Nushagak article..salmon fishing in Alaska

Posted: August 9, 2014 by Hellcat in Fish Reports, Out of Area, Salmon, Trout & Steelhead

Never a Sure Thing

Article by Dave Heller..salmon fishing in Alaska

If you have fished for very long, you know that fishing is always fun but catching is never a sure thing. I just got back from a trip to the Nushagak River in Alaska that is a perfect example of this. Three of us booked a trip at a fly in and do it yourself fish camp about 40 miles up the river. I had been there a couple of years ago and we were hooking 20-30 feisty chinook each day. I figured this year would be even better since I had a little experience there.

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We flew into the camp on a float plane and were a bit surprised at how tan most of the folks were in the group that was leaving the camp. It looked like they had spent a week fishing in Baja or Florida instead of coastal Alaska. They had lots of fish boxes so we figured “good to go.”

We headed out about 2 PM and fished hard til dinner at 7PM….not even a hit. Around dinner we got to talking a little more with the owner about how fishing had been. He told us that they had almost 3 weeks of warm and generally clear weather before we arrived. The river had dropped about a foot and the water temp had gone from the low to mid 50’s to about 63 degrees. He told us fishing had really slowed down in the last few days and hopefully things would pick up.

We were loving the location and the river….. 50 miles from the nearest town or road in a beautiful wilderness location and fishing the best chinook river in AK with no one else around. The weather changed when we arrived and turned cooler with showers and some shots of good rain. We fished hard and late since there was plenty of light even at midnight. We were boon dogging the river with spin n glows and working lots of different colors and locations. We did tie into a few hot fish that were nice and bright and ran in the 20-30 lb range. By the time we left the river had come up and the water temp had dropped back to the high 50’s. Unfortunately the fishing never did light up. We heard the same story from other folks that had fished the river at different lodges and camps on the river.

We had a great time and will probably go back. The location and the fishing were good but the catching was not happening. I guess the universe was reminding us to be humble and to remember catching lots of fish is never a sure thing……even when you go all the way to Alaska.

More pictures below.

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Bill Otani (holding fish) and Dave Wenzel

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Dave Heller with chrome nookiage…

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Until next time…


  1. Hustler says:

    Tough break on the action, Sal. Looks like a great trip regardless.

  2. Hellcat says:

    Thanks. Still awesome to have a big river, in the middle of nowhere, all to ourselves. We got enough fish for a fishbox and got reminded of why we love fishing. Sal

  3. Derek Reed says:

    Man the scenery from the photos looks pretty stunning. Always wanted to book a fishing trip to Alaska, but never had the time or money. Sounds like a great trip all around even though the fishing wasnt on fire.

  4. BruceIBartlett says:

    Great Article
    I fished comercial in late 80’s for five years
    Was great than .
    How things have changed!

  5. Hellcat says:

    Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment, Bruce!

  6. SHAWN says:

    Hello. Name is Shawn and I’m from Dillingham. The king run wasn’t the strongest last season(2014). Looking forward to this comming summer. I’m geared up with kwikfish and spin-n-glos.

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