Last year was eighth trip overall to No See Um Lodge and was scheduled for opening week, June 12th. I wasn’t sure what to expect as the opening week isn’t bead fishing season when the salmon are spawning and when most fisherman think about fishing in Alaska. I decided to bring, for the first time, my switch rod and use it all week for something different. Turns out early season fishing and the switch rod were a smart move. Here’s why:
The rivers aren’t crowded with fishermen in the middle of June as they are later in the season when the salmon are spawning. All week, I think we saw other people one time.
The days are long as the summer solstice is only 10 days away – no getting up in the dark.
The weather feels about the same as later in the season. I have fished in a t-shirt in August and I have hunkered down in a swale in the pouring rain, driving wind and cold temps. The weather last June was typical – a couple of days I stayed in my wader jacket and several days I fished in a long-sleeved shirt. Hey, this is Alaska and if you aren’t ready for variable weather; then you are in the wrong place.
The fishing was terrific which is obviously why you go. The water was low and there had been a terrific salmon run the previous fall which meant lots of salmon fry feeding lots of hungry trout – perfect conditions for a switch or spey rod where a little extra distance doesn’t hurt and where the rhythm of a longer rod fits well in the unbelievable Alaska environment.
Several of No See Um guides are steelhead guides in the winter. For folks like myself who don’t get to use my switch rod as much as I would like, the help of the experienced guides was invaluable.
On the very best day, I caught 25-30 fish on a mile stretch of a river. I was surprised – pleasantly. Most of the fish I caught were very healthy and in the 20-24” range.
Bottom line: I have been to No See Um the first week of the season and the last week of the season and during the “peak” August time. Based on what I experienced last June, hands down I would go back the first week or two of the season all day long and bring my longer rod.