Dispatch: Floating the Gibraltar River

The “Gibs” or the Upper Gibraltar River has a unique terrain and makes it stand out from other rivers in the area. It’s style is more similar to a Colorado mountain stream meaning it’s much more tight and faster flowing. Its length and the availability of floatplane lakes at both ends of this river make it a great day-float in inflatable rafts. We drop into the river via float plane and fish a lot of pocket water out that way. 

At Dream Creek, a small trout stream empties into the upper end of Gibraltar Lake. The Dream fills with spawning red salmon each summer meaning the bears generally follow suit. Bears in the area tend to be a bit bigger and more human shy which generally means they are more aggressive. During our trip, we were lucky enough to not experience too many interferences with bears. However, we did spot a few on our float down the river and one bear in particular decided to follow us for longer than we cared for. After a little spray of bear mace we were all able to continue safely on our way. 

After our drop in via float plane, the winds picked up above average. In order to not lose our rafts to the surging wind gusts, we strapped it to our bodies and towed it through the water to a safe area and allowed the winds to die down. 

In August, the Rainbow feeding frenzy truly starts up.  Sockeye salmon start to spawn and that attracts the hungry rainbow trout. As the spawning accelerates throughout the month, more food invites rainbows from Lake Illiamna to stack up in the rivers, giving anglers with the best chance of a successful trophy catch. Later in September you will start to see silver salmon in the area as well,  however there are better rivers for fishing silvers. Much of our time was spent fishing with steamers or egg patterns. Dali Lama flies are the preferred option in the area and considered the state fly of Alaska. With a heavy cone head and rabbit body they were the perfect option for our trip.

Recommended gear for a trip like this: The Angler Collection

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