Atlin, British Columbia, is a hard place in which to accidentally find oneself. Once a remote mining boomtown, it now peacefully looks out over a series of huge lakes in the headwaters of the Yukon River, which serve as the jumping-off point for the exceedingly large and wild Taku drainage, home of prodigious runs of king salmon.
Kings enter the lower system as
early as May, but the headwaters
fish best in June and July. These
fish have traveled about 80 miles
inland and ascended 900 feet in
elevation, but they have not reached their
final destination. Some are not even colored
up yet. Depending upon water levels, fishing
can be by either jet boat or on foot.
Whether sight-fishing a clear
pool with a spotter overhead,
or swinging flies across a flat at
the mouth of a tributary, the
action is heart-stopping. Fish
range in the 15- to 30-pound class, and the
sight of a mature Chinook backlit in midair as
it screams into the backing of a 9-weight . . .
well, an angler just has to see that for himself.
Ken Morrish is a co-owner of
Fly Water Travel, which outfits
angling expeditions worldwide.
He’s also a talented fly designer,
photographer, and writer whose
work has appeared in many outdoor