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Side Channel Fishing

Posted on November 22 2009

Tight quarters.
Photo: Cameron Miller

One of the really neat things about fishing at Alaska West is that the two rivers we fish provide a huge amount of variety.

In addition to the fact that we chase 8 different species (kings, chums, sockeye, pinks, silvers, rainbows, dollies and grayling!), our rivers are heavily braided in some sections. We can fish big water in the main river, but the braided sections provide some really intimate fishing in their side channels.

Little two-handers work great here.
Photo: Cameron Miller

Some side channels are pretty substantial, containing nearly half the flow of the main river. Others have just a trickle of water, and in fact many side channels completely dry up by the time the river has finished dropping near the end of the season.

Since we prefer fishing for salmon while they’re hot and bright in the lower stretches of the rivers, most of our side channel fishing is for resident species – rainbows, dollies and grayling. Spawning activity in the side channels attracts plenty of egg-hungry critters, and submerged logs, root wads and undercut banks provide plenty of cover. Beads, flesh and sculpins all produce fish in our side channels, as do the always-fun mouse patterns.

Yes, we ‘only’ fish two rivers, but each has so many braids and side channels that they’re like dozens of rivers in one.

More On Our Fishery At Alaska West

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