Copper on the Fly (www.copperonthefly.com) rainbow fishing was absolutely spectacular this fall. I think that is to make up for our difficult trip last year. We had a full house, and everyone caught lots and lots of fish every day. Many beautiful bows in the 20-24-inch category were caught all up and down the river. It was obvious that some of the sockeye we’d been fishing for on our July trip had arrived late as they were still spawning, making for egg-fishing of the first order!
Every day we piled in the boats and headed up the river, which was in excellent condition, and which we were happy to see. Thankfully, matching the egg color wasn’t too difficult so we had fish after fish after fish take our beads all day long. From time to time we experimented with leeches, which are usually also effective in the fall, but without any success this year.
Some of our favorite spots on the river held fish that were feisty and eager, and we had “doubles” over and over again. Some mornings we headed farther than usual to explore some seldom fished areas, and were rewarded with lots of action there, as well. It seemed like the first run of sockeye that we had fished in the spring had decided to spawn higher up in the river because of such ideal conditions.
Tanya & Larry from Washington state, who had fished the river three earlier times, were absolutely ecstatic over the fishing, and they certainly caught lots and lots of fish. Larry was a bit out of luck the first day, but then absolutely slammed them for the rest of the trip to make up for it. Tanya was able to claim some of the largest fish each day and she carefully measured them all.
Nigel and his wife Avalon (who had just graduated from our 2016 annual fly fishing school for women) also joined us on this trip to get an idea of how different rainbow trout were compared to pink salmon. Avalon continued to build her fly fishing skills as she caught fish numbering in the high-teens every day.
Susan, was another excellent angler who joined us this year, and racked up outstanding numbers of large fish each day. She was particularly adept in fishing with the strike indicator, and almost every time I looked over to where she was fishing she had a fish on.
Our weather was good this year (as opposed to last year’s flood waters) and we took advantage of it. Some mornings we faced the early morning cold that is typical of Alaska’s Falls, but the slick board-walk between the cabins was melting before we headed out to fish.
Our only disappointment this year is that, for some reason, we didn’t get to see many bears. One large one with white ears appeared in the marsh across from the lodge, but he headed to the other side of the water where we couldn’t see him. Lots of bear sign was on the banks of the rivers, as were lots of partially eaten red salmon carcasses, so we knew that the bears were around, however, and we kept a diligent watch as we fished. We did see a river otter and two immature eagles on the river, almost every day, but that was pretty much the extent of our wildlife watching. The ducks and birds were preparing to depart on their south-ward journey and there were great groups of them in the area.
The Little Copper River where we fish is truly a magnificent example of the beauty and the bounty of the Iliamna Lake area in Bristol Bay. We invite you to join us next summer for either (or both) of our trips to Copper on the Fly in early July or late August for sockeye and rainbows or just rainbows. We’ll have dates confirmed in a few weeks. Stay tuned to our newsletter.
Best Fishes, Pudge