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Bristol Bay Report for July 9, 2008

Nate has a lot to report this week. This summer has been a lot cooler than normal. Earlier in the summer the cooler temps kept the winter snow pack from melting rapidly. Now with air temps just a few degrees warmer, the snow is melting a little faster and water levels are coming up. Because the air temps are still on the low side, water temperatures are a few degrees cooler than normal. Ryan Celesta, who is a guide on the Togiak River, reported water temps of just 48 degrees on the 7th of July. Brrrr!

King fishing in the Bay has been slow on the whole. The Nushagak is reporting decent numbers.  A few less than normal, but for a river that has a run of a couple hundred thousand kings, a few less than normal still means good fishing. Fly guys are typically hitting a few a day and the fish are leaning on the big side. The Togiak and Goodnews rivers are reporting slow action. Everyone is hoping that things are just late. The Kanektok is reporting lower than usual numbers, but like the Nushagak the fish are big on average. A variety of large flies like Rockstars and Guide Intruders, swung off of sink tips lines, are your best bet.

Sockeye are slow to show their faces in many rivers. Again, cooler water temperatures are probably holding the fish back. But in other river systems like the Wood River and Kvichak drainages, a steady flow of fish are returning.  In the Wood, the Agulawak is producing the best for sockeye. Most guys are hitting their limits before lunch. The Agulapak is starting to heat up as the fish continue the migration to their home waters. Small sockeye flies like the Sockeye Lantern are great in these systems. Other rivers like the Nushagak and Togiak are still waiting for the reds to show up.

Chums are showing in good numbers in the Nushagak River. Guys targeting kings often get a mix of these big brutes while swinging. The large chum run will make for good rainbow and Dolly fishing in a few weeks in the upper sections of the Nush drainage. Poor reports of chums on the Togiak help raise the question: are the fish waiting for warmer water? Time will tell.

Rainbow fishing remains good. The Agulawak and Agulapak are starting to see good hatches of caddis, making for some exciting dry and nymph action. Elk Hair Caddis in Black, Olive and Tan are working well, along with X-Caddis in tan and olive. Hotwire Prince Nymphs, Copper John's in various colors and F.B. Pheasant Tails in #12-16 are good nymph patterns for this time of year. They can either be fished with a nymph rig or as a dropper. Big Royal Wulffs and Stimulators are good dries for dropping nymphs.

Grayling fishing is getting better with more insect activity.  Their willingness to eat dries even when there isn't a hatch coming off makes them a great target for the dry fly enthusiast. Try some of the old standard dries like Parachute Adams or Crystal Wing Royal Wulffs , or you can try newer patterns that match some of the caddis hatches and B.W.O hatches that can come off this time of year.

Arctic Char fishing remains good at the mouth of many rivers and up in some rivers like the Lower American.  Try a variety of flies from small sockeye smolt to large bait fish patterns.  Articuled flesh and leeches can work too.

Well, until I talk to our man Nate again, Tight Lines.
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