Earlier this year we did a post from Alaska West alumni Zac Cassil on why the opening week at AK West was his favorite. When you have a fishery like the Kanektok River outside your front door, there really is no bad part of the season to be there. Our good friend and regular guest, Matt Vaughn, has been fishing Alaska West with us during closing week for 3 straight years. He put together a great article explaining why the last week of our season is his favorite. Take it away Matt!
“Closing week at Alaska West is somewhat bittersweet for everyone that is part of it. From the pick up at the airport to the last evening bonfire, this week always produces some great stories and even better fishing. I was told on my first trip this was always known as Walter or Big Jerry week as the largest trout of the season generally are landed during the final week, and that is precisely the reason I choose this week because I have seen it play out that way several times. In contrast to why former guide alumni Zac Cassill loves week 1 of the season, Here is why I love the final week of the season.
- Rainbow trout are at their largest size and looking to pack on some mega weight as the cooler temperatures in August are a harsh reminder that winter is coming. With the short growing season coming to a close, these trout tend to feed more aggressively and more often the closer it gets to the colder months. Fishing the lower river AKA Low-Bowing for Big Jerry tends to be exceptional each year in the final week.
- Mousing: Don’t be fooled by the time of year and thinking that trout and Arctic Grayling are focused solely on eggs and flesh. The critters in the back channels have a serious sweet tooth for keeping the local mammal population in check as they attempt to swim across to the far bank.
- Silver salmon are increasing in numbers daily. With so many silvers in the water, the opportunity to fish topwater is greatly enhanced as fresh fish are entering sloughs sometimes every few minutes. Additionally, casting to them in the lower portions of the river as they create wakes as they move out of the Bering Sea is my favorite way to fish them. These are the hottest chrome fish and get even more aggressive towards flies when this is happening.
- Clowned-up Dolly Varden are getting more and more vibrant as they turn into their spawning colors. Whether it be in the back channels or the main stem of the river, these fish put on a show and tend to produce the best photos from your trip.
- Techniques: The final week opens up with a simple question each day: “How do you want to fish today?” Stripping streamers to salmon and trout, drifting flesh and eggs, topwater for silvers, trout spey, hiking back channels, or mousing; everything is at your fingertips, and it fishes really well no matter how you choose to target the fish for that day.”
Matt doubles as a talented photographer and has shared with us many photos that we have used on previous blog posts as well. For more of Matt’s fishing adventures, follow his instagram account @mattvaughnphoto
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