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Thread: 'Wak 'Pak in early season

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    Default 'Wak 'Pak in early season

    Does anybody have an experiences you're willing to share about spring fishing on the Agulukpak and Agulowak rivers? Some folks feel pretty strongly that it's better to fish those areas later in the season (July, August), but I have been thinking of going up earlier (last week of June). Is there good fishing then too? Is higher water in the rivers a limiting factor?

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Assuming those are north slope rivers I'm going to say yes water will be high then and high water makes for really tough grayling fishing
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Default Akulapak and 'wak

    Those two rivers are in the Wood River drainage of bristol Bay near Dillingham. The reason they are not so good to fish in the spring is because most of the fish are in the lakes living off of detritus, fry and snails. They make their way up into the rivers to feed off salmon eggs when the salmon are runing late June-Sept. There are some resident fish in the rivers, no doubt, but why limit yourself?

    There are some grayling, but to my knowledge, no steelhead go up that drainage. Your main species are rainbow, dollies and maybe chums. I think silvers tend to spawn more toward tidewatwater.

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    Have spent a bit of time on both of those rivers. Mostly in late May/early june. Water levels are definitely higher almost not wadable in some areas in late May during peak run-off. Much different river than in Aug/sept. There are fish there but not in the same numbers as later in the summer. Water levels should be dropping by early june.

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    Default Great information,

    thanks very much for responding and sharing your experience. This is kind of what I thought -- the fish are out roaming far and wide until the salmon draw them in. Given that, I'll be leaning hard toward a mid-July takeoff for this trip.

    Besides, it won't be *all* egg/bead fishing, right? A bugger or sculipin hopefully will still get some of those excellent grabs, and I've heard that people do a lot of dries on those rivers.

    As usual, the biggest difficulty in planning AK adventures is the waiting: you get all your plans straightened out six months in advance, and then you can't stop daydreaming about it . . .

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    Oh well knowing where those rivers are I'd bet there will be fish (rainbows grayling) in spawning mode in may and fish following those fish and fish totally kicking the crap out of sockeye smolts. I'd bring smolt colored poppers! Sounds like fun to me although if the runoff is high it'll be tough (probably) but if its not super high and if its clear the fishing should be pretty good especially later in may I usually have my first couple really good days fishing smolt patterns around the first of June and dry flies are useful too this is of course in willow creek so I can only speculate on the smolt migration timing there.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    There are some grayling, but to my knowledge, no steelhead go up that drainage. Your main species are rainbow, dollies and maybe chums. I think silvers tend to spawn more toward tidewatwater.

    No steelhead for sure (but steelhead sized bows!), probably kings, reds, cohos, and chums. I think you are thinking of humpies spawning near tidewater. I know quite a few people who have caught cohos in Delta Clearwater wich is around 1k miles from tidewater. Chums and Pinks can spawn in the estuary succsessfully and they do. My guess as far as species in may: Bows, Grayling, Dollies/char, Lake Trout near the lakes, maybe a king or two and maybe a sockeye or two.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luckee View Post
    thanks very much for responding and sharing your experience. This is kind of what I thought -- the fish are out roaming far and wide until the salmon draw them in. Given that, I'll be leaning hard toward a mid-July takeoff for this trip.

    Besides, it won't be *all* egg/bead fishing, right? A bugger or sculipin hopefully will still get some of those excellent grabs, and I've heard that people do a lot of dries on those rivers.

    As usual, the biggest difficulty in planning AK adventures is the waiting: you get all your plans straightened out six months in advance, and then you can't stop daydreaming about it . . .
    It all depends on when the sockeye run and how many kings are around. Late July is a great time to fish beads but if you are going for non beaded fishing I'd look at late June and turks tarantulas, stimulators, and blue winged olives. Of course out west a well placed egg sucking leach will catch all fish at any time.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Wink Have experience with these rivers

    There are no lakers in the Wood River system. Kings don't seem to go up above Aleknagik. Though silvers indeed go far up many large rivers they seem to favor tidewater tributaries on the Wood such as Silver Salmon Creek and the Maclung River.
    AKPM, it's probably a good idea to know where rivers are ("Assuming those are north slope rivers") before you make broad assumptions about them.

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    Default i have a little info...

    having spent late august thru mid-september on lake beverly for 8 of the last nine years...
    you are unlikely to see ice-out on the pak in may.
    reds, a very few silvers, and (only in high water years) a handfull of kings make it past the pak.
    as Sayak said, no lakers in the system.
    as soon as the fishing is good the pak will be consistently hammered every daylight hour by the lodges.
    Alaska Board of Game 2015 tour... "Kicking the can down the road"
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    Default "consistently hammered every daylight hour by the lodges"

    Boy, do you have that right! Or should I say, you hit the nail on the head.

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    Default I suspected that,

    it was one of the good arguments for going early -- not having to deal with the crowds. I'll be hoping that they are mostly late-to-rise, early-to-dinner types like I have seen in a few other places. The fish will still be gettin hammered, but at least there might be some late and early relative peace on the river

    I read somewhere that there are regulatory limits on the number of licensed guide days on those two popular rivers. This sounds like a good thing for DIY guys.

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    Luckee....if you go and have a boat try for some arctic char as well. Usually best fishing is where either river dumps into the lake. Several other cool options available if you have access to a boat....by the way, will you be camping out up there or just day trips?

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    Default Yep, boating is actually a big part of the trip -- kayaking

    to be exact, in a 15 foot foldable Feathercraft. I plan to camp out all the way, a couple of days near the two rivers, and a few places along the way. The char fishing sounds great. Do you have to be down deep in the lake at the outlets, or right in spot where the river comes in? One of the reasons I was originally leaning toward early season was to try for unfamiliar (to a Californian) species like char, grayling, pike and lake trout. If you can point me to cool options like that I'm all ears!!

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    generally for char i've found them to be out a little deeper.....if its other species you are interested in and you have the flexibility of a kayak you should have no trouble catching plenty of any of the species listed.

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    Default Deep

    The Agulawak dumps into Aleknagik, stays shallow for awhile, then drops off pretty deep. Almost anytime of the year dollies are to be had there. Eggs always work well, but plain pixees or spinners work fine too.

    I don't remember how the Agulapak empties, but I don't think it drops off as abruptly. HomerDave knows.

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    Default actually, i don't know...

    the moose zone i hunted had a boundary at the upper mouth of the pak, so i never went past there....
    Alaska Board of Game 2015 tour... "Kicking the can down the road"
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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    There are no lakers in the Wood River system. Kings don't seem to go up above Aleknagik. Though silvers indeed go far up many large rivers they seem to favor tidewater tributaries on the Wood such as Silver Salmon Creek and the Maclung River.
    AKPM, it's probably a good idea to know where rivers are ("Assuming those are north slope rivers") before you make broad assumptions about them.

    note the key word: PROBABLY

    I learn something new everyday
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Default Wak/Pak early season

    The Wak and the Pak are very similar but can also be very different.

    I have been in the area for the last 4 years. In either river you can expect to start catching char as soon as the ice is out. It is pretty hot fishing. Ice typically goes out anytime between middle of May through the first week in June.

    Trout fishing is definately slow until the middle of July. High water is usually the biggest factor in the spring and a lot of the fish are still in the lake. Sockeye should be coming in by the last week in June and good through the third week in July.

    If your interest is trout I would recomend waiting until middle of July or anytime after. You will always catch a few fish early but it consistently gets better in July. You will start with awesome dry fly and nyph fishing until the spawn then switching over to beads.

    One thing is for sure, when the fish are in, the lodges will be there too.

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