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Sight Fishing for King Salmon in Bristol Bay

Listed under Fishing in Alaska, United States.

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Each lodge, destination and species of fish has its own characteristics and more typically one has preconceptions about what you‘ll find on arrival. The Royal Coachman, in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, is a fly out lodge which offers a slice of everything: absurdly good food, very comfortable accommodation and of course great fishing where you can catch every type of Pacific salmon, trout, grayling and pike.

Our group had their sights set on the King Salmon, huge fish which have a reputation for hugging the bottom of deep holes. Catchable on a fly, but only with the application of some serious heavy dredging gear. My preconceptions were about to be rocked!

Looking down from the cliff face in the ‘aquarium pool’ on the Kulukak, river you’re treated to the sight of a pool tightly packed with salmon, amongst the fray, scores of King Salmon ranging from 20 - 40lbs and over. At this point I adopted my position overlooking the pool with the video camera - about 3 hrs too late - one of the group had fished the pool earlier that morning and battled with a fish conservatively estimated at over 45 inches long. More often these fish would sit impassively, however some would actively avoid the fly, some turn towards it and others chase it throughout its swing. Crucially however you could monitor every move of the fish, an attribute in salmon fishing that I thought was almost unique to the clear waters of Iceland.

This is most definitely sight fishing for salmon at its best. The fish are veritable behemoths and the water is as clear as you could ever hope for, the pools awash with fish. Just flying over rivers and the lakes each day is an enlightening experience (If helicopters are old hat to some, floatplanes may still be a novelty.), quite apart from the occasional roaming bear or the generations-old beaver lodges and dams. Rivers that have been stained completely red by sockeye salmon in their spawning colours. Kings which sit impassively like huge logs, on their own or in smallish pods. Chum salmon congregating in there hundreds. All in all a remarkable place, situated in complete isolation from any other trace of human habitation, and one where, to a man, expectations were met.

Entire article available on Where Wise Men Fish.

Written by  Justin Maxwell Stuart.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

The mighty King salmon, the largest fish of the Pacific salmon family, begin to ... after the ice goes out, the sport fishing season in the Bristol Bay area opens.Just read your article. Good one. I liked it. Keep going. you are a best writer your site is very useful and informative thanks for sharing!

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