July is the month when pink and chum salmon flood into our local creeks. Large schools of chums can already be found at the mouth of Peterson Creek in Amalga Harbor, Sheep Creek on Thane Road, and in front of DIPAC. Chums circling in saltwater are famous for being tight-lipped zombies but a Fuschia Hareball Leech , Pink Leadeye Egg Sucking Leech , or a Green Death on a slow retrieve can sometimes entice a grab. If you can find chums holding in current they are much more likely to take a fly.
Pinks are also showing themselves off the beaches. Pinks are well known to be receptive to taking a fly and a Pink Humpy Hooker or a Searunner Special are top producers. Echo Cove (from the boat launch all the way out to the sand spit) and the Shrine of St. Terese get some of the earliest pinks and they are very fun on a fly rod when they are still ocean- bright. Last season there was very good pink fishing in front of Sheep Creek by late July. Hopefully it will happen again. Use a floating line, nine foot 10 pound salmon leader, and keep a steady strip retrieve going. Pinks often turn away if the fly stops or is traveling too slowly.
Cowee Creek has a large pink run and there are already fish in the creek. Try fishing downsteam with a Pink Starlite Leech or a Purple Leadeye Egg Sucking Leech on a slow swing with a steady retrieve at the end of the drift. Work the slowest deepest water you can find where migrating fish like to hang out. This is a great time to learn the good holding water on Cowee Creek so you are ready when the silvers come in in September!
The Dolly Varden are in the midst of their annual relocation from saltwater to freshwater. The Dollies usually show up in the creeks before the chums and now is the time to look for them. Cowee Creek, Montana Creek, Sheep Creek, and Fish Creek are all good bets. These streams all host big chum runs and significant numbers of Dolly Varden. Try Pink Clouser Minnows, Battle Creek Specials , or Pink Humpy Hookers for the Dollies before the salmon are in. The Dollies will switch over to eating eggs as the chum settle in and begin to spawn. This usually starts around the third week of July.
Small stream Dolly Varden fishing is some of the most exciting and rewarding fishing we have in Southeast Alaska. Making short but tricky casts to likely looking water, hooking aggressive but often wary fish, and walking some of the prettiest and least-fished water to be found anywhere is a real treat. Don't miss out on it this year.
A 4 weight is a great small stream Dolly rod. When only a short cast is needed, the sensitivity and sportiness of a 4 is unmatched. We have a full line of light rods from Sage and Winston in all the price ranges. Stop by the shop or check them out on line.See you on the water. Brad