The Home Stretch is Here!
The shift to 6 AM dock departure marks the beginning of the homestretch for AU’s season. We’re losing two and a half minutes of sun each morning and 5 AM has gotten a little too dark these days. The focus of the fishing now moves increasingly to the big hook-nosed Alaska coho (silver) stocks that move onshore toward their natal streams. Silvers in the mid-teens become common, with the holy grail of a 20-pounder ever possible. We’ve enjoyed two spectacular Septembers in a row with sunny skies and lots of big silvers. But as they say in the financial world – “Past performance doesn’t guarantee future results.” It does, however, suggest a trend and great possibilities.
As we look back on the 2021 silver run so far, descriptors such as inconsistent and grindy apply. We’ve had great days, good days, and slow days. We’ve seen no pattern to it. Nonetheless, after 3 or 4 days of fishing, people head home with plenty of fish and excitement for next season. On days we’ve made it out to the ocean, the halibut fishing has delivered. We’ve enjoyed a big run of chum salmon (see below) and the rockfish always seem ready and willing. Has it been a lights-out silver run this year? No, but it’s hardly a dud and it ain’t over yet.
Let’s Cut The Chum Some Slack
When you hook one, you might think you have a king because they fight just as hard. When you cook one, you might think you’re eating a coho because they taste so good. And when you smoke one, you’ll wish you had brought home more. So, what’s with the bias against chum (aka dog) salmon? When chum transition to their spawning phase, they lose their fight and their flavor, but until then, the bias is unfounded. Catch them while they’re mint bright in the ocean and you’ll ensure they display all of the above rosy qualities. To this point, my last group took a coho filet and a chum filet to their suite for a barbecue taste test. The result – both equally delicious.
Seasons with big numbers of bright chums in our catch aren’t something we can typically count on, but they came in droves this year in late July and the first weeks of August. The limit on chums is 6 per person per day and doesn’t impact your limit on silvers. The moral of the story: if you’re lucky enough to catch bright ocean chums, don’t look those gift salmon in the mouth. Have fun fighting them and enjoy eating them.
Book Your Trip for 2022!
AU continues to book up earlier and earlier each year. We have a policy of giving our guests from the current season the right of first refusal on their dates for the next season. An extremely high percentage exercise that option. Still, we have great openings and the occasional cancellation. Give us a call or send us an email. Let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll do our best to make it happen. Your chances will always be better if you act early.