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Bristol Bay Report for 6-26-09

Now that mid-June has come and gone, so has the first few weeks of operation for many lodges in the Bristol Bay area.   Mission Lodge head guide and good friend Nathan Cornelius reports some good things from the Dillingham area.  Although the weather has been a little on the chilly side lately, the salmon fishing has been good. King and Chum fishing has been “on” to say the least with the Lower Nushagak producing well.  Many anglers have been fishing kings in the morning and swinging up chums in the afternoon.  Not a bad way to spend the day.

The Togiak is in good shape with the first good pushes of fish starting now.  Kings will start to enter the river in late May, but good fishable numbers usually start around the third week of June when the new moon phase creates some larger tides.  Like the Togiak, the Goodnews was reporting a good sign of early fish and should continue to build.  Kings should be starting to charge up some of the other rivers in the area, too.

Kings started to show their faces on the Kanektok in the second week of June.  Andrew Bennett and his boys at AK West showed their first groups of guest a couple of great weeks with some nice chrome, bruising battleships. Specializing in the two handed big sticks, the AK West boys know how to engage the mighty king via the swing.  Those boys like to fish a lot of black/blue and chartreuse/blue combos in patterns like the Jumbo Critters .  Other hot colors are hot pinks, fuchsias and oranges in patterns like Guide Intruders and Signature Intruders.

For those wanting to chase sockeye, we have good news.  Nate says that they are running in most systems.  Right on schedule, the sockeye are pouring into rivers by the thousands.  Like a busy freeway, sockeye run head to tail, four to five wide and never seem to end.
Nate reports slow results for bows in the Wood River drainages like the Agulawak and Agulapak.  With the late winter, the rainbow spawn ran late.  The fish are now in transition from the smaller tributaries heading back into the bigger rivers.  The trout fishing should pick up as the week continues into early July.  

Other rivers out towards Illamna are a different story.  The mighty Kvichak has been producing well, with good numbers of big fish being caught.  The Brooks River has been producing well too, with good number of sockeye smolt migrating out of the river.  On rivers like the Kvichak and Naknek, fish smolt patterns anywhere trout are slashing at the surface.  Also try swinging black or olive leeches and sculpins off of the gravel bars.  Do the same on smaller river like Brooks, but also have an assortment of dries and nymphs for the early hatches of may flies and caddis.  And do not forget to have a mouse or two thrown in the mix for the carnivorous bows.

Nate also reports good pike fishing for those who like to go for toothy critters.  Try fishing shallows and throwing big leeches and other big, gaudy streamers .  For top water action, try big articulated mice and lemming patterns on top.   Don’t forget to use a steel leader like Rio’s Toothy Critter leaders.

The grayling fishing is good when the weather shows signs of life and warms up.  Nymphs have been working best. The weather has been damp and cool lately, but the weather forecast for the next week looks a little on the brighter side. Afternoon sun will help with the early mayfly and caddis hatches.  The warmer weather will help draw the bows out of the lakes and down into rivers like the Agulapak and dry and nymph fishing will continue to get better as July approaches.
More to come!

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