Today we’re starting a series of posts on Trout Food in Western Alaska. We’ll tell you about the major food sources that make up an Alaskan rainbow’s diet, and we’ll also show you some flies that can be used to imitate that food.
The first food source that we’ll cover is arguably the most important to our rainbows on the Lower Kanektok. It seems a little gross to us land-dwellers, but salmon flesh is protein-packed and extremely abundant.
The process here is both remarkable and pretty darned simple.
- Unbelievable numbers of salmon swim into the Kanektok each year to spawn.
- They spawn.
- They die.
- Their carcasses wind up in the river, where they begin to break down.
- Rainbows hang out wherever’s comfortable and safe, and munch on chunks of salmon flesh as they head downriver.
Since we fish the lower 18 miles of a 90-mile river, the concentration of salmon flesh in our waters is pretty darned high – all that flesh from all those salmon upriver has no choice but to work its way downhill. Yes, we fish flies that imitate salmon eggs and sculpins and mice and more – we’ll cover those snacks in later posts. But when you’re talking about trout food in our neck of the woods, you really need to start with salmon flesh.
JK Smith says
So is there a “chunk-o-flesh” imitation?
I look forward to you mice post. One time I was cleaning a large burbot and he was plumb full of little field mice. I’ve always wondered how a dozen mice became a burbot’s dinner. Maybe your can shed some light on that.
I’ve also seen sculpins in small lakes. I did not know they were river fish. One time I found a mass of undigested sculpins inside a arctic charr. The sculpins were bursting with eggs. Maybe the sculpins were busy spawning and not watching out for predators?