How a Summer Storm Affects Fly Fishing

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Posted by John Perry on to King Salmon Fly Fishing Silver Salmon
Summer Storm Rolling In

Summer storms and fishing are very critical to our fishing program in Alaska. Just like Steelhead, the new rain seems to boost the Salmons' desire to come into the river on the tide. There are some theories out there that say it could be the added scent that enters the rivers helping the salmon hone in on their breeding grounds, or maybe just that with rising water levels, salmon and steelhead know that they will have a much easier job navigating a river that is more deep than shallow, and therefore take advantage of the new storm waters to make a push for the river.

Fishing Before & After the Storm

All I can say is that over the past 20 years in Alaska, by far, our best fishing has been during or right after big storms with rain.

I can recall a low pressure system that came in while I was on a fly-out to Brooks River years ago. The winds were forecasted to possibly hit 30mph, and we knew the trip home would probably be a bumpy ride on the plane. As they day went on, the winds kept creeping up, and with it, so did our catch rates on trout. We were using egg patterns before there was any natural eggs in the river and crushing the trout. By the time we made it to the lower river, the winds were 50 plus MPH. I decide to go in and call the float plane service on the sat phone. They told me that the winds were not forecasted to lay down until later that evening and that we would have to spend the night at the Brooks Lodge. My guests were definitely happy to stay with how many quality rainbows we were catching in the wind and rain. We ate dinner and went back out for more crazy fishing on the lower Brooks River.

I will never forget that storm and have never seen the river fish like that day ever again!

Fishing the "Silver Tsunami"

Kenai River Rainbow
Silver on a stormy day

As far as the salmon go, King and Silver Salmon seem to push into the rivers on storms much better than they do when it is sunny and calm. By far, the best King and Silver days have been on blustery weather events with rain and wind. It is thought that once in the river, with a lot of chop on the water, the salmon are much more aggressive and eager to strike with the river whipped up into a froth. We call them Silver Tsunami's and pray for big storms in August as they always bring in huge pushes of Silvers on the tides, and we always catch more than our share these days.

So, does weather affect fishing in Alaska??? YES! I would go fishing any chance you have no matter what the weather, but, if it is bad weather, you should try even harder to get out there!

As we like to say, "Steely skies and Silvers on the fly!"

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.

Alagnak Lodge - Extraordinary Fishing on the Alagnak River