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Posts Tagged ‘alaska fly fishing’

It may not feel like spring in much of the country (I awoke to snow flurries), but the days are certainly getting longer. Fred is still in Montana and keeps fishing the Missouri River between Craig and Great Falls. Stacy is stalking the beaches and off-shore reaches of the southern Baja Peninsula, chasing Rooter Fish and whatever else will eat a fly.  Baja Beach Rooster FishHe now has a 23’ Cobia in the Cabo harbor to base from.  I know he made it down safely, after driving up and back from Tucson to fetch it.  I’m waiting for the first fishing report.  Stacy will be ready to host some trips on the Baja in 2012 and I hope to join him along with some of you.

Get Connected

Facebook for those that fishMystic Waters is connected on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and Blogger. The Social Network is unavoidable these days and truly is a useful way to follow and connect with your friends, the businesses you support and the topics (like fly fishing) that you love.  If you are on Facebook, please stop by and “Like” Mystic Waters Fly Fishing. Even if you are not on Facebook, you can still check out the Mystic Waters Fly Fishing Page to see what is happening.

I have been maintaining this blog for a couple years now. I also feature a site for seasonal fishing reports at http://www.kenairiverfishingreport.com Using a smart phone, I will be able to update regularly this coming season.  Over the next few weeks, I plan to rebuild mysticfishing.com to include the blog and a storefront for some upcoming logo apparel.  I hope you follow along.  Look for the new mysticwaters.com very soon.

Dates to Consider for 2011

Searching for SalmonYou are going to need a shoe horn to find space from mid August through September.  There are still some open dates scattered between June 11 and August 18. October remains an excellent month to fish the Kenai and we are taking reservations to the 15th.  Some of our best rainbows come in the late fall as well as some impressive silvers.

I am entering my fourth spring in Montana. Despite some lousy weather this year, I love it here. Several Mystic Waters guests and friends have dropped by and fished with me on the Missouri River.  I will soon have my Montana Guide license and plan to do some guiding here before the Kenai calls again.

The Good Stuff

If you fish often, then you certainly love great fly fishing gear.  When you join Mystic Waters, you get to use the good stuff.

For 2011, our primary brands are SageRossBeulahRio, Airflo, and Simms.  This is not to say we don’t use others, but that we feature these premium brands to help make your time on the water more enjoyable.

Deathstar RainbowLast season, I picked up a Sage 10’7wt TCX.  It fished great for large trout and silvers and was my favorite single hand streamer rod.  I also fished with the infamous “Deathstar”; the 12’6” 7wt. spey rod that George Cook nicknamed, because it can cast line to a far off galaxy.  It worked on everything from Anchor River Kings to Sockeye and big Rainbows and Silvers on the Kenai.  It even pulled some nice browns from the Missouri River in Montana.  This year, I am adding the new TCX 11’9” 6wt Switch Rod.

Ross has unveiled the new “revolutionary” F1 Reel.  Can’t wait to see how it rolls. We feature many great Ross Reels on our fly rods.  I’ve been fishing the 8wt Essence FW for several seasons and it continues to be one of the most pleasant casting 9’ 8 weights I have thrown.  We also fished the 12’6” 6wt Reach Spey rod.  It was deadly for sockeye salmon and worked out well for a fair number of big trout and silvers.  Ross also added some new 5 and 6wt Reach rods to the line up that look interesting.

Leaping Silver Salmon on the Kenai RiverBeulah is a great company for switch and spey rods at a reasonable price. I fished the 11’7” 5wt Platinum Spey last season.  It quickly became my favorite trout rod for nymphing and swinging lighter streamers.  From the drift boat, it became the favored rod of any guest who fished it, and was responsible for landing some impressive fish throughout the season. I’ve had the pleasure of spending time on the Missouri River with Bruce Berry (pro staff/rep) for Beulah, and had my spey casting tuned up a bit.

Rio continues to offer the largest variety of specialty lines. I had great success with the clear intermediate Outbound.  I have also found that the 8wt Rio Grand works well as a switch line for spey casting with my 10’ 6wt XPs.  This year, Rio has added a Switch Line to their inventory, and I can’t wait to run it.  I just ordered the complete set of MOW (spey) Tips in the Medium and Heavy weights to cover all water levels and sinking tip needs.

Airflo – Ridge lines have become my standard on the trout rods and I love them.  I started using the Supple Impact last season.  The ridge design works very well and they are durable and perform day after day without constant attention.  They cast and fish like no other.  On the spey side, the Skagit Compact designed by my friend Tom Larimer is the bomb for launching sink tips.

Proudly wearing Simms WadersSimms – Simms is the king when it comes to the soft gear that I rely on day in and day out.  I can’t imagine working through the fishing season without them.  I use the G4 waders and jacket. I rotate several soft shells and the River Tech top is one of my all-time favorites.  The Rivershed Boot with the new streamtread soles has been my footwear of choice.  I like the long sleeved solarflex shirts for any day of the season.  They work for layering in cold weather and as the perfect sun shield layer when it gets hot.

What Else:

I’m becoming a regular contributor to Fish Alaska Magazine.  My third article is coming out in May, with others soon to follow.  Since you enjoy Alaska Fishing, you might enjoy checking out Fish Alaska’s interactive website.

Simms Fish BowlI’m heading down to Bozeman in a week for the 2011 Simms Ice Out Guide Event.  It was great fun last year and looks to be even more action packed this time around.  I look forward to meeting up with guide associates and friends from Alaska, Montana and around the country.

At the end of the month, I am flying to Florida to meet up with my buddy Captain Eric Lund.  Eric and two other guide associates will be hosting me along with a small party of Mystic Waters Fly Fishing guests.  We will be chasing Tarpon on-the-fly along with all the other inshore and flats glamor species.

Roland Martin

We will be staying on a property owned by Roland Martin.  Talk about legendary.  I can’t wait, and I’ll be providing blog and social media updates during and after the trip.

In 2012, we are planning a trip to the incredible bonefish flats of Andros South. We are also considering a Fly Fishing for Kings option in Western Alaska and of course Stacy will be dialed in for Baja.  Stay tuned and let us know if you would like us to put you on a list for specific details on any or all of these options.

Let’s Stay Connected

Kenai Moose CalvesIf you avoid all the social connectivity tools, you can still fire me an email or a text. Even if you are not planning to fish with Mystic Waters this season, I’d love to hear about where you are going.  If you have time to share a story from a previous trip, I’d love to hear about it and possibly use it for a new blog post.  I know there are lots of great stories and pictures out there among you.

Tight Lines and I hope to see you on the Mystic Waters very soon!

Mystic Waters Fly Fishing
Call or Text 907-227-0549
Website: http://www.mysticfishing.com
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Salmon Parr and Smolt for Alaska Fly Fishing: Part 3

This is the third part of my salmon cycle outline for Alaska Fly fishing.  This is not an in depth how to, but rather a sampler to get anglers thinking about ways to approach Alaskan trout throughout the season.

Salmon Parr are available to trout and Dolly Varden somewhere on a year-round basis.  During their first year, the little salmon are called fry.  Those that remain in a river or lake for more than a year are called Parr.  Each salmon species has slightly different requirements.  Sockeye fry typically migrate to lakes and feed on plankton and develop into larger Parr.  Coincidentally, many rainbows and dollies migrate into the lakes for the winter months.  King Salmon typically spend their youth in the main-stem of their natal river.  This makes them a target for larger trout throughout the summer.  Silver salmon behave like Kings their first year, but then often move up smaller tributaries and back waters where they will spend from one to three more years in relative safety.

The most obvious physical trait of salmon Parr are the vertical bars they exhibit called Parr markings.  These markings are important to note when creating streamers meant to imitate them.

Note the wounded (white spots) Parr.  They won’t last long…chomp.

Every spring, an amazing transformation takes place within the juvenile salmon.  The process is called smoltification.  Its a good word to know when one of your buddy’s starts spouting off the Latin name of some stupid bug.

“You see those terns diving? I’m guessing smoltification is in full swing.  The way they are pounding those aggregations suggests I should tumble a cripple off that shelf.”

Smoltificaiton is the internal metabolic process which enables the juvenile parr to adapt from fresh to salt water.  There is some kind of kidney function reverse osmosis thing going on.  At the onset, they become less territorial and begin forming aggregations, grouping themselves by similar size. During smoltification they will lose the dark vertical bars on their sides (Parr marks or river camo) and develop their metallic sheen (open water camouflage).

Salmon SmoltOutgoing smolt migrations generally occur in spring and early summer.  The window tends to get later and more concentrated further north in the salmon’s range.  In large rivers, outgoing smolt can concentrate in balls similar to saltwater baitfish such as herring.  Birds and hungry trout will not miss this opportunity and finding a smolt ball can lead to some very exciting fishing.

While smolt may rest in slower waters, it is important to understand that in the main current, smolt are moving downstream.  A deep swing across the current with a smolt fly pattern (steelhead style) is not the best way to imitate the migration.  Casting up and across and stripping with a downstream angle will be more realistic.  In fast water, it is often best to just drift your pattern as these little fella’s are going with the flow.

Kenai River Alaska June Rainbow

Smoltified Rainbow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next Up:  When the Adult Salmon Return

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This is part 2 in a series on understanding Alaska Fly Fishing, starting with the Salmon Cycle.  Alevin are not hugely important for most anglers, but are part of the complete picture.  As Alevin transition to become fry, their likelihood of becoming fish food for predators increases.

During the winter, the salmon eggs that survive are mixed within the gravel.  As time goes by, the eggs develop and hatch.  Alevin are the first stage.  Alevin are incomplete little fry still emerging from their egg sack.  In fact, some people refer to them as sac fry.  They are carrying their food supply (egg sac of yolk) attached to their bellies.  They generally do not leave the protection of the gravel until the yolk is absorbed.  However, trout sure seem to recognize alevin fly patterns, so a few must get washed around the stream bed from time to time.

While salmon alevin are primarily available to trout in late winter, the pattern can be effective well into June.  Beyond salmon, trout (which are basically resident salmon) have their own alevin stage.  I have found alevin patterns to work for both brown trout and rainbows on Montana waters in the spring.

An alevin is basically a pair of eyeballs with a yolk sack and slender body.  They are relative in size to the egg they are forming from.  They are capable of wriggling, but not able to swim quickly.  They are somewhat similar to nymphs in their ability to move.  As such, they are best imitated by dead drifting with either an indicator set up or sink tip.  Fish will also take them on a tight line after a good drift and on a moderate swing.

Kenai River Alaska Rainbow Trout

I eat salmon.

As spring unfolds, the alevin absorb their egg sac and begin to resemble a small fish.  They have now entered the fry stage.  With the exception of Pinks and Chums who migrate directly to the ocean as fry, the other salmon typically spend one or more years developing in fresh water.  This means that they are always available to trout and other predators in a variety of sizes.

When fry first emerge from the gravel, they seek the surface for a gulp of air to fill their swim bladders.  For this brief time, they are vulnerable just like emerging nymphs.  Because they are not yet strong swimmers, they stay to the edges and calmer waters.  Fry can often be seen in small clouds like baitfish in the ocean.  They are easy targets for trout and birds.  Fry patterns can be fished on floating lines and sink tips.  Drifting is best in moderate currents and strip retrieves along the edges of seams and even in slack water areas can be effective.  A simple productive fry pattern is the good old thunder creek.

On the next series post, we will be looking at salmon parr and smolts.  These larger morsels get serious attention from trout and dolly varden.

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One of the Kenai fatties Mike hooked today. Now Moose, Caribou, and Halibut with my friend Scott Sager along with Martin and Stacy.

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Sockeye spawn in full swing and the trout and dollies are gorging. Sometimes we excercise them with hard boiled eggs.

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First cast for silvers this year in my favorite hole. Fish on! The Cerwinka boys had a great day with some big rainbows, some chrome silvers and litterally dollies by the ton.

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38 degrees in the morning. T-shirt by 8:30. Sunny, warm and a savage dolly bite. A few nice rainbows. Tony D got a 29″ beauty. Grown men were playing like little boys in a fishing frenzy. Skilak Lake was glass on the west side. Early fall bliss.

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