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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lake Superior Pink Salmon

Pink Salmon 
Today I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You can find Alaska quality fishing right out your front door on the North Shore of Lake Superior. When I think of 50 fish days on the fly rod, my mind drifts to the Kenai River in Alaska, but you don’t have to go that far. September is prime time for the only self sustaining population of salmon on the North Shore, the pink “hump back” salmon. A very under utilized fishery exists and these runs are of Alaskan proportions! The fish are small averaging 10-18” but can raise havoc on a 5 wt fly rod. The state record is 4.5 lbs. Pods of 100 fish can be found and provide some very fast action.

   My battle axe of choice is a 5 weight fly rod spooled with weight forward line. I prefer to use a strike indicator to not line fish in these big pods. I then employ 2 BB split shot to get down to the strike zone. On the business end of things, I like #8 rainbow x-legs, #8 brown wooly buggers and #8 cerise glow bugs. These fish are not feeding conversely their stomachs are actually disintegrating to make room for eggs and milt. You want flies that trigger that territorial strike. I see a lot of people using hardware but experience has taught me one of these flies “dead drifted” thru a pod of fish will elicit more strikes.

  As for stream selection, many North Shore streams receive huge runs of these fish. Water conditions are low right now so invest in a good pair of polarized glasses and go looking for some fish. These fish are decaying rapidly so concentrate your efforts on the first few pools up from the lake and intercept them coming in.

            The time is now! So get out and catch some of Lake Superior’s hidden gem… the pink salmon. Use light action gear and have some fun. A 50 fish day may be in your future. See ya on the water.
Garett Svir  

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