The start to 2015 was a burner. Most of us left very warm weather in our home states to come up to Alaska and find… you guessed it, warm weather. While it was still a solid twenty degrees below temps in the likes of New Mexico and Texas, it was just plain hot and dusty up here. So much so that thunder and lighting started up all across the state, including here in Bristol Bay. A somewhat rare event in these parts. Within a day or so, over three hundred fires where burning around the state with over dozen inside of our flying radius.
As you might have heard, our snow pack was low. Around the lower lakes it appeared that there had been no snow and we all feared the water levels would be similar to the Rio Grande on the Mexican border. Turns out, the snow in the upper reaches of our river systems, especially the Nushagak system, were actually better than last season and all rivers where running at a very optimum level and quite cool. Good news for fishing.
The local species benefited the most from the mild spring and were in great physical shape, with most of the trout recovering nicely from an early spawning season. While streamers worked good, fishing for them with mice patterns was at its best. Rumor has it that mice rival rabbits in the fertility department and matching this furry hatch was our pleasure.
Our first group of the anglers were mainly here for King Salmon however, and early in the week it started a bit slow, but built up nicely as the week went on. The last couple of days saw escapement numbers of fish into the river that rival anything we have seen over the years and the angling success matched it. Game on.
The only glitch we ran into from a fishing standpoint goes back to the fires. One fire in particular had broken out on the tundra a couple of miles off of the Togiak River and depending the direction of the wind became an issue as we could not get into that river system a couple of days. Time to do a rain dance or two.