Salmon Fishing - Southeast Alaska – New Pattern Trials
The river we were fishing in Southeast Alaska is typically strong and deep, requiring a wading staff and careful placement of each step to avoid falling. This year the crossing points were ankle deep and the locals could not remember when the rivers had been so low. Without reasonable water levels, salmon stay queued up in saltwater and do not start their migration up the rivers. An ominous sign for fly fishing prospects.
The purpose of the trip was to test new Bear River Tackle patterns designed specifically for Pacific salmon. The best patterns would be offered for sale, but none of this would be possible without additional water in the rivers.
This is a 15 pound male Silver salmon (Coho)
Fortunately, on the first day of the trip, a major storm moved into the area and streams across the region began to rise with the heavy rain.
Slowly at first and then in greater numbers the salmon started their migration up the rivers. Rain and cloud cover kept them moving and the bite turned on.
There were 10 different patterns to try. One was a total bust, others were moderately successful and four were exceptional. Only the flies that had exceptional results will be offered for sale, which is why all Bear River flies undergo extensive trials.
What is exceptional?
During four days of fishing I caught and released over 65 Silver salmon (10 to 15 pounds) and 15 Dog salmon (10 to 20 pounds).
This is a 10 pound female Dog salmon (Chum or Keta).
Other fishermen also had similar results with the new Bear River patterns.
Sometimes we had double hookups.
There was even time for a little sightseeing on the way to replace broken equipment. Fifteen pound fish can be hard on gear.
These are totem poles carved by Native Americans who have an ancestral marine culture. Notice the whale and eagles.
On the last day we took the morning off because everyone was beat up and worn out from fighting fish.
A salmon trip doesn't get any better than this.
Rain set up great river conditions and Bear River Tackle flies delivered the goods!