Swinging for King Salmon in Alaska is like no other fishing experience. These monsters of the ocean that find the inner strength to fight for the survival of the species in their spawning ritual of returning to the site in which they were created taps into a primordial experience of man versus beast. This adventure is like no other. This takes patience, creativity and the willingness to wait out these denizens of the deep. In Alaska & California the King or Chinook (named for the season that match the winds they return with) come to the rivers they found their life in sometime in the autumn.
This is an endurance sport, more hunting than traditional fly fishing for trout, the swing is usually accomplished with big spey rods, long line and heavy flies. In each cast lays the hope for something grand. The pursuit of the amazing. The beauty of the silver fish that is filled with power and majesty remains illusive under the currents of the Alaskan waters. But when the bite is on, the take and power is otherworldly. It takes skill to land one of these amazing creatures. Not only is it a technique intense type of cast and fight, it also takes some luck. Wrestling against these fish taps into the intense history of this incredible species. There is something amazing about the resilience of these fish that when we as anglers have the chance to capture one of these Kings on the swing it can be transcendent.
Swinging For King Salmon In Alaska
The Hoodoo River is the most remote of the rivers in Alaska for this beautiful sport. The chinook are strongest of the salmon species that still make the runs up the river dating back 4,000 years. While there are a lot of fish making the journey the odds are stacked against the angler. The fish stop eating once they depart the ocean and are singularly focused on the objective of reproduction. From the best of our knowledge we can only conclude that their pursuit of a swung fly is in aggression and the primal instinct to fight for survival. The swing imitates an immature trout or salmon that may appear easy pickings for the larger fish. If one is lucky enough to get a strike while on the swing, the same instinct that causes the chase, also causes the amazing expense of energy and fight for survival on the end of the fly line.
Here are some photos of our guiding season at HooDoo Lodge for King Salmon in Alaska. This is the most remote fly fishing lodge in Alaska. Learn more.
Guiding for King Salmon
Lastly, we would like to leave you with this incredible video of the King salmon spawning in the American River. It is beautiful to watch these majestic creatures in the reproduction process – insuring the survival of their species.