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Fly Fishing For Rainbow Trout PDF Print E-mail

rb_underwater.jpgMeet the Fish: Rainbow Trout
The resident relative of the steelhead, the rainbow trout is native to the Kenai, Southern Interior, Bristol Bay and limited parts of Southeast Alaska. Available from April to November in both lakes and rivers, the prime fishing time for rainbows occurs in August and September. The rainbow will respond to a large range of patterns, and "Matching the Hatch" in Alaska takes on a whole new meaning, as Alaskan rainbows are voracious feeders. From alevin and fry patterns in the spring to dry flies, nymphs, and mice in the summer and flesh flies in the fall, these hungry trout like meat. Throughout most of its range, the rainbow averages 2-6 lbs, but some rivers host trout that can reach 20+ lbs.
Known for its fierce fighting ability and amazing jumping prowess, the rainbow is one of Alaska's premier sport fishing attractions.  To view photos of fly caught rainbows in our photo gallery, click here .

Gear and Flies
Rainbow trout are found in a wide range of water types, and these types will have a bearing upon the choice of rod weights for the angler. A five-pound rainbow in still water can be subdued with a 4wt, but the same fish in the heavy flows of the Kenai would be unmanageable. For still waters, 3, 4, and 5 weight rods are good choices, and for river and stream fishing, 5, 6, and 7 weight are the tool of choice. Reels should also be chosen with water types in mind, as a large rainbow in a big river can peel line off in a hurry. For river applications, the large-arbor, high capacity reels are tough to beat. Depending upon the method of presentation, fly line choices include weight-forward floating lines, sinking tip lines, full-sink lines, and multi-tip systems to deliver your offering to the proper depth. Fly choices for rainbows are many and varied, but popular patterns include the Loco Mouse, AFG Custom String Leech, Big River Bead Selection, and Lead Eye Articulated Flesh Fly.

When choosing a rod for Alaskan rainbows, there are several options to consider for choosing the right rod; if there is a right rod.  Some Alaska destinations will call for two or more rods.  When fishing small streams, rivers and lakes where the trout average 12-18", a good 8 or 9' 4-5 wt. will work nicely.  When fishing big rivers like the Kenai, KVichak or Naknek, a good 9-10' 6-8 wt. is a good choice, with 10' 7 wts being the most popular for all around performance for single hand rods.  If looking for a general all around trout rod for Alaska, try the good old 9' 6

Winston B3x 9' 5-7 wt
Sage One 9' 6-7 wt
Sage Flight 9' 4-7 wt

Abel Super Series
Nautilus FWX Series 
Lamson Litespeed 3

Lines (Weight Forward Floating)
Rio Gold
Rio Versitip II
Rio Grand
(Weight Forward Sink Tips)
Rio Streamer Tip
Rio 24' DC Streamer Line (150-250 grain)
S.A. Wet Tip

Flies (Seaonal Dependant)
Big River Bead Selection
Sleech - Two Tone Rotten Flesh
Mr. Hankey
Dolly Llama Black/White


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