Fishing Report: Flossing for sockeye on the Russian River

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 12:18 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - People come from all over Alaska and the world for the legendary sockeye runs that take place on the Russian River. That is evident when you look at the banks and at times will see hundreds of anglers standing side by side all trying to run into a Russian River red.

While fishing is the main attraction to the Russian River, tourists and non-fishermen also flock to the Russian River Ferry to go across the river and take in the beautiful sights that surround the area. The ferry can hold up to 20 people and on a busy day will carry over 1,200 people back and forth on the river.

You will see many fly rods but they aren’t required, however, you have to use a fly instead of a regular lure or hook. The method of fishing is also far different than many are used to and has been dubbed “The Kenai Flip.”

“It’s not really like any other kinds of fishing, it’s essentially just snagging, but it is in the mouth, so it is called flossing. So you are just trying to run a line through the fish’s mouth as they are running upstream” said Connor Tierney, captain of the Russian River Ferry.

If you are using a fly rod, make sure to give yourself plenty of lead and keep your weights a few feet up the line. You want your line to be perpendicular to you so that when you jerk it back it has the chance to slide into the salmon’s mouth, which is why it is also called “flossing” and when you hook into one it makes all the hard work worth it.

“It’s gratifying even if you hook it and you lose it you feel like you didn’t come all this way down here for nothing and you just have a fun time,” said Ferdinand Torralba, who walked away with four sockeyes.

The river was very busy after the Alaska Department of Fish and Game increased the limit to six sockeyes per day and 12 in possession. The first run seems to have wrapped up but anglers can still catch their limits it just takes a little more time. The second run is expected to hit in mid to late July and that is when you can expect to see the banks of the Russian River packed with fishermen all trying to fill the freezer.

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