Nushagak Fishing Report provided by the team at Nushagak River Adventures Lodge.
Our season has started strong! Check back for regular reports and updates from our little slice of heaven in Bristol, Bay Alaska where the king salmon fishing and silver salmon fishing are out of this world! Our 2019 King Forecast was solid and we are excited to see it unfold as we bring you our Nushagak Fishing Report.
King fishing on the Nushagak River in Alaska typically starts around the middle of June and runs through the end of July with the peak of the season being the last week of June through the first two weeks of July. After that we tend to see bigger kings milling around as they start to adopt their spawning colors.
Silver fishing picks up on the Nushagak River at the beginning of August and goes strong into the third week when we close up camp for the summer. The silver action is acrobatic and out of this world. Check back for more fishing reports and updates throughout the season. We are just getting started!
August 2019 Alaska Fishing Report
August 4, 2019
The Nushagak River has exploded with coho this week. Every day virtually all of our clients are obtaining their limit of five coho each. While the sonar counter does not reflect coho in any large numbers, we can assure you that they are here. Chum continue to hug the shoreline while coho are pushing through just off shore in 6-foot waters. Trolling is productive but so is anchoring to cast plugs and spoons. Our guides exemplify their tradecraft using practically every technique known. All of them are productive when the silvers are making their run as they are now. Doubles and triples provide the captains the chance to show off their angling skills as they feverishly net their boat’s catch. All of our clients limited by 4 pm today, and most had done so by 2 pm. It is rewarding to see so many smiling faces and chrome fish coming to shore as the boats return for lunch and dinner.
July 2019 Alaska Fishing Report
July 25, 2019
Kings have nearly completed their entrance into the river, but we seem to catch one or two daily, then release them. Sockeye are up river and are in the spawn. Chum continue to zoom by our boats; they are on a mission. Sometimes we are able to capture the moment, but since we cannot use bait, it is “fishing”. Silvers (coho) have arrived—not in droves as they will starting next week and throughout August, but they are being caught every day. Back trolling seems to work best, but tossing spinners and jigs is also productive. Silver fishing will go nuts soon.
July 9, 2019
We arrived in mid May 2019 to the normal routine of cold mornings and warm afternoons and that continued through May 31. The first couple days of June it rained here in Alaska’s Bristol Bay area, but it has not since then. Our river heightis lower than I’ve ever seen it because its water is derived from tributaries and streams that flow to the Nushagak. No rain, no cooling waters. No cooling waters with ambient temperatures of 85 degrees for 18-19 hours means very warm waters. Warm river waters means no oxygen in the water for the fish to breathe, meaning the fish suffocate.
The environmental impact is that the Alaska Department of Fish & Game has taken the extraordinary stance that they will protect the king salmon that are headed up river to spawn. Today, an executive order was released that states that starting 7/10, for the remainder of the king salmon season (the season ends 7/31), all king salmon must be released. This protects the river for future generations of wild Alaskan salmon.We will fish the same program that we always do, and we will modify the program where it is possible to do that; but less fish will be packed out by our clients. Fishing is fun, catching king salmon is a privilege, keeping them is out for now. The weather forecast shows rain soon, let’s hope that cools the river and draws in the fish.
July 4, 2019
King salmon fishing regulations changed on July 1st and became effective on July 3, 2019 at 11:59 pm. It says sport fishermen can harvest two king salmon over 20 inches after the effective date. If an angler had two fish tagged prior to that date, he or she would still be able to harvest two more. If a new angler arrived after July 3rd, the new two king limit would apply to them. The reason for this limitation is escapement quotas have not been reached. An unusual amount of heat may be a main issue. ADF&G is not actually sure the numbers were this low; it is possible that Chinook behavior in river changed so that they were off sonar.
Sockeye salmon fishing regulations changed on July 3rd benefitting sport fishermen. ADFG states that the daily possession and daily harvest is ten sockeye salmon.All other species of salmon and “jacks” are limited to five per day. We’ve been fishing for chums as well, great for smoking salmon.
Fishing has been fair to good. Usually either the morning or the afternoon had produced fish, but not at the levels seen over the past 5 years at this same week. The warm ambient temperatureswith heat index at 80-85 degrees, is driving the river water temperatures to creep towards 65 degrees affecting fish behavior and catching.
June 2019 Alaska Fishing Report
Fishing is typically on fire right after summer solstice each year, and that’s proving to be true again this year. Swiss angler Hans Hacker, presents this beauty along with a boat total of 15 kings to the net this week. Todd Orullian of Salt Lake City, Utah, shows us this 42-inch king he landed. Perhaps the only thing larger than this bruin was the ear-to-ear grin on Todd’s face. Todd is shown here being presented his 40-INCH CLUB pin by lead guide Albert Kutzkey. Congratulations Todd! It seems like the Nushagak River kings are averaging slightly larger and longer numbers this year. Anglers pulled in 37-, 38-, and 39-inch fish routinely yesterday. Most of them were released back into the river. If week #2 is any indication of what’s to come, it’s shaping up to be a fine season as forecasted.
Happy Solstice! 12-year-old Brady, from Washington state, was awarded the first ever 40-INCH CLUB pin yesterday. Brady hooked into a 40 1/4-inch black mouth, set the hook, and was on for the ride of a lifetime. This moment was proudly witnessed by his father Jason Blum, uncle Eric Thorburn, and grandfather David Thorburn. They were fishing with our guide Ron Logan of Portland Oregon who shared that David also landed a 42-Inch king, but released it since he had already tagged one. Brady caught a dozen fish or more before tagging this beauty. A successful outdoorsman at his young age, Brady has already been dubbed the “Kid Reporter” for Fish Alaska magazine when his first article was published in March of 2018. Albert Kutzkey, our lead guide presented the pin to Brady who was radiating joy. Congratulations to Brady. It has been an exciting first week of the 2019 season!
Our first group of the season arrived this past Monday and we welcomed them in style with the big reveal of The Lodge—our new dining and gathering facility with an upgraded commercial kitchen. It’s a hit! We are hearing rave reviews. Even more exciting, king salmon fishing has been outstanding for this first week of operation. Guests are beaming from ear to ear as they come in from the river with their heroic narratives from the day. Grandfather David, his son Eric, son-in-law Jason and grandson Brady were all smiles in this photo. We have both newcomers and regulars in camp this week and we are having a blast.