Photos Courtesy of Dave McKenna, Colin Hurd, Mark Hieronymus & Trevor Gong
The steady swing of a big leech pattern, the cold current against your legs, the spring air often feeling more winter like than we would prefer, and suddenly an electric jolt on the end of your line shocks you out of your coma. A jump and then another as the fish peels line off downstream.....
Long before the hook up, flights had to been booked, time off arranged, significant others appeased. Boxes of flies tied in every possible color combination and size. Little black leeches on up to monstrous strung-out creations. Four inch long fry patterns and little epoxy minnows. Who knows what the fish might want at any given time, but experience says don't get caught without enough variety.
Excitement builds on the flight in. Rivers appear winding through the landscape. Visions of hungry fish make getting on the water the top priority.
The boats are waiting and opening day is only hours away. Finally it is game time. Day 1 can be rewarding. Grabby fish that haven't seen a fly in months. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Not sure where to fish? Look for Arctic Terns crashing fry....
The big rivers of Bristol Bay are only one place to chase spring trout. Smaller streams in Southcentral also host hungry bows waiting to grab your fly.
The Kenai River is a favorite of spring anglers. Fishing opens at midnight, and during early June Alaska's famous Midnight Sun makes an early start possible. Hit the river at 11pm, find your spot and let the first cast fly at 12:01.
Combine the great trout fishing with the first wave of sockeye salmon and it is almost too much.
Although the sockeye fishing at the mouth of the Russian River where it meets the Kenai is crowded, the chance at the first fresh salmon in many months makes it worth the effort. Plus, you never know who you might end up standing next to.....
Wherever you choose to fish, the spring opener is the perfect way to kick off a season of Alaskan angling.