Last week ADF&G announced two emergency orders limiting opportunities to harvest king salmon. The first banned the use of bait on the Deshka River. The second closed the Little Su to king salmon fishing except for a few upcoming weekends. With such poor returns, some anticipate both rivers closing to all king salmon fishing, including catch and release, as early as this week.
Valley guides are already adapting to the changes. One popular salmon guide provided refunds to clients due to the emergency orders restrictions. Others have stopped booking king salmon trips and are targeting rainbow trout in Parks Highway streams until the silver salmon arrive.
King salmon that have made it back to the river and squeezed by anglers to safer waters upriver will soon be spawning. Look for rainbow trout and grayling following the salmon up river, hanging at the end of pools and runs, waiting for salmon eggs to drop. Susitna tributary rainbows get feisty when eggs drop so don’t be surprised if two or more fish race to the same bead or egg pattern. If you’re on the water before the bead bite picks up, try skating a mouse pattern over kings, as rainbows won’t be able to pass up the protein.