The Russian River, near Cooper Landing (AK) is another of the Trout Unlimited Top 100 Trout Streams. We had the great pleasure of fishing the Russian with Matt Marchand of Alaska Troutfitters. Matt gave us a great introduction to the river, essentially walking upstream from the Pink Salmon parking lot, all the way to where we hit a ton of salmon anglers just below the falls. We fished every hole that was void of other anglers, catching beautiful rainbow trout along the way. Of course, we also encountered bears who were feasting on some of the sockeye salmon carcasses that anglers upstream had tossed into the river. Turns out when an angler catches a sockeye, the recommended practice is to filet it immediately and toss the remnants, cut into small pieces, into the river. This attracts the bears of course. We came to understand that one side of the river was for people, the other for the bears. As long as all kept to their sides, things were fine. We did meet a couple who’d been sockeye fishing on the “wrong” side for humans, and had a bear encounter. They were shaken by the experience, as we’d have been too!
We sat down with Matt on a Kenai River dock to discuss fishing the Russian River, including best flies, best ways to fish it and why the Russian is so special. We hope you enjoy our Russian River Ramble with Matt Marchand.