2016 Recap - Fly Fishing for Silver Salmon on the Alagnak River

Posted by John Perry on to Fly Fishing Bristol Bay Watershed Silver Salmon
One of the many Silver Salmon we caught in 2016
One of the many Silver Salmon we caught in 2016

The Silver Salmon run of 2016 was pretty interesting due to the high water. The Silver Salmon pretty much stack up in the same spots or areas every season on the Alagnak River, almost like clockwork. They will use the same holding water and travel corridors year in and year out, but we always manage to find some new ones with the river in a constant change from erosion or movement of sandbars and drop offs.

This past season we experienced the highest water that I have ever seen, and locals say it was 40 years plus since the waters have been this high. This created more holding water than in years past, and created a slight challenge at first trying to figure out some of the new "honey" spots in the river. All in all, the weather was normal to slightly warmer in August with no real terrible warm and sunny spells like in 2015. The Silvers did show up a little later in good numbers due to the warmer water temps for sure, but maybe by at most a week.

Late August was Peak Fishing for Silver Salmon

The peak week for us was during our 9th week which was the last week in August. We had some great pushes of Silvers into the river system associated with strong SW winds and rain like previous seasons, but they were definitely late. We can usually start targeting them on August 1 like clockwork. They were there on the first of August, but not in any strong numbers. I can remember catching 20 plus Silvers for the day with just one customer on a half day August 1 back in 2014 due to his early 5 day trip ending at lunch. You could not have pulled this off in 2016's silver salmon run, but you sure could have caught a 3 fish limit in that same time.

The best flies for the year were the Megawatt for sure. We used these very thick profiled flies in multiple colors throughout the month of August with great success. The other flies that were good were definitely the string leech pink bunny flies with articulated hooks. Both worked well, and if you could get them in front of Silvers, you usually would draw some incredible strikes.

Best Silver Salmon flies of 2016 - The Megawatt in Pink & Blue
Best Silver Salmon flies of 2016 - The Megawatt in Pink & Blue

Over 50 Silvers in a Single Day!

The best day of the season saw over 50 Silver Salmon landed by two fly anglers in our 9th week, or last week of August this past season. The great thing about this was that the area we fished to achieve this was literally a minute from our dock. Who knows how many Silvers were lost after jumping them, but the daily tally was impressive for sure.

I would rate the 2016 Silver Salmon run on the Alagnak River as an average year to just below average. Still, if this was an average year, I still think this river would fish as good or better than most rivers in the world on an average year!

About the Author: John Perry

Owner: Angler's Alibi Lodge - Alaska

John Perry, originally from Michigan, began his guiding career in Colorado in the early 90's. It was here that he met fellow guide and now lodge manager/head guide TR Rafferty. TR left Colorado to guide in Bristol Bay Alaska, and came back with a summer worth of pictures and stories that that John could not imagine living. Two summers later after teaching fly fishing classes and guiding all over Colorado for trout, a guiding job opened up for John to come up and guide at a new small lodge called Angler's Alibi. It is here that John met the original owner Karl Storath. John worked for Karl through the year 2000. After life had it's changes with marriage and the need for a more year round career, John left Alaska but told Karl that he would love the opportunity to buy it when he was ready to retire. In 2007, John came back to Angler's and the change of leadership began as well. Today John is the owner of Angler's Alibi, and lives in Colorado in the off-season raising 2 boys Grey and River Perry with his wife Holly.

To learn more about Angler's Alibi Lodge visit www.anglersalibi.com or email John at John@AnglersAlibi.com.

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