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~ 2014 Goodnews River in Review ~

2014 will long be remembered as one of the most epic fishing seasons the Goodnews River has seen in recent memory. The Winter of 2013/2014 was extremely mild, and produced minimal snowfall in most of Alaska, including the Goodnews River Region. This lack of snowpack translated into very low water levels on the river, which at first look was of concern, “will the fish hold only in the deeper pools?”, the short answer is, Nope!

Goodnews River Alaska Fly Fishing The low water left most of the side channels dry or extremely low, which concentrated the Char/Dollies and Rainbows into the main channel. Another benefit of the low water (or detriment if one is a fish) was that the usual cover along the shoreline and undercut banks was not there, the channel ran with some form of shallow beach along much of the length of the river. This put all the fish into easily fished water, and made looking for them an anglers dream. Spot a pillow of water behind a boulder, and there was a 31” Char. See that ledge drop at the top of this pool? Cast to it. 24” Rainbow. It was like that all Summer.

Goodnews River Alaska As the Sea Run Dollies entered the river the narrowed channels came alive with a veritable conveyor belt of fish, nose to tail, and bank to bank. Dollies that in the past would have been Once in a Lifetime Fish, became the standard. In one run alone 3 anglers landed 3 Dollies at the same time, with the smallest being 25'ish inches and the largest pushing 30 inches. In another area, with a different group, guests and guides stood side by side (3 guides and 6 guests) and ALL had fish on at the same time. Repeatedly.

Goodnews River Float TripNow while this may not be “normal” it is very indicative of the Goodnews in general. This river never ceases to impress with its catches and vistas, as well as its lack of crowding. In 3 floats over 4 weeks we only encountered on group above the canyon, and saw no others until we reached the bottom of the river. Having run around 20 floats on the 'News in the past 5 years, I have never left that river disappointed, and 2014 was no exception.

Mike Bianchi ~ Head Guide / Alaska Rainbow Adventures




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