Still no Salmon for me...........

Ard

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Another day, I didn't leave home until 6:30 on Tuesday because we had dark overcast skies and light rain. Generally those conditions provide for all day activity from the fish. With no mid day sun to put them off it's a safe day for a late start.

Problem was that I only saw evidence of one salmon and it showed at least 200 yards downriver from me........ I said earlier that chasing jumpers will usually not be a useful thing to do so I stayed where I was and fished. By 11:30 AM I had made enough passes and watched the surface long enough that I decided to drop down about a mile or so and see if there were any fish downstream. Nope, nada. I just parked and watched for a while and soon there came a boat with 3 guys in it. First they passed headed upriver but then throttled down - did a 180 and came back to park beside me.

Turned out to be two guys I hadn't seen since 2018 when we ran into one another on the same river. One of them I've known for about 10 years. We met while steelhead fishing in late February and were both cold camping near the same river. Funny how those type meetings tend to sometimes turn into long time acquaintances isn't it? The fellows name is Sam and he is a genuine free spirit traveling fly fisher. He's from New York but travels west in winter to live and fish in Oregon then migrates up here where he either works for the Alaska Railroad on the trains or for a lodge over in Western AK. as general labor I believe. He's a hard fishing type who will stay at it hours on end.

Anyway, after a chat and re-meeting his 2 fishing buds one of whom I met in 2018 they headed up to where I had spent the morning. Turns out they were in a tent camp I passed as I was headed upriver around 8 AM and were planning to fish a bit before heading for Eagle River and home. I went back upstream and fished a few passes with them and wouldn't you know it I managed another trout and yes it was a little bigger than any others so far this year maybe 18 to 19 inch this one. I was happy not to be skunked and soon we all broke down the rods and headed for our respective homes. I got home at 5:15 so much for a short day I guess.

See, I'm not anti social at all :whistle: I just have to know at least 2 of the 3 people in your boat and then I'm friendly as can be. It also helps if you have 2 hand rods on board and we can talk the same language of flies.

Still no salmon but that makess 5 nice trout and 3 smaller ones as well so the years is getting started just not what you'd expect to hear from Alaska though huh?
 

Ard

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Here are a few pics from Tuesday, I spent Wednesday and today working here at home on the grounds and may give it another go come Friday AM.

The venerable AK. Assassin is not getting it done this year perhaps due to low abundance of salmon but I've a hard time believing that with literally thousands of casts & swings made over the past 3 1/2 weeks the fly hasn't been near a fish. In all fairness the fly has yielded several large trout but zero salmon. So a change was made and so far the fly has attracted 3 Kings and 2 nice trout.

The new pattern for the past few trips has been a European inspired fly called the Banana, correct, The Banana.



I have added 4 ginger chinchilla hackles to the fly to provide some extra wiggle with the wing made from Alaskan Mountain Goat hair and a collar of yellow Schlappen. The tube has a gold 15mm flexi weight on it and a gold Pro Fisher Sonic Disc for additional weight. I'm casting this off the 13 foot Guideline LPXe rod on a Godshall Super Scandi line @ 547 grains with the leader having a 4 foot Z-9 mini head in the middle section. The goat hair is not at all buoyant and the fly sinks like a stone while offering very low wind resistance. So far it has caught a King who managed his escape while I fumbled with the giant net and several nice rainbows.



If you knew the size of my paws and of the net you would be better able to appreciate the size of the fish. I think it was in the 18 - 19 inch length and maybe 3 pound. These fish are saving me from being skunked nearly every day out so far and I am not targeting them or their specific waters.......



Especially with our precious trout I practice the best fish handling possible with zero lift and squeeze photos taken so you have to take my word they are nice size trout.
 

flytie09

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I thought bananas were bad luck? :ROFLMAO:
Glad to see you get into a few. I’ve never swung anything yellow before I must say.
 

Ard

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Yellow happened a few years ago Mike. I had a couple guys fishing for a week and about halfway through we ran into a slew of Silver Salmon that refused to bite. Generally I do not fish if serving as guide because I figure every fish I may catch is just one the clients will not have a chance for. This case called for extreme measures because there were hundreds of fish surrounding us but no one could raise one. I rigged a rod and started with the proven pink - blue - purple marabou tubes and failed. That led to going through the boxes and trying every conceivable color and configuration of fly I have and they are many. I landed on a yellow fly tied to a long shank double hook and low & behold I had a nice male silver jumping and running with it stuck in his jib. Netted it then handed off my rod and fly to a fellow while I tied on another for the second man.

Since then I've tied and kept a variety of yellow flies on hand. This difficult time I face with getting the first King of the year in the net bag has led to my reaching for yellow daily. I have a quantity of the mountain goat hair and intend to dye up some hot pink and blue as well as black. I may end up making steelhead tubes from it also.
 

Ard

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I thought bananas were bad luck? :ROFLMAO:
Glad to see you get into a few. I’ve never swung anything yellow before I must say.

No bad luck with banana color.


I didn't catch a dozen and the fish was not huge but the drought ended with that one. I fished almost 7 hours and saw only 2 salmon jump in that time. The one caught was a blind catch as I had no idea it was present. I just kept working the same stretch I've been fishing for weeks trying not to miss any slots. The fish was directly downriver from a big submerged boulder. I suspect there were more sitting out there but I only felt that one and one rainbow all day.
 

dr d

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hi ard,


nice tying(banana)--some years ago i read an article about.they used polar bear in the first layer

over the tube.himalayan cashmere goat seems to be a very good solution for second layer.in

clear conditions they used only non dyed polar bear which seems nearly unseen...crazy!:devilish:

nice we and a big king!


thomas
 
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Ard

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Hi Thomas,

I have undyed hair but hadn't thought to use it, maybe today I make a couple more for tomorrow. The fish are very few this year, only 800 counted in the river so far.
 

Unknownflyman

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Thats how many wild kings we get every year or less. Congratulations! very impressive, I lost a nice king, three years ago. not easy.

The year before I went to Sweden I learned of the banana fly Three years ago?They are crazy for it over there. Good salmon fly!
 
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ed from bama

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Good morning to all-

Ard- I enjoy reading your words very much. Thank you for the accounts of a fishery I'll probably never see but that I can appreciate and value because of your work.

And about the Yahoos who trash a fishing spot simply through their presence...
There must be a tribe of particular idiots in the world who feel that it's perfectly acceptable to run up on someone else who is fishing and blow the hole or put down the flat or cut off drifted lines... And in my part of the world, the prime culprits are jetskiers.
There's something that happens when a person straddles a jetski and twists the throttle handle. Intelligence and discretion leave, and brashness and "look at me!" attitude takes over. Many times these idiots wake me when I'm drifting or cut across my path or the worst... roar around the launch ramp when I'm trying to get my boat back on the trailer.

And while I don't appreciate "moochers" who walk up or motor up or even paddle up where I'm fishing, it is a compliment in an offhand sort of way, I sure wish they'd compliment someone else.

thanks again, and please keep up the work- most enlightening.

Ed
 
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