OUTPOST Camp Season Summary, 2021
If you like pictures more than words, check out the 2021 OUTPOST camp photos instead of reading the summary below.
Overall 2021 was a solid season of Bristol Bay fly fishing at our Alaska Wilderness OUTPOST camp. It’s always really interesting, though, to see the variations from one season to the next. This season was no exception – this year fished differently than the last few years.
The first 2021 fishing notable: the chum salmon and king salmon runs were late by a week to 10 days. Once they did show, fishing was good to very good for kings, and good for chums – the chum run was lighter than typical. But good numbers of kings showed up. Odd years are always light-run years for pink salmon – we caught some, but not like we would in even years.
The next 2021 notable: the arctic grayling were really large on average compared to a typical year. Numbers are always consistently strong in our home creek, but size varies season to season. I was personally astounded… we caught big grayling after big grayling.
The rainbow trout fishing was very good overall – numbers were down but the average size was up. Also, historically the trout fishing tapers in mid/late July as massive numbers of Dolly Varden and salmon overwhelm the watershed. This year in mid/late July the dolly numbers were strong AND the trout fishing still remained very good. (Oftentimes, the dollies out compete the trout and we don’t catch too many trout in late July.)
The Dolly Varden fishing was solid overall. And we caught one northern pike, a species we catch at out here incidentally every few years.
Bear activity and sightings were typical. And as usual, activity and sightings picked up throughout July. No moose or caribou were seen this year (that I can remember right now), but we had 1 good wolf sighting – he was the largest male I’ve ever seen. I can only describe him as a large, exaggerated cartoon-like wolf named Brutus.
On the flight to King Salmon from Anchorage and on the flight into camp from King Salmon, we could clearly see a healthy snow pack on the mountains of the Alaska Range and the Aleutian Range. It’s been a few years since Alaska had a more normal winter and spring, meaning a good snow pack and colder temps. A good snow pack generally means good water levels. We like that because, well, the fish like that.
Mid June to early July was windy and cold with a little bit of rain. In fact, it was the windiest and coldest sustained weather I can remember at OUTPOST camp. After that, weather was a typical mix of Bristol Bay sun, clouds and rain. AKA, I’d call it “not too bad” in July.
Contrasting to 2019, water levels were normal to high in mid June when we arrived camp. This was a nice change. The downside, wading the creek was tougher. Studs in wading boots or a wading staff were practically mandatory. By late July water levels were lower but still healthy.
Bugs were good and bad this year. The first few weeks of camp bugs were hardly around due to the winds. Anytime the wind settled, though, the mosquitoes appeared – they were heavy some days, not too bad others. The deer flies were nonexistent, a very welcome change compared to 2019. The bad: the white socks were the worst we’ve ever seen overall. Seriously, WOW-bad a couple days!
One of our 2021 guest had this to say about his remote Alaska fly fishing trip,
“Great trip! Very fishable river. No boats, no motors. Just bugs, bears, and fish. A real Alaskan adventure. Not for the faint of heart but the real Alaska never was and shouldn’t be. I’d give the OUTPOST camp three thumbs up but I only have two. Thanks Rus, Davis, and Don! You guys did a great job!“
Surprisingly only one person in camp felt that massive 8.2 magnitude earthquake on July 28 that occurred about 200 miles away from camp, offshore on the Pacific side of the Alaska Peninsula near Perryville. But folks in King Salmon, which is even further away from the epicenter, definitely felt it.