His Majesty!


Traveler 6
Creel 8
Gear Bag 10
Fishing for a Compliment 14
Salmon Sense 18
Fly 22
Boats 24
Saltwater 34
Stillwater 36
Conservation 38
Fish For the Future 40
Recipe 92
Online 94
Advertiser Index 97
Final Drift 98


Bouncing with the Hangback Circle
by Francis Estalilla, MD 42

With catch-and-release king fishing becoming more and more popular, and in many instances, mandated, doing so with minimal hooking mortality is the conscientious thing to do. The hangback-circle rig, whether backbounced or backtrolled, with or without bait, achieves lower hooking mortality than typical J-hooks while providing an impressive hook-to-land ratio. Francis tells you how to do it.

Backtrolling for Big Kings
by JD Richey 54

“If you’re looking to target the biggest, baddest king salmon in the river this summer, backtrolling plugs is the way to go,” according to JD. From flatlining and backbouncing, to the gear needed to score, JD tells you how to take advantage of a Chinook’s seeming hatred for wiggling plugs invading their space.

Long Rod King Tactics
by George Krumm 64

Regarding Pacific salmon, Chinook are the biggest of the big, the baddest of the bad. Catching one on fly gear is a special accomplishment. Specific gear and techniques are necessary, and George Krumm shares his experience with two techniques and the equipment used for each.

Spring Halibut & Kings in Cook Inlet
by Rudy Tsukada 74

Kayak fishing for king salmon and halibut is totally doable in Alaska’s lower Cook Inlet. Rudy Tsukada shares his experience targeting both species from a ‘yak. A daily limit of one king and two halibut is certainly possible, and is a great way to start your open-water season.

Four Kings per Day
by Joe Byers 84

In this day of limited abundance, there are still places where Chinook bag limits are liberal. Some of the terminal fisheries, with large numbers of bonkable hatchery kings, can provide great fishing and full fish boxes. Joe Byers relays his experience fishing for kings in Blind Slough near Petersburg.


COVER / Noel Estalilla prepares to release a personal-best 52-inch Kenai tidewater king caught in late July while backtrolling a naked (no bait) Flash & Spin Cheater. © Francis Estalilla