Pacific Salmon

Tsiu & Eyak River, Alaska | Stati Uniti


Alaska offers so many opportunities for salmon fishing that it's hard to decide. My friend Markus Leitner and I decided to go to Alaska at the end of August to fish for Silver Salmon (Coho). The Silver Salmon is known as the most aggressive among the Pacific salmon species.

After extensive research, we settled on the Tsiu River. The Tsiu is less known and not very long. It flows into the Gulf in the southeastern part of Alaska and originates from a glacier lake. The salmon run is strong and plentiful, and a few summer steelhead also migrate into the river. What particularly attracts us to this river is that it is not very deep and usually runs clear. We hope to be able to fish with a floating line or at most an intermediate line. The salmon are bright silver, covered in sea lice, and enter the river in a fresh condition. There are only two lodges on the river, which can only be reached by seaplane. We fly over Anchorage to Cordova and then take a small plane directly to the lodge.

During our landing approach, we spot six bears. Two are standing in the river, catching salmon, while the other four are seen in the reeds and on the hillsides away from the river. The guides pick us up with ATVs from the landing strip and take us to the lodge. We are warmly welcomed, introduced to the staff, and given instructions.

Tsiu & Eyak River, Alaska | Stati Uniti
27. August - 04. September 2012

Fishing with bears

The Lodge

The Tsiu River Lodge was built just a few years ago, and you can tell that everything is still new and well-maintained. It is functional in design, the food is good by American standards, and the log cabins are excellent. Each cabin has two bedrooms with double beds, a living room with a fireplace, and a bathroom with a toilet. Everything is very spacious and well-kept. There is a fly-tying station, and a great extra feature is the well-heated drying and changing room for waders, and so on.

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    Close to the bears
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    Arrival in our Lodge
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    Dinner Time
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    In the Pub
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    The Arrival
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    There we go

The Fishing The Fishing The Fishing The Fishing The Fishing The Fishing The Fishing The Fishing The Fishing The Fishing The Fishing The Fishing The Fishing The Fishing The Fishing The Fishing The Fishing The Fishing The Fishing The Fishing

Every day, you drive to the river with ATVs, accompanied by guides responsible for several anglers. You can decide how long you want to stay by the river; the guides are always patient and don't rush you.

We primarily use Deceivers in Chartreuse and Pink colors and medium-sized Bunny Leeches for fishing. It gets really interesting when the tide comes in. At times, a tremendous number of Silver Salmon enter the river, and you find yourself surrounded by salmon. During these times, we catch the salmon using surface poppers. It's hard to believe, but the Silver Salmon sometimes attack the popper multiple times and swim several meters to take the bait, making for truly exciting moments!

We spend a total of 5 days at the Tsiu River, and I catch 160 Silver Salmon! I can't say how many Markus caught; he forgot to keep count. The average weight of the fish is around four kilos, with the largest ones weighing seven to eight kilos. Salmon that have just entered the river from the sea are always exceptionally strong.

Sometimes, we even catch the salmon right at the river's mouth, still in saltwater. Twice, I had a sea lion on the line trying to steal the salmon during the fight! The sea lions wait at the river's mouth and just inside, hunting the incoming salmon.


Bears are our constant companions. It's a strange feeling: you keep turning around to see what's happening behind you. The guides use the ATVs to keep the bears at a distance. If the bears come too close or become bold, the guides drive their ATVs towards them to scare them away. Sometimes, there are four or five bears around us, and we can capture great pictures and videos.

Eyak River

The Weather

There are days with continuous sunshine. Two days, we wrestle with winds of 80 km/h, which sandblast us with the sand from the dunes. It's a wild experience, but fishing in the storm is the best! We catch fish one after another. Strong winds and rain are something you always have to be prepared for at this location. However, weather and wind can't deter us from fishing; at most, it might shorten our daily fishing time a bit.

The Tsiu River is a top destination for fly fishermen; the lodge and fishing package offers excellent value for money. I can recommend it to everyone and would go back there in a heartbeat if I had the urge to go Silver Salmon fishing.

Continuing to the Eyak River

From the beginning, we planned to fish for five days at the Tsiu, and that turns out to be sufficient, given our success. Our arms are almost sore from all the fishing!

At the Eyak River, we meet up with Peter, Markus's father, his friend Walter, and an Italian couple from South Tyrol, who we plan to join for another four days. The cabins are well-equipped, with multiple bedrooms and a fully equipped kitchen – perfect for self-catering! Walter cooks Tyrolean cuisine every day. We're dining excellently, and we get along very well in the larger group.

The Eyak River mostly flows through the forest and is sometimes quite deep. Fly fishing works quite well there, although sometimes we have to use sink tips to get to the right depth. We catch 5-10 salmon per rod per day. What's annoying at the Eyak River is the constant boat traffic. Americans zoom around recklessly at full throttle with their 200 HP boats. The Eyak River is easily accessible by car, so there are many anglers along the river. Most of them fish with spinning lures like spoons and jigs.


All images
of the trip