The record Alaskan coho weighed 26 pounds 11 ounces. Though no silver I hooked last week near Egegik, Alaska, could rival such a haul—each felt as if it weighed twice that when it took off with my fly. Fighting the fat, muscular salmon—en route to spawn in Becharof Lake a few miles upriver—was unlike any fishing I’d ever done, and helped to hone my skills with big flies, long casts, and heavy rods. Plus, I picked up a next-level salmon chowder recipe along the way. Follow Field & Stream‘s Facebook and Instagram pages all week to see highlights and tips from the adventure.