Back Slough Carnage

by | Sep 5, 2021 | fly fishing for pike | 2 comments

pike-on-flyI had a great night sleep on the Midnight Sun Patriot Catamaran here in the Yukon River drainage of Alaska.  My bed, the cool temperature in our room and the fact that I was exhausted from the travel to get here helped.  And then of course we fished a full day till 9 PM yesterday.  Sammy, Steve, Therese and I gradually woke up for hot coffee between 8 and 9 AM.


Scott-RowekampWhile we sipped our coffee and enjoyed a cooked breakfast, Scott Rowekamp captained our mothership the Patriot, towing our skiffs behind. We traveled for three hours deeper into the Alaskan backcountry.  Despite the drizzle and cold, it was a beautiful ride.  We were hoping to see some moose or a bear along the way but we settled for a few huge beavers and an array of ducks and geese.


Midnight-SunAfter our boat ride, Scott and Wade secured the Patriot on a grassy bank and we loaded the skiffs to head out fishing.  Today Sammy and I fished with Scott and Therese and Steve with Wade.


sheefishWe made a 45 minute skiff ride from camp.  Its was a cold run but it quit raining.  Along the way Scott stopped us in a huge pool with water and currents churning all over.  The Yukon drainage has a tinge of red color to it from tannins and mud.  There’s debris such as logs and trees floating from rising water levels due to lots of rain lately.  However, it turns out we stopped here because its exactly the type of water that sheefish love to feed in.  We tossed our pike flies for about 15 minutes but to no avail.  No new species for me today.


man-bear-pigOur group split up after another 20 minute ride.  Scott, Sammy and I wandered into a back slough while the others found another.  Then it was back to work for pike.  I fished my Winston 9-weight Salt Air with a Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Titan Long floating line.  I was using a huge pink and grey musky fly Sammy brought called the “Man Bear Pig”.  Its standard procedure to use wire tippet.  Here at Midnight Sun they keep leaders simple and fish 3 feet of 50lb wire and call it good.  This hefty rig makes it easier to land and release the pike effortlessly and the toothy rulers of this drainage couldn’t care less.  Nothing spooks them from eating!


Alaska-pikeThis slough was huge and it meandered way back for a mile.  We worked our way along but the pike weren’t to be found.  Then at last, at nearly the very back we hit some fish.


northern-pikeThere turned out to be a ton of aggressive 25” to 35” pike.  They were entertaining for Sammy and I and we rattled off a few pics of them.  But I could see Scott would prefer we be fishing not photo taking.  Scott would rather see us sift through the little ones, get them unhooked quick and keep casting for a monster.  Finally we saw what he meant and Sammy and I each landed 42 inchers.  Then I pulled in this gorgeous 44”.  Yeah, no more photos of pike under 40”!


huge-pikeThe fishing was tremendous.  I’ve done plenty of pike trips throughout Canada and had days where the numbers were easily as good if not better than todays.  But the size of these fish is unreal.  Sammy and I nailed a few more 40 plus inchers then he finished his day off with this 47” beast.  Sammy’s second such beast and its only Day 2!


yukon-drainageAround 8:30 PM the others met up with us.  They had a great day also. Steve’s big fish was 44” and Therese put up a 46”.  I can’t believe the size of these pike!




Jeff-CurrrierWe ended with a nice evening.  The sun peeked out a few times and the Yukon became calm.  Of course, along with clear skies in the north come cold temperatures.  Our hour long drive back to the Patriot was brisk to say the least.  Fall is definitely in the air here in Alaska and the birch and cottonwood trees are changing.


When we got back to the Patriot we got out of our waders and sipped red wine then enjoyed a real treat for dinner – sheefish.  Honestly, it wasn’t that great but that’s likely because the fish had been frozen for a month.  The good news is Scott suggested we get a fresh one tomorrow.  Maybe I can finally catch one of these unusual and seldom known gamefish for my species list.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


  1. Tad Einloth


    Fantastic Day of fishing!


  2. Jeff

    It has been an amazing trip Tad!

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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!