Fly patterns for Kings on the Gulkana and Klutina
I'm getting ready to head to Tok for a summer of work and fun and I don't figure I'll be coming back to Fairbanks very often being that the Copper River Basin is just down the highway. But I've never fished these rivers for large game and I'm trying to get some ideas for productive king patterns as well as technique and tackle (such as how much if any sink tip or a suggested leader). Any advice would be greatly appriciated.
Richard Mousseau, Blue Moose Rafting has a lot of experience up that way. I know he's recommended flies before, possibly other species, but he'll have recs for those Chinooks for sure. A lot of experience and always willing to offer helpful suggestions from my contacts with him.
Search these forums or contact through his website.
2nd for moose
His website is www.bluemooserafting.com. We rented from him last summer and aside from his great pricing he was more than willing to share some advice. If you have the money it would be worth going with them for a day just to learn the area/techniques, it would be money well spent and may lead to a much more productive summer.
I second that recommendation on the Moose. I fished the Gulkana and the Klutina last year. Rich was real helpful and a pleasure to be with. Learned a lot from him. Was also the most reasonable guide I found.
Don't know if I deserve the nice comments but will take them any way. :-)
First off welcome to AK and good luck at your new job.
To make it more of an issue IMO it depends on what time of year your fishing and what location of the river our fishing. No Magic Bullets for either and both can be tuff Fly Fishing more so on the Klutina than the Gulkana.
Fat Freddies " Over Sized Egg Pattern with Fluff, Flash Fly Silvers, Blue, and Red and Arcticulating Leeches Hot Orange and or Flo Green the Bigger the Better as long as you're not on a hook size restricted Fly Fishing only area i.e. below the Gulakan River Richardson Hgwy bridge.
I tend to stay away from fishing Sink Tips or full sinking lines " Sorry Old School" If I have to go to a sink tip I have several made up in different sink rates and lengths and just loop them on when required.
Gulkana 9ft 9W-10W with FWW 9-10 Line, Leader 15-17 LBS Maximum 6-9ft Long. Weight when required split shot. Fished Dead Drift! Spey Fishing is becoming more popular lost so of double hook set ups with standard Alantic Salmon patterns.
Kulitna - Go Big or Go Home 12-14W 9ft Length 30 LBS leaders Min your casting short or not at all. Be prepped for Rod Breakage if your holding on to much! Pick your locations wisely landing fish if you can not follow will be a task.
If your willing to walk down to the mouth of the Gulkana IMO again I think you would have your best chance at consistantly catching Kings on a Fly Rod, or on the Upper Gulkana River at least there you can sight fish them. In my seminars I talk about the lack of productive fly fishing water in both streams concernng Kings. That is not to say we do not have success however based on hours per fish caught with a fly rod verse other methods on those rivers when it comes down to brass tacks you have limited fishing locations that produce by fly fishing.
Feel free to contact on my website for any reason. Information is alwasy fee no strings attached, or email from this forum.
Tigth Lines and Best Wishes
Thank you very much for the insights. It's not that I'm new to Alaska, just that particular part of this large state. I've noticed that what works in one place may not in another, such as using pink or green yarn on Willow Creek with good succes and not catching squat on the Kuskokwim with the same thing (although with the advice of locals I did manage to catch, hands down, the best tasting kings of my life at Aniak). I suspected that the Klutina kings were powerful torpedos if they were to get up that stream, so maybe I'll let the 10w with the stop a sub real take a break in favor of a spin caster, or should I go with a bait caster? Either way there should be a few of us from the Golden Heart city working out of Tok this summer, and with all of the praise we may just have to seek the expetise of a pro to get our feet wet.
Once again, thanks for the advice.
Mind your insults now there Cowboy...
You've never had Yukon river king salmon? They're more prime than Kobe Beef!
If I happen to be available on the weekends you can normally find my at Sailors Pit we will have an RV down there this year with our signage. Stop in have a cup of Mud or soda My-self, Kevin, or Tommy are always willing to share info and rumor has it if we happen to be can be talked into going down fishing without the guiding thing "that is if we have nothing scheduled (Hint) after 8PM :-)
Hope to see ya down there good luck in your choices. Bring both Baitcaster or Spinning outfit as well as your Fly Rod.
Never Limit your options when the Reds are running.
No slight intended...
I have not eaten Yukon King. In fact one of my collegues on the project in Aniak had informed me that Yukon Kings were the best he'd ever had, and added that the Kuskokwim Kings were a mere close second. Hopefully, in the not so distant future, I will have the pleaure of enjoying a Yukon King...
One summer at a time. And to Blue Moose, that's a big 10-4...
The reason the Yukon kings taste better is that they have farther to go. The farther a fish has to travel before it reaches it's spawning grounds the more oil and fat it will have so that it can travel, in the case of the Yukon, thousands of miles. The fish caught closer to the mouth are going to be better because they have more fat and are more silver when they are caught. I also hear that there aren't many big kings up there because small fish travel farther more efficiently. Kenai kings for instance are huge but are only traveling just under 200 miles if memory serves me. Not the best kings swimming unless you catch them still silver out of the lower river when they have all their fat in their body still.
Best area to catch kings on a fly is at the mouth fishing clear silty line
this varies with water level hooking is the easy part landing is the hard part. I like fat fredies in orange and lime green for most water conditions.
We usually hook then jump in the boat to land them. Fishing at the mouth requires clear water in the gulkana. I usally walk out on the bridge and check clarity and if the river is rising or receeding. If you can't see down to a depth of three or four feet go to upstream and fish eggs \spinning gear. Good luck.