Spin Fishing Techniques for Alaska salmon and trout.
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Spin fishing is a popular, versatile method for fishing Alaska trout, salmon, grayling and northern pike. From spinners, spoons, top-water lures to drift rigs; a large combination of lures and techniques can be used successfully in our home river and other local streams and lakes.
Spin Rod / Reel Setups
When spin fishing Alaska, it is important to have the correct combination of rod and reels setups guarantee a successful trip. We enjoy the opportunity to fish a wide variety of salmon species and rainbow trout under a variety of water conditions throughout our river. As a rule of thumb, a strong back-boned spin or bait cast rod with a sensitive tip is best. This is the ultimate combination for indicating light strikes, guaranteeing a strong hook set and fighting large fish in fast water. Berkeley, G-Loomis and W.W. Grigg make great salmon rods. Reels should have ample line capacity and a very strong, smooth drag system. We have had much luck with saltwater Penn Reels, Pflueger President 5500 and 6500 series, and the hard-to-find Shimano 8000 series reels in the mid to upper price range.
Plug Fishing for Kings
Plug fishing for king salmon is most effective in higher water conditions or when water clarity is tainted, usually during the first half of June. These conditions require a larger, rattling bait that salmon can easily locate. Plugs trigger vicious strikes. We typically plug by back-trolling. By this method, you can cover a large expanse of the river channel resulting in a very large amount of strikes. Plug fishing by this manner also has a large hook to landing rate as you are able to guide the boat downstream while you fight the fish. We like to use Luhr Jensen Quikfish K-14 to K-16 size plugs in slower moving current and Storm Mag Wiggle Warts in faster current conditions. Blue/Silver, Green/Silver, Orange and Metallic Yellow seem to work best for most when fishing Lake Creek Alaska. We prefer to rig all plugs with a single Gamakatsu Siwash hook, Size 4/0, attached to the front hook clasp on each plug. We attach the siwash hook with a 6 bead stainless steel bead chain with strong split rings. Single hooks are stronger than trebles and we actually have a higher landing rate on singles versus trebles as well.
Spinner and Spoon Fishing
We prefer to rig all spinners and spoons with strong single hooks (Siwash & Octopus hooks). Single hooks hold fish longer and allow for lower impact on fish you intend to release. In portions of our river, only single hooks are allowed as per regulations. Spinners and spoons are highly effective methods and are our preferred choice for catching silver, sockeye, chum and pink salmon. These lures are also effective for king salmon, but only under certain conditions. As we fish kings mid-river in faster current, spinners typically cannot reach deep enough to present appropriately although kings on occasion will come up for a spinner. Swinging a Pixee spoon is better in faster water. Ideally, lower water conditions or fishing channel seams is a better approach to fishing kings with spinners/spoons. For other salmon species, all of which congregate in shallow and/or still water. We spot cast and straight retrieve with spinners and spoons in these conditions. Note that spinners are more ideal in slack-water as they can be fished with more versatility with respect to presentation and retrieve speed. Spinners are highly effective for trout during the salmon smolt migration in early June.
Jig Fishing Methods
Jigs are great because they are extremely versatile in all water conditions for every species of fish. Jigs can be tied to resemble many of our fly fishing patterns, but can be easily fished with conventional spinning gear. Jigs can be back-bounced in the main river channel. We often use this method for kings. Jigs can also be casted and retrieved in a swimming motion, which is very effective for silver, chum and pink salmon. Small jigs with inline spinners can be very effective for rainbow trout.
- Jig Sizes: 1/2 - 3/4 oz for king salmon; 1/4 - 3/8 oz for other salmon species
- Jig Materials: Marabou or Bucktail with Flashabou or Tinsel accents.
- Jig Colors: We have much luck on pink, purple and green varieties with flashy silver materials.
- Hooks: They have to be strong. Many jigs come with wire hooks and will easily bend straight.
- Jig Styles: Bullet or round-headed jigs are most used, but flat-headed jigs are sometimes nice as they sink slowly and can be fished with a swimming action.
Drift Fishing For Kings
Our favorite and most successful method used to catch king salmon in Lake Creek! These are simple 'snell' rigs where we tie on a 2/0 - 4/0 Gamakatsu Octopus by means of an egg-loop knot directly to a 2-3 foot section of 25# mono leader. We then attach one or two strands of Glo-bug colored yarn to the egg loop, and then slide a corky drifter or spin-glo down the leader. The float rests just above the yarn and hook. The loose end of the leader is then tied to the barrel section of an interlock snap swivel. The other end of the barrel is tied to your main line leaving the 'snap' section dangling free. To the snap section we attach our weight. We use 1/4 oz pencil lead cut to length for desired weight. Using a Leadmaster pliers, flatten one end of the pencil lead and use the tool's hole punch to make a hole. The snap swivel then attaches to the lead by means of the hole. Your rig is set! It is important that the proper amount of lead is used so the drift rig establishes contact with the river bottom when fishing. Cast the drift rig upstream of king salmon holding water and drift through the deepest slot as the drift rig bounces on the river bottom, drifting with the current. Drift Rigs are great for consistent presentation to holding kings. After a successful catch, note lead length, color combination, and leader length. Presentation is key. You will likely have to change leader and lead length for each new section of water you fish. Fish drift rigs by holding your rod tip at 10 O'clock with minimal slack in your main line. This allows for a quick, solid hook set once you feel a hit. Sometimes strikes are as discrete as a simple pause in your drift. Watching the area where your main line meets the water often can help you see a strike or pause before you actually feel it. Strong double-pump hook sets are essential!
Top-water Lures for Pike
Northern pike fishing in a nearby chain of 5 small lakes offers a great side trip in addition to your salmon and trout fishing adventure. Pike are great as they are voracious feeders and are very aggressive when fished by top-water methods. We fish small, weedy bays, rock piles and drop-off edges with stick baits, popper, buzz baits and frog or mouse imitations. Variability in your presentation is key. Often, pike with attack and fast, erratic top-water presentation, while under different conditions a slow crawling presentation is best. Pick a different area to cast to with each presentation. Covering water while top-water fishing is a must. Due to the nature of these toothy critters, we advise a light wire leader in front of all lures to prevent line breakage.
- Buzzbaits: size 1/2 oz
- Panther Martin Weedwings: 1/2 oz
- Arborgast Hula Popper: 5/8 oz
- Assorted Topwater Frogs & Mice Lures
Now Booking 2017 and 2018 Spin Fishing Vacations!
Join us on your next Alaska spin fishing vacation and enjoy the finest river fishing for all salmon species, trout and northern pike available in south central Alaska. Wilderness Place Lodge offers all-inclusive fishing vacations and lodge packages. We offer a comfortable family atmosphere, deluxe cabins, top-notch dining and customer service. Book your 2017 vacation today! If you are looking forward, book your 2018 vacation now with great early booking bonuses!Inquire for current availability or make a reservations request here.