Alaska is a land of vast wilderness and draws many adventurous anglers. Silver Salmon pulse into Alaskan rivers in July, August, September and October depending on the location. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy great fishing for Coho Salmon (Silvers) in the land of the Last Frontier.
Tip 1: Alaskan Silvers Love Spinners
Silver Salmon are well known for their aggressive demeanor and will readily snap and strike at hardware such as Spinners or Spoons. Spinners are the most versatile lure for Alaskan Salmon. Whether the river is high from rain & snowmelt or low & clear, every angler’s arsenal should include a variety of Spinners.
My favorite lure for Alaskan Silver Salmon is the Blue Fox Vibrax Spinner. Vibrax Spinners are available in a variety of colors and sizes. Every fishermen should include Size 3, Size 4, Size 5 and even the jumbo Size 6 in their tackle pack. Silver Salmon are attracted to the flash of the rotating silver blade more than anything (it mimics the flash of the baitfish they have spent their entire lives feeding on). Color seems to be less important than size but popular colors are Chrome Blue, Chartreuse Yellow, Hot Pink, Rainbow Trout and Firetiger Yellow. Smaller Spinners work very well even when low water diminishes a Silver Salmon’s aggression. When targeting trophy Silver Salmon during normal to high water the bigger the Spinner the better!
Tip 2: Pack Your Fly Rod
Alaska is the perfect place to test your fly fishing skills and Silver Salmon will attack a fly with a vengeance. Fly fishing for Silver Salmon can be a lot of fun, even for someone who has had little fly fishing experience. Select a quality 8 weight fly rod, a fly reel with a sturdy drag and a floating fly line for your next Alaskan fishing trip. A variety of large salmon flies in Pink, Purple, Black and Chartreuse. I always recommend carrying a selection of split shot sinkers for deeper rivers & streams.
Tip 3: High Water & Low Water Strategies
Alaska is a land of extremes… weather included. To maximize your fish catching on your next fishing trip, be prepared for high & dirty to low & clear water conditions. When the water is high and colored, bring larger and brighter lures that will get down in heavy currents and attract Silver Salmon in murky water. During periods of low water, bring smaller spinners, jigs, cured roe to target Silvers when they are less aggressive.
Tip 4: Step off the Beaten Path
Many fishermen travel around the Alaskan road system looking for Silver Salmon. The most popular Silver Salmon areas are typically within close distance from a road. Hiking into the bush will get you away from the roadside crowds and can present some pretty amazing fishing opportunities. Anytime you travel into the wild, make sure you are prepared for anything. Familiarize yourself with the area and pick up a detailed map; make sure to pack bear spray, first aid kit, compass, topo map, extra food and communication device if applicable.
Tip 5: Consider Catch & Release Options
While Alaska is world famous for its abundance of Salmon, practicing catch and release will help to ensure the health of the returns. If you are planning your Alaskan fishing adventure, consider just how much salmon your family will consume in the next six months. Frozen/Vac-Packed salmon will keep for 3-6 months, so try not to overload on fish that will be left uneaten. I’ve seen countless groups of anglers come up here and experience “Fillet Greed”. Keep enough salmon to enjoy it at home for a few months and catch & release the rest. There is no worse feeling for a fisherman than having to throw away freezer burned salmon.
Tip 6: Take Care of Your Catch
Salmon is one of my favorite foods and I pride myself in taking good care of my catch from the minute I land a fish. Upon landing a Silver Salmon that you plan on keeping be sure to bleed your catch. If you are fishing on a warm summer day, be sure to keep your fish cool as long as possible. I always carry a small rope so that I can string up my Salmon and keep them in the cool river. When you get back to camp, be sure to process your fish as soon as possible. Fillet and freeze. Vacuum packaged Salmon will keep twice as long as any Salmon just thrown in a Zip-lock baggie. I prefer to label my bags with the date so I know when I need to eat it.
I hope you all get a chance to experience Alaskan Silver Salmon fishing. It is a true experience and a lot of fun!