When spending the type of money that an Alaska fly fishing vacation requires, its fair to ask, “Where is the best fly fishing for King/Chinook Salmon in Alaska?” And while there’s lots of good fishing in Alaska, there’s not as much good King Salmon fishing as many people would have you believe. Where you end up is going to make a huge difference as to whether you’re going to be able to give your experience a thumbs up or not.
The Nushagak River currently boasts the largest run of King/Chinook Salmon in Alaska. With average runs over 100,000 fish, the Nushagak provides to shortage of opportunity for fly fishermen that want to target big Alaskan Kings. Starting the middle of June, the Nushagak King run begins and runs through the month of July. The end of the huge King run bumps right up to the mammoth silver run that also returns. Nushagak Kings/Chinook average about 20-25 pounds with a number of fish over 40 pounds. These fish pull like trucks and will really where you out on the fly.
Along with the huge runs, the characteristics of the river also lends itself to being the best fly fishing destination for Kings in Alaska. The Nushagak is a medium sized river and has 100’s of gravel bars that migrating Kings like to use. These gravel bars provide great ambush opportunities for a swung fly. Salmon tube flys are a great choice fished with a medium sink on a #10 single hand rod or #9-10 spey. Spey rods are very nice on the Nushagak and really allow you to make long casts that cover a little more water that with that of a single hand rod.
Although a little bit of a secret still, some of the biggest names in fly fishing make their way to the Nushagak in search of double digit days on the fly. George Cook of Sage Rods is a regular at Alaska King Salmon Adventures and has really helped pioneer much of what is successful on the Nushagak. Check out the little clip below of George man handling a typical Nushagak River King/Chinook Salmon.
The Kings are the big draw for fly fishermen that visit the Nushagak River, but many leave having caught dozens of Chum Salmon as well. I guess it’s kind of nice when you don’t even have to try sometimes. Simply put, this is the best fly fishing for Salmon in Alaska.
Let us know if you have any questions regarding your Alaska Fly Fishing vacation. We’re here to help!