Alaska's Premier                                                              Fly Fishing Source

Alaska's Premier Fly Fishing Source

Meet 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.

ak uw grayling 1000 jfg Meet The Fish: Grayling
With its distinctive sailfish-like dorsal fin, the grayling is perhaps the most striking of Alaskan game fish. Found in all regions of the state, the grayling is equally at home in lakes, small streams and big rivers. The grayling is available from April to November, with the peak fishing period being June through August. Most grayling average 8-14 inches and about 1 lb, but fish up to 24 inches and 4 lbs have been recorded. Feeding primarily on insects, the grayling offers one of the finest dry-fly fishing opportunities in Alaska with its decidedly un-picky feeding style.

5208 1 Meet The Fish: Steelhead

Perhaps the least abundant but most sought-after species of Salmonid is the steelhead. These sea-going rainbow trout are found in over 500 river and creek systems throughout Southeast Alaska, the Kenai peninsula, and Kodiak, but most watersheds support small runs numbering to perhaps 200 returning adults. The "fish of 10,000 casts" is divided into 2 discrete stocks, a spring run available from March to June, and a fall run from September to November, with some unique systems in southeast supporting both runs. Averaging 8-12 lbs with trophy specimens topping 20 lbs, the steelhead is one of the wariest salmonids and rates near the top of the "angling challenge" scale. 

Salty Cutt

Meet The Fish: Coastal Cutthroat
The smallest of Alaska's native trout species, the cutthroat is only found in the Southern portion of the state. From beaver ponds and back sloughs to big river estuaries and mountain lakes, the cutthroat is the most common trout in Southeast Alaska. Available from March to November with peak season in July and August, these trout can be found in both fresh and saltwater and are ready biters in either environment. Ranging from 10-16 inches with the occasional individual crossing the 24 inch mark, the cutthroat is an aggressive eater and can provide hours of entertainment for the fly angler. Some of the largest cutts are found in the land-locked trophy lakes of Southeast Alaska.  

hen chum

Meet The Fish: Chum Salmon

The Chum is often regarded as the "Ugly Stepsister" of Alaskan salmon species, but this stepsister can really pack a punch. The second-largest of the Alaskan salmonids, adult chums average 8-13 lbs with the occasional specimen topping 30lbs. Often called "Dog Salmon" due to their fierce dentition exhibited during spawning as well as the males tendency to bite and nip at each other, the chum is available from May-October with the best fishing in July near the mouths of their natal streams. Chums are abundant in all regions of the state except the Kenai peninsula and are most populous in Southeast Alaska, with some runs numbering in the millions. 

lake trout 2012Meet the Fish: Lake Trout

The largest of Alaska's freshwater fishes, the lake trout is actually a char, and thus closely related to the Dolly Varden. Occurring in all regions of the state except Southeast, the lake trout is available from April to October, with the peak fishing times being May and June. As the name implies, lake trout are most often found in lakes, but small populations do occur in lake inlets and outlets. Averaging 5 to 12 lbs, lake trout weighing up to 50 lbs have been caught in Alaska.

Buck Humpy

Meet the Fish: Pink Salmon

The most abundant of Alaska's salmonids, the pink salmon can be found in great numbers in almost every region of the state, with Southeast and Kodiak often hosting runs of 40 million or more. Also called the Humpy (or Humpback) salmon after the species' distinctive body morph during spawning, pinks are available from July to September, with the best fishing occurring in late July and August in or near the estuaries of their spawning rivers. Averaging 3-6 lbs with the occasional specimen weighing in at over 10lbs, these "People's Salmon" are certainly a "gateway fish" for the novice and experienced angler alike. 

c-pikeblue1[1].jpgMeet the Fish: Northern Pike
Praised by some, damned by others, the northern pike has a unique status as both native game fish and invasive exotic in Alaska. Its natural range is mostly Sub-Arctic, in the Yukon-Kuskokwim area to the Brooks Range, as well as a small population in Yakutat.  Recently (and illegally) introduced to some Southcentral lakes, the voracious pike are wreaking havoc among native fishes of that area. Averaging 5-12 lbs, the pike can reach weights in excess of 40 lbs and lengths of 4 feet or more.  Available from April to October, the best fishing is often during the months of May, when pike are spawning in the shallows, and October, when the last of the seasonal feeding opportunities cause them to gorge on most any food source they come across.

Tidewater KingJustin Tenzler PhotoMeet the Fish: Chinook Salmon
The reigning heavyweight champ of Alaskan salmon, the chinook has earned the nickname "king" for its size, fight, and table-worthiness. Chinooks are available from May to September, with most runs peaking in late June and July. Although Chinook are available in all regions of the state, the biggest runs occur in

sheefish442.jpgMeet the Fish: Sheefish
Also called Inconnu, these large freshwater fish are found only in the Arctic and high Sub-Arctic regions of the state. These large-scaled silvery fighters are available from June to October with peak fishing in July and August. Often called "The Tarpon of the North" based on the similarity of appearance to the renowned game fish, the sheefish averages 5-20 lbs with some river systems having fish that can reach 50 lbs or more.

afgcoho3Meet The Fish: Silver Salmon

The "fall prince" of salmon, cohos are often referred to as "Silvers" for their distinct chrome-plated appearance when fresh from the sea. These hard-fighting salmon are available from July to November with most runs peaking in September, but in some river systems coho adults may be present for 10 months out of the year! Cohos vary wildly in size, with adults ranging from 3-25 lbs and averaging 7-12lbs. From the tide rips of the open ocean to the smallest tributaries, the coho is a ready and willing dance partner for the fly angler. Coho are available in all regions of the state, with Southeast, Kodiak, Bristol Bay, and the Kenai Peninsula receiving the largest runs. 

kenthalibut2.jpgSaltwater: The Big Picture
With over 45,000 miles of coastline, Alaska certainly presents ample opportunities for the saltwater fly fishing enthusiast. The regions of Southeast, Prince William Sound, Kodiak, and Lower Cook Inlet provide the right combination of accessibility and available fish species to make beach- and inshore-fishing a fun-filled endeavor. Most of the saltwater fly angling in Alaska takes place near stream and river mouths, where schooling salmon and sea-run trout can be intercepted on their migratory journeys. To a lesser extent, some coastal areas provide good access to many of the pelagic rockfish species, as well as the occasional halibut and lingcod. The multitude of small bays and inlets in the state's southern area provide a

vicente sockeyeMeet the Fish: Sockeye Salmon
The second most abundant salmon in Alaska, the sockeye is also referred to as the "red salmon" due to its distinctive fire truck-red spawning coloration. Sockeyes are found in lake-fed river systems from May to September, with the best fishing to be had in July near the mouths and lake inlets of their spawning streams. Most abundant in the Bristol Bay region, the sockeye is also available in Kodiak, the Kenai peninsula, and to a lesser extent Southeast Alaska. Tipping the scales at 4-8 lbs with the occasional brute going 12lbs or better, the sockeye is an exceptional fighting fish, known for its blistering runs and tremendous leaps.  

Meet The Fish: Dolly Varden and Arctic Char
Named for Charles Dickens eponymous character with a predilection for brightly spotted dresses, the Dolly Varden char is indeed a flamboyant dresser especially during spawning season. Occurring in almost all regions of the state, in both fresh and salt water, the Dolly is perhaps the most available of all the salmonid species. Available from April to November, the best fishing for Dolly Varden occurs during the months of June, July, and August. Varying in size from 8 inches to 20+ lbs, the average dolly is between 16-22 inches, and 1-4 lbs. Good Dolly fishing often occurs at estuaries and river mouths during spring fry migrations as the Dollies gather in huge shoals to feed on the out-going fry, and in late summer as the dollies await the egg-drop from spawning salmon. 

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