Alaska Salmon: Nushagak Kings vs Silvers

Alaska salmon are recognized for their first rate fighting ability and high-caliber table fare. If you are familiar with the Nushagak River then you know we get two incredible runs of salmon—kings (Chinook) and silvers (coho). The question anglers have to ask themselves when planning a trip to Nushagak River Adventures Lodge is which do I want to target?

King Salmon

At Nushagak River Adventures Lodge, we start fishing Chinook during solstice week each June. Towards the beginning of the run kings appear dime-bright from the ocean, feisty and pugnacious. As the season progresses the average size does improve but your chance of catching a trophy 40-inch king exists from start to finish. Kings enter the river in strong numbers in mid-June through the start of July and we continue to pick them up through the third- or fourth week of July just as silvers start charging upstream in search of their gravel beds. Unlike some other fisheries in the state, we can catch-and-release kings even after we tag our keeper for the day. The action is superior to most king fisheries because of our massive run, but the silver action can be even greater.

Silver Salmon

Silver salmon fishing on The Nush begins about the third week in July and continues through August. Our 4 day/4 night sessions run through mid-August and we are often the only full-service lodge operating through silver season on The Nush. We see an enormous run of coho and there is next to no angling pressure making catching an abundance of coho an easy proposition. When the action turns on we can catch-and-release all we want. Silvers are the undisputed middle-weight champions of the salmon world, so to speak, and they are best known for their aerial displays of athleticism with their freestyle jumps.

Alaska salmon

Choosing which to Target

Alaska salmon fishing is exhilarating whether you choose kings or silvers. It may come down to the simple question of when you can arrange to come. If your dates are flexible or your desired outcome is another priority, then next ask yourself if you have any preferences for the taste of the fish? Many Alaska salmon connoisseurs prefer the taste of king salmon for its thicker flesh and fattier content, but silvers are divine as well, especially when cooked just right. Either will make a great addition to your smoker.

Maybe you love the taste of both, or don’t even eat salmon (insert horrified look here). For you is it all about the rest and resuscitation time offered by our remote Alaska fishing lodge with the added hope of a trophy fish on the docket? If that’s your state of mind, then either species can produce a trophy, and a 40-inch or larger king salmon that you release will earn you our memorial pin and declaration of entrance into NRAL’s 40-Inch King Club.

The amount of fish you can catch doesn’t often come in to play since each is normally abundant enough combined with pressure being low which typically affords our clients their daily limits. Either way each guest frequently leaves with a 50-pound airline-approved box lined with perfectly prepared frozen salmon.

Downstream trolling with cured eggs or spinners is a technique we practice for these two species of the Pacific salmon. For silvers we sometimes get the opportunity to cast conventional tackle from the boat or even wade-fish in certain spots.

Thinking through these ideas now gives you ample time for planning your Alaska salmon adventure. Figure out what’s most important to you and then let us know your choice! Our space fills up quickly and booking early just gives you something to look forward to! You are invited to fill out the Request Trip Info form or call Pete von Jess at 1-877-866-NUSH (6874).