Nature Can Be A Real Mother: Nushagak River Alaska

As Portland, Oregon set a record for the wettest month of June ever, we were packing our rod tubes and coolers and headed north to Alaska’s famed Nushagak River to capture first-hand knowledge to complete a website for Travis Moncrief’s Fins Feathers Furs Nushagak King Camp. View it here: www.finsfeathersfurs.net.

Checking the iphone weather everyday for weeks wasn’t providing much hope that the weather would be cooperating. Rain every day was the forecast. Ten hours after leaving Portland we stepped off the plane in Dillingham. It wasn’t bug spray we needed to apply. It was sunscreen. To our surprise, the first four days were nothing but blue skies, 20 hours of sunshine and no wind. There’s nothing quite like an Alaskan sunburn.

Our dates of June 19 – June 25 were well targeted to hit the historical peak of the run, but as nature often does, she changed the schedule on everyone without even so much as issuing a memo. Fishing was still better than anything you’d fine in the lower 48 with 15 to 25 kings per day, per boat, but trips of years past have produced 100 fish days.

Personally, I was hoping to see some bears. I have an odd fascination with these dominant predators, but they were all still high in the mountains and hadn’t started their journey to the riverbanks to feast on salmon. Maybe they knew the fish were going to be late. I did manage to stampede a moose, aka Swamp Donkey, right through the middle of camp. She was moving too fast for any photos.

When the Kings really get moving, Luhr Jensen Kwikfish in the smaller sizes of k13 and k15 are my personal favorites to fish. We’d come prepared with small collection of never-been-fished-before UV coated Kwikfish. While they swam perfectly and hooked up a several times, it was the larger k16′s that were producing the big fish.

The new Luhr Jensen UV Kwikfish did find their way into some photos, we’re just not sure where these shots may come in useful.

The fishing improved everyday and as we boarded the plane, the concensus from all was that the next week would be lights out fishing. But two days later, much to everyone’s shock, the Nushagak was closed to all King salmon retention and bait. The sonar counts were not as predicted and biologist were frantically trying to fax and email Mother Nature for answers.

Till next time…

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