Sockeye salmon, also called red salmon or kokanee salmon, are an anadromous species of salmon found in the Northern Pacific Ocean and rivers discharging into it. The second most abundant salmon in Alaska, the sockeye is also referred to as the "red salmon" due to its distinctive fire truck-red spawning coloration. Sockeyes are found in lake-fed river systems from May to September, with the best fishing to be had in July near the mouths and lake inlets of their spawning streams. Most abundant in the Bristol Bay region, the sockeye is also available in Kodiak, the Kenai Peninsula, and to a lesser extent Southeast Alaska. Tipping the scales at 4-8 lbs with the occasional brute going 12lbs or better, the sockeye is an exceptional fighting fish, known for its blistering runs and tremendous leaps.
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Several lodges we represent in Alaska are the best place to fish for sockeye.
The word that best describes the fight of the sockeye would be "explosive." Capable of ripping off high-speed runs liberally sprinkled with meteoric leaps, the sockeye demand the use of a 7 or 8wt rod to handle them. Reels with a large arbor and a good drag are a must-have to be able to keep up with the sockeye both coming and going. Effectively fishing for sockeye means putting the fly right on their nose. Depending upon the method of presentation, fly line choices include sinking tip fly lines or a weight forward floating line with a long leader and plenty of split shot.
Sockeye feed on zoo plankton during their ocean cycle. Because their food source is the smallest of the small, sockeye tend to eat flies that are small and sparse. Often flies in the size #4 - #8 tied on stout salmon or saltwater hooks are the best.
Senior Program Manager
Specializes in Alaska and Canada fishing, and South America fishing and big game programs.
Specializes in South America fishing and shooting departments. Plus, fishing in Mongolia and Canada.