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Phil Lilley

Alaska 2018

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Very quick report.

First week, rainbows were very good but no 30's.  28's and 27's in abundance on jigs.  Sockeye very slow.  Kings moving in Big Creek and not bad.  Weather was decent with one day in the 70's.

Second week, rainbows slower but good.  Still no 30's.  Sockeye picked up but still spotty.  Kings getting better and better.  Big ones in Big Creek.

Third week so far has been cold and rainy.  Sockeye making their move big time but netters are taking a bunch.  Rainbows slow.  We did well on kings today in Big Creek with a 42, 41, 38, 38, 36, 33-inch and a few smaller ones.  I got a 22 inch last week and a 26 inch today on a fly.  The rest were on a fire tiger thunderstick (clients were throwing them on spin cast).

Enjoy pics.

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Nice to see a fishing report with some fish photos! Looks like a great time! Would love to catch a 28 inch rainbow. A couple of those kings have great color to them. You guys should be proud.

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In Seattle on the way back.  Have a few hours to kill so I thought I'd report on my trip.

Alaska has had little summer so far.  We had a few 70+ days in June but July had been cold and rainy.  Some days it's barely getting out of the 40's.  And lots of rain.  The river rose 2 feet while I was there and it was already high on my arrival.  Rainbow Rock was underwater when I left, for those who have been there.  It's hard to wade the river when it gets that high.  

Sockeye took their time moving up through the river this season.  To the exact day as last year, the reds started their move on July 2 after holding in the mouth for days.  We had good days with dry runs days mixed in.  They let the netters loose after Ak Fish and Game counted 1.3m fish moving through but even with drift boats fishing in the river and set netters in full fishing mode, we saw big runs the last few days of the trip this week.  And big ones... we always see the small reds move in first and the big ones last.  Hard to land  the 9-13 pounders in high current.

Rainbows were good at first but slowed down for us.  My jigs did ok but not as good as last year for sure.

We made a few trips up Big Creek for kings and did well.  No one in my group the last 2 weeks fly fished so they through stick baits and plugs and caught them.  Pics speak for themselves.

Only had one close bear encounter.  Had a female adult come up the steep bank on us while sockeye fishing.  We had a few fish in the cooler and she caught the scent while passing behind us in the brush.  She paused and took a couple of steps toward us off her path but I was able to "talk" her into moving on.  We were on the lookout the rest of the time at that spot.  Never saw her again.

Big Creek

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Sam landed 3 of these...  36-40 inch king adults


Fresh chum





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Those are some huge sockeye.  Lake Washington, which if you don't know, borders Seattle on the west side of the city, would about every 4 years get enough sockeye to have a rod and reel season for them.  Just about all of them were in the 3-5 lb. range.  Sockeye are the best eating salmon IMO.

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