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TSIU & EYAK RIVER, ALASKA, AUG/SEP 2012

Alaska offers so many possibilities to fish Pacific salmon, it is really difficult to decide where to go. My friend Markus Leitner and I decide to travel to Alaska at the end of August to go Silver salmon (Coho) fishing. Silver salmon is known as the aggressive among the Pacific salmon species. They also attack the fly on the surface.

After much research we have decided for the Tsiu River. The Tsiu is less well known and not very long. It flows into the Gulf in the south-east of Alaska, and originates from a glacier lake. The rise of the salmon is safe and numerous; also a few Summersteelhead drag into the river. Especially as the river is not deep and flows mostly clear, motivates us. We hope to be able to fish with floating or at the most intermediate line. The salmon are really silver, full of sea lice and coming fresh into the river. On the river, there are only two lodges which you can only reach with sea plane. We fly over Anchorage to Cordova, and from there with a small machine directly to the Lodge.

During the landing approach we see six bears. Two are in the river and catch salmon, four more we see to the side of the river and on the hills. The guides pick us up from the runway with ATV and take us to the Lodge. We had a friendly welcome and were introduced to the staff and briefed.

THE LODGE

The Tsui River Lodge has been built only a few years ago, and you realise that everything is still new and well maintained. It is suitably furnished, the food is good for American standards, and the cabins are great. Each cabin has two bedrooms with a double bed, a living room with fireplace and bathroom with toilet. Everything is very spacious and well maintained. There is a fly tying course and a great extra is the well-heated drying and change room for waders, etc.

THE FISHING

Every day you can ride with the ATV in the company of the guides, some of which are responsible for several anglers at the river. You can determine yourself how long you want to stay on the river.

We fish a lot with Deceivern in the colours Chartreuse and Pink and with medium-sized Bunny b Leeches. It is really interesting when the flood comes. Then extremely many Silvers move in the river, at times you standing in the middle of the salmon. At this time, we catch the salmon with Poppers at the surface. Hard to believe: the Silver salmon sometimes repeatedly attack the Popper and swim several metres to several until we hook them. Really exciting hours!

Overall, we are five days at Tsui, and I have counted 160 Silver salmon caught! How much Markus had, I could not say; he himself has forgotten to count. The average weight of the fish is four kilos; the largest, seven to eight kilos. Salmon, fresh coming in from the sea, are always very strong fish.

Sometimes we catch the salmon directly at the mouth, still in the salt water. Twice I have a sea lion on the line, which in the play, wants to steal the salmon from the hook! It is good that he always frees himself and I don’t have to cut the line. The sea lions wait at the mouth and directly before it and hunt the incoming salmons.

THE BEARS

Bears are our constant companions. A strange feeling: You're always turning around to see what's going on behind. The guides ensure with the ATV that the bears stay away. When the bears come too close or are cheeky, the guides drive with the ATV to scare them away. Sometimes there are four, five bears around us, and we can make great pictures and videos.

THE WEATHER

There are days with continuous sunshine. Two days we fight with wind of 80 km/h, with sand from the dunes sandblasting us. A violent experience, but fishing in the storm is the best! We catch one fish after the other. One must always estimate the strong wind and rain at this place. Weather and wind cannot discourage us from fishing; at the most, we shorten the daily fishing time.

The Tsui River is a top destination for fly fishing; the lodge and fishing package has a super price/value ratio. I would recommend it to anyone and would go back straight away, if I had the desire for Silver salmon fishing.

CONTINUATION TO EYAK RIVER

We planned from the beginning, five days at Tsui to go fishing. Successful as we are, this is sufficient. The arms almost have enough from the playing!

At the Eyak River we had a meeting with Peter, the father of Markus, his friend Walter and a South Tyrolean couple, which we join with for another four days. // The cabins are well equipped, have several bedrooms and a fully equipped kitchen. – Good for self-catering! Walter cooks every day Tyrolean cuisine at its finest. It is a culinary excellence, and we understand each other very well in the large group.

The Eyak River flows mostly through the woods and in parts quite deep. Fishing there with the fly is quite good, but sometimes we need to use sinktips to reach depth. We catch 5-10 salmon per rod, per day. // What disturbs the Eyak River is the constant boat traffic. The Americans with their 200 HP Boat scoot ruthlessly with full throttle through the area. The Eyak River is easily accessible by car, and therefore many anglers are on the river. It is fished mainly with spinning lures such as spoons and jigs.

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