The summer of 2009 is off to a great start. The best weather we have seen in years and the fishing is good, too.
King salmon have started their annual return to Gastineau Channel and Fish Creek. DIPAC is predicting a strong run again this season. This is a great
year to get into king fishing or to give it another go if it has been
awhile. These kings are hatchery fish and return either to DIPAC
Hatchery or Fish Creek. A ten weight rod is ideal but an eight will
suffice if you just want to give it a try. A medium sink tip line is
great for getting the fly down into the strike zone. Fish the dropping
tide just after the high at Fish Creek. Kings move into the estuary on
the high tide and slowly cruise around until they drop back out at the
low. The incoming tide is generally less productive. A Fuschia Hareball
Leech , Pink Fergus' Rockstar or a Chartreuse Stinger Prawn are three
great patterns to entice a vicious strike. Be prepared for hoards of
no-see-ums (tiny little biting flies.) We carry no-see-um headnets and
lightweight fingerless bug gloves that will save your bacon out on the
creek! To fish the DIPAC return, try the beaches around the hatchery or
the mouth of Salmon Creek around the low tide. Kings cruise in this
area before finally pushing into the hatchery.
From the lasted reports, the sockeye are in at Windfall Creek. It is open Wednesdays and Saturdays for the month of June ONLY.
The creek is closed to all fishing on the other days. It is a very
"social" fishery so don't go up there for the wilderness experience.
However, it is a great chance to catch what is pound for pound probably
the hardest fighting of all the salmon. An eight weight rod, a reel
with a good drag system, and a floating line is best. A 9-foot 12 lb
tapered leader, strike indicator, and split shot round out the terminal
tackle. The #6 Sockeye Lantern and #6 Red Hot are two of the best
flies. It is also good to have a few Copper Swans , Montana Brassies ,
and Shad Flies in your fly box. Practice getting a nice deep dead drift
with a tight line so you can feel the strikes.
The Dolly and cutt fishing is still going strong off the beaches and in
the river mouths. Due to our long and dry spring, DIPAC delayed many of their fry releases until June. With so many fry just hitting the water the Dolly beach fishing should keep going for another few weeks. Larger Clouser Minnows (#2 and #4) are
working well. A quick strip retrieve on top of a boil is the best
technique. If no fish are actively feeding try a slower retrieve and
let the fly sink 10 to 20 seconds before bringing it back in.
Also try slowly sweeping your rod to the side to make the fry look like it is escaping. Bracketing the low tide (2-3 hours before the low until 2-3 after the
low) is the prime window. Amalga Harbor, Salmon Creek, Echo Cove,
Juneau/Douglas Bridge Beach, and Eagle Beach by the Boy Scout Camp have
all fished well lately. The lower reaches of some of the rivers have
been quite good as well. By late June the fry will migrate into deeper water
and the Dollies will relocate to the rivers to await the return of the
pink and chum salmon. This usually happens in mid to late June. Now is
the time to get the last of the sea runs!
See you on the water. Brad