The chinook salmon fishery in Alaska is the roots of the large bead fishery.
Individuals like JD Richey, Beau Smith and many of the guides at the Togiak River lodge and Alaska Kingfishers on the Nushagak were key in testing and validating the 25 and 32mm bead sizes for chinook. Initial skepticism of the effectiveness of beads in direct comparison to bait has been overcome by repeated evidence of beads being just as effective to more effective than bait. Many others have shared this information with me and I have experienced it myself.
Fishing large beads for chinook provides an option if bait supply is low or a bait restriction is in place as well as reducing the incidence of catch and release mortality when compared to bait fishing. Key colors and sizes for chinook are the Sweet Pink Cherry, Cerise, Mottled Red, Clown, Joker, Lucky and Natural in both 25 and 32mm.
The large beads are most effectively fished under a bobber and float like a bait fishing set up or drifted with a small piece of lead. The large beads are pegged 2-3” inches above the hook like trout and steelhead bead rigs. Hooks sizes range from 2/0 up to 4/0 with leader size from 20lb to 40lb. Chinook are neither hook size nor leader shy!
|Table 1: Chinook Options|
|Bead Size||25 and 32mm|
|Bead Colors||Sweet Pink Cherry, Cerise, Mottled Red,
Clown, Joker, Lucky and Natural
|Hook Size||2/0 to 4/0|
|Leader Size||20lb to 40 lb|