Just try and imagine, if possible, a body of salt water filled with salmon surrounded by 8-12 thousand foot snow capped mountains. This salt water is so clear that an angler can see the bottom at 15 feet deep. Hard to imagine, but it is a reality. Every year over 20 million pink salmon and 5 million silver salmon return to the waters of Prince William Sound in Valdez Alaska. All one has to do to get there is follow the 800 mile pipeline to the end, and there put a line in the water. This area is known as Allison Point/Winnebago Island.
The pink salmon, humpback, returns in such numbers that it is impossible to not catch fish. The beginning angler can catch fish until ones arms are too tired to cast. These fish are a great place for the kids to feel the power of fresh salmon in the salt water and their acrobatics once hooked. After a child hooks into one of these fish, they will be hooked on fishing for life. A ½ ounce pixie in any color is all that is needed to find one of these fish on the end of a line. A slow retrieval is a must, as they are mainly scent feeders and must see the lure to strike, and will question it if not moving slow enough. Look for schools of these fish, where there is one coming three feet out of the water, there are hundreds, if not thousands. The best time to get a fair share is from the dates of July 1 to July 21, any later and their meat will start turning and will not be worth keeping. The average size of the species is 5-8 pounds, so light/medium tackle will work just fine.
The silver salmon, Coho, returns in numbers not a great as the humpback. Pound for pound, this fish will fight more so than a king salmon, in the salt water. Multiply the biggest bass fight by two and that is the fight these fish will put up. They will run close to the shoreline so casting as far as the line will go will get nothing. A bobber, herring, and a sharp hook are all that is needed for this species. Cast no farther than 10-15 feet off the bank and set the herring 18-24 inches from the bobber. These fish are extreme scent feeders, so let the frozen herring thaw a little before putting it on the hook. The bobber will then bounce, move, and when it goes under for more than 1 second, literally count in your head, one-one thousand, then set the hook and get the net. Once hooked, this fish will thrash like no bass has ever thrashed before, so be wary to keep that tip up. They will leap out of the water at heights of 4-5 feet, turn and look at the angler, and spit the hook faster than one can even say WOW. Thirty-pound mono line they will laugh at, instantly snapping it. Go ahead and loosen that drag and they will run the reel out of line. Braided line no less than 25 pounds will get that fish on the shore. The best time to hit the silvers from the shore is August 25-Labor Day, after that, the commercial folks get them and there will be none left to catch. The average size is 15-20 pounds and will fight like it weighs 50.
The majestic mountains around are the only cover, not for the fish, but for the angler. Do not get caught up in the beauty of the mountains while fishing or the fish will not get caught. Do not mind the bald eagles soaring overhead either, they are in such numbers there that pictures can be taken after the fish are caught. Oh my, look at that awesome bear, fish on, oops, forgot to set the hook, fish off. The beauty will always be there, the fish only run at certain times, after the fishing is done, the sight seeing can begin. Wow, look at that, there is a sea lion out there, grab the camera, loose the rod in the water. There are also 6-hour tides, and they are large. The average high tide will bring the water back up 10-15 feet and the low tide will take it out just as much. Prince William Sound Valdez, Alaska, the most gorgeous place on earth to wet a line, give it a try, we will leave the lights on for you all summer.
Jason Taylor (silversalmon)