Before arriving at Kodiak Island, we knew this year was a Pink Salmon year. This means that every other year the Pink Salmon return to the rivers in millions. They are only edible when they are bright silver, right out of the ocean, which most of them are not in the rivers we fish. Many of the Pinks spawn and die in the rivers, leaving them to wash up on the shore for the birds or other animals to eat. This makes for a smelly and challenging Silver Salmon catching year.
We also noticed the rivers that we usually fish were fairly low. The locals let us know that the island had seen little to no rain for a while, and the rivers were not where they needed to be for the large Silver Salmon to enter the rivers. As we drove the road system daily, we noticed the other fishermen looking for Silvers in the rivers, or waiting for high tide to push in the Silvers along ocean shores.
Greg and I have our favorite spots to fish on Kodiak, and consider ourselves pretty good salmon anglers. We started our first afternoon catching Pink Salmon for the fun of it. We didn’t see very many Silvers, so to get the hang of things again, we decided to just have fun with the abundant Pink Salmon and take a few pictures of our catch.
The next day, we got serious about catching Silver Salmon. We were told by many of the locals there were NO Silvers in the rivers. As we looked in the rivers we started spotting a few. They hang out in the deepest holes and look much bigger then the pinks as well as have a distinct black tail. Before we knew it, more and more Silvers were moving into the deep holes. We caught our limit of two each, which was super exciting, since we were told the Silvers have not arrived. The guys at Island Seafoods, where we get our fish processed, were impressed.
Note: I was using a 8 wt. Ross Fly rod with 30lb tippet with a popsicle or egg sucking leach fly and a Konic reel. Greg prefers to use a spinning reel with 30 lb line and a size 4 pink bladed spinner. Both were getting an equal amount of bites.
Don’t get me wrong, we caught A LOT of Pinks in the time we were aiming for Silvers. It was tough catching the Silvers in the sea of Pinks. The Pink Salmon are actually pretty agressive at following and biting your lure or fly. The Silvers are a little more tricky. You have to present it just right for them to want to bite.
We fished three rivers and found Silver Salmon in the sea of Pink Salmon each day. We had a great time and enjoyed the great weather. We ended up with our limits of Silver Salmon every day on the rivers and on charters. We arrived on the Island on Aug. 31 and left Sept. 15. Each year we go to Kodiak is different. It just shows that you can’t always count on the same type of conditions and salmon runs year after year. Despite the low Silver Salmon run we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Life is Better When You Fish Alaska.