The Fish


SAFARI Species Timing

Click timing chart to enlarge

Halibut

We realize most fly fishermen have no interest in going Alaska halibut fishing. After all, the stereotype is a large party boat, heavy tackle in 100 to 200 foot of water, and heaving up dead weight off the bottom.

Well, our shallow water halibut fishing experience (10 to 50 foot of water) is so far from stereotypical halibut fishing, you’ll probably want to do it more than once!

Halibut fishing is certainly not a main focus of our fishing program, but the opportunity is there – whether you want to just help catch dinner or catch a halibut on a fly. Most fish we pursue in our shallow bay system run 5 to 35 pounds, but we have definitely pulled in some 75 to 100 pound fish!

Give our atypical Alaska halibut fishing a try during your week. We think you will be pleasantly surprised!

  • Tackle for Halibut fishing will be provided by Epic.

Sea-Run Dolly Varden

The sea-run dolly varden populations in this region expose anglers to a more aggressive, stronger fighting fish compared to the lake and river resident (non-anadramous) variety. They stage early season in the tidal flats and then eagerly follow the surge of salmon up the rivers and streams, strategically positioning themselves below the spawning salmon. Come mid-September, they display absolutely stunning spawning colors.

Fish of this type range from 1 – 8 pounds and average 2 – 4 pounds, depending on the time of year. They are voracious, hard hitting and assertively take salmon egg and smolt imitations. Some days, skating flies across the top of the water can produce violent and prolific numbers of strikes! After experiencing a wild and pristine freshwater fishery like this, many anglers have proudly claimed their “best day of fishing… ever.”

  • Rod

    5 to 6 weight rods with medium to fast action
  • Reel

    Quality reel with disc drag to match rod
  • Line

    A floating line works well in all conditions
  • Leader

    8 to 10 pound

Pink Salmon

Alaska’s pink salmon are best known to run strongest in even years in the Bristol Bay region, but on the Pacific side of the Alaska Peninsula odd years offer the best pink salmon fishing. Even years can offer light to strong pink runs. Fish range from 2 – 8 pounds, average 3 – 4 pounds, and are best caught in the salt at the mouths of streams and rivers.

Mid-July through mid-August, pink salmon appear in absolute staggering numbers schooled up in the saltwater, staging for their entrance into freshwater. In this saltwater playground, anglers can expect to catch mind-boggling numbers of fish, and will come to appreciate these little feisty powerhouses when fought on 6 or 7 weight rods.

If you have a child, teenager or new fly fishermen that you really want to “hook for life”, no question, bring them during our pink salmon run – late July through mid August.

Believe it or not, you can even successfully fly fish for pink salmon with top water “poly wog” flies. And it’s pretty common for our guides to hear, “I’ve never caught a pink salmon that bright before!” Again, the reason they are so bright is our close proximity to the ocean…

  • Rod

    6 to 7 weight rods with medium-fast to fast action
  • Reel

    Durable reels with medium to strong disc drag (you will likely catch silver or chum salmon too) and 150 yards of 20 pound backing
  • Line

    A floating line works well in most conditions
  • Leader

    12 to 15 pound

Chum Salmon

Sport fishing for chrome-bright, ocean-fresh chum salmon (a.k.a “tiger salmon” when colored up) is rapidly gaining a reputation for knuckle-pounding, drag peeling action, and they are considered a first-rate sport fish when caught in or near the salt water. Fish range from 6 – 18 pounds, average about 10 pounds, and can be absolutely jaw-dropping explosive when caught off the beaches. They are not as aerial as the silvers, but their freight train like runs leave a lasting impression.

It is a little known fact that in this coastal environment chums are hungry for top water flies, and at first glance to the untrained eye, these ocean-fresh chums are difficult to distinguish from their silver salmon cousins.

And it’s very common for our guides to hear, “I’ve never caught a chum salmon that bright before….or fought that hard!” Again, the reason they are so bright and fight so well is our close proximity to the ocean.

  • Rod

    8 to 9 weight rods with medium-fast to fast action
  • Reel

    Durable reels with medium to strong disc drag and 150 yards of 20 pound backing
  • Line

    A floating line works well in most conditions. One sink tip in the 5 to 15 foot range with a medium to fast sink rate can be helpful at times, but not mandatory.
  • Leader

    15 pound

Silver Salmon

There is no question why these heavy shouldered, thick bodied salmon are the most sought after sport fish in Alaska. Why? They’re like an Alaskan rainbow trout on steroids! …and there’s lots more of them!

Fish range 6 – 18 pounds, average around 10 pounds, and carry a reputation for explosive top water takes, bursts of great speed and jaw-dropping displays of aerial acrobatics.

Add this world renowned sport fish and our close proximity to salt water together, and anglers will learn why Chris Santella’s book, Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die, calls Alaska Wilderness SAFARI “…one of the best places in the world to pursue chrome-bright, ocean-fresh silver salmon.”

  • Rod

    8 to 9 weight rods with medium-fast to fast action.
  • Reel

    Durable reels with medium to strong disc drag and 150 yards of 20 pound backing.
  • Line

    A floating line works well in most conditions. One sink tip in the 5 to 15 foot range with a medium to fast sink rate can be helpful at times, but not mandatory.
  • Leader

    15 pound.

Other Species

We’re not going to highlight the “other” fish species opportunities we have out here as a main priority of our fishing program, but it is definitely worth sharing a few pictures to emphasize our coastal fishing diversity.

Depending on where and when, we have caught the following fish species over the years:

Starry flounder, black rockfish, gray cod (a.k.a. Pacific, Alaska or true cod), black cod, sole, sting ray, skate, various saltwater sculpins, spiny dog-fish shark, kelp greenling, and other unidentifiables. We occasionally catch sockeye salmon up the river, and we’ve even caught king salmon out in the bay while halibut fishing.

Yes, some evenings we’ll serve both fresh halibut and cod for dinner!