red salmon

Tackling One of Alaska’s Premier Sockeye Rivers

By Lance Irving and Charlie Summerville

Alaska’s salmon are known for spectacular aerial acrobatics, knuckle-busting runs, and fine table fare. And none of the Pacific salmon exemplify this stereotype more than the sockeye, or red, salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka). In the month of July, over 600,000 reds will return to the Alagnak River in southwest Alaska and migrate upriver into the headwater lakes and streams of Katmai country. During the migration this multitude of sockeye are accessible to anglers in huge numbers. The chrome coloration of the salmon in the ocean is retained throughout the first part of their upstream migration, as is the fine dining quality of their flesh. And this is precisely when the discerning angler wants to catch them.

Catching a fresh sockeye salmon on a fly rod is always an experience of the more memorable variety, and usually one that borders on the breathtaking. The techniques used to catch chrome-bright sockeye on a fly rod are simple in nature, and with a bit of practice or instruction, they can be mastered quickly. However, as in real estate, location is everything. This content is available for subscribers only.

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