If you have ever thought to yourself you would probably never take a trip specifically targeting king salmon on the fly, you may want to reconsider. I often hear from folks they are too big, or powerful, basically too much work to bring in. Granted they are a serious challenge on a spey rod, I can’t argue there. For us the real attraction to swinging for kings is the unbelievable rivers we get to fish them in. Rivers in which the scenery alone is worth the price of admission. Although they are void of steelhead, they are rivers on the coast that you would never have a chance of exploring without the hunt for king salmon. However beyond the scenery, first and foremost they come in on the tides like a scorned women, ready to Lorena Bobbit you and post it on Youtube.
For us the real attraction is that there are still decent runs of wild Kings in small coastal rivers that have absolutely no angling pressure. For anyone who has come to terms with the fact that alls they want to do in life is swing flies for large anadromous fish this is an unmeasurable asset. Just the fact alone that you can fly into a remote coastal stream throughout northern BC or Alaska and swing flies all by yourself for wild fish is a magical statement. Add on to that the fact that these fish are incredibly aggressive, and built like tanks you have a serious reason to give them a second thought.
In the past King salmon have been synonymous with shoulder to shoulder fishing, extravagant harvest photos, and back trolling with gobs of roe. No wonder it’s not on everyones radar. However, as a spey fisherman you don’t need the rivers that get 100 000 kings and all the crowds that follow. You want small coastal rivers with decent runs and no traffic. Places like the Sandy River, and Ilnik in Alaska are wonderful examples. Butch King, and Mel Gillis have been quietly providing this wonderful experience for many years.
The resounding message in everything I love about fishing is finding rivers with no one on them. There is nothing like the feeling of stepping on to a river after a late breakfast with your spey rod and knowing that you and your friends are the only ones on it that day. Any run, any time of day, its all yours.
Our king salmon on the fly program is based on that notion. We provide small coastal camps where you fly in with a small group of people and enjoy the river, the fish, the landscape all to yourself. This is getting harder and harder to find. It still exists for trout but us spey guys want big anadromous fish. The truth is the best way to find this utopia is to target winter steelhead, and summer kings. These offer the last true rivers of escape.
Our small king salmon on the fly rivers are fairly clear and have mostly shallow water. We use pretty much the same sink tips you would use steelhead fishing in late fall. The biggest difference with King salmon and steelhead is that the size of king salmon starts where steelhead stops.
Our trip revolves around spey casting on a beautiful coastal river surrounded by mountains and glacial water waiting on the tides for the big pushes of fish. While summer run wild steelhead are obviously a magical fish, you pretty much need to wait until someone dies to get into a peak week. With king salmon on the fly you can have it all. We have several rivers with different runtiming so no matter what time you come in the summer you are hitting the peak of the run. We only target wild runs of king salmon, leaving anything with a hatchery for those that don’t care.
Go on a true adventure and fly into a remote camp and face off with the mighty king. You will never regret it!