Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: Coho Float Questions

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    163

    Default Coho Float Questions

    Hi everyone, planning a multi-day coho float and have some questions I am hoping you all can help with. I have used the forum search a lot and have spent hours combing through Google results and YouTube videos (people really need to learn how to hold fish they are releasing without touching the gills!), so the basics have been covered thoroughly. Thank you to people such as Dantherock and AlaskaHippie among others for all of the information, links, and experience.

    Background information:

    This is round two targeting Cohos, the first trip is documented on this forum and while I caught a TON of fish, only one was a coho. We went back for Halibut and Pinks and slammed them, but I have a score to settle with the cohos.

    Goal - Wilderness camp and float, catch Coho, dollies, and char (plus whatever else is available). Prefer less popular places. Class III or below.

    Area - Narrowed down to the standard, recommended easy floats, that also sound and look productive, out of Iliamna / Bethel / Dillingham / Lake Creek.

    Timing - This is a confusing topic for me. I read that these places claim their runs are consistent at the end of August and are over by mid-September. This is the same information I had in the past for other areas of AK which did not work out. I also read how these reports are for the lodges in the tidewater and that if we would like the salmon throughout the river, and it is better to wait until later (plus if the fish show late, you are still on time). Then I read another post/article/blog that says this area of AK is known for it's cohos to run in August and mid-September is very late.

    Questions/Topics/Advice I am looking for:

    Are any of these rivers known for better or worse coho runs?
    Are any rivers in these areas no good for what I am looking at (for instance I read that the Holitna has no dollies)?
    Should I be concerned or planning around an up or down year cycle for the fish?
    Am I correct about the timing? Thinking...come the 1st-2nd week of September and the salmon "should" be throughout the river system not just in the lower 1/4? Or is this going to be very late?

    Any other tips, advice, or anything based on what I'm looking to accomplish?

    Thank you for any and all help!!

  2. #2
    Member DannerAK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Whiskey River
    Posts
    1,246

    Default

    I would first choose a river and if it was me wanting to target coho specifically, I'd choose the Goodnews and I'd go sometime between the 3rd week of August and 2nd week of September. Anytime in there you should be good. Later in that time frame the fish will be more spread throughout the drainage. Wog all day. Water levels play a role.
    "The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"

  3. #3
    Member FishGod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Fishing your hole before you get there
    Posts
    2,136

    Default

    The Karluk River would be worth looking into.
    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

  4. #4

    Default

    Considering my best day ever for silvers was on the Togiak River the last week of August, guess what I'm going to recommend!!!!!

  5. #5
    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Beaver Fork
    Posts
    3,944

    Default

    On any of the Western Alaska Rivers, launching on the third week of August is my favorite time for Coho. Generally they’ll be from the headwaters to the saltwater in that time frame.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    163

    Default

    Thank you for the replies. I can list the rivers I'm interested in if it helps (they are definitely not secrets) but figured most people can identify them based on the criteria of Class <III water and the areas I've named.

    @DannerAK, the GoodNews is one of the final 6 on my current list. Fits all of the criteria I am looking for and looks like a straightforward float. Have you been down it in the last couple of years? Any advice?

    @FishGod, very cool, checked out the Karluk and it is not ideal for me (bears, length, river size, etc.). Looks like a great place to fish, float, and camp. One day I will spend some time on Kodiak just not this trip.

    @NorcalBob, Togiak is on the long list but I had not done much research on it yet. Will take a deeper look into it. What does "best day" mean? (everyone is different so I'm just asking for more details!) How was the other fishing? When did you go? Did you see other groups?

    @AlaskaHippie, this is very helpful. I am really concerned about arriving too early. Is it true that these rivers run a little earlier than the peninsula or SE? A lot of your past posts really helped me narrow down the area/rivers. For a research monkey, I appreciate it!

  7. #7

    Default

    <<<What does "best day" mean? (everyone is different so I'm just asking for more details!) How was the other fishing? When did you go? Did you see other groups?>>>
    I'm mainly a fly flinger and silvers are my main salmon quarry in AK. Been doing it since the 1980's, everything from deluxe fly out camps, on-river tent camps, the roadside network, to remote river floats. I'm not gonna discuss specific numbers, because that depends on your skill level, river conditions, run timing, and many other factors that change on a daily basis and numbers really don't mean a lot. I define "excellent" silver fishing as more than 20 silvers landed a day. And I set a personal best for silvers on the Togiak the last week of August that was much higher than that daily number. But then again, my guide put me in the right spot at the right time so YMMV! When I silver fish, I rarely pursue other species on that same day, and I'm fishing prime water for silvers, so I can't comment on other fish (unless you include chums and there were a few in the mix). There were a few other groups, mainly lodge based, on the Togiak, but I wouldn't characterize it as crowded. It appears to be a non-technical river to float, but I was guided on the Togiak (so maybe my opinion don't count), but I personally would be quite confident myself floating it. I don't know your river/rowing skills sooooooooooo.........

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    163

    Default

    haha, thanks Bob, that puts it into perspective! Although I wouldn't expect to duplicate someone else's trip, I will check out more about the river

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    163

    Default

    Ok, after filtering out more rivers it's down to 3, all flowing from TNWR. However, a chance at "real" remoteness could change this

    Which brings me to my next question. Looking at the SW rivers I get the feeling that we will not be the only ones there and chances are the preceding week(s) there will have been a number of guides, travelers, and possibly jet boats up and down as well. While understandable, it's not really the experience that I am 100% looking for. Given I do have some constraints on this trip, such as not going so far north (no Nome, Brooks range, or ANWR for instance) maybe it's possible I cannot get as remote as I hoped. Thought I would ask though...Does anyone here have any suggestions for rivers matching my criteria but might be very isolated/remote? We are looking to go ~50-60 miles over 7 days.

    As for some of the suggestion in this thread already, how far up river can the jet boats go on the Good News or the Togiak? Do these lodges close for the season on labor day (tried checking website but no dice)?

    Thanks again!

  10. #10

    Default

    IMNSHO, if your primary goal is total solitude and wilderness, I'd stay away from the "famous" rivers. And all of the places mentioned here so far are "famous" rivers. For the most part, I prefer fishing quality and success over solitude, so I'm not of much help here. And if I did have a favorite river that no one fishes, I certainly wouldn't be talking about it and advertising it on the interwebs.

  11. #11
    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Beaver Fork
    Posts
    3,944

    Default

    Jet boats are common on Togiak all the way to the lake. On the Goodnews I’ve seen one Village boat at the lake in 10 years. The canyon generally is the furthest powerboats go.
    Togiak is a bigger river, hence more traffic, Goodnews is wayyyyy smaller, especially the upper half.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    163

    Default

    Thank you both. I suspected based on everything I was reading that these rivers were not quite what I was hoping/dreaming. One thing that should have given it away was several places offering all of the equipment, plus services, GPS coordinates and all, etc. all in one. While this is really cool and I might take that route on one hand, on the other I can see how it opens the opportunities up to a lot of people that would not otherwise have the gumption to execute on a trip like this.

    Sometimes in life it's a lot about managing expectations and your answers are both helpful and insightful

    These rivers, including others not named but in the general area, all look awesome. I'm positive we would have a really fun time and still might end up on one of them. For sure we prefer fly fishing the smaller rivers.

    Think before we commit I will spend a bit more time researching. I'm ok with putting in a little keyboard work

  13. #13
    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Beaver Fork
    Posts
    3,944

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FishnPhil View Post
    Thank you both. I suspected based on everything I was reading that these rivers were not quite what I was hoping/dreaming. One thing that should have given it away was several places offering all of the equipment, plus services, GPS coordinates and all, etc. all in one. While this is really cool and I might take that route on one hand, on the other I can see how it opens the opportunities up to a lot of people that would not otherwise have the gumption to execute on a trip like this.

    Sometimes in life it's a lot about managing expectations and your answers are both helpful and insightful

    These rivers, including others not named but in the general area, all look awesome. I'm positive we would have a really fun time and still might end up on one of them. For sure we prefer fly fishing the smaller rivers.


    Think before we commit I will spend a bit more time researching. I'm ok with putting in a little keyboard work
    Neither the Goodnews nor the Togiak are crowded. You’ll be hard pressed finding a float that guarantees you won’t see anyone else, if you do find one, there’s a reason why it’s got nobody else on it. Too technical or too inaccessible, no decent fishing, etc.
    There are other options of course, I’d be happy to offer some ideas if you wanna shoot me a PM
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaHippie View Post
    Neither the Goodnews nor the Togiak are crowded. You’ll be hard pressed finding a float that guarantees you won’t see anyone else, if you do find one, there’s a reason why it’s got nobody else on it. Too technical or too inaccessible, no decent fishing, etc.
    There are other options of course, I’d be happy to offer some ideas if you wanna shoot me a PM
    I second what AH said. Some good advice there. Alaska is wonderful and magical, but it ain't every thing.

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    163

    Default

    Everything you guys are saying makes sense. There's no telling when someone else might have the same idea to go to the same place, about the same time, especially when it's to a river that is known to have salmon runs...and the rivers with strong salmon runs are all pretty well known.

    Speaking about the more famous rivers, as plan B, the Goodnews or Arolik both seem good smaller river options in the area. On the upper Arolik (or the smaller creek you put in on normally) would we see any salmon? Based on the description, pictures, and potentially raft dragging, seems like it might be limited to resident grayling.

    @AlaskaHippie, I'll shoot you a PM for sure, thanks! Have an idea or two I'd like your opinion on also.

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FishnPhil View Post
    Everything you guys are saying makes sense. There's no telling when someone else might have the same idea to go to the same place, about the same time, especially when it's to a river that is known to have salmon runs...and the rivers with strong salmon runs are all pretty well known.

    Speaking about the more famous rivers, as plan B, the Goodnews or Arolik both seem good smaller river options in the area. On the upper Arolik (or the smaller creek you put in on normally) would we see any salmon? Based on the description, pictures, and potentially raft dragging, seems like it might be limited to resident grayling.

    @AlaskaHippie, I'll shoot you a PM for sure, thanks! Have an idea or two I'd like your opinion on also.
    I have never fished the Arolik. Many of my friends have. Yes, it has silvers, I've seen their pictures. Based on what I believe to be your primary goal of solitude and wilderness, IMNSHO, it might be a better choice for you. IMNSHO, I'd PM AH like he offered, he has a lot more experience than me on these "less famous" rivers. And it won't get blabbed all over the interwebs, like this will. Like I said earlier, my primary focus is on the fishing quality and less so on solitude and wilderness. That's probably due to the fact that I'm a former USNPS Ranger and I have had plenty of solitude and wilderness in my life.

  17. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    163

    Default

    Thank you NorcalBob. A ranger, that sounds like living the dream! It's tough to say what is higher on the priority list, solitude or fishing, but they are #1 and #2 one way or another. The Arolik doesn't seem less famous to me. Even though it seems a smaller and possibly less traveled and more work having to huck gear from the landing to the river and then possibly line the boat for the first ~10 miles, it's posted on this forum, on all the float and guide websites, and videos on youtube.

    The internet, blessing and curse eh? I wouldn't want my favorite smaller secluded water blown up on the web either and won't post anything here which I've had to research, work hard to figure out, or info others provide. I can't count the hours I've spent searching and searching and searching, and most importantly (and painfully) spending a lot of time reading things that only have a small bit of info regarding places I'm interested in, and worst yet aren't even talking about fishing. The blessing is that it makes places discoverable to people who want to experience, respect, and enjoy these places before they (the rivers or the person) are gone, the curse is watching some of those youtube videos and cringing the entire time.

    Part of the reward for me is finding places off the beaten path.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •