The silver salmon run is picking up steam here on the Goodnews River.
Boats whose captains pick the right spots are logging 25 and 30 fish days. The less fortunate souls have to hunt for two here, three there, none at this other place. One good thing about silvers is that if they are there they bite immediately. You don't need to waste time fishing where they ain't.
Fly casters generally use floating lines and weighted streamers in cerise, orange, chartreuse, blue, black, or some combination of those colors. When the run gets near the peak, gurglers and poppers will work, exciting fishing, but we're not quite there yet.
Spin fishers usually use either Pixie spoons or Mepps Flying C spinners, although of course other lures will work. My favorite go-to lure, when I absolutely want to catch some fish, is a 3/8th ounce leadhead jig equipped with a soft plastic curly tail. I prefer those jigheads made by DOA because of the stout hook and the eye-catching eyes, but other heads work too. I also like the DOA CAL tails. They hold up fairly well to the toothy attacks of the silvers, and the elicit those attacks with startling regularity.
Buzz Livingston borrowed one jighead and a couple of tails from me and boated 18 silvers in two hours while out with Kevin Rogers. Now, that's what I'm talkin' 'bout!
A staggering number of pink salmon are in the river. We don't usually target pinks, but catch loads while fishing for both silvers and dollies. They annoy a few anglers when they're fishing for silvers but I appreciate the bent rods. They are usually a hoot when caught while fishing for dollies because they give an excellent account of themselves on a six-weight or smaller. They are handsome little fish.
I really like them.
Likewise dollies are everywhere. Some are getting their spawning colors, which are breathtaking. When you get a four or five pound fish with the spectacular colors of a spawning dolly you understand why you come to Alaska to fish. While streamers and beads are more effective, I still prefer to fish them with a gurgler. The visual aspect of the follows, misses, and occasional hooked fish are all part of fun of using the floating flies. Besides, how many dollies do you need to catch?
Dead and dying chum and pink salmon are seen everywhere. Flesh flies will be effective on trout and dollies. We're getting to the time of year when the river will start to stink badly at every bend.
Long Fish Story of the Week-
Bob and Gennie Johnson, part of a four-couples group, were out fishing with me. Bob had some money riding on the big fish of the day.
I was working with Gennie, who was happily catching dollies. Bob had walked about 200 yards downstream, where he was casting a streamer fly for silver salmon.
Bob bellowed up to us, "Big Fish!" Fine, I thought, just beach it on the gravel bar. He clearly had some other idea though, because he kept yelling at us. So Gennie and I interrupted her fishing, trudged back upstream to the boat ,and got in. I pulled the anchor and proceeded to row downstream.
The water got shallow and the boat grounded, necessitating disembarking and pushing until it began floating again.
In the meantime not only had Bob beached the fish, he had unhooked it and gone back to fishing. He neglected to kill the fish, which did not wish to suffocate on the gravel bar. It flopped its way back into the water.
When Bob noticed his fish was escaping he took immediate action, throwing his fly outfit (Abel reel, Loomis rod) into the river so he could run down the fish. He was successful in this.
About this time we finally arrived on the scene. Bob was almost panicked because he could not find his rod and reel. Hell, the current is strong and the outfit could have been half a mile downstream already. Fortunately he was using a floating line, which he finally spotted. Rod and reel recovered, we got a photo of the fish.
All's well that ends well!
And that is this week's Goodnews River Lodge, Alaska Fishing Report.
Life is great and I love my work!
Life is short- go fishing!Capt. John Kumiski
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