July is the prime month for king salmon in much of the state and with each passing day the run builds until its peak. The sockeye run continues to build as well. The run that started in June as ones and twos, now builds to hundreds, followed by thousands of fish streaming upriver.
And where the sockeye run, the rainbows are never far behind. As the reds get closer to their spawning grounds the rainbow trout begin to intermingle with them, eagerly awaiting the egg-drop that usually happens in July through early August. These early trout can be had with a wide variety of flies, so be sure to have some traditional trout nymphs and dries like the Stimulator and Flashback Pheasant Tail, as well as a good selection of beads in early colors. For more information on bead fishing check out our Bead 101 article . Streamers and Leeches can also work well during this time, so be sure to have some Exasperator Sculpins, JR's Streamers, and AFG Articulated String Leeches. Don't be surprised if you happen to run across grayling or char when fishing for rainbows, as they follow the sockeye as well.
In Southeast Alaska and Kodiak, July marks the beginning of the pink salmon and chum salmon runs. Building from a trickle early in the month, by late July the streams are full of salmon. The Dolly Varden are also in the streams vacuuming up any stray eggs. Pinks and Chums are some of the most opportunistic spawners of all the salmon. This is a nice way of saying they will spawn in just about any freshwater they can find. They are generally found in rivers throughout Southeast Alaska.
Remember those Dolly Varden that were chasing salmon fry off the beaches all spring? After the fry swam off into the deep Pacific Ocean the Dollies had to find a new meal plan. Right on cue the salmon came in and started laying their eggs. Any stray eggs in the creek are vacuumed up by these voracious predators. Fishing a salmon egg imitation just downstream of spawning salmon will lead to instant action. Try using an Unreal Egg, a Gorman Beadhead Egg, or a Glo-bug in these situations, or for hard-to-move fish, a "live" bead.