Alaska Trout Fishing: Small Water
June 8th marks the recreational fishing opener in Bristol Bay. At this time, we fish a number of small streams for rainbow trout inside Katmai National Park. After a winter below ice, and after their spring spawn, these fish are very hungry and eat everything that comes near them. Without spawning salmon in their waters, these fish are focused on the natural foods that are abundant, such as lamprey, salmon smolt, fry, and even mice. We like using streamers, mouse patterns, and dry flies when Alaska trout fishing to fool these hungry fish.
Fishing with streamers is productive throughout the month of July until the first sockeye salmon begin to spawn towards the end of the month. The last week of July is typically when we see our first wide spread salmon spawn of the season, and the trout will be ready for it! Small streams with sockeye inside Katmai and beyond will be flooded with protein rich eggs and the trout will be focused on them until they can’t eat any more.
We have many options to fish trout this time of the year. Most places we will fly with float planes and land in a small pond or river, and walk and wade, fishing around the spawning sockeye salmon looking for the trout behind them. We also have streams where we do an all day raft trip and fish our way down the river and get picked up at the end of the day. As the summer comes to an end, we begin to lose our small stream options and begin to focus on the larger, shorter, lake headed systems that have sockeye spawning well into the fall.
Trout: Big Water
We love giant trout. It’s one of the reasons we call the Naknek home, but the Naknek isn’t the only place we chase the giants every fall and summer. Most years the Naknek doesn’t have fishable numbers of big fish until the middle of September, so before that happens, we are on the world famous Kvichak. We have boats stored on the Kvichak where we offer daily fly-out Alaska trout fishing. We use our boats to cover miles of river each day. Our fishing areas are focused around spawning salmon with egg patterns, though anglers interested in fishing from shore have miles of channels and braids where walk and wade fishing is ideal.
As the season progresses, we switch from egg patterns and move to streamers for Alaska trout fishing. Our home river, the Naknek, may offer anglers the best chance to land a trout over 30” on any given day in the late fall. The Naknek is similar to the Kvichak in that it produces giant trout opportunities on a daily basis. In early September, trout drop out of Naknek Lake to feed on sockeye salmon eggs near the lake outlet, they begin to move down into the river shortly after. We primarily target Naknek trout with streamers, using a single or double hand rod.