Iliamna. This provides for a huge food source for the hungry rainbows that survived a long cold Alaska winter.
The rainbows gorge themselves on these smolt. The spring rainbow fishing begins on June 8 and is excellent. For two guests to catch 30 rainbows in a single day is not uncommon. The fish average between 4 to 8 pounds in the spring. Once the sockeye begin to return at the end of June, the rainbows follow them up to the spawning grounds. This tends to slow the rainbow fishing a bit. But beginning in late August, the rainbows begin sliding back into the river to feed on the dying salmon, The fish will average between 10 to 14 pounds. These fish will put up such an incredible fight and jumping show. This is our trophy Rainbow time of year. You will have the time of your life.
These fish are awesome! Best fishing: June 8-28 and August 23-September 30.
Sockeye Salmon—Alaska name “Red” salmon
Sockeye Salmon—Alaska name “Red” salmon
This is the largest salmon run in the world. There will be 10,000 – 30,000 fish per hour swimming right past the lodge. It is truly amazing. Many people consider the red salmon the best tasting of all the salmon species. With a very large bag limit of 5 fish per day (you can catch-and-release as many as you wish), you will have a full fish box to take home with you at the end of your trip. These fish are very fresh as they make their way from the ocean to their spawning grounds in the tributaries of Lake Iliamna. They have been in fresh water a maximum of three days when they make their way past the lodge. These fish are not meat eater in the ocean, so they are not a real aggressive fish. But once you hook into one of these dime bright salmon, you better hang on for the fight of your life. These fish will make run after run trying to shake your hook. They will also make numerous jumps throughout they fight. An angler should expect to hook into 20—30 fish per day when the run is on.
Techniques for catching the Sockeye:
These fish use the riverbanks for their navigational aid. They will be swimming up river about 3 to 8 feet from the bank. Therefore, the less the angler wades into the stream the better. Our guests usually do not wade out more than knee deep from the bank. All of these fish are caught on a fly.
Best dates: June 28—July 20
Average Size: 4 to 8 pounds
Bag Limit is 5 fish per day per person. The lodge includes one 50-pound fish box per person to take home.
Other fish at this time: King Salmon June 15—July 31; Chum Salmon July 15—Aug 20; Pike, Arctic Grayling
Also a great time to go Bear Viewing!
Coho Salmon – Alaska name “Silver”
Many anglers classify the Silver salmon as the most exciting and acrobatic fish to catch. It would not be out of line to give this fish the nickname as the Bully of the salmon. The aggressiveness of this fish is amazing. While sight casting to pools of these fish in crystal clear streams you will see two, three, and even four fish move towards your fly or lure. It is very exciting. Then once hooked, these brutes of the Pacific will make run after run trying to loose the hook. The silvers that we fish range 8 – 16 pounds.
Techniques for catching Silvers
Conventional gear – You can either fish from the anchored boat or wade into the water from the banks. Either way, you will be casting lures and retrieving them erratically causing commotion in the water. Be ready because the strike is powerful and explosive!
Fly Fishing –The fly fishing opportunities for these fish are excellent. The fly fisher can even use “Top water” flies such as a Pollywog. We recommend that the fly fisher use an 8wt with floating line and a 12’ leader system with either a weighted streamer fly or a non-weighted top water fly. You will be sight casting to allot of these fish.
Best dates: July 28 through September
Best dates:July 28 through September 20
Other fish at these times: Chum Salmon July 15—Aug 15; Rainbow Trout Aug 20—Oct 6; Arctic Grayling, Pike