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King Salmon at Bristol Bay Alaska

King Salmon the name conjures up deep sea trawlers or commercial gill netting, but Kings are sought with fly rod and reel on a regular basis in the Bristol Bay area of Alaska.  The river’s names are as rustic as pine boards, Alagnak, Nishagak, Togiak, and countless others.  While not as popular as silvers for fly fishers, Kings offer the opportunity to catch a fifty pound fish on a fly rod.

For the freshest Kings plan on being close to the ocean, within four miles and the closer the better.  Kings runs typically begin near the end of June and peak a few weeks later.  While the first fish might not be the biggest they are the brightest and the most active.

Once in the river Kings like slots, deep slots, and finding one deep slot on any particular stretch put the odds more in your favor.  Also watch for surface activity, a rule of thumb is for every top water King there are five to ten below it.

A heavy nine or ten weight rod with a sinking tip line is a must.  And while Kings aren’t as particular about the fly as the depth, they won’t readily rise for a fly.  Keep popsicles, alaskabou, carcass flies, babine special and glo bugs in quantity.

Kings have hard mouths so keep your fly filed and double set all bumps.  Your reel had better be packed with thirty pound backing as well for those long down stream runs.  If your fish does run down, get out of the water and following it along the bank.

For the rest of your set up keep your leader short six foot or so is sufficient, with twenty pound tippet.  A sinking tip line is a must as deep runs are the name of the game.

Choosing a destination will take some research.  There are plenty of guides and lodges.  Make sure the one you choose caters to your fishing needs.  Not all guides are situated for fly fishing.