Saturday, June 30, 2018

Alaska Lakers

 For several years my good friend, Mike Scott, has been flying into a lake, in central
Alaska, to fish for big lake trout.

Due to my work schedule I just couldn't get away in June.....until this year!  After retiring in
2017, my schedule suddenly opened up (Grin!) and I was ready to join Mike on his annual trip for lakers.

It is pictures like this that have danced in my brain, 
EVERY June, 
and I was finally headed north to sample the fishing for myself.  Mike is holding a typical lake trout.  This one blasted a big gray & white gurgler!

I was asked not to mention the name of the lake, since the fishery is so sensitive.  The outfitter we fished with is now retired, and only invites a few people to join him, in June, and Mike is one of the lucky ones.  Now, I am a lucky one too!  There are no other operations on the lake, so we were totally alone!

The view from the lodge!

Timing a trip here is very critical.  Sockeye smolt leave the lake, around the first or second week in June, when the lake temperature reaches 50 degrees.  The lake trout are very aware of this collection of smolt, at the end of the lake, and congregate there to intercept them, on their way down river!

Since we were there a bit early, we fished from a boat, fishing sink tip lines around shallow "humps" that tend to hold lakers.  We caught fish the first 2 days, and all were 6 to 10 lbs.  


However, the best was yet to come!

Once the sockeye smolt started to collect near the river, the lakers really turned up the action.  Pods of lake trout could be seen blasting the smolt on top, and explosions could be heard all over the lake.

The outfitter mentioned that the lakers could be caught from shore, and since I had my waders with me, I decided to give it a try.  I started right in front of the lodge, and within a few minutes, casting a big top water fly, to the drop off, I was greeted with a violent explosion.  After a powerful fight, the 8 lb. lake trout was in my hand!  For the next 2 hours I caught 8 lake trout, casting from the shore.  Two of these fish were guests for dinner the following night!

Slideball Slider


When calm conditions prevailed, I used a 3-4", gray & white Floating Minnow.....the same fly I use in the Yucatan for tarpon!  This was my primary fly for most of my fishing.  Top water flies were the only flies I used while wading.  Incredible! 

 Floating Minnow
The highlight of the trip took place on the last night.  The smolt migration was in full tilt, and the huge, shallow, sandy flat, at the end of the lake, was alive with smolt trying to escape the vicious lake trout.  Terns, eagles, loons, and seagulls were all in on the feast!
During this melee, I waded the huge, sandy flat, and cast to cruising lakers, eager to eat my top water offering!

All of these fish were in the 7 to 10 lb. range!  I was alone on the flat, and it was phenomenal!  

As I worked my way out on the flat, casting to busting bait, I saw a huge wake pushing toward my fly, at least 20 ft. away!  As it closed on my fly, the massive laker leaped from the water, like a porpoise, diving onto my fly.  I was solid to the biggest fish of the week.  
As the laker headed for deep water, the backing on my reel melted away!  
After loosing about 100 yards of backing, I started to turn the fish and gain line.  It took quite some time to finally get a look at my laker!

I guided the big fish to the shore, and snapped a quick picture, before releasing the laker.      The trout measured 32 inches, and the outfitter estimated the weight at 17 lbs.!  

 17 lbs. of Lake Trout!

Finally, around 11:00 pm, I had caught my fill of beautiful lake trout, and headed back to the lodge thankful for my health and the amazing creation all around me!

Hopefully, I will return next year to tangle with big Alaska lake trout, once again!

Many thanks to Mike Scott for inviting along on this trip of a lifetime!



Post a Comment

<< Home