With all the lodges, camps and guides in Alaska, how do you go about choosing the best place for you?
Let’s look at what species of Salmon you’d like to target? There are 5 types of Salmon in Alaska. King (Chinook) Salmon, Coho (Silver) Salmon, Sockeye (Red) Salmon, Chum (Dog) Salmon, and Pink (Humpy) Salmon. All of these have different techniques used to catch them, different run times, and different quality of meat.
Most popular eating Salmon, among folks is the Sockeye (Red) Salmon. It however, can be the most difficult to catch. The technique most widely used for catching Sockeye, is called flossing. Flossing, is an art form, you are basically snagging the fish in the mouth. Granted, sometimes you actually get some of them to bite your small fly or a bead. The majority of the time however, you zip the line through the water and hook them in and around the mouth area. It’s the best way to catch these tasty Salmon, but not the most enjoyable way to fish.
If Sockeye (Red) Salmon is your target species, ask your lodge owner, or guide how you’re going to fish and if there are other species to fish for in that area. Flossing Sockeye Salmon is not like back trolling for big King Salmon. The novelty wears off quickly, but don’t let me persuade you with my opinion.
Silver (Coho) Salmon are another tasty Salmon and much more enjoyable to catch. The technique is mostly casting and retrieving a spinner, spoon, stripping a fly and or twitching jigs. Most of the time you can see these fish take your lure! Making this fishery that much more enjoyable. Silver Salmon run later than the King, Sockeye, and Chum runs, usually coinciding with the Pink Salmon run in early August in many areas. Pink (Humpy) Salmon are much like Silver Salmon in that they chase lures, fly’s and twitching jig’s, but the meat however is not like that of a Silver Salmon and are mostly just a catch and release fishery.
Chum (Dog) Salmon kind of get a bad rap. Often called Dog Salmon by the locals of Alaska. The meat on the Chum Salmon turns soft quickly once in the river system. They have a mild taste much like Steelhead and are excellent to smoke. Many of the Chum Salmon fishing coincides with King runs on many rivers. Most of these fish are caught while targeting King Salmon, striking plugs, bait, and spinners. Topping off your fish box with a few Chum for the smoker isn’t a bad idea, they are a lot better than eating Tule Salmon, that is for sure.
King (Chinook) Salmon the most sought after sport caught Salmon in Alaska! The size and strength of these Salmon are superior to all other species. Kings are aggressive biters and can be caught with several kinds of different fishing techniques. Big King Salmon, are also tasty when they are fresh from the ocean. With a lot of options for fishing opportunities for King Salmon we will focus the continuation article on them.
The second part to this blog will share some rivers that are best for catching King Salmon.