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Fish Species & Techniques

King Salmon - (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

A.K.A: Chinook, Tyee, Blackmouth, Tule, Quinnat, or Spring salmon.
Average Size: 20-25lbs
Alaska state record: 96.4lbs
Tackle used: Everyone has heard the statement, "to catch big fish you have to fish with big lures", when fly fishing for the large Alaskan King's this is definitely still a true statement. Large 2/0 or 3/0 marabou and rabbit strip flies in the same colors work well.
Habitat: While traveling through the many river systems King salmon tend to move through and hold in the deeper river channels and buckets(8-12 foot depths). Whether using flies or conventional tackle, the key to hooking these fish is using whatever means to get your lures down to their level.

Chum Salmon - (Oncorhynchus keta)

A.K.A: Calico, keta, Fall or Autumn Salmon, and the Dog Salmon due to their large sharp teeth during the spawning phase.
Average Size: 8-12lbs
Alaska state record: 27lb 3oz
Tackle used: Chum salmon are very aggressive fish, and when hooked can be absolutely explosive. Fly fisherman can utilize pink eggs flies or Steelhead type creations under an indicator.
Habitat: When the Chums arrive in the fresh water they tend to congregate in the shallow soft water areas on the down river end of gravel bars. This can be a great situation, often times you will see the Chum's rolling and moving about in 2-3 feet of water. This makes it possible to stalk and sight cast to these fish. It can almost be like stalking Bonefish on the salt water flats of southern latitudes.

Sockeye Salmon - (Oncorhynchus nerka)

A.K.A: Red's or Blueback(describing the blue sheen on the dorsal surface of the fish when they first enter the fresh water).
Average Size: 6-10lbs
Alaska state record: 16lbs
Tackle used: Being plankton feeders during their lives in the salt water, Sockeye salmon can be very finicky and challenging to hook. Most Sockeye salmon fisherman use small sparsely tied flash flies, egg patterns, and some anglers do well using simply a plastic bead and a trailer hook.
Habitat: Sockeye salmon are the most abundant of all the pacific salmon species, some of the river systems getting returns of up to two million Sockeye. Like the Chums, Sockeye tend to run the shallow water on the edges of the rivers, and it is not uncommon to see a steady stream of moving fish for days on end.

Pink Salmon - (Onchorhynchus gorbuscha)

A.K.A: Humpback or Humpy describing the outrageous hump the male fish acquire on their back when they enter the fresh water.
Average Size: 3-5lbs
Alaska state record: 12lbs 9ozs
Tackle used: Pink salmon like the Chum's are quite aggressive and in most cases will attack anything pink. Knowing this, one can use small marabou bead head flies such as Popcicles or pink Egg Sucking leeches do quite well.
Habitat: Pink salmon are also bank runners, often slowing to rest in soft water back eddies or slough mouths. This combined with their aggressive nature makes these fish quite easy to target.

Silver Salmon - (Onchorhynchus kisutch)

A.K.A: Coho Salmon are the second largest of the pacific salmon.
Average Size: 10-12lbs
Alaska state record: 26lbs
Tackle used: Silver salmon can be taken using many of the same techniques used for many of the other salmon species, but our favorite method is "wogging." Wog's or Polywogs are hot pink spun deer hair flies that are fished by stripping the line and chugging the fly across the surface. Silver's grab these flies violently, making it one of the most exciting methods for catching these fish.
Habitat: As silvers move into the fresh water they also tend to seek out soft water. Large back eddies with pronounced current seams or depressions in the rivers bottom structure seem to hold Silvers very well.

Rainbow Trout - (Onchorynus mykiss)

A.K.A: Bows, Leopard Rainbows.
Average Size: 18" - 20", 3 - 4 lbs.
Alaska state record: 15 lbs. 7 oz.
Tackle used: Rainbows tend to eat large streamers such as articulated Bunny Leaches or Egg Sucking Woolly Buggers early in the spring, then switch to egg patterns once their Salmonoid relatives enter the rivers they inhabit.
Habitat: See King Salmon.

Dolly Varden - (Salvelinus malma)

A.K.A: A close cousin of the Arctic char.
Average Size: 2-4lbs
Alaska state record: 17lb 8oz
Habitat: See King Salmon.

Arctic Char - (Salvelinus alpinus)

A.K.A: Blueback char or blueback trout.
Average Size: 3-6 lbs
Alaska state record: 19 lbs. 12.5 oz.
Tackle used: These oft overlooked yet beautiful species are a great deal of fun on a variety of streamers.
Habitat: See King Salmon.

Lake Trout

A.K.A: Lakers.
Alaska state record: 47 lbs. 0 oz.
Habitat: Lake inlets and outlets as well as deeper troughs.

Arctic Grayling - (Thymallus arcticus)

Average Size: 10-18"
Alaska state record: 3 lbs.
Tackle used: These beautiful fish will often eat relatively small dry flies such as Elk Hair Caddis, Wolf and Humpy style flies as well as Adams. They are know to eat nymphs fished under an indicator or nymphed sans indicator however dries are our favorite method.
Habitat: See King Salmon.

Northern Pike - (Esox lucius)

Alaska state record: 15 lbs. 7 oz.
Tackle used: Large and loud is the rule with these back alley bullies. Bright gurgler or popper flies are quite effective in yellow, green, and Orange. Streamers in the same colors are also effective. Don't be afraid to arm yourself with 8-10 inch offerings for these toothy predators. (don't forget the wire leaders)
Habitat: Pike will be found in lakes and rivers usually in slow moving water near grass or other cover. Move flies in herky-jerky motion and hang on to your rod!

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