In pictures – FlyFishing Alaska
2019 proved a tricky season in Northern Alaska, but with access to two float planes, options were never far away. Mavungana founder, Jonathan Boulton hosted an elite group of anglers from the United Kingdom. These gents are used to fishing for Salmon on cold, overcast or rainy days…
This is his trip report:
We arrived in Anchorage to the most spectacular sunset, this because of smog from bushfires due to the extreme high heat (35 Degrees). The unseasonal heat and clear skies made for epic weather for backcountry hiking but not exactly ideal for trying to catch salmon. Indeed, a lot of the outgoing anglers we bumped into coming at the airport were bemoaning the bad fishing.
The main reason behind that is that most lodges in Alaska are situated on a single river – these have boats available and anglers will move up and down this home river fishing the various allocated beats. Unfortunately a pressurized, low river with blue skies and high heat becomes super tough.
We had the good fortune of using a small family-owned lodge called the Royal Coachman lodge which is owned by the Vermillion brothers, they have well known company called Sweetwater Travel and the beauty of it is that they spared no cost – they own two fully restored de Havilland Beaver float planes! We were very lucky to have these at our disposal, allowing us to be able to take off from the lodge and have access to various systems in the area, both lakes and rivers. To make the most of the difficult (if beautifully balmy) weather.
The modes operandi is simple: Scout to see where there might be salmon accumulating at the mouth of a stream or river preparing to run up. Land a fair way away. Then we would fish that river mouth for two hours or so, have a cup of coffee and a candy bar and then move on.
After fishing for two hours we would move the next spot. Repeat… And then have a spot of lunch.
Purely because of the way the lodge is run it was an absolute fish-fest there is never a time when all five species of Pacific Salmon were in the river but there was a time that four of them are and that’s when we were there, so King Salmon, Sockeye, Chum Salmon and Pink Salmon, the only one that was missing was the Silver.
We got big rainbows on swung mice patterns. What is incredible is that every system you go to the markings are so unique.
We also got Big Northern Pike and the sheefish which is highly unusual (at least in the weather we had).
They want dark, cool, rainy weather and literally one afternoon my brother and I were on the float plane and flew way up north. Our guide said he hadn’t seen any since the season had started but if anybody was going to have a chance it was going to be on that day because of the weather. We put in an hour and each managed one, which was epic.
Sights to keep me dreaming of next year’s trip…