OUTPOST Camp Season Summary, 2022
If you like pictures more than words, check out the 2022 OUTPOST camp photos instead of reading the summary below.
Overall 2022 was a below average season of fishing at our Bristol Bay fly fishing camp, which is, unfortunately, a reminder that fluctuations do exist in Alaska’s incredibly fisheries. To keep things in perspective, though, most “bad” days of fishing in Alaska are still pretty damn good days by most gauges. And despite the lighter overall fishing, we still found a few rays of light in the fishing cloud cover – lots of big grayling, some big trout, and solid dollies.
One notable item in our fishing report worth mentioning upfront: plentiful rain and high water levels.
Salmon fishing-wise, the chum salmon and king salmon runs were a bit late, numbers were down, fishing success for both species was OK to decent, and the average size of kings was down. Pink salmon showed up in OK but below average numbers.
In spite of the slight down salmon year, the arctic grayling, like in 2021, were really large on average. Numbers are consistently strong in our home creek, but size varies season to season. We were again shocked by the numbers of really big grayling caught this past season.
Similar to 2021, the rainbow trout numbers were down a bit but we did find some large trout here and there in the usual stretches of our home creek. However, if you were willing to hike your butt off, very good numbers of trout (and good size) were caught beyond our usual upper hiking limits.
The Dolly Varden fishing was solid overall – good numbers and good size; it seems they showed up a touch earlier than typical.
Bear activity and sightings were typical. As usual, bear activity/sightings picked up throughout July. Bear activity was near non-existent in late June. We saw one porcupine near camp – we tend to see one every few years. We didn’t see any moose, caribou or wolves but we did see tracks from all three.
May and June were some of the driest months on record for Bristol Bay and many parts of Alaska. A record number of wildfires burned across the state, even 5 or 6 miles from our OUTPOST camp. Thankfully rain started about the third week of June, squelching the fire near camp, so it was a non-issue for our operating season.
Our home creek was the lowest and clearest we’ve ever seen in June! The clarity of the water was stunning. But, boy, we were definitely initially quite concerned about the low water… until the rain started. Then we, ironically, had the opposite problem – we saw more high dirty water in July then any other season ever. So, yeah, it was a very wet July!
I’m writing up this report later than normal and I can’t remember what the bugs were like. But my best recollection is the bugs were fairly light, especially in June while it was so dry. July was likely more typical Bristol Bay bugs – good some days, bad some days.