Fish Alaska's 2017 Fishing Report
for the Mat-Su Valley

Check back for updates from around the state all summer! Submit your local fishing reports here, be sure to include all pertinent information.
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Mike Lunde
June 24-26, 2017

MAT-SU KINGS 

Into the second week of the weekend-only regulations for the Susitna River watershed, Chinook salmon fishing heated up with escapement numbers increasing as both headwater tributary and interconnecting tributary spawners passed through the lower Susitna thereby providing awesome fishing opportunities. Willow Creek northbound to Clear Creek off the Talkeetna River provided exceptional fishing despite higher water conditions contributed from heavy rain on Saturday night. Sheep Creek fished well on Sunday morning with 4-feet of visibility until water levels increased with clarity diminished to a mere 6-inches to a foot at most.  After a mid-afternoon napping session, we departed Sheep and headed southbound towards Willow Creek. Armed with a 12-weight single hand and two Spey set-ups, a 14-foot 9/10 Loomis NRX and a 13-foot 10-weight Sage One, we methodically swung our way through the long-run adjacent to the silt-line. Royal blue/chartreuse and black/blue color combinations on Prom Dresses and Synthetic Intruders provided all the action on Sunday and Monday. Efficient sink-tips used were 10-foot tips of T-14 and T-17, and a 7.5-foot tip of T-8 which worked very well on shallower, moderate-depth runs. In addition to fly fishing, the conventional crew shined well also with a combination of corky and Spin N’ Glo drift rig presentations. Two corkies rigged to a 30-pound leader and #4/0 octopus hook with chartreuse or orange yarn was the idea rigging set-up for spinning or baitcasting rods. Over the course of the weekend, we experienced around 25 hook-ups with the largest fish landed a 44” X 24” female that weighed approximately 36-pounds estimated from the girth formula (length X girth squared / 740). We witnessed other 30- to 40-pound size classes landed and long, hard fought battles with 50-pound plus battle bruisers. Overall everyone had a good time chatting and hooking kings throughout the entire day. This upcoming weekend should be very good with a legitimate shot at landing a trophy king over 40 to 50-plus pounds. Monitor the water conditions throughout the week on the USGS website to predetermine your fishing game plan so you can select appropriate sink-tips, pick the proper color combinations for flies, corkies, and Spin N Glos, as well as a high-performance landing net. Beaching the monsters is a quite the daunting task without a net. Most anglers have a net nearby, so most anglers are willing to help anyone out in need, so don’t be afraid to ask. Tight lines and best of luck on your quest to be crowned king this season.

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Mike Lunde
June 16-23, 2017

Mat-Su Valley Kings 

King salmon escapement numbers continue to build throughout the Susitna River system with great action occurring on the Little Susitna northbound to Montana Creek located just outside the town of Talkeetna. Boat anglers in the Deshka are experiencing great action on spin N’ Glo rigs connected to fresh cured salmon eggs rigged on heavy powered baitcasting or spinning tackle. Use heavy 50- to 65-pound braid connected to a fluorocarbon leader for best results when using this technique. Although water levels remain relatively low and clear, their currents speeds are exceptional at presenting both fly fisherman and conventional anglers with excellent drifting opportunities to present a fly or lure into a frustrated king. The popular Matsu streams – Willow, Sheep, and Montana Creeks are fishing excellent as of now. We fished these streams last weekend with Spey rods swinging the lower river runs and silt-line of the mainstem Susitna River with blue/chartreuse and black/blue colored Intruder-style flies or Prom Dresses. Occasional slow action was experienced during the mid to late afternoons, particularly under bright bluebird sunny skies, yet don’t get discouraged. When this scenario occurs, feel free to experiment with multiple color combinations or other fly profiles to get struck. The same methodical approach also applies to conventional gear. Switch out to smaller or larger sized spin N’ Glos or corky rigs. Additionally, throw in a color switch if fancasting plugs and in-line spinners such as #5 and #6 Vibrax’s. Our group landed 13 kings this past weekend at Willow and Sheep. The two largest fish were a 43” X 25” male and a 42” x 23” female. Average size Matsu kings this season is running solid with a weight class in the upper 20-pound range. Fly fishermen must pay close attention to their sink-tips so they don’t end up bottom dredging the bottom. Best tips over past week have been a 10-foot tip of T-14 and 7.5-foot tip of T-8 in slower, shallower flows. Since conditions change daily, experiment with multiple tips until you start hooking up with fish. These fish in particular are interested in biting flies suspended in the water column just above or in proximity to the bottom. The same presentation also applies to anglers casting plugs and spinners. Remember that all the Matsu streams have switched to weekend only regulations (Sat-Mon), so fishing during the middle of the week is prohibited. Also, time-restricted regulations are also enforced with fishing for kings allowed from 6 AM to 11 PM.  Best of luck fishing this weekend and stay safe. We will provide another fishing report after the conclusion of this weekend. Tight lines!!

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Mike Lunde
June 8, 2017

King salmon fishing opportunities for Susitna River tributaries alongside the Parks Highway are increasing day to day as we approach the middle of the month. Boatside anglers targeting the Deshka have reported fair action backtrolling plugs at the mouth where it dumps into the Susitna. Several miles upstream, fly fisherman have reported action swinging Intruder-style flies in moderate to deep runs. Earliest king action alongside the Parks Highway where boats are not required has occurred since the 3rd week of May. At present, anglers are reporting some success with best fishing occurring from 6AM to 9AM and again from 7PM to the 11PM closure. Remember that all Susitna River tributaries are time-restricted. A recent excursion to the lower Parks Highway tributaries resulted in a 2 for 4 performance with 2 30-plus pound dime bright females landed. Effective fly patterns used were Prom Dress Intruders and Marabou Intruders in blue/chartreuse and black/blue as these color combinations seem to be the dominant color schemes for early-run fish.  Frequently experiment with sink-tips of various lengths and sink rates as water conditions change on a daily basis. I witnessed an angler below me lose a 50-plus pounder on a blue/chartreuse Intruder last week. This is an excellent time to hook into a trophy as the larger size classes have to migrate further upstream to reach their headwater spawning grounds. Rain is forecasted for most of this week in Southcentral, so it is highly recommended to check the USGS website for stream information (water temp, flow rates, and gauge height) in order to preplan your fishing trip. Tight lines and best of luck on your quest to be crowned king for the 2017 season. 

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