July has been a blast! We have had a full house every week, with lots of happy clients catching more fish than they ever imagined possible! The month started out with the Sockeye Salmon arriving a few days later than anticipated, but as per normal, when they did arrive, they arrived in huge numbers.
We experienced one of the biggest runs in history and it is still going on the first week of August! I've heard reports that over 60 million Sockeye Salmon returned to Bristol Bay watersheds this year, and here on the Alagnak Wild River we got our fair share of them too!
Sockeye are not only numerous but also represent one of the best eating salmon on the planet! Many a shore lunch was enjoyed by clients on the banks of the river! It doesn't get much better than eating salmon just caught an hour or less before filleting them and frying them in a cast iron skillet only a day or two since they entered the river from the ocean!
We had the privilege of having Paul, Christy and Jet Worsteling of IFISH Tackleworld here together with their film crew to do some filming during July too! It was fun spending time on the river with them helping put together 7 episodes that will be aired in a few months time on Australian Television! So watch this space for links to promos and links to the shows once they begin to air!
These Salmon have a tough go of it, with everything wanting to eat them! Once they have survived the 3-4 years spent avoiding salmon sharks, orcas, porpoise, sea lions and seals in the salt water; they run the gauntlet up the river and have to get past, eagles, bears, river otters and even wolves! This fish fell to one of our flies while filming, after obviously narrowly escaping a hungry bear!
The King Salmon fishing has been exceptional during the later part of the month as well, with a number of Alagnak River Monsters being landed, and many more hooked and lost! We have one of the best runs of King Salmon (also known as Chinook Salmon) anywhere in Alaska! We release 100% of all our King Salmon to ensure this amazing fishery continues to improve and stays strong for many generations to come.
While many other rivers and regions in Alaska face challenging conditions regarding King Salmon, we continue to see good numbers of fish and have never seen any closures or other restrictions as most of the rest of the state faces. It's hard to describe how hard these big fish fight once hooked.
We try to hold them in the pool with big 10 wt rods and heavy duty reels and line, but sometimes we have to jump in the boat and pull anchor to chase them a mile or two down stream before landing them. On more than one occasion this season, entire fly lines were lost as fish to big and powerful were fought until the line parted deep in the backing under the strain of their weight and strength.
We really enjoyed having Chas Glatzer of Shoot the Light Photography as well as Kevin Dooley of Idube Photo Safaris who both held Wildlife Photography Workshops during two different weeks in July to photograph the "Bear Show" that takes place each season on the river as they chase the salmon too! This photo of one of the more acrobatic bears we often see, was taken by Kevin up at the Gorge while here!
Jeff Morrison who was part of Kevin's group got this great shot on a fly out to Brooks Falls which has been a popular destination this season for many of our guests!
Yves Perrault who was with Chas during his week here, captured this amazing moment when a baby moose narrowly escaped being eaten by a hungry bear on the river just upstream for the lodge!
This moose calf was very fortunate to escape the jaws of this bear that had been on the island the baby moose had swum over to. High drama on the Alagnak Wild River!
The film crew with IFISH worked very hard everyday to capture the essence of what it means to come and spend a week at ATA Lodge! We are really looking forward to seeing the final results of all the effort they put in every day to show the world what an amazing and magical place the Alagnak Wild River really is!
I was really pleased that Sue was able to join us on a day out with the film crew. They started with a short interview at the lodge before hitting the river.
After that Sue and I had a fun day out on a trip up to the Nonvianuk Lake where we were able to catch sockeye that had arrived at the mouth of a small stream that feeds into the lake. The whole day was captured on film. We started out by first catching rainbow trout at the mouth of the lake and then ended off fishing for the sockeye which had already transformed into a completely different looking fish as they prepare to spawn.
The bright silver bullets now had green heads and bright crimson red bodies as they were in full spawning colors! It would be hard to believe that they are the same species if you didn't already know that they went through this dramatic transformation!
It was a great day to be in such a remote and beautiful part of Alaska. We didn't see another person all day long and had both the entire river and lake all to ourselves.
The Chum run has been in full swing as well from about the middle of the month and lots of really big Chum Salmon have succumbed to our guest's flashy flies swung in front of them.
By the end of July we started to see the beginning of the Pink Salmon run as well, which is now in full swing with huge numbers of Pinks flooding into the river on every tide. This beautiful fresh run pink was caught 35 miles from the salt and still had sea lice on it! These fish are very aggressive and will attack any fly that comes close to them (especially if its pink)!
We are proud of our resource with its amazing diversity of fish and wildlife. All set in the most stunning of settings on Alaska's first ever designated Wild and Scenic River! The Alagnak River draws anglers and outdoor lovers from across the globe. We have had clients from Australia, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Liechtenstein, Sweden, Norway, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada and the US all come to experience their Alaskan Trip of a Lifetime!
Many have already re-booked to come back again next season! This season we are 95% full and already over 60% booked in 2019. There are even confirmed bookings in 2020 and 2021 with 2 weeks sold out in 2020 already!
So if you've been dreaming of ticking that Alaska Fishing Trip you've always dreamed of off your Bucket List, send me an email at email@example.com to discuss availability and get your name in the books as soon as possible!