Rainbows on the Naknek:
The best rainbow fishing is close to camp and in the rapids. The
rainbows will still take salmon smolt and leeches migrating downstream to the ocean, but by far
the biggest food source is salmon eggs. Sockeye eggs are 6mm, silvers and pinks are 8mm
and kings are 10mm. Sometimes, oversize imitations work better. I like trout beads new mottled
beads in orange, dark roe and pinks in sizes 6mm - 12mm. Dont forget #8 and #10 short shank
hooks and toothpicks (or the clear plastic pegs). For leeches, I like articulated and bunny strip
versions without eggs in front in black, olive, purple and flesh colors. Wool head sculpin also
work well. Late in the season, flesh flies might be needed.
- a light spinning rod in the 9 - 11 range, loaded with 4 - 8 pounds mono.
- a 9 to 11 fly rod in the 6 to 8 wt range. I would want to have a 200 or 300 grain sink tip, a WF
floating line and a Climax Zip line (or equivalent shooting line). 2x - 4 x fluorocarbon tippets.
- a centerpin rig can be deadly for this fishing.
Rainbows at Brooks:
Brooks is flies only. In early August, rainbows will eagerly take mice, dead
drifted small dries, sculpins and leeches. By mid to late August, the sockeye spawning kicks in
and 6mm - 8mm plastic beads are king. Since it is flies only, a bare hook is illegal. Either a very
small flesh fly, a small woolybugger, a sculpin or a maggot fly must be added below the bead. A
bare hook with a dozen turns of thread is also acceptable.
an 8 ½ to 10 foot fly rod for a 5-6 weight line. The WF floater is the most popular
choice, although sink-tips (130 grain to 200 grain) will work as well. I also love the zip line for this
fishing. 3x to 5x tippets.
This is some of the best arctic char/ dolly varden fishing around, along with a
decent population of rainbows. The stream is full of sockeye spawning by mid August., so beads
are at great bet here, with or without a fly following behind. All the same patterns listed for Brooks
work well here as well. If the water is discolored, 10 and 12mm beads are deadly. The rest of the
time, 6mm and 8mm work best.
By early August, silvers should be running into the Naknek on each high tide. Bright
marabou streamers in purples and pinks and other bright colors, spinners in sizes 3-5 in pink,
orange, chartreuse, and silver all work very well at times, as do wiggle warts in the same colors.
Lots of local guides prefer jigs in 1/8 and 1/16 ounce in pink and purple, fished with or without an
indicator. When they get spooky, however, nothing compares to a shooting line, a very small split
shot or 2 and a small marabou streamer (like a woolybugger or PM Wiggler) in black, purple,
pink, olive and cream, fished on 2x-3x fluoro.
The best rods are 9-10 for a 7wt or 8wt. Line. I would want to have a shooting line, a floater and,
possibly, a 200 to 300 grain sinking tip. For spinning, a 7 med light rod, a reel with a smooth
drag and 8 - 12 pound test line is best.
Every even year is a pink year on the Naknek, which means that 2012 will likely bring
another strong run starting in July and continuing into mid-August. They are extremely
aggressive, hitting all of the flies and lures listed for silvers, and then some. Small silver spoons
and spinners work very well also.
They are in the 3 to 6 pound range, and so can be a lot of fun on a little lighter tackle. Light
spinning rods with 8 pound line or fly rods in the 5-7 weight range are perfect. Same lines as
Early in August, the kings begin moving to their spawning areas, either up the feeder
streams or in the rapids of the main stream. King season closes at the end of July, but many will
be hooked throughout most of August. They must be immediately released, of course. Most of the
spawning area is single hook only. Large streamers, small marabou streamers and large eggs
all work well.
We have a lot of heavy rods and reels - spinning and fly - that guests can use.
If you want to bring some, I would recommend a 7-9 foot spinning rod with 30 pound braid for
casting and a 9 for a 9 or 10 weight for flyfishing. The fly reel should employ either a 400 - 600
grain sink tip line, a floating line with a strike indicator, or a Climax Zip line (or other suitable
Reds are thick in August and most of September. They are either spawning, or holding
in slower seams waiting to spawn. The river and creek mouths around Naknek Lake will also be
full of them.
A 6-8 weight fly rod in 9 to 11 lengths with a Climax Zip Line is by far the best choice. A
floating line with either a strike indicator or a few split shot will also work well. Small nymphs and
streamers work well as do small beads.
Other equipment needed or recommended:
Split shot in sizes b, bb and 3/0. Cone sinkers in
1/64th, 1/32nd, 1/16th, tapered leaders in 0x and 3x, fluorocarbon tippet in 2x - 5x, strike indicators
in both 1 inch foam and yarn style, #12 black barrel swivels, forceps, nippers, floatant, brown or
amber polarized sunglasses with strap, hat with brim, rain jacket, chest waders, wading belt,
some like a wading staff, fleece pants, fleece sweater(s), wool socks, windproof fleece
fingerless gloves, headnet, insect repellant, sun screen.
REMINDER- felt soles are illegal in all of Alaska!
Please make sure you have rubber soled wading boots.
Early Season ~ June to July | Late Season ~ August to September