Prince of Wales Fly Fishing – We Love It
Prince of Wales fly fishing is impacted by Mother Nature in many ways. We wish we knew what she has in store for us this year! Lisa and I fished with Jay Mar, lodge manager and head fly fishing guide, last June when we visited Alaska’s Boardwalk Lodge. It was a great introduction to the sport. Walking through woods and down streams to find a beautiful, glassy lake waiting for us to enjoy. Then we had a casting class and enjoyed spreading out and spend the day fishing together.
We caught up with Jay a few days ago to talk about some of the unique factors that impact Prince of Wales fly fishing. We also wanted to talk about the upcoming 2017 fly fishing season.
We all know that fishing is affected by past weather and water conditions as well as current conditions every day. In the August 2016 Boardwalk fishing report, we discussed the 2015-16 El Nino, one of the strongest events since records have been kept. It impacted southeast Alaska fishing as well as weather and fishing conditions throughout North and South America. The El Nino was ending as the 2016 fishing season started.
How Rain Impacts Fly Fishing
With the warmer temperatures, overall fish migrations were later in 2016. Rain amounts change the behavior of fish. Most Prince of Wales rivers and streams are only a few miles in length and not very wide.
With less rain, water levels are low in the streams and fish swim slowly upstream often waiting to make progress. Very low rain may cause migrating fish to wait in the salt water before heading up stream Heavier rains make stream levels rise quickly. Fish swim quickly up stream (that is why they are there) to spawn and may feed less. Then, waters can recede quickly changing the fishing conditions again. Water levels can change during the day while you are in a stream. Prince of Wales fly fishing is all about being in the right stream at the right time when conditions change and that is why you want an expert, local guide.
The 2016 Prince of Wales Fly Fishing Season
We spoke with Jay about last season and how the 2017 season is looking so far. The short answer—it is all about the rain. Early rains in March last year got the Steelhead season off well with good numbers starting in late March through mid May. Seasonal rains are underway this March as well at this report with the ten day forecast showing high chances for more precipitation each day. We are optimistic about the steelhead season in 2017 with the rains.
We fished in early June 2016 with Jay and the rains had lessened at that time. Streams were flowing reasonably well and we saw many fish in the water. The Dolly Varden and cutthroat typically follow the steelhead up stream feeding on steelhead eggs in May and June. Fish moved up stream slowly with less rain and the sockeye salmon season that starts in July was a little late. What will this year bring for Prince of Wales fly fishing? No one knows for sure of course but long range forecasts in southeast Alaska show regular rainfall throughout the summer.
The sockeye salmon run was later in July and overlapped with the pink and chum salmon into August. The silver salmon run also started later in August. When we talked with Jay in August last year for the fishing report, the rains had increased and huge numbers of fish had started upstream making the fly fishing fantastic. The silver run continued into late September.
2016 was a very good fly fishing season considering the waning El Nino event and 2017 continues to see weather patterns more predictable than the past couple of years. Fishing always has some unpredictable elements. I do my best to put myself in the best place with the best experts at the right time for the fish I am targeting and then….I hope Mother Nature smiles on that point in time.
Wondering about the of Fly Fishing Runs?
Steelhead start showing up in rivers and streams in late March to early April. The steelhead run is done by mid-May. Dolly Varden and cutthroat trout follow the steelhead up the streams and feed on their eggs into June. Dollies and cutthroats are in the waters into September. Sockeye salmon start to be seen in late July. Most runs of sockeye are small on the Island. Pink salmon arrive in mid-July most years into August followed by chum salmon. Silver salmon are in the rivers starting in late July through September.
Early Season Steelhead Fishing Trip Offer
The Boardwalk is offering great specials for the steelhead run this year. Three day to six day packages are available from $3,495 to $4,995. Anglers of all skill levels can experience steelhead fishing and the small group size and two guests per guide ratio makes the Boardwalk the place to target this amazing fish.
You Must Try Fly Fishing
We have just started to fly fish and really enjoy everything about it. It is a wonderful sport with a completely different feeling than salt water fishing. All you really think about is the surroundings and the fish. The experience is beautiful, relaxing and quiet. This steelhead special is a great opportunity at a great value to fish with expert guides in a beautiful place.
Call Lisa at 1-855-711-7773 or complete a request on our contact page. Let us help you work through the details of a fly fishing vacation.