Epic Blog

Fly Fishing for Pink Salmon – Prime Time


Pursuing "ocean-fresh" pink salmon off the beach

The most exciting time to pursue pink salmon in Alaska is while they are still in the salt water, cruising the beaches and shorelines before entering estuaries and/or staging outside the mouths of streams and rivers.

Sea lice is sure sign of fresh salmon

In this setting, they generally still have sea lice on their backs and/or near the anal fin. (Sea lice are small external parasites that drop off in fresh water; seeing some on your fish is not a bad thing – it’s a sure sign that you’re catching salmon near salt water.) And the pink salmon still have a noticeable silvery sheen on their sides. This is why the terms “ocean-fresh” or “sea-bright” are used.

You can’t imagine how many times we’ve heard seasoned Alaska fishermen claim, “I’ve never caught a pink salmon that bright!” or “I’ve never caught a pink salmon that fought like that!”

Pink Salmon Prime Saltwater Time:

At SAFARI camp, there’s a 4 week prime period from approximately mid July through mid August (plus or minus a week) when you can pursue pink salmon off the beach near camp, plus we have 2 incredible helicopter fly-out options that offer great beach fishing, too.

Guest and head guide, Ted, with a fresh pink salmon

Some days consist of fishing to cruising pods of salmon. It can be fast paced action and might work like this: stand on a sand dune to scan the beach, spot fish or signs of fish, move to the pod, cast, strip, hook-up, land a fish. Then run down to get in front of the moving pod. Cast, strip, hook another fish!

Other days, large schools will hold in coves, corners, or near sub surface shoreline obstacles (like sand or rock bars). It’s then when you can sometimes stand in one area for hours hauling in fresh pink salmon. Yes, it can be that good… it’s just something you have to see to believe.

Even after this “prime saltwater” period is over, we continue to slam pink salmon in staggering numbers in the estuaries and lower rivers through the end of August, occasionally into early September.

In addition to all the above, there are several more reasons in a previous blog post while you’ll like fly fishing for pink salmon.

Posted in All Posts, Fishing, SAFARI