SAO Pages

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Jet Lagged Confessions - Alaska Style Part 4

In the last installment of "Jet Lagged Confessions," I said that I would move onto fish and fowl, but that is going to have to wait as I forgot a few more fish.  So, bear with me (no pun intended) as we look at a couple of more fish topics.

One thing seems near certain from my experiences in Alaska and that is that there are Rainbow Trout in just about every stream and river an angler can find.  Now, that may not be the absolute truth, but is often the case.  In earlier blogs, I highlighted some of the slob bows that call the Naknek River home  during select seasons of the year.  In this blog however, we are going to look at the bows caught in some of the smaller streams of the area.  Each river seems to have its own unique kind of bow....some silvery, some peppered, some in between....each one unique, or so it seems.

Good friend Jim Barger fishes the flows of the famous Brooks River.  He is
joined by a regular who knows his way around the place like nobody else.
 Jim comes up with a fish while guide Eric assists.  Everyone else just watches for bears.

The Brooks River is just one of a bunch of rivers loaded with Rainbows and this year the river was on fire!  Big bows and lots of them were to be had.  Most beaded, but those who came prepared absolutely killed them on the swung flies!

SAO guide/host Ben Barger holds a solid Brooks Bow as Eric (NRC Guide) looks on.

SAO guide/host Patrick Robinson poses with a nice Brooks River
Bow that took a swung fly...loads of fun on a 5wt for sure.
The fish don't get much nicer than this on the Brooks River.  Way to get it done Ben!
 The bows aren't just limited to the Brooks, but can also be found in a myriad of other streams in the area.  Below are some bows caught in small stream off of Naknek Lake.

Leif with a solid Rainbow Trout
Jim Barger poses with a healthy Rainbow of his own.
Leif shows how beautiful these fish can be with the "leopard" spotting that some
fish have!  This was the prettiest fish of the day no doubt!
Along with Rainbows, many of these streams have healthy populations of Arctic Grayling.  Notorious for the spectacular dorsal fins they display, they are very willing to take beads, streamers, and are even a willing taker of dry flies!

Ok, so it's time for my confession....I know that many people are annoyed with catching these fish because it keeps them from the Rainbows that lay around them, but I must confess that I love fishing for these fish!  I am one who loves the beauty of fish.  That means that I want to catch all the species I can just to see the beauty they each contain.  Therefore, I must say that I love catching these things....especially on a dry fly!

The day we went to a small creek off Naknek Lake, I opted to take the days warm up to throw dries for these beautiful fish and came up time and again with Arctic beauties!

Patrick shows off a dry fly caught Arctic Grayling.
The boys show off a nice triple fish moment with a Grayling right in the middle.
Leif hits a slob of a Grayling on a bead...everything eats beads in Alaska!
A close up of one of my Grayling....pretty fish in their own right!
Ken shows off a very nice Grayling caught on a small creek in the middle of nowhere Alaska. This place was a goldmine for both the Arctic Grayling and Char!
Jim and guide James Johnson share a very nice Grayling moment in the rain.
 Fishing the small streams of Alaska is always exciting and dull moments are seemingly nowhere to be found.  That is part of what I like about going to Alaska!  The small streams are nearly endless to choose from.

If you want to see some underwater video of these fish in film we shot last year, go to our "Hosted Trips" page and watch the Contact Creek will know these little fish when you see them underwater for sure.  I like to think of them as the sailfish of freshwater....albeit a bit smaller.

Until next time, tight lines...and remember to find the beauty in each fish!

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Jet Lagged Confessions - Alaska Style Part 3

 Well, it's been a busy fall season and now that the holidays have arrived, I am going to finish up some blogging that slipped out of my schedule a couple months back.  Let's see, where were we?  We covered my love for Arctic Char, the fun of Alaskan Rainbow Trout, so let's pick up with part 3 which is all about the Silver Salmon.....and although it is one day late, I will reiterate the words of my UK friend Wayne who said, CO HO HO Merry Christmas!  I do hope each of you had a great day with friends and family and are getting some nice down time.

Getting back to Alaska, each year we head up to the Bristol Bay region Silvers are a targeted species but more so in August than in September.  This years trip was scheduled for September so big trout were the target, but much to our surprise, when we arrived, their were still fresh runs of Silvers coming in every day.  Not wanting to miss out on this fun, we decided to give chase and hunt down these anadromous beasts that were pulsing in with each tide.  As luck would have it, they weren't hard to find and were very willing to play!

Good friend and client Bill gets on the board with an average size fish.
Bill and I had a chance to spend some good time together on the water while there in Alaska, and much to our pleasure, the fish were often times liking our presentations.  Bill is always a great comrade to fish with as he doesn't take things too seriously.  Don't misunderstand that to mean that he isn't serious about his fishing, because nothing could be further from the truth.  He is however willing to laugh at himself and others when necessary and be thankful for the grab that didn't go his way.  That being the case, we had a couple of stellar days together and this is a just a few shots from that time.

SAO Guide/Host Patrick Robinson holds a colored up Silver Salmon on Big Creek.
Bill with a nice chrome fish to take home.  Hot pink always seems to do the trick!
A nice buck Silver Salmon poses for a nice shot with Patrick.
A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work....but a good day fishing is even better!
We weren't the only guys to get out after the Silvers while there on the Naknek River system.  Whether it was us, other lodges, seals or bears, everyone had taken notice that Silvers were still pulsing in and found time to go after them.

SAO Guide/Host Ben Barger hammered a very nice buck on his day up Big Creek.
Leif was a great guy to fish with and the fish thought so too!  Many fish were caught like this one...including the seal slash (see tail area).  But we weren't picky at all.
All in all, the week or two I was there in camp the Silver fishing was surprisingly good.  In fact, it was phenomenal!  Of all the clients in camp, I don't think anyone went without catching at least a couple silvers with numerous guys catching several limits (5 fish daily) throughout the week.

It just goes to show you that these fish don't run based on the calendar pay attention to your lunar/solar charts and other reports, because that could just make your "normal" week in camp look a little bit different than it normally does and that is the beauty of Alaska...there is always a surprise in store!

Next time we will look at a few different topics from fish to fowl and everything in between.  For those interested in hitting Alaska with us, we are making our return in September of next year on the same week as we have been several times previously.  We didn't make these dates public until just a few days ago via Facebook due to our high rebook rate.  If you are interested, we are heading back to Naknek River Camp for the week of September 7-14, 2012.  Email Patrick Robinson at for more information on how you can get on the team for this awesome trip.

To see some video of past trips, go to the "Hosted Trips" page.  If that doesn't get you excited I don't know what will.

Tight Lines,

Patrick "Flybum" Robinson
Head Guide
Steelhead Alley Outfitters