The Selfie Whale Pass Fishing Report

The Selfie Whale Pass Fishing Report

A plethora of illness has struck the Lodge this week. Both staff and guests have been bitten by an unpleasant bug, which so far I have managed to avoid. I can only hope my luck continues.

The pink salmon are thick at Neck Lake Outlet and in the 108 Creek. Small, flashy pink flies work really well. It’s almost stupid fishing, it’s so easy.

Two days this week found me in the bus driver mode, ferrying passengers to or from the  AnAn Bear Observation Area. With nice weather it’s a little over two hours each way in the North River boats we use here. The first trip gave me no passengers and all afternoon to fish my way back. Of course advantage was taken of this.


whale pass fishing report

JK driving the “bus.”

I had seen charter boats fishing the south end of the Seward Passage on earlier trips. They were there again. I decided to join them.

It was deep, 320 feet. The halibut I caught had to be pulled up a long way. Perhaps greedily I was hoping for a lingcod too, but that did not happen.

whale pass fishing report

The halibut I selfied.

I stopped at Onslow Point, hoping for a lingcod or another halibut there. In 300 feet of water I got a bite. I pulled up a bright orange rockfish that weighed eight pounds, a Yelloweye. Sadly but predictably it was bloated from the pressure change, and there was no way to release it.

whale pass fishing report

A yellow eye rockfish, all bloated up.

After crossing the Clarence Strait some trolling was tried in the vicinity of Ratz Harbor, which produced one undersized king salmon. There were lots of salmon jumping, so a jig on a light spinning rod was tried. I hooked but lost a fish. It felt like a nice one. I would like to think it was a silver, but it was probably a pink.

The water was slick calm and you could see the schools of salmon pushing wakes as they came out of the strait heading into the harbor. It was quite an exciting sight!

I got my seven-weight out, then tried to intercept them coming in. The first few schools did not give me the time of day, but then a fat buck pink struck. It was a decent fish, six or seven pounds, big for a pink. The release was successful.

I could have stayed and done that for a long time but it was late. I ran the rest of the way back to the lodge, wondering if I would ever experience that awesome spot again.

The halibut bite remains strong. Lots of cod and rockfish are being caught, too.

Whales will distract the angler fishing the Triplets.

Whales will distract the angler fishing the Triplets.

Mooching and trolling around the Triplets is still producing pink, silver, and king salmon. The whale shows have been awesome, too. Thirteen year old Aaron from New York got a 33 inch, 14 pound king salmon while mooching on Friday afternoon, the first salmon he’d ever caught. Good way to kick off a fishing career!

whale pass fishing report

Aaron started his fishing career with this king salmon.

Seals bask on a tiny gravel beach at the Triplets.

Seals bask on a tiny gravel beach at the Triplets.

And that is this week’s Whale Pass Fishing Report from the Lodge at Whale Pass.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short. Go Fishing!

John Kumiski


All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2014. All rights are reserved.

Goodnews River Lodge, Alaska Fishing Report

Another Mountain, Hot Fishing

Monday Aaron the cook and I went hiking, this time across the tundra to climb a mountain to which I’d never been and of which I don’t the name. The hike across the tundra was a journey of exploration.

Tundra looks flat. Ha! It actually is full of holes, quite spongy, and in many places very wet, with ankle deep water in places. The flowers are incredible but when you have a long way to go you can’t stop and smell the roses, so I didn’t photograph any that day.

Thar’s snow in them hills…

We got to the mountain at 1 PM, and commenced climbing. I stopped at the first outcrop. I knew I needed to save something for the return trip. Aaron left his pack and almost ran the rest of the way up and back, taking almost another hour. He reports the views were spectacular.

This one is for Aaron’s mom.

After a long walk back we reached my boat a little after 5 PM. Eight to five, humping it the whole time. I was beat.

John the Tundra Angel.

King salmon fishing is still excellent, with lots of big fish. Several of my fishermen have gotten king salmon well in excess of 25 pounds this week, including fly fisherman Steve Antanasio and Dr. Ron Bowerman, photos below.

King Salmon by Steve Antonasio.

King Salmon by Dr. Ron.

The chums and pinks are in in ridiculous numbers. Lots of methods will work for these fish, but small pink flies are easy to tie, easy to cast, and work as well as anything else. If they are very thick in the spot you’re fishing you can popper fish them.

This chum salmon was Katie’s first fish on fly.

John Pluhar joined me today, wanting to learn to fly fish. We started at the beginning with a little theory, then went to casting mechanics, then went fishing. He got several Dolly varden to five pounds, as well as numerous chum and pink salmon. Let’s not discuss the missed strikes!

John Pluhar learned to fly cast here, catching this pink salmon, and several chums and dolly varden.

The chums and sockeyes are about to start dropping eggs so dollies should go off the charts, as should the trout fishing. I love this time of the summer here.

Fishing Story of the Week- after dinner one evening Will the Brit and Aaron the cook joined me for some chum fishing. The cook got a pink and the Brit got a chum. I wanted a photo of them with their double. The fish weren’t cooperating. In the middle of trying to hold his wiggling salmon, Will smacked Aaron right in the kisser with it, almost laying him out. A hilarious photo sequence, sadly cut short for the blog.


Will smacks Aaron…

… and Aaron nearly goes down for the count.

That is this week’s Goodnews River Lodge, Alaska Fishing Report.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- go fishing!

John Kumiski


All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2011. All rights are reserved.

Goodnews River Lodge, Alaska Fishing Report

Tsuktulig, Faith’s Birthday, Cha-wee-cha, and More

Word of the Week- Cha-WEE-cha! That’s a phonetic spelling for king salmon in Russian. I would write the word in Russian if I could remember how the Russians spell it in their very different from ours alphabet. More on the Russians below.

From the Inbox, an email from Nick Collantonio, a repeat Lodge guest for many years: “I enjoyed both weekly reports from the Goodnews. In each report was my pick for the Comatose Angler Award for that week: wading-shoes-on-the-wrong-foot-guy and dropped-spool-in-the-water-guy. Having established myself as a comatose angler in Florida, Alaska and Ireland, I take an interest in those who follow in my footsteps, and I take satisfaction in knowing that on the day that the award was first presented at GNRL I had landed three species of Pacific salmon in comatose mode — silver, pink and king — 60% of a slam.

“Seeya in two and a half weeks.” -Nick

Wednesday was Faith’s seventh birthday. The party was a gala affair. She got a Hello Kitty book, a set of fly tying tools, and a pair of waders, and several other gifts. I considered making and giving her drumsticks, a gift that keeps on giving. I also considered Mike and Kim’s sanity and held off, at least for another year.

Faith and Hello Kitty

JA- always ready for a party…

Is that Elton John?

Taylor, the fun guy.

Monday son Alex, Taylor Melville, and I took a day off to go mountaining. I was optimistic when we left but by the time we got to Tsuktulig it had clouded and the top wasn’t visible. We decided to go anyway.

We found a mostly clear path across the tundra, a fairly clear path through the trees, and then it was on to the summit. I am slower than I used to be. That may be a good thing, come to think of it, at least in some areas of endeavor.

We had lunch near the summit. I was uncomfortable. You could only see about 100 feet and it was steep down in every direction but one. I had no intention of going up on that knife edge just then.

Already at the top, we weren’t pressing our luck by going there.

As we headed down we got below a break in the clouds and had some incredible views.

Alex, on Tsuktulig.

The boys going wild on the mountain.

Alex and Taylor- the intrepid mountain crew.

We even had enough gas left after getting down to stop and do a little fishing on the way back to camp. We got one bite between us. I lost the fish.

At the beginning of the week I spent a couple days doing king salmon/sockeye salmon splits. Bob Wohlborn and Cary Campbell combined for a king salmon double with two fish that together easily hit 50 pounds. We then got 15 sockeyes.

King Salmon Double

Bob and Cary did some damage.

Wednesday the Russians arrived, nine of them from St. Petersburg. My first assignment was with Mikhail and Dennis, father and son. They spin fished, but they were among the best anglers I’ve run into anywhere ever, just awesome. They tuned up eight kings on Wednesday afternoon, and four more on Thursday. Sadly it has been cold and rainy since they got here (high of 46 Fahrenheit today) and I have not been carrying the camera in the boat.

Last night I took Aaron the chef and Will, chief bottle washer, fly fishing for chums. The fish were right where they were supposed to be, and both guys had a great time. There are again stupid numbers of chum salmon in the river.

Fish Story of the Week: Today Nikita and Pavel graced my boat. As already stated it was cold, rainy, and windy. Pavel’s gloves were crap and Nikita didn’t have any. He asked me as best he could (which was good enough, since I eventually figured out what he wanted) if I had an extra pair of gloves. I did, a nice fleece pair with the fold-down mitten top, a wonderful thing during the Alaskan summer. I gave them to him.

Of course they got wet. While we were in for lunch he put them on the propane heater I his cabin. My son Alex was walking by a short time later and heard the smoke alarm. My gloves were on fire.

Nikita showed them to me after lunch. He was very apologetic, as you could imagine. We made up and were fine!

My mittens- up in smoke.

Nikita and Pavel took three big kings, all on plugs. One salmon weighed eight kilos as measured on their scale. Nikita likes a lot of drag on his reel. He locked down on my Ambassadeur and pulled the hook off of two plugs. It was an entertaining day in spite of some very crappy weather.

Spo-cee-bo for reading…

That is this week’s Goodnews River Lodge, Alaska Fishing Report.

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- If you can’t come fishing here, at least go fishing!

John Kumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2012. All rights are reserved.