USGS Stream Data

Kenai Rvr @ CooperLndg

  • Water Temp: 48.38 ° F
  • Flow: 4610 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 9.53 ft
USGS

Middle Kenai @ Skilak

  • Flow: 9010 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 10.11 ft
USGS

Talkeetna Rvr

  • Water Temp: 50.72 ° F
  • Flow: 7610 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 5.70 ft
USGS

Situk Rvr

  • Water Temp: 57.02 ° F
  • Flow: 440 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 66.43 ft
USGS
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Posts Tagged ‘smolts’

Talkeetna River: Cubed – May 18, 2017

I wrangled an unprecedented opportunity to fish the Talkeetna River for the third time this spring. All the factors that control my fishing life came together in a prefect union. Although mostly it was the fact that the weather has been cooler this month, the water quality/clarity on the Talkeetna has remained good, and my brother could go. Lance was committed to a work trip to Ninilchik; bummer.

Worst part about this trip was the 7AM launch time. It was a really early morning for both of us but we did well, and by 7:10 we were loaded on Jerry’s boat ready for the trip up to Clear Creek. We had decided to start a little lower than we usually do as we had been much more successful below Clear Creek than above it the last two trips. We wanted to save the couple of hours we usually spend upriver concentrating on the confluence area.  We ended up running up Clear Creek a little ways to launch. That gave us a chance to fish it in a couple of spots before dropping down to the confluence. I caught a mid-teens rainbow in Clear Creek and we saw a few rises which I later figured out were probably small grayling.

My fishing karma must have kicked in this trip as a few times during the day we pulled up to fish an area and I was into a fish within a couple of casts. Twice it was on the first drift through a run. This is the sort of thing than can frustrate your fishing companions, especially when they aren’t getting any “fish love” themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

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Spring Fishing – Plan D: A Friend of a Friend

So it’s mid-April and we’re having an extremely early and warm spring this year. Coupled with a very mild winter, this means that spring fishing is at least 3 weeks early and we are already seeing signs that if we don’t get out soon, the rivers are going to silt up with runoff and high water. Our challenge is that the river boat operator that we usually hire to run our rafts up the river we like to fish in early spring is out of state until May and we don’t have that much time. Lance is saving up vacation time for June when his brother is coming to Alaska, so fishing needs to happen on a weekend. Due to my schedule, I have only one open weekend, the 23rd of April, which is before Rhett at Phantom Charters will be back. What now?

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Earliest 1st Trip Ever

The First Day of Spring in Alaska is usually acknowledged with an understanding wink between those of us that live here, as we know “spring” is still four to six weeks away.

Boats loaded and ready by mid-morning

Boats loaded and ready by mid-morning

However, this year we’ve had an unbelievably mild winter, and with virtually no snow and lots of day time temperatures in the low 40’s Lance & I decided we needed to go fishing. Besides, a fishing trip is good for what ails you.

I had driven to Homer on March 5th and the Upper Kenai was as low as I’ve ever seen it. No bank ice, clear water (for the Kenai) and a spurt of late run Silvers that arrived in the upper river in really late, all promised for as good of fishing as you could hope for. Now we were not after the Silvers; the season for them is closed, but where there’s spawning salmon you can be sure there will be Rainbows, and since we were going to be by the lake, possibly Dolly Varden.

As luck would have it, Friday March 20th was the earliest day we could get together that the temperatures were going to be near the 40 degree mark; the First Day of Spring. This would be the earliest first trip of the year I had ever been on, and by no small margin. However, as usual, Murphy started to mess with us. (Murphy is a regular on lots of our fishing excursions. He seems to just invite himself.) Lance ended up with a doctor’s appointment first thing Friday morning. No biggie, we’ll just leave later; that will give the day time to warm up. Dennis discovered a leak in one of his tubes Friday night and can’t find his patch kit. Ok, off to Alaska Raft for a patch kit (and some advice about the fishing at the bridge because the guys at AK Raft are like that). I had friends that came in from Nome Thursday afternoon and back off to Texas at 3:00AM Friday morning. Deal with it; a couple of short naps are way better than no sleep.

But as it turned out we were buying sandwiches at Subway just after 12 Noon, and didn’t get onto the water until about 3PM. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tubular Smolt – Tying instrucions

The Tubular Smolt came from my desire to have a fly that imitated the young fish I grew up seeing in the shallows of lakes. In my younger days we had small Flatfish and Rapalas for our ultra-light spinning rods. Once I started fly fishing I missed that basic minnow shape, and the desire to imitate it never really left the part of my brain that fishes. When I began learning more about bait fish, I kept thinking that there had to be a way to create a pattern that would mimic the head down attitude of a crippled fish. I also reasoned that a pattern that floated head down could be twitched back to horizontal creating an impression of struggling to stay alive. I wasn’t so concerned about movement, there are plenty of flies for that, I was mostly focused on size, color, and shape.

Although I had played with a few different patterns over the years, it was the thermometer probe cover that finally got my creative juices flowing. Here was the shell for an underbody. I knew I wanted to use Mylar tubing as an outer cover; all I had to do is figure out a way to get this long, thin walled tube onto a hook. After a few failed attempts at prototypes I became frustrated in that I just could not come up with a way to create a solid enough union to a hook to tie materials onto and over the tube. So the probe covers sat in my material box for almost a year. Then, while looking at some tube fly materials, I noticed cone heads designed for small tubes. “Tube flies” I thought, (mentally smacking myself on the side of the head) that’s the answer! I had toyed tying tube flies in the past, but being a bit of a traditionalist, I had failed to think past the shanked hook school of design when working on this baitfish imitation.

It took three attempts to create a tube fly that suspended head down, looked like a small fish, and did not have the disadvantage of an extra-long hook shank. The material sizes listed in the instructional PDF are based on getting the fly to suspend with neutral density. I’ve since subsisted foam for the head, for a high floating fly, and I’ve been stuffing the front part of the probe cover with fluorescent glo-bug yarn and/or Everglow fibers. You can alter the length of the body to create a shorter or longer baitfish and color the body to match any local baitfish. It is important that the body (Mylar tubing) be sealed. I’ve used regular epoxy, rod wrapping epoxy, and am currently playing with a couple different UV cured coatings. All seem to have their pros and cons. I use nail polish, especially ones with sparkle, to add color and extra bling to the body. Once you have the basic pattern, variations are endless.

Rainbow that took Tubular Smolt on the Agulawok River

Rainbow that took Tubular Smolt on the Agulawok River

The pattern’s name come from the fact that I now fish areas where salmon smolts are a prime baitfish; and the fly has proven itself on a couple of different river fisheries for rainbows. The interesting point is that I’ve yet to get the chance to fish one in a lake, where the process started years ago. But then, life is still young!

For a PDF of the Tying Instructions for this pattern, go to our Patterns page.

If you have questions or other comments, please feel free to post them here or email me at Rich@2GuysFlyFishing.net.

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