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Fall fishing is prime time for rainbows.

by Brian Steele

Helpful Area Fishing Maps

Kenai Peninsula
Kenai Lake
Matsu Valley
Parks Highway



Alaskan Fall Rainbow
& Char Patterns

Egg Patterns



PHOTOS:

  1. Author with a chunky fall rainbow

  2. Searun Dolly Varden taken by Brian Hooks

  3. Tom Kloninger with a fine Dolly

  4. Jason Brodder with a healthy 'bow

  5. Matching the "Hatch" of spawned eggs

Alaska's Pot of Gold Ends At The Rainbow


With a lot of attention switching to fall hunting many sportsmen miss out on some of the finest fishing of the year. Rainbows and Dollies congregate in salmon spawning areas and become ferocious warriors ready to give any angler a run for their money. September is prime time for trophy rainbow fishing with many prime spots accessible by road. Try any one of the usual late season hot spots for salmon and you will usually find outstanding rainbow and Dolly fishing.



The first week in September this year proved to be outstanding. A group of close friends and I fished three days and landed over 500 trout and dollies. Most of the fish were broad shoulder powerful fish in the 20 to 25 inch range with a few true "Walters" in excess of 27 inches.



Most any egg pattern will work while the salmon are spawning but subtle details and perfect egg matches can make the difference between a good fishing day and a phenomenal one. Here are three recommendations when heading out for some outstanding fall trout fishing.



First and foremost, find spawning salmon. Don't waste your time fishing non-productive holes and hike until you find the salmon. There are always fish lying behind the salmon waiting to feast on stray salmon eggs. Some of our best glory holes are often found just below major spawning activity where a fish every cast is common.


Second, match the hatch! Usually by kneeling down close to the river's edge you can see individual salmon eggs drifting down river or stuck between rocks. Find a perfect Glo-bug or bead that matches the diameter and color and tie it on. Remember that the regulations require a bead to be fixed to the line within two inches of the hook to be legal.

Third, always use a dead drift technique to allow for maximum realism in your presentation.

Using these three rules of thumb you're sure to hook a lot of slab size fish this fall. A special thanks to Tom Kloninger from 3 Rivers Fly and Tackle in Wasilla for upstanding comradery and letting me demo that Sage 10 six weight. With river levels dropping and the water running clear, excellent fishing should continue through month's end.

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