2012 Forecast For Open Water Alaska Salmon FIshing —
Anglers are already looking for information about our 2012 guided Alaska salmon fishing trips, so it is time to post some of my expectations for another season.
2012 Alaska King Salmon Fishing — I’m forecasting our success for king salmon should be similar to what it has been during the last 3 years, however, I’m also thinking the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) may tighten king salmon regulations on the Little Susitna River and the easier accessed tributaries of the Susitna River along the Parks Highway. At this time several of us are hopeful that the Little Susitna River salmon counting weir might once again be moved back to its spot on the lower Little Susitna River where it could once again be used as a timely measurement of king salmon spawning escapements through that portion of the river. ADF&G managers have told residents of the Matanuska – Susitna Borough they plan to have the weir back to the lower location at least in time for the silver salmon run, but some of us our requesting that Alaska legislators provide funding to use the weir earlier in the season to count king salmon at the lower river location as well. Timely solid escapement numbers from the lower Little Susitna River could prove useful for managing both the Little Susitna River king salmon fishery and also for managing the easily accessible tributaries of the Susitna River which experience similar number of returning king salmon and similar angler harvest levels. For those interested in what catch rates were for our king salmon trips have been over the past 3 years — click on our fishing reports for May, June, July, and August of 2009, 2010, and 2011. Expect mid- May through July 13 to provide our guests the greatest opportunity to catch large Alaska king salmon. Average salmon during this time frame often run 20 – 30 pounds in weight, and guests sometimes land lunkers toping 50 pounds. Last year I had two guests on my boat land big fish that weighed in at 47 pounds.
2012 Alaska SIlver Salmon Fishing Forecast — 2011 provided lower than expected levels of silver or coho salmon returning to Matanuska – Susitna Valley streams, and our guest’s harvest levels where lower than normal — however there was a fairly large number of smaller silver salmon that we were catching. SIlver salmon return to Matanuska – Susitna Valley stream as primarily 3 and 4 year old fish — so in 2012 I’m expecting we will see more of that same age class of fish returning as larger 4 year old adults. For that reason I’m expecting more of an average silver salmon season in 2012 with the possibility of significantly larger sized silver salmon. We usually start catching silver salmon by mid-July with the opportunity to catch fresh silver salmon usually extending through August or into early September. During July and early August we also catch chum salmon, pink salmon and occasionally sockeye salmon while guiding trips for silver salmon. Expect the mid – July through early September period to provide our greatest opportunity to catch larger numbers of salmon and a variety of species. Little Susitna River provide larger silver salmon that may average 8 – 10 pounds in weight with occasional large fish in the 12 – 16 pound class . We catch most of these fish by casting our homemade Flashtrap Spinners or by drifting salmon roe under ESB Bobbers.
First 2011 Alaska Ice FIshing Trip —
I guided one guest with a 10 a.m. start on Sunday morning. Weather was below zero when we started the trip and plenty cool for the duration. I’m glad I had not guided and trips earlier, as the ice was about 4 – 6 inches depending upon where I drilled the holes. The ice was plenty strong, but making noise as it creaked and cracked from temperature changes. There was also another group of anglers fishing close to us for about half of the trip. My guests caught and kept a limit of small rainbow trout with the largest two fish running about 13 inches in length, in addition he also caught several landlocked king salmon, and one Arctic Char. All of the fish were caught on Pautzke’s Orange Deluxe salmon eggs fished mostly about a foot off the bottom.
Definitely some good action on the trip, however, it also made me more determined that the next trip I run I want the temperature to be at least in the 20 degree range.