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Thread: tips for Alagnak

  1. #1

    Default tips for Alagnak

    I am a last minute replacement for a trip to the Alagnak River the 13th- 19th of July. Can anyone share some advice? I hope to catch sockeye and King salmon as well as dollies, grayling and rainbows.
    Fly choices and sizes, rig setup etc. would be appreciated.
    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

    Default Alagnak in July

    I floated the Alagnak in early July in 2002. Started at the lake and floated downstream through the braids. Took about 7 days on our trip. The reds should be thick in the river, as will be the bears. Not so sure about the kings, as we didn't target them. I believe most of the kings are in the lower river. Take a head net and plenty of bug dope, as the mosquitos can be ferocious, if the wind isn't blowing, especially when you're in camp. Bears will also be plentiful when you get to where the salmon are thick, so keep a clean camp and make your presence known. If you want to target trout, your best bet is in the upper stretches of the river at this time. Best advice is not to float downstream looking for fish if you are catching fish. The outlet of the lake should be a good spot for rainbows, along with the first couple of miles below the lake. The water level was high when we floated it and the rainbows downstream were more spread out. Bring a variety of flies for the rainbows: egg sucking leaches, bunny flies, polar shrimp, egg patterns. We caught rainbows on dry flies at the lake outlet, especially in the evening. Bring along a couple of mouse flies and drag them across the surface down in the braids. When we floated we camped primarily along the south bank of the river, as the bears were more thick on the north bank. The reds seemed to run along the north bank and there were times when it looked like an endless highway of salmon swimming nose-to-tail upstream along the north bank.

    Have a great trip!

  3. #3

    Default Thanks

    Thank you for your help

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Palmer, AK

    Default Don't forget the chums

    If the chums are in, and they should be by then, you can get set for a great time. They will spread out over gravel flats and will take a fuchsia bunny fly with vigor. And will test the drag on your reel to its utmost. Last time I was there I was left with a handful of reel parts, smoking hot, and a deer-in-the headlights look on my face. Those ocean fresh fish are STRONG.
    On occasion they can be "wogged". A fly called a "Wog" (along the lines of the Dahlberg Diver, in chartreuse, etc.) is swung downstream over a waiting pod of fish and sometimes one will rise and strike it.
    The Alagnak is some beautiful water. I'm jealous. A few days fishing in a place like that can just heal a man right up.
    Please post pictures of some of those leopard bows.

  5. #5

    Default Thanks

    Thanks Harry,
    I am getting quite excited about this trip. Chums would be a lot of fun also.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Grants Pass, Oregon


    The Sockeye should be thick...probably no Kings to speak of. I've done very well on large Grayling with dry flies...also have taken some very nice rainbows on dries. My #1 go-to fly for Rainbows there has been a large Sculpin imitation with a Rabbit-strip tail tied matuka style. My Trips have been down the Branch River to the Alagnak and then downstream from there through the braids. I've also done well with a Flesh Fly even though there won't be any "naturals" around this early. Bears are a real factor there. Expect to have encounters

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Eagle River, AK


    I just floated it 29 June-6 July. Myself and a friend on one raft. The water levels currently are VERY high (1-1.5 ft higher then normal). Hopefully it is down by then. The fishing was good the first three days and then the last three the numbers weren't great. I heard 20 fish per person days can be normal there, but the high water levels made it hard to get down deep in a really fast current to get the big ones.

    Bring a head net or two (in case you lose one).
    The headwaters were good for lakers and rainbows. If you don't have an anchor (we didn't), get a cheap drybag (walmart), some rope (not cord) and bring it to stuff with rocks. You paddle out, drop anchor at the hotspots and fish. The largest laker I took was 25 inches, smallest 14-15 inches. Rainbow at headwaters around 25 inches was the largest. We fished that for 2 days since we knew water levels and fishing at the braids was marginal.

    Floating with high levels made it tough, as the current can get fast and areas to pull over and wade weren't that available. If you seen a possibly good wading area with good seams, stop and check it out. If it turns out to suck on further inspection then you can get back in and head further down, but if you don't stop, you'll screw yourself since wading back up with the boat is tough with the water levels.

    Largest rainbow 26 inches. Caught many of those, but per person per day, numbers were very low. Caught one graying on a subsurface fly. Conditions weren't good for us to be throwing mouse patterns. Bring a whole lot of black leeches. Either with a tied egg, or tie an attractor bead just above the hook. Also large flashy streamers got several rainbows. we were targeting the larger fish, size 4-0, 2-0 hooks, which we got.

    Sockeye were running strong, tend to hug the right bank more. They actually took my coho flies many times, which was a first for me, to see reds takings flies.

    No dollies caught. Kings were late and in the lower river, well below our takeout at Estrada's.

    I will suggest you bring a medium weight collapsible spinning rod with some heavy spoons and such. There are some deep runs that probably has some trout in it behind obstructions or at the seams, deep. Unless you put a lot of splitshot on and can cast that much weight, you won't get down that deep. Also, make sure you have some sinking lines. I fished with a 7 wt, and the broke that on a sockeye and fished with a 6 after that for trout. . If only one rod, an 8 wt, if two , maybe a 7 and 9?

    Camping space is at a premium. So as the evening comes along, make sure you start looking for spots.

    Brown bears were high one of our last nights there, but minded their business. One young subadult tried to cross the river to our island when we were eating, but he turned around with our noise.

    hope that helps

  8. #8

    Default Thanks All

    Many thanks to all of you for your help. I leave in the morning.
    Thanks again


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