How a Summer Storm Affects Fly Fishing
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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"
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!"