Fly Fishing for Coho Salmon on Kodiak Island, Alaska

Holy moly! I’m a bit backed up with my blog posts. I’ve been meaning to post this one for a while now.¬† A couple months back I got an invite from my friend Allison to join her on a trip up to Alaska for a week of fly fishing for the coho salmon run on Kodiak Island. Allison is an aquatic biogeochemistry and community dynamics grad student in the Ecology Department at UC Davis and was headed up to Fairbanks, Alaska for a science conference. She decided to make a vacation out of it by going up early to have a go at the coho salmon. I have been trying to get to Alaska for years and her invite just happened to coincide with a time break in my wedding photography season. I didn’t hesitate for a second and agreed right there to treat myself to a well deserved mini vacation. Neither of us had ever been up to Alaska let alone the mostly remote Kodiak Island so we started doing some research. There are two ways to fish Kodiak Island – either by staying at a remote fancy/expensive fishing lodge or to fish along the road system. We went with the latter and ended up staying with some friends of hers who lived in the town of Kodiak. Our gracious hosts Matt and Mari lent us their old pickup truck for the week – a blessing and a curse where we had to constantly be monitoring the engine temperature due to it’s frequent overheating. They say it isn’t an adventure until something goes wrong. Kodiak is an island about 250 miles southwest of Anchorage with over 3,500 square miles of rugged wild terrain which makes it the second largest island in the United States behind Hawaii. The place is notorious for it’s lousy, rainy weather but is legendary for it’s salmon runs and large brown bears. We spent the week exploring the river systems of the Buskin River, the American, the Pasagshak and Russian Creek in search of coho salmon. It’s harder than it looks. We caught plenty of pink salmon, a few Dolly Vardens and “luckily” Allison hooked into and landed three silver salmon. I suppose it’s hard to catch a silver salmon with a camera in hand. Alas, I was skunked in the coho department. I¬†redeemed myself later in the week when Matt took Allison and I out on his 60 foot boat for two afternoons of deep sea fishing. I’d never done it before and had a great time catching my first Halibut and a copious amount of rock fish. All in all it was an incredible trip. Alaska is too damn big to conquer in a mere week but I must say that I am in love with it. I will definitely be back soon. -M

Special thanks to my sponsors Patagonia, Glacier Glove and Echo Rod Company for all of their assistance and their fantastic gear.

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