We’re lucky at Alaska West Lodge and Rapids Camp Lodge to have incredibly abundant and healthy rainbow trout fishing. Mice, sculpins, leeches, flesh flies, beads, and smolt fly patterns are favorites at both locations. We use single- and two-handed, trout Spey rods. And we fish lots of different parts of our rivers, from the big main channel to upriver spawning beds to little tiny side channels, and tundra creeks in Bristol Bay
Fishing side channels, braids and is a ton of fun because it’s small water, it’s intimate, it’s different and it usually happens on foot. Here’s how you can have even more fun when you’re off the main river path.
4 Tips for Fishing in Side Channels
- Work your way upstream. The best way to do this is to work upstream. Braids, Side Channels, and Tundra Creeks usually have low and clear water. You have to be mindful of your approach. You do not want to spook fish and miss the chance for your fly to be seen by those Big Leopard Trout.
- Seek and you shall find. When working a piece of sweet, low, and clear, water, these smaller waters, don’t merely try to find the fishy spots, look for fish. You may find them in places you least expect. Constantly be on the lookout, beyond the sweet seams. Always be aware of all the water in your area. Fish in these situations are constantly moving around.
- Make a few casts, then move on. Many times, we’re convinced there is a fish holding in that awesome, fishy, seam. You cast, and place your fly out there, time after time. If you’re not getting any hits after a few presentations, do the change-up.; change your fly, or change your location. Chances are if there is a fish in there, it has already seen your fly a few times and knows it doesn’t want it.
- Fish a reasonable tippet.- We see this a lot at both Alaska West Lodge and Rapids Camp Lodge. The water may be smaller, but fish are not. Use at least an 8-pound Maxima Ultragreen. 10-pound or 12-pound will work. Leave your 5x tippet at home.
Wait, what? – anybody who has chased trout in small water anywhere, this is all really obvious stuff, right? Well, that’s the beauty of fishing side channels at Alaska West – you’re using classic trout fishing approaches, but you’re catching big beautiful Alaskan leopard rainbows.