OUTPOST Camp Season Summary, 2018
2018 was a great season of fly fishing in Bristol Bay at our Alaska Wilderness OUTPOST camp!
The rainbow trout fishing did not disappoint! Historically, the trout fishing tapers across July as massive numbers of Dolly Varden and salmon overwhelm the watershed. But this year the trout fishing remained relatively good, even in the latter half of July. (Note, trout fishing is generally best during the first couple weeks of guests.)
Yet again, the strong Dolly Varden trend continued in OUTPOST creek throughout July. Literally, nearly all fish were between 16 and 24 inches, with a few 26 inch fish landed. They chase top-water mice patterns at times and consistently crush streamers, but egg imitations are still the most productive pattern.
We caught a LOT of salmon this season – both the king salmon run and the chum salmon run were very strong. Even during high water we had a couple of “top” king salmon days, where dozens of kings were landed between 4 fishermen (these kind of numbers are not typical). And while the chum run wasn’t as big in numbers compared to 2017, which was the largest run we’ve ever seen, the average size of the chums was noticeably larger than normal. The pink salmon run was just OK. There were no sockeye salmon landed this season, but maybe a few spotted in the river.
The funny thing about the grayling fishing this year is we didn’t target them as much as we usually do. Why? The fishing for other species was so good, plus we didn’t see too many sunny warm days that generate good bug hatches (which usually inspires fly fishermen to break out the dry flies). Shame on us, but we just didn’t focus too much on the grayling in 2018. (Of course, the fishing for them was very good when we pursued those little monsters on smaller streamers.)
Bear activity/signs along the river (beaten down trails, bear scat, fresh salmon carcasses, etc.) was very heavy this year, but bear sightings were normal to lighter (depending on the week). More than average moose were seen this season, and a caribou (or two?) were spotted. Plus, we stumbled across wolf and fox tracks here and there, but neither animal was seen.
Mid to late June offered really nice, sunny weather – ahhh, it’s great to be alive kind of weather. But the weather pattern completely changed in July to cold and wet – typical crummy Bristol Bay weather, but it was colder and wetter than normal. We even had one heavy rain where the larger glacial river camp sits on went from large to huge. Our home creek, which very rarely blows out, turned high and muddy a couple days. Ironically, we had one of the best days of king salmon fly fishing I’ve ever seen in the high/dirty water.
Water levels were healthy to very healthy most all season long, minus the last week of July when water was noticeably lower. Water temps were cold and healthy throughout the season (thanks to the clouds).
As I’m typing this, I don’t remember the bug situation, which is probably an indication they were fairly tolerable all season long. (But you should never ever forget your head net and a little bug dope in the Alaskan tundra.)
The 2018 Outpost camp photo gallery is [mostly] ready to view!