Week 6 is a special time at Alaska West. The salmon have begun to spawn, the Silvers have made their appearance in the river, and old friends have returned to explore waters new to both us and them.
This year’s Week 6 was full of fun and excitement. The last few days of King Salmon season fell within the week and those who purchased a king tag were rewarded with some surprisingly chrome fish for late July. The Pink Salmon run came into full force for our Week 6 anglers and the surface action was better than anyone could possibly imagine. Humpies could be taken in deeper sloughs on poppers or swung to with pink skaters off gravel bars. Some anglers even fished pink poppers like dries, allowing them to dead drift only to have them slurped in by aggressive Pinks.
The Chums weren’t to be forgotten either. Dime bright and covered with lice, fresh Chums kept rods bent and the smoker full throughout the week.
The Week 6 surface action wasn’t just limited to the salmon. Dolly Varden were suckers for small pink skaters, especially if those skaters had a bead on them. As long as the Dollies were holding on shallow flats the action was fast paced. Moving Dolly Varden typically don’t react to the skater, but can easily fall prey to subsurface presentations such as white Wooly Buggers or beads.
The Rainbows had taken up positions behind the salmon in Week 6 and technical bead fishing took the lead as the most effective way to target our spotted friends. Chum eggs are somewhere between 7mm and 8mm and the right number of coats of nail polish ensures that a round plastic bead matches the hatch. Sculpins, leeches, and mice took a few fish during the week and kept our switch rod folks happily swinging away.