2018 is what many on the Kenai call a “Humpy Year,” and while some folks roll their eyes at the infamous Humpy or Pink Salmon, we think they have the wrong attitude. There are so many reasons to embrace humpies, and here are a few from the top of our head:
1. They’re Aggressive
Humpies are perhaps the most aggressive salmon in the river, especially in the right scenario. It’s not uncommon to catch them while trolling spinners, plunking bait, throwing spinners, twitching jigs, floating a bobber, and stripping flies – all in the same day!
2. They Provide Great Experience
Fishing for humpies is perhaps the best way to get experience as a fisherman because you’ll likely get dozens and dozens of practice repetitions setting the hook, fighting a fish, netting a fish, feeling a bite, etc. For this reason and many more, humpies are great for kids and less experienced fishermen. But make no mistake, experienced fishermen have a blast with humpies as well!
3. They’re Trout Food
Perhaps my favorite thing about humpies is that they feed the greatest wild rainbow trout fishery in the world on the Kenai River. On humpy years (even years) the trout fishing gets started earlier, lasts late into the fall, and the biggest fish are almost always caught on humpy years.
4. They’re Fun on a Fly Rod
For fly fishermen, humpies are a blast! As mentioned above, they’re aggressive, they provide tons of experience, and they love to eat flies!
5. They’re Not Bad Table-Fare
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t fill the freezer with a winter’s supply of frozen humpy fillets, but a fresh grilled pink salmon is a real treat. They’re also good for canning and smoking, especially when caught out of the tide-water.
Last but not least, humpies simply provide tons of action! A typical day on the water during humpy season includes hundreds of humpies with other species mixed in such as silvers, sockeye, kings, and trout. Who doesn’t like catching a hundred fish in a single trip?