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The Best Flies for Alaska

Alaska is one of our favorite destinations for a number of reasons. Aside from the world-class fishing – home to everything from rainbow trout to salmon – the Alaska experience includes fly-outs over the beautiful wilderness to remote fisheries where chances of seeing some of the local wildlife are very good.


To make sure you get the most out of your Alaska fishing trip, a little preparation is highly advised. Knowing what flies to pack for which species is essential and valuable for any trip. Remember though that if you are unable to bring your own, more than likely, guides will have the correct flies.

Rainbow Trout, Char and Grayling Alaska Flies

  • Clouser Minnow – Strip this fly with either long or short strips. The deer provides some profile and action and Alaskan fish find these irresistible.
  • Mr. Hankey Mouse – Fish mouse patterns close to the bank with small strips and watch aggressive rainbows take this partially submerged pattern on the swing or strip.
  • Morrish Mouse – This large-bodied fly’s strength is how much water it displaces. The action and wake on this fly is second to none and brings out the predatory instincts of any large rainbow trout.
  • Carcass Fly (flesh fly) – These flies are supposed to imitate the decaying flesh of salmon after they have spawned and are now decomposing in the river. Throw these flies upstream and let them drift towards the river bottom and bottom of the water column.
  • Clown Egg – Eggs are a critical food source for trout in Alaska. Fish the clown egg off the bottom of the river or close to the surface.
  • Morrish Medusa – This steelhead fly is deadly in Alaska. This medium profile fly is best fished on the swing.
  • Egg Sucking Leech – Even though both eggs and leeches are found in river systems, they’re rarely found as a leech attached to an egg floating in the water column. But a big bright attractor head with a large body seems to do just the trick in Alaska.
  • Kiwi Sculpin – Fish these patterns with a floating or sinking line depending on water depth. Fish this pattern on the swing downstream.
  • Fat Albert Beetle – Fish the Fat Albert close to banks as you would any terrestrial. This pattern should be in every fly box.

Salmon and Steelhead Alaska Flies

  • Hareball Leech (Pink, Purple) – This fly will naturally sink to the bottom where you can fish deep runs, pools, and sinks. The rabbit fur provides a lot of action.
  • Popsicle – This tried and true fly has been around the 1980’s and originally designed by George Cook who was a guide in Bristol Bay Alaska. Fish this on the swing and watch as the fly’s action make it irresistible for every fish.

Northern Pike Alaska Flies

Brightly colored streamers that make noise or push water. Surface flies such as frog and mouse patterns work well. Flies for pike are pretty limited when it comes to commercially tied patterns so we typically just recommend folks bring the biggest and ugliest flies they have. Check out this article about our favorite all-around pike flies

+ Listen to this WAYPOINTS Podcast: CAMILLE EGDORF – Alaska Trip Planning and How to Do it Right

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