Posts Tagged With: dolly varden

Sheep Creek: Juneau, AK 7/23/2012

My wife was understanding enough to allow me to fish during our family vacation cruise to Alaska. So far were having a blast and the food, entertainment, and the scenery are outstanding.

I did some research before arriving in Juneau, our first port of call. My afternoon outing would take me to Sheep Creek, which is about 5 miles south of town along the Gastineau channel. During this time of year the chum salmon are thick in the creek and the Dolly Varden pursue the dogs in search of their tasty roe. I started out with my Redington Classic trout 5 wt, which I rigged up a pegged trout bead in molteled or orange. After a few drifts it wasn’t picking up fish, so I sized down and changed colors into the Pautzke red egg color. While the Chum are easily seen in gin color water the Dollies aren’t with their silvery and green backs. You have to look for their swimming otherwise you’ll miss their appearance.

My goal was to target the Dollies since I can always catch Chum in Washington. The tide would move in fairly quickly so the river would eventually come to a slower pace and wasn’t as ideal to free drift the egg imitation. The first fish was a dandy, a nice chrome fish of about 17″. As the tide crept up with the Glacial green color of the salt into the clear creek the chums would pile up into the skinny channel and the Dollies would follow suit. I made successive drifts and picked up several fish on three occasions. All greedily gobbling up the red and then orange colored egg. I lost several rigs on the Chum that would also grab the egg and the 6 lb tippet would snap off in the grizzly like teeth of the Chum.

As the tide crept in and the Chum stacked like firewood it was tougher to get a drift without connecting with a toothy chum that gobbled the egg pattern. It was a good time to take a break and wait out the tide change. A few other fishermen came and tried for dollies but everyone kept snagging the chum including me as they looked like terra cotta warriors positioned for battle.

A few of those fishermen would crowd me as they saw my success with the dollies until I gave up my slot and decided to head back down towards the salt flats where the tide was already receding. I decided to switch tactics and use my 8 wt RPL with Airflo multi-tip line with intermediate tip and bead chain clouser is green over black. I thought the chum would smash this fly like they normally do in Washington but they didn’t seem to care too much for the fly. After fouling many fish, I decide to switch up colors and it was like night and day. A light pink micro calf tail fly with copper bead head was the ticket. The Chum and Dollies would grab this fly with vigor to the point that the Sage would finally explode after a hard run from a big male. Just at the bottom section just below the female ferrule it decided to give way.

I didn’t know if it was the fly color and or pattern change or the change of tide but I couldn’t stop fishing, so used the 5 wt with egg pattern to pick up a few more Chum before I called it quits and called the taxi to pick me up so I could meet my family back in the ship for dinner.

What an amazing place and experience to see just a few miles south of downtown Juneau. I saw bald eagles hanging out near the mouth and some beautiful waterfalls and porpoising salmon as we entered into the Gastineau channel. My wife and family did the Mendenhall glacier tour and saw several pods of Orca whales. Everyone had a great time and we topped it off with another fantastic dinner from Rudi Saliman at the Vista Terrace dining room. I doubt I’ll be able to fish on the next couple of ports due to the broken 8 wt and shorter timing but I’m glad that I was at least able to connect with a few nice Dolly Varden on Sheep Creek.











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Skykomish float: 12/11/2011

Since Phil is taking a day off next week so we can fish the Nisqually, I thought it would be nice to make a dry run with some more practice time on the sticks. I want him feel comfortable rowing the drift boat as the Nisqually is a smaller river in places and there are more log jams and hazards that require some amount of rowing skills.

I had the day off an decided that it would be nice to float the Skykomish from Sultan to Ben Howard. The flows were running pretty low with about 3′ of visibility. While I launched the boat I thought we’d have a little more time on the water and decided to take out at Lewis street instead, but that would add another mile and half to the float.

We pulled off at the first nice looking beach and practiced with the switch rod and swinging flies in search of steel. While We didn’t find any there an old chum somehow took my steelhead fly. While the water looked fantastic and the conditions were ideal the river seemed devoid of fish and we fished many ideal bucket waters hoping to find a willing contender.

Halfway through the float my indicator took a b-line upstream and I had a nice sized Bull trout in the egg pattern. While we never got it to hand, I could see it was a very large fish of 25″+ just size of it’s mouth could probably hold my fist. A few runs later I drifted my rig through a likely slot and in the first drift my indicator went down and a native steelhead was hooked all 9″ of it! I guess I can say that it was a good trip as I didn’t expect to hook anything and ended up with a few willing players.the reports of bright chum are showing up on the reports and hope that were able to luck out with a few players.












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