About this blog

This blog is all about fly fishing for native trout. On it I cover trip reports, fishing tactics, conservation, the latest news about native trout species and much more. This site provides a companion to my web page Nativetroutflyfishing.com.


Saturday, September 8, 2018

End of Summer Alaska

After having to cancel a trip to Alaska in 2017, I was able to reschedule for late-August of 2018. This was more of a vacation than a fishing trip, as my daughter and I were joining my sister (who had a conference to attend) and her two kids. However, as much of the trip was taking place on the Kenai Peninsula I did have some time to get out fishing. The primary thing that I was hoping to do was catch my first Arctic Char as the Kenai Peninsula has several lakes with the Taranets subspecies (Salvelinus alpinus taranetzi). However, getting some fishing in for some salmon, Dollies and Rainbows with Valerie was also in the plans.

The first spot that we hit was a little stream where the Coho were running and it didn't take long to find a willing biter- one cast to be precise. However, with Valerie being just shy of her second birthday, we didn't spend to much time on the water as and instead redirected efforts to enjoying some streamside raspberries.
The Kenai River tributary

A first cast Coho Salmon and an excited Valerie

On our second day, I was able to break away for a bit and try my luck for the Arctic Char. I knew from the start that this was going to be a long shot as these Char usually hang out in the depths until early October, but as I was here I was going to try. 

The first spot I tried was Cooper Lake, which has a robust population of both Arctic Char and Rainbows. The conditions on the lake were beautiful and I did manage to get a couple of takes, but this was big water and I just couldn't connect with anything so I decided to relocate.

Cooper Lake

The second lake I fished was much smaller and is known to have a decent char population. However, it was accidently stocked with Rainbows destined for another lake a few years prior. This along with being shore bound proved to be the deal breaker with this lake. There were only a few spots along the shore where I could get a good cast in, and every cast resulted in a 8" Rainbow prior to the fly sinking deep enough to get down the to Char. However, you couldn't ask for a more beautiful spot and if I can pull an October trip in the future - and bring a float tube, I think that this lake will be a good candidate for finding an Arctic Char.

The Arctic Char lake

The final spot that we were able to fish before having to leave the Kenai Peninsula was on the Kenai River. I had fished this same spot a couple of years prior and found it to be lights out. This time the flows were significantly higher and the river was more crowded, however the sockeye were spawning and once I found a spot with some back cast room the fish were there just like before.

The Kenai River

Spawning sockeye salmon

A spawned out salmon

The Sockeye Salmon were in the river and starting to dig redds, so I fished beads imitating Sockeye eggs and just like my previous trip the first cast produced a nice fish.
A nice first cast rainbow - with a curious onlooker

After this first rainbow, the action did not slow down and I got a couple more smaller Rainbows before I started getting into a some nice Dolly Varden. These Dollies averaged 16-18" and while they didn't put on the same show of acrobatics that a Rainbow might, were scrappy fighters.

An egg eating Dolly Varden

Another Dolly Varden

A Dolly Varden starting to show its spawning colors

After couple of hours of fishing, it was time to call it quits and hopefully I will be able to schedule another trip to Alaska to check some more fish (2 subspecies of Arctic Char; Northern Dolly Varden and Lake Trout) off the native trout list in the future.