Posts Tagged ‘fly fishing for silver salmon’

Alaska Silver Means Gold

Right now I am sitting at my computer typing this post while enjoying a very fresh salmon filet fried to perfection and seasoned with Spade L spices. I must admit life is good. Here is the story as to how this delicious coho filet ended up on my plate.

On August third my wife secretly booked two flights to Anchorage with plans to meet up with our friends the Butlers for a week of fishing. On August eighth, my birthday, she surprised me with the best present ever, a trip of a lifetime to Alaska (I know I'm spoiled right?). Ten days later our eight and a half hour flight arrived in Anchorage bringing my wife Angie, my one year old daughter Ruby, and myself to the northern paradise of Alaska.

Our friends Randy and Donna Butler were kind enough to invite us to stay and fish the week away with them. Donna was kind enough to pick us up at the airport and a quick two hour drive north landed us at their cabin where for seven days we called home. We were also accompanied by another family of Butlers (not related to Randy and Donna) that love to fly fish as well. Awesome people who also made the trip a delight.

Each day we would wake up at 4 am and get ready to head up river. Randy would then pilot his boat twelve miles upriver around gravel bars and downed trees to our destination. We would then fish until noon or so, then returning back to the cabin where I would check up on Angie and baby Rubes (they didn't fish the mornings, too early and too cold!). Some days we visited, and some we snuck in a quick nap, but around 5 pm we would head back upriver with the whole crew and fish the evening away.

The silver run where we were fishing was the poorest that Randy had seen in the past ten years or so. What this meant was we caught a lot of chums, and a handful of silvers each day. We managed to limit out on silvers each day, but the chums were way more abundant than the cohos. To some who just love to catch silver, this might have frustrated a little. But, in all honesty the chums were bigger, stronger, and much more voracious that the silvers so catching them on my 8 wt never got old. The mean appearance, sharp teeth, and maroon and black tiger stripes make them a very gnarly fish to catch.

Everyday after a few hours of catching salmon, I would put down the 8 wt and bust out my much lighter trout rod. The grayling and dolly varden are so beautiful there that despite their lack in size and fight compared to the salmon, I still found a few hours each day to target them. I caught them on egg patterns, no surprise there, and attractor nymphs such as surveyors and prince hare-e. The Rainbows were few and far between this year. I hope to someday head up there in the fall specifically for the big bows.

My little girl was such a trooper. Every time a salmon was caught she would lean out as far as she could to get a better look at the fish. If she wasn't in the backpack she was playing in the boat. Having a young baby in Alaska went much better than I would have ever thought. 

My favorite fish of the trip came on day two sometime in the morning. I had just made friends with some fellows from Denmark when we spotted a few larger silvers chillin behind a large rock. He was courteous enough to let me throw to them. First cast, an explosive hit rattled my fly for a moment before my fly rocketed out of its mouth. Optimistically I threw my fly back behind the boulder when from the deep dark invisible side of the rock an even larger silver inhaled my fly. Strip set, on the reel, explosive run, acrobatic jumps, and a few minutes later the fish was in hand (pictured below).

The beauty of Alaska is incomparable to any other place I have ever been. Special thanks to Donna and Randy Butler for so generously having us as guests. They are great friends to have. And my wife, how cool is she! A trip to Alaska for my birthday??? I wouldn't have seen that coming in a million year.

Four years ago was my first time there, and it took me too long to return. As salmon travel hundreds of miles from freshwater to marine, back to fresh, I too will again make the journey back to Alaska… I only hope its sooner rather than later.

 

His is a video I put together from our trip. My friend Rhett Butler is the fisherman, and the music is by Derek Clegg. If you like this style of music his website www.derekclegg.com is worth checking out. If this video doesn't make you want to fly fish for silvers and chums I don't know what will. Enjoy! 

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