Fly Patterns For Alaska
New fly patterns for Alaska are being created all the time, most of which will work pretty well at one time or another. That said, many of the new fly patterns are more successful at catching the angler than the fish. When fishing , no matter where you are or what method you choose to use, the most successful anglers have the same thing in common, they are putting their fly in front of a willing fish. Most of the time, that is not a problem when coming to fish with us; we have the greatest populations of fish in the area and lots of willing fish ready and waiting for you. Below is a little information which will help steer you in the right direction when making your fly choices. If you have any questions regarding fly patterns for Alaska, do not hesitate to call or email us. Below is some basic information regarding flies for salmon, steelhead and trout.
Bring two to three dozen salmon flies, in various patterns, for a week of fishing. These flies should be fairly large (3-5″). The color combinations are infinite, but shown are some standard patterns which usually work well. If you are tying these patterns which are fairly long you may consider adding a trailing stinger hook. Stinger hooks are often used in order to avoid short strikes. Remember, if using a stinger hook, always cut off your front hook. Many rivers in Alaska require single hook only flies, also, the front hooks often is a source of unwanted tangles. When fishing for Kings, you will want to use a hook in a 2/0 – 3/0 hook. Most flies should be tied with either, cone heads or dumb bell eyes in order to help achieve the right depth. The majority of fishing will be in water from 2-6’ deep. As such, medium weighted flies are generally the rule. However, Kings will usually be a bit deeper and therefore, those flies should be weighted a bit more. A favorite fly pattern for Silvers is any of a variety of surface poppers. Flies with large spun deer hair heads and or flies with foam or cork float very well. Generally speaking, fuchsia seems to do best and secondarily chartreuse in top-water fishing for Silvers. Tapered leaders make it easier to cast weighted flies consistently throughout the day. We do not recommend using leaders/tippets of less than 12lb Maxima for silvers and 20lb Maxima for kings.
Flies for steelhead
Steelhead generally prefer flies to be swung or dead drifted, so, the fly patters we use reflect these two fishing techniques. As with most longer flies, a trailer hook is commonly used in order to limit the “short strike”. There are many color combinations and materials which can be used when fly fishing for steelhead. We suggest flies similar to the ones pictured here and in a couple different sizes. There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing these flies. First, you will want to have several different sizes, silhouettes and colors. And second make sure your flies have plenty of flash. Flash can help trigger a reactive strike from the fish and also helps suggest fly movement during a variety of different lighting situations. The flies you choose can also become extremely versatile if you choose to trim them down. This ability to modify your fly will allow you to fish more productively should the river conditions change. We suggest using tapered leaders with virtually all flies. We do not recommend using leaders/tippets of less than 12lb Maxima.
Flies for dollies/rainbows
Throughout the summer and fall seasons, Rainbows and Dollies feed on sculpin, leeches, fry, flesh and eggs. As with fly patterns directed toward salmon, fly patters used here in Alaska are seemingly infinite. The patterns represented here are representative of what will work for both rainbows and dollies. It is important to have at least 3 of every pattern you choose to bring. Usually its a good idea to have a few different types of leeches, flesh flies, bait fish and mouse patterns. The best imitations of the salmon eggs which trout and char see for several months a year are plastic beads. Beads can be fished in Alaska as long as they are not permanently affixed to the leader; many people use toothpicks to wedge the bead in place against the leader. The common “bead rig” used is relatively easy to construct. Fish focusing on salmon eggs, such as Rainbows and Dollies, simply can’t resist a well-presented bead. It is virtually impossible to differentiate beads from natural eggs floating down the stream from spawning fish. Even Steelhead and Salmon will pounce on beads. Countless Silvers, Pinks, Sockeye, Chum and even Kings have been caught this way. We do not recommend using leaders/tippets of less than 8lb Maxima.