Well, we thought we better give an update on the end of an amazing season on the Wild Alagnak River at ATA Lodge, in Bristol Bay, Alaska. We want to thank all of our fantastic clients that made this season one to remember! It's been a while since we've blogged about how things went this year, but that doesn't mean that we haven't had anything to share....just so little time since we've been so busy catching so many fish! :)
As we already mentioned in our last couple blog posts, we got a huge run of Sockeye Salmon this year; with tens and even hundreds of thousands coming in every day during the month of July and into early August. Here you can see an amazing shot of two fresh, chrome sockeye making their way up to their spawning grounds miles up river.
After traveling past and surviving the commercial and subsistence fishing nets, not to mention a whole host of hungry critters all intent on making them their next meal, including Orcas, Seals, Salmon Sharks, Brown Bears, Wolves, Otters and Eagles - our pair of salmon have transformed into something almost unrecognizable! They have changed shape and color, and they now compete on the spawning beds to complete the task that has brought them back to these waters - to reproduce the next generation of fish that will continue to support this amazing ecosystem for years to come!
Together with the sockeye, the Alagnak River gets strong runs of all five species of Pacific Salmon. Here you see a nice buck Silver Salmon (Coho), which has also started to change in to its spawning colors as it has been in fresh water for a couple weeks.
But it's not only the fishermen competing to catch these fish. We have to be aware that we share the river (and the fish), with "neighbors" who depend upon the salmon runs for their survival.
Indeed, we got to see many bears patrolling the banks of the river looking for their next meal, including this beautiful blonde bear which I photographed just behind our house!
Here you see two other species of salmon, (Chum and Pink Salmon), that come in to our system in big numbers in late July through August.
Both of these types of salmon are aggressive and hard fighting fish! We had days when there was hardly 5 minutes that passed that our rods were not bent under the strain of these incredible salmon.
The great thing about having all these salmon in the river (apart from having the chance of catching them), is that they all start to drop their eggs in the river as they start to spawn. These eggs provide an amazing food source for our resident fish, like this big, beautiful Leopard Rainbow Trout! During this time, the fishing for Trout, Arctic Char and Arctic Grayling really heats up once the "egg drop" is on!
With all this fishing action, fortunately, we have comfortable, river front cabins where you can relax and unwind and take in the beauty of your surroundings while you recuperate your strength for the next day's fishing!
And you'll need your strength as you can expect more of the same thing day after day - more fish than you can imagine one river can hold.
Even later in August and on into September, the Silver Salmon fishing just keeps getting better! We have fresh runs of Silver Salmon that continue well into the month of September!
It's hard to know which to go for at times - do you keep fishing for salmon, or do you change tactics and target the Rainbow Trout or Dolly Varden that are also abundant and so much fun to catch?
Or do you put your fishing rod down altogether and grab your camera to capture images that you will cherish for years to come of the prolific wildlife that you will encounter during your days on the water.
This is a river of incredible diversity, not just the wildlife, but the types of fish you can catch in a single day. It is not unusual to catch 6 or more different species of fish in one day! And who wouldn't want to catch an Arctic Char like in this photograph below? These fish are mesmerizing to look at in their bright spawning colors as well as being a handful to catch!
And that is one of the great things about the late season fishing. The colors of the fish are vivid and amazing to look at (not to mention making for some great photos)!
On even numbered years, like 2016, we get a huge run of over 1 million Pink Salmon which are also called "Humpies" for the obvious hump the males develop on their back once they have entered the fresh water! This is a great time to bring families as you will be assured of catching more fish than you could ever imagine, making it a great time for younger children to develop a real appreciation of the great outdoors.
Remember I told you about all those Sockeye Salmon that run up the Alagnak in July? Well, by August they have moved up to the lakes and beyond, staging to run up the tributaries were they will spawn the next generation. This picture was taken in the lake, at the mouth of a creek amidst literally acres of Red Salmon that were all waiting to run up the creek.
So if you think that you'd like to experience this amazing place and all it has to offer, our family is waiting to welcome you and make you feel right at home at ATAL....A True Alaska Lodge!
If you would like to find out more information about how you can book your trip of a lifetime, contact us over our website at www.atalodge.com; or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or just pick up the phone and call toll free on 877 801 2289. We'd love to discuss with you how to turn your dreams of an Alaska Adventure in to reality!
NB - We want to thank Fish Eye Guy Photography and Fly Bum Media for sharing some of their amazing photos they took during their time with us at ATAL!