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King Salmon Fishing Alaska: The 3 Best Rivers in Alaska

King salmon or chinook salmon in the largest species in the salmon family. These fish can easily weigh +50 pounds. King salmon can be caught in the saltwater, trolling herring and flashers or they can be caught in the rivers as they return to spawn. King salmon fishing Alaska is some of the best king salmon fishing in the world.

Due to numerous factors there has been a decrease in the number of king salmon as well as the size. If you’re planning on going on a guided trip, be sure to explain to the guide your intentions of the fishing trip. Let the guide know if you are trying to target large king salmon and if you wish to release the fish after catching. This will insure everyone understands the plan and can take care of the fish properly. As a guide myself, I wanted to discuss my three favorite places to catch big king salmon in the Alaska rivers in hopes that you might book a trip and attempt to hook a fish of a lifetime.

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King Salmon Fishing Alaska: The Kenai River

When discussing king salmon fishing in Alaska, it’s nearly impossible to not have the Kenai river come up in the conversation. The Kenai river is home to the world record king salmon caught on rod and reel.

May 17th, 1985 Les Anderson caught the world record king salmon at 97 pounds and 4 ounces on the Kenai River. Les caught the monster fish using a spin and glo with salmon eggs. The same set up Les used in 1985 is still catching 50+ pound king’s today.

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Les Andersons King Salmon – Image Credit: Alaska Sports Hall

The Kenai river, located in south-central Alaska, is around a 3 and a half hour scenic drive from Anchorage. The Kenai is a popular fishing destination due to its close proximity to anchorage, and moderate road access. The Kenai river is 82-miles long and is broken up into three sections the upper, middle, and lower river. Your upper river is predominantly where you will do the majority of your trout fishing. The lower and middle river is where most of your sockeye, silver, and king salmon fishing will take place.

The Kenai river is a large, fast moving river. Many believe the kings are larger on the Kenai due to the fast moving water, salmon have to fight as they work upstream to spawn. King salmon are a difficult fish to catch. It takes time, knowledge, and execution to hook and net a king salmon.

The most effective method for catching king salmon is to back troll using a spin and glo with salmon eggs, or using a sardine wrapped Kwikfish.

The best time to catch large king salmon on the Kenai river is in July. Specifically the last two weeks of July can be the most promising time to fish. During this time of the year you give yourself the best opportunity to catch a king salmon that is in the 40-pound range.

King Salmon Fishing Alaska: The Kasilof River

The Kasilof river is my favorite place to fish for king salmon! I love this place because it’s one of the best kept secrets in the Kenai Peninsula. The Kasilof river is located just a short 15-mile drive south of the Kenai River and is located in the town of Kasilof. This river is a glacier fed river from Tustumena lake and provides excellent scenery, peace and quiet, and rod bending King salmon!

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The Kasilof river is a drift boat only river.

Meaning when you are king salmon fishing you can not use a motor. The greatest part? This makes it nice and quiet for you to get that true Alaskan wilderness experience. The other fun part of fishing for king salmon in a drift boat is the fish will have a lot more control. This makes it more challenging to land your hook ups.

However, this can enhance the experience as you chase the king down the river maneuvering it out of rapids and obstacles.   

The king salmon on the Kasilof river tend to be a little smaller than your average kings on the Kenai River. A good king salmon in July on the Kasilof river is anywhere from 30-pounds to 45-pounds. You do see 50-pound kings caught as well, just not as commonly as you would on the Kenai River.

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The best time to fish this river for king salmon will be June 10-24 or the last 3 weeks of July.

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King Salmon Fishing Alaska: The Nushagak River

If you are searching for days full of 25-pound king salmon, the Nushagak River is the place to be. The Nushagak river is what you would call a true Alaskan wilderness experience. There are no roads and it is only accessible by float plane or boat. The most accessible way to the Nushagak river would be taking a float plane from anchorage to Dillingham. Most lodges on the Nushagak are non-permanent structures usually comprised of wilderness tents or yurts.

What the Nushagak river lacks in luxury, it makes up with the high quality king salmon fishing.

The main king salmon season on the Nushagak river will be the first two weeks of July. This river also has some of the largest sockeye salmon and silver salmon runs in the world. Depending on when you schedule your trip you can fish for a number of different salmon species and trout.

King Salmon Fishing Alaska: Takeaways

The Kenai river, Kasilof river, and Nushagak river are my top three recommendations to fish for king salmon in Alaska. Each river provides a unique experience that you will never forget. Each river features world class fishing that provides excellent scenery and wildlife.

Columbia River Fishing With Addicted Fishing’s Nick Perry

If you’re looking for non-stop action, heading out on the Columbia River fishing should definitely be in your plans for 2019.

From the plethora of big fish, to the great scenery, you’ve got to give it a try.

About Columbia River Fishing

The Columbia River is the largest river that flows into the Pacific Ocean from North America. It covers seven states and one Canadian province. It courses through four mountain ranges.

Sadly, though, the river isn’t what it once used to be. Dam and reservoir operations have fundamentally changed the river’s natural flows. Spring run-off is captured behind dams, thereby reducing flows and hampering the migration of young salmon headed out to sea, exposing them to predators in a series of slow-moving reservoirs. Reduced flows have also harmed the health of the Columbia River estuary by shrinking the size of the river’s freshwater plume – an area that hosts a variety of fish and bird species and accommodates the salmon’s gradual adjustment to living in saltwater. Dams have also blocked salmon from thousands of miles in the upper Columbia River system, including tributaries such as the Spokane and Kettle rivers in Washington and numerous rivers in British Columbia.

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This year, the seasons have been closed since September, but have reopened again, January first.

Though that’s true, this river still boasts large numbers of beautiful trophy fish and plenty of on-your-feet angling adventures.

There are all sorts of different species to be had, and fish aplenty for both beginners and pros, alike.

Columbia River Fishing for Salmon

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This river is well-known for the salmon runs. Yes, that “s” is correct. We meant multiple. You have your choice: spring salmon, summer salmon, and the big run of fall salmon. Without question, the salmon are the biggest angling attraction on the river, as there are – count ‘em – five runs of salmon: three runs of Chinook, one of Sockeye, and one of Coho/Silver Salmon.

The Spring Chinook season typically starts in March, ending in April on the lower river, and in May on the upper.

If you’re lucky enough to make it there, you’re in for some of the best tasting and hardest fighting salmon in the world.

Summer Chinook is usually a smaller run than its spring cousin, but the size of the fish makes up for it. They’ll give you two good weeks of excellent fishing at the end of June.  

Fall season starts early, in August when hundreds of thousands of Fall Chinook enter the river from the Pacific at Astoria and Ilwaco to migrate inland. The popular Buoy 10 fishery can actually get quite crowded this time of year. The season runs the month of August in conjunction with the Coho Salmon.

Columbia River Fishing for Steelhead

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This season starts in early June and you can follow the fish all the way to Idaho in August. Almost every tributary on the river gets some action with summer steelhead. A few highlights to try are the Cowlitz River, Deschutes River, Willamette River Drainage, John Day, Snake, and Upper Columbia Rivers.

Early in the season you’ll catch a lot of other species alongside the steelhead, but if you wait until July, you’ll be reeling in mostly steelhead with some Chinook and Sockeye mixed in, but who’s complaining?

If you travel to the Columbia River Gorge, you’ll have the option of fishing from either a boat or off the bank.

Known as “plunking,” the approach requires a heavy casting rod and reel, a rod holder, small assortment of bait and lures, some 6 to 12-ounce pyramid sinkers, and a signal bell for strikes. If you really want to get serious about it, you can employ the use of a plunking rig to maximize your chances of success. Steelhead here run shallow, making them much easier to catch than Chinook.

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Let’s Not Forget About the Sturgeon When Columbia River Fishing . . . .

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You can find some of the best sturgeon fishing here compared to anywhere on the West Coast. In recent years, take-home numbers have been regulated and relegated to an annual season sometime in January, but catch-and-release is always an option. And who would decline when White Sturgeon are known to be spotted at longer than Shaquille O’Neal, up to 12 feet in length! The average weight of these guys is between 50 to 100 pounds, though they’ve been caught weighing in at over 450 pounds.

Last year, Washington opened up a season down in Astoria for sturgeon for the first time since the closure. Anglers were incredibly excited for the season, and it’s expected to happen again in 2019. The 2018 season ran Monday, Wednesday, and Saturdays: May 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, 28, 30 and June 2nd and 4th. On those dates, any White Sturgeon from 44-50 inches could be kept, one fish per day, two annually. This season was due to the increased legal-size population that has increased dramatically in the past years.

To say the Columbia is the best place to find sizable Sturgeon is an understatement!

Tidal Draw

With such close proximity to the ocean, the lower Columbia is tidally influenced, and so are the fish, so you’ll want to check your reports before heading out. Typically, the best salmon and steelhead fishing is on the outgoing tide, and during tidal changes. That’s not to say you won’t catch fish on the incoming tide, too.  

For sturgeon, look for deeper water when the tide is out.

When it’s in, look in small beds of four to six feet deep. Starting along ledges, small channels, sand flats, and other rocky points can get the action going.

Almost any time of the year, there’s great fishing to be had along the Columbia River. If you’re looking for a confrontation with some fiercely large fish, it’s time for a vacation.

Top Fly Anglers You Should Be Following

There are a lot of long winded folks out there. Some of them have a lot of knowledge to impart, and some of them just like to shoot the breeze. So who should you be watching out for, and who should you be watching? We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite fly anglers and why you should be following them.

Devin Olsen

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Devin Olsen, self-proclaimed obsessed fly fisherman, co-founded Tactical Fly Fisher along with his partner Glade Gunther. He’s been fishing since the age of nine and has been competing since 2004. Last year marked his ninth consecutive berth as an angler for Fly Fishing Team USA. He finished with the individual bronze medal and was a member of the team that won the first team medal (silver) for USA at the 2015 world fly fishing championships in Bosnia. He’s been featured in the acclaimed Modern Nymphing Elevated, Beyond the Basics with Lance Egan.

Devin’s blogs are a good combination of modesty and useful information. He’s got a Bachelor’s degree in ecology and a Master’s degree in fisheries science and spent three years working as a fisheries biologist before taking on Tactical Fly Fisher as a full time business in 2017. That means he has a lot to teach us that goes way beyond just how to tie a tungsten taco egg (and why you shouldn’t avoid it!)

Tyler Cornett

Tyler Cornett of Rivers Edge Outfitters (REO)  may just be the next up-and-coming thing. A junior at Western Carolina University, Tyler has a good thing going. As a national fly fishing team member, Tyler co-founded his university’s fly fishing club. He’s put together countless tutorials for REO already (found on their YouTube Channel) and seems to have big things up his sleeve. Keep your eyes on this guy!

April Vokey

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April Vokey has been spey casting since the age of 18. She spent her early years watching instructional VHS tapes about how to cast, and now she hosts a popular fly fishing podcast called Anchored with April Vokey, where she interviews some of the most influential people in the fly fishing game. She believes that fly fishing is a sport for both genders. It “requires finesse, timing, passion, excitement, intrigue, and dedication – descriptives that are not sole features of either gender,” she says. “I urge women who have not given this sport a try to skip their next yoga class or hike. Tranquility or excitement, whatever it is that you’re looking for, why not follow Mother Nature to the river to find it?”

Her blogs bring on the finest fly fishing trips and adventures in the world.

She owns her own guiding service, flygal, specializing in Steelhead trips on British Columbia’s Skeena River, and is currently a member of the Patagonia ambassador team, where she is assisting in the design and direction of an upcoming women’s line of fishing apparel.

Hilary Hutcheson

Hilary Hutcheson grew up plodding around Montana’s Glacier National Park, where her father worked as a ranger for the National Park Service. She started fly fishing in the seventh grade, and by age 14, she had landed a gig with Glacier Angler. By 17, she was guiding fly fishing excursions. While in college, she earned her degree in broadcast journalism, which lead to a television news anchor position in Missoula, then one in Portland, Oregon.

Back in Montana again, she worked to create an outdoor marketing firm, Outside Media, and a network television show called Trout TV, which she hosts.

Pat Dorsey

Pat Dorsey is a Denver, Colorado based fly fishing guide that has been pursuing selective, Rocky Mountain trout for over 35 years. His vast knowledge and expertise makes him a true authority in the fly fishing industry. He generally posts a blog update about once a month with topics ranging from travel to tips on tippet selection

Anni Yli-Lonttinen

Anni Yli-Lonttinen is a fly fishing journalist and entrepreneur who’s been writing about fly fishing for about seven years. She started her own fly fishing business in 2014, Kajana Club. It offers fly fishing enthusiasts inspiration, courses, community, and help with international travel planning.

Chris Dore

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Chris Dore is a professional New Zealand fly fishing guide, writer, FFF casting instructor, SCOTT pro staff, and rep for Manic Tackle Project. He is a recognized freshwater fishing writer and has been a regular contributor to a number of New Zealand angling publications over the last 15 years. He believes that “life’s too short to not catch fish,” and takes a highly instructional and fun-filled approach to fly fishing.

Jeff Blood

Jeff Blood is not only a very well-seasoned steelhead angler with over 40 years of experience under his belt, he’s quite possibly one of the geniuses of the industry. He’s had the great fortune of fishing all over the world, and still favors Lake Erie as some of the best fly fishing he has found. He’s the famed inventor of the Blood Dot egg fly for steelhead, which he created in 1977 while still a college student, and developed Frog Hair tippet and leader material with Gamma Technologies. He’s also a managing partner of NetStaff, LLC, a netting device encompassing multiple tools for fishing. You can find his wisdom on many interviews, blogs, articles, and instructional videos across the net.

 

Fly Fishing Forums Every Fly Guy or Gal Needs To Know About

Fly fishing forums are like opinions. Everyone has one, but only some are based in fact and reality. And when you’re visiting a forum, you’ll notice that there are plenty of opinions and plenty of judgement. You’ll have that. Sometimes people tend to take “free speech” too far.

The good news is that since there are such an abundance of fly fishing forums, there are many to choose from, and some are quite helpful, which allows you to whittle it down to those that offer you the best advice, camaraderie, and useful sounding board.

We’ll hit on some of the best fly fishing forums out there and touch on what makes them worth a visit and a consideration to join.

Forums at Their Best

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When we introduced the idea of a forum in our Bass Fishing Forums post, we discussed that a forum is a great place for users to get together to offer help and advice, and for professionals to lend their expertise, making some interactions a good learning experience. In order to get that balance, forums need a combination of their “old faithfuls,” as well as a splash of consistent incoming new-to-the-sport anglers. That way, everyone benefits from each other’s knowledge, and the “newbies” stoke a refresher course for those that are somewhere in the middle. Good conversations follow.

In the world of fly fishing, there is so much old-world knowledge to be shared and gained. In the years gone by, anglers seemed to hoard their expertise like it was a coveted prize. Not everyone was willing to share their hard-earned secrets of the river for whatever reason. Convincing someone to cough up their tricks to fishing small flies at dusk was like pulling teeth.

Nowadays, people are much more eager to help a fellow out and share their skills with others, and a forum is a great place to get together with people, not just in your region, but across the globe, and better each other’s tackle box. Through the sharing of knowledge and information, a forum can help to make each member a better angler and increase their enjoyment of the sport.

Fly Fishing Forums: North American Fly Fishing Forum

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The North American Fly Fishing Forum, which lands on theflyfishingforum.com, is the most active and interactive forum out there, by far, with upwards of 7,000 visitors daily. The trend with forums tends to be that more “visitors” . . . .well . . . . visit the page than actual contributing members. NA Fly Fishing Forum is no different, but still has an impressive number of members landing on the page each day at over 600.

Impressively, this site has an exhaustive list of every sort of post you can imagine, from the normal tips and tricks, fly tying help and advice on building your own rod. The Region section is broken down into much smaller areas of North America so you can get more specialized updates on conditions and reports, even going so far as to include the “Driftless Region” of Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Many conversations about fishing in Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean allow you to plan for your upcoming travels, or converse with locals about your current trek.

Competitions for prizes are offered regularly every month, with the added bonus of extra, random games in between. There’s a section to share fishery webcam links to assist with figuring local river water levels. More of the unique qualities that this page offers are conversations geared towards youth fly fishing, and women who tackle the art.

Fly Fishing Forums: Paflyfish

Paflyfish is touted by many as one of the most user friendly forums to visit. Chad Schmukler says that this site actually succeeds in offering what most fly fishing forums claim to offer: “a community of individuals that are extremely knowledgeable, generous with their time and information, and welcoming to newcomers.”

While mostly centered on Pennsylvania, there are members from around the globe. It’s expanded to include the neighboring states, much of the northeast US, and far beyond. A “Beginner Forum” focuses on those new to fly fishing or looking to brush up on some of the basics.

In-depth discussion on tying encourages users to share what they’re working on today, stoking conversations about both new oddities and modifications to old favorites like the zebra midge.

While the member count isn’t as high as North American Fly Fishing forum, the site is active, with contributions being made within the hour. Over 50 users visit the site at a time, with over 10 being registered members. They hold several gatherings throughout the year and many have had the opportunity to meet face to face.

Fly Fishing Forums: Spey Pages

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While geared specifically to those aficionados of the popular spey cast, Spey Pages also has an active membership, with conversations being updated each day. Over 400 users are online at any given time and over 90 of those are contributing members. This seems to attract may new members, as they arrive daily. That’s what may be so attractive about this site. There are solid offerings for both new members and new casters. A “New Member Introduction” thread offers advice on how to post, code of conduct, and a way that new members can introduce themselves to the general population. A “Spey Basics” section is geared towards new spey casters as a way to encourage them to participate and have their questions answered.

Fly Fishing Forums: Troutnut

This one is definitely worth mentioning. Troutnut provides a  light-hearted feel, while offering probably the best gathering place for those very new to fly fishing. The owner has a great sense of humor, and lays out the “Forum Rules” at the bottom of the landing page with realistic style, threatening to “call your mother on you” if you use naughty words. It dictates that you should “use common sense and don’t be a jerk.”

Funny aside, this is an active site with conversations being updated daily. There are usually over 280 users online at any given time.  This is a great page, probably catering more to beginners. The “Fly Fishing Beginner Help” thread offers a safe place where newbies can ask “getting started” questions and the old-timers can share their “wish-I-had-known” lessons. Questions are generally answered within a day or two.

The general feeling from members is warm and welcoming, with very little of the negativity that many other forums can sometimes affect.

Fly Fishing Forums: New York Angler

One last forum to make sure you check out is New York Angler or NYAngler for short! This site features a forum, blog, and even podcasts! For anglers in the New York area, this is your one stop shop for information, tips and tricks, and for talking fishing!

Whether you’re new to the sport or are looking for a sounding board to tackle difficult techniques, using the community of an online forum is a great way to come together with other anglers