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Alaska Fly Selection: July (Part 2 of 3)

By Fly Out Ambassador Mark Rutherford

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July Fly Patterns for Bristol Bay, Alaska

It is so much more complex to stock your Alaska fly box for July than for June or August! A great deal more total feed is available to resident fish in July than in June including fry of salmon, trout, char, and Grayling. There are Caddis, stone, & mayfly nymphs, plus salmon spawn and a bit of flesh late in July. While I have not seen stickleback in July, occasionally small Lamprey are present and Sculpin are pounced upon with enthusiasm. In July forage diversity is at the seasonal apex.

In mid July, adult sea run Dolly Varden Char begin to return to the rivers. In the last week of July a weather transition can begin bringing autumn storms. Finally you need Coho / Silver fly patterns in late July. All 5 Salmon can be present after Coho arrive yielding the Pacific salmon "Grand Slam".

stickleback-1-lgFlies for 1 person for 1 week.

Here is a multi species list, with an emphasis on resident Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden, Arctic Grayling, King and Sockeye Salmon plus patterns for Chum and Pink Salmon, early Coho / Silvers, Arctic Char, Lake Trout, and Northern Pike.

As anglers we are participating in an explosion in fly pattern creativity as fly tiers experiment with different materials and profiles. Simply stocking the July fly box with Leeches is a challenge. But with such a huge variety to choose from it's unreasonable and unnecessary to try to carry them all. Pick two or three leech patterns with varying amount of weight and differing profiles and articulation. Then fish them carefully and deep. The same is true for Sculpin patterns.

Trout, Char, and Grayling.

The Bristol Bay is the finest completely intact, functional, wild salmonids fishery in the world. The flies listed are proven for the Bristol Bay region but of course they are not the only patterns that work. When possible, tie or buy your patterns articulated or with stinger hooks for a significantly higher ratio of total fish landed (with less damage to fish mouthparts than traditional streamer hooks.) In the Bristol Bay region, please release all Rainbow Trout regardless of whether the Alaska Department of Fish and Game allows retention. It takes 7-10 years in cold Alaskan waters for a trophy trout to grow beyond 22 inches. Fresh Sockeye, Lake Trout, Dolly Varden, Arctic Char, and Grayling might be kept to provide your fine dining.

48+ Trout Flies

  • Sculpin patterns. Choose among various Sculpin patterns keeping in mind some overlap exists with leeches: Sculpzilla, Cone head, Rag, Woolhead, Dali Lama, Exasperator, Loop, etc. Choose colors- olive and black and include some with contrasting red, green or purple accents. Size # 4-6-8. Bring 6+ total of two or three proven patterns.
  • Leech patterns. There are outstanding leeches available commercially and infinite variations if you tie. Choose among: Loop, Articulated Bunny, Sleech, Lead Eye, S&B Super string, Intruder, Starlight, etc. Colors: solid purple, olive, black plus some with contrasting colors. Sizes #4-6-8. Bring 6+.
  • Starlight leech. Color white for Lake Trout and Char and as flesh late in July. Consider them.
  • Haymaker Leech size #1 black or blue. Consider them.
  • Conehead Eggabou size #4. Bring 2.
  • Signature Intruder, Moal Rhoid, or Al Green size #8. Bring 4.
  • Dali Lama, Black & White, #6 Bring 2.
  • S&B Super string leech, consider a selection of S&B Super string leeches. Bring 2+.
  • Mice, Choose among Mr. Hanky, Loco, Preparation H Mouse, Moorish Mouse, Blair, Darth Skater. Bring 1 small bottle silicone floatant (not dry silica) for Mice and Caddis. Bring 4.
  • Wooly bugger patterns in Olive, Black, Brown, size #4-6 bring 4.
  • Trout beads. The Salmon spawn begins. 8mm for Chum, natural roe, glow, egg yolk, orange clear. Mottled beads in gold, mango, peachy etc with egg hooks. Bring a kit purchased for the precise species of salmon spawning in your week for your rivers, of the specific Alaskan region you'll visit. Consider sliding beads up the leader ahead of your Sculpin!
  • Glo bugs. Truthfully they no longer belong in your Alaska kit. Beads are much more effective with a fraction of the mortality caused by Glo bugs. Trout all too often inhale Glo Bugs and similar roe deep in the throat before becoming hooked. Then they die.
  • Fry. Smolt patterns are not as important as in June when those baby salmon (true smolt) were out-migrating each evening and holding in deeper water by day. However you will see increasing numbers of salmon, trout, and Grayling fry that rear in the log jams and sloughs feeding on "drift" as the weeks pass. Our tendency is to cast leeches & sculpin into the woody debris and overlook fry patterns, but there are days when if you are not dead drifting a fry pattern you are simply not catching fish! Fry need to be part of your July searching process. Choose the Stinger Clouser, Strung out Thunder Creek, Neil Creek Dart, Neil Creek Slider. They can be fished as dropper, streamer, or dead drifted under an indicator! Green & gold. Bring 4+.
  • Nymphs, Size 12-16 Copper Johns, Bead Head Pheasant Tail, etc. Bring a mixed one half dozen. Fished as dropper behind a leech (where legal) while searching for fish or under an indicator. You probably won't get lots of use of your nymphs. However if you are fishing the few "known" rivers with dependable aquatic insect hatches like the Copper or Agulukpak bring 3 dozen nymphs. Years go by when my nymph box doesn't come out in July unless it's cold and I'm desperate for Grayling.
  • Dries, Royal Wulff, Parachute Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, PMD Parachute, X-Caddis, Stimulator sizes 12-14. Bring a mixed one half dozen in a box shared with nymphs unless you are fishing the few "known" rivers with highly dependable hatches like the Copper or Agulukpak then bring 3 dozen dries. High floating, high visibility. Colors tan, brown, black, olive. As with nymphs in Alaska you may never even take these out of your gear duffle.

Total flies 48.

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SALMON FLIES

My presumption is that King and Sockeye salmon are going to be targeted as well as Rainbow, Grayling, & Char. This list "Over Weights" flies for Kings because in North America there is nothing that even comes close to the power and strength of a King except perhaps a sturgeon. Certainly no fish porpoises across a small cold wilderness river like a Chinook.

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Wine Week 2012 - At Mission Creek Lodge

World-Class Fishing And Wine? . . . Yes Please.

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Join two of Washington State's best known flyfishing winemakers for a spectacular week of fishing for silvers and rainbows at one of Fly Out's recommended lodges, Mission Creek Lodge on Lake Aleknagik in the famed Bristol Bay region. Chris Figgins and Rob Newson not only have a passion for making fine wines, but also have shared their love of flyfishing together. Each evening you will enjoy gourmet dinners featuring specialty meats and seafoods, including grass fed beef from Lostine Cattle Company, all perfectly paired with Chris & Rob's premier wines. They will each share with you some of the insights and stories behind each vintage.

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2012 Wine Week Rate

$7500 per per person plus $1500 per person for wine and special pairing menu. Package includes 7 nights, 6 days of fishing, meals, lodging, all fishing equipment including waders and daily guided fly-outs. Click here to learn more about Mission Lodge.

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Wear This Shirt While You Contact Your Congressman

Pebble Protest Shirts

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Check out this unique anti-pebble t-shirt design by commercial salmon fisherman Eric Dieters. Eric works on Kodiak Island during the fishing season, and has a screen printing business in the off season. These shirts are printed on American Apparel 100% cotton black shirts, made in America. You can purchase this shirt along with some other cool Alaska specific shirts on Eric's website at www.emulsiondesigns.com. And, while you're surfing the web, go to Save Bristol Bay's page to write the EPA and your congressmen about your opinion about large scale mining at the headwaters of some of the world's best fisheries. 
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Crème Brûlée For Alaska Fishing

A Special Package from Keen Eye Anglers

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Kyle Kolodziejski, owner/operator of Keen Eye Anglers, has built the perfect compliment package for those who have already booked a recommended fly out lodge or float trip. The serious angler can get the most out of their Alaska fishing vacation by planning a trip with Keen Eye Anglers prior to, or after your main fishing destination. The way we see it, you can either spend your layover day in Anchorage roaming the Dimond Center Mall, or book with Kyle and fish the beautiful Upper Kenai. Transport is included from Anchorage, and the accommodations are fantastic at the Kenai Riverside Lodge. Check out Keen Eye Anglers and email Kyle for the add-on package.  

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A Behind the Blog Interview of AlaskaFlyOut.com

by J.J. Pilgreen and AlaskaGuideList.com

AGLlogoThis is the first of many interviews to come from Alaskaguidelist.com that will focus the spotlight on the movers and shakers on the Alaska Guide scene. This month, we discover Cory Luoma, the driving force behind Alaska Fly Out.

I first heard about Alaska Fly Out last June when Cory gave me a heads up on his project. It was an interesting and ambitious concept, I wished Cory the best of luck getting it going, not giving much thought to the idea of it actually coming to fruition.

Now here we are gearing up for the 2012 season and Alaska Fly Out has definitely arrived to the party. Whether you have found the site via social media or word of mouth, it isn't hard to miss. Read on to learn more about the project and it's creator Cory Luoma.

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Twisted Steel and Fish Appeal

Nelson Metallics Handcrafted Metal Art

Joel Nelson has worked all over Bristol Bay, Alaska and is currently the head mechanic at Tikchik Narrows Lodge. Not only is he a talented and well-respected mechanic, but he is an amazing artist. His business, Nelson Metallics, specializes in handcrafted metal fish with the stained glass inlays. Beautiful and contemporary, many of these pieces are undoubtedly inspired by Joel's summers spent in Alaska. You can contact Joel about his work at .

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THE ART OF FLY: ALASKA

WORKS FROM FLY OUT AMBASSADOR BOB WHITE

When I first saw Bob White's paintings, I was a rookie guide at Tikchik Narrows Lodge and NOT well acquainted with Alaska. After a number of years of guiding in Bristol Bay, I now realize how Bob captures real moments, real experiences. Some of his art can evoke a nostalgia for Alaska that is quite surreal. One look at a few of his painting below, and you'll be digging out your dusty photo albums from your last trip to AK. See more of Bob White's works at www.bobwhitestudio.com.

"Along Beneath Lake Kulik Spires"

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"First casts"

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"A warming fire"

Warming Fire

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Alaska Fly Selection: June (Part 1 of 3)

An Article by Fly Out Ambassador Mark Rutherford

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A Fly Selection for BRISTOL BAY, ALASKA

the Greatest Trout & Salmon Fishery in the World

Flies for 1 person for 1 week on a float trip or fishing with the region's best lodges. This is a multi species list, with an emphasis on June Rainbow Trout and Arctic Grayling, plus all of the other sport-fish in the Bristol Bay watersheds including Arctic Char, Lake Trout, early Kings, Sockeye, and Northern Pike. A short discussion follows.

First, don't leave home without these 5 items in your carry on luggage.

  1. Your best Polaroid glasses.
  2. Your Rx medications.
  3. Your favorite waterproof/breathable wading or fully waterproof rain jacket with retractors for hemostat and line nipper and 2 large pockets for fly boxes.
  4. Waders you completely trust which will get the equivalent of a full year of normal use during your AK trip.
  5. Wading boots that fit. Felt soles were outlawed in AK in 2012. The sticky rubber soles are now quite good. No "cleated, nailed, or studded" boots in rafts or cabins.

Why? In case Alaska Airlines loses you're checked bags with your clothing, rods, reels, and flies. You came a long way! Improvise and go fish!

Flies FOR Trout, Char, and Grayling

The Trout, Char, and Grayling flies below are proven in Bristol Bay, which is the finest completely intact, functional salmonid fishery in the world. When possible, tie or buy your patterns articulated or with stinger hooks for a significantly higher ratio of total fish landed (with less damage to fish mouthparts than traditional streamer hooks.) In the Bristol Bay region, please release ALL RAINBOW TROUT regardless of whether the Alaska Department of Fish and Game allows retention. It takes 10-15 years in cold Alaskan waters for a trophy trout to grow beyond 22 inches. Sockeye, Lake Trout, Char, and Grayling in June all provide great eating.

Your fly line(s) will determine to some extent how heavily weighted your flies should be. Cover your bases by bringing both a floating line and a sink tip. A full-sink line is not needed for our rivers and creeks.

Use your floating line in the headwaters and for "searching" as you work down river until water depths in the channels along the outside bends regularly exceed 3 feet and then, perhaps, switch to the sink tip. As you move down river you'll be pitching flies using the floating line with a weighted fly and perhaps an indicator. You are targeting root wad structure, deep green channels, and sweepers. The quarry is Rainbow Trout. One loses a lot of flies using this method, but, in June, this is where the fish are and you must fish in the woody debris and among broken chunks of sod left from spring flooding! Use fly lines like RIO Clouser which help turn over the large weighted flies with an aggressive weight forward taper. Cast aggressively to launch the leeches with lots of line speed. The 3"- 6" sink tip is very effective on Bristol Bay Rivers. If you have the "gift" you'll fish the sink tip both when drifting in the boat or wading and reap the rewards. If you don't have the "gift" you'll lose lots of flies and leaders fishing the sink tip while drifting from the boat and go back to the floating line and do very well.

Your rod choices: A #7 weight fly rod does it all. Some of my clients or friends bring two #7 wts and never 'look back'. A #4 is a fine rod for Arctic Grayling and trout under "ideal" (but somewhat rare) June conditions. The #5 weight & #6 weight make all purpose Trout/Char/Grayling rods but when you start fishing the weighted cone head Sculpins & Leeches the #7 weight can not be beat.

48 Trout Flies

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  • Sculpin patterns. Choose among various Sculpin patterns: Sculpzilla, Cone head, Rag, Woolhead, Exasperator, Loop, etc. Colors- olive, black. Size 2-4. Bring 4+ of your chosen pattern(s), 2 in each color.
  • Egg sucking leech patterns. Choose among: Loop, Articulated Bunny, Sleech, Lead Eye, or Starlight, purple, olive, white, all purpose attractor. size #4-6. At least 2 should be purple. Bring 4+.
  • Starlight leech. All white, good attractor for rainbow. Great color for Lake trout at your "put in lake". Bring 2.
  • Haymaker Leech Conehead Eggabou size #1 black or blue. Consider it.
  • Conehead Eggabou size #4 in pink or purple. Bring 2
  • Dali Lama, Black & White, #6 all purpose attractor. Bring 2.
  • Dali Lama, Green & White, #6. An option to substitute for traditional olive Sculpin.
  • S&B Super string leech, or Pink rubber worm Sleech size #4 pink. Cold water Rainbows bring 2. Consider a selection of S&B Super string leech colors. A very fine fly.
  • Mice bring 4+, Mr. Hanky, Loco, Preparation H Mouse, Moorish Mouse, Blair, Darth Skater, Mercers Lemming. You should have small bottle silicone floatant (not dry silica) for Mice and Caddis.
  • Wooly bugger patterns in Olive, Black, Brown, size #4-6 bring 4.
  • Nymphs, Hares ear, Pheasant Tail, Copper John etc. Bring 4. Fished as dropper in upper river or in cold water under an indicator.
  • Trout beads, 8mm, natural roe and gold roe colors fished as dropper with "Owner" egg hooks. Bring 6. Fish as dropper where legal.
  • Smolt & Fry. Stinger Clouser, Strung out Thunder Creek, Neil Creek Dart, Neil Creek Slider, Bring 4+ can be fished as dropper, streamer, or dead drifted under an indicator! Green & gold.
  • Dry flies. For headwater through mid river when Grayling are rising. Elk Hair Caddis, Royal Wulff, Parachute Adams, Stimulator. High floating, high visibility. Size 14. Bring 6.

Total trout flies 48.

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5 Tips for Booking Alaska

Fly Out 101: An Alaska Resource

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1. Book Early – The best lodges in Alaska have incredibly high return rates. Usually, guests have the first right of refusal for returning the same time next year, which means there can be few openings for new anglers. Your best chance to get a high-demand date is to book 6-12 months in advance. Send an Email to Fly Out for available dates and booking information. You can also contact lodges directly through the Fly Out Directory

2. Choosing a Type of Operation to Fit Your Goals – There are many types of adventure offerings in Alaska that can fit almost any budget. Below is a general summary of your options.

Fly Out Lodge ($$$) – The most exclusive way to see and fish Alaska. These operations fly to different remote rivers, lakes and streams everyday. A fly-out option allows you to experience the wonderful variety of Alaska. The views from the air and the flight experience alone are worth the price of admission. Extraordinary accommodations and dining will make you forget that you are amidst the remote wilderness of Alaska.

River Lodge ($$) – Located on the rivers and streams, these lodges are only accessible by the air. They provide world-class fishing, comfortable accommodations, and delicious meals at a great value. These lodges operate jet boats, and the anglers get the opportunity to experience everything that a single fishery has to offer.

Float Trips ($) – A classic Alaska adventure focusing on a genuine wilderness experience, self-reliance, and incredible fishing. Despite the roughing-it nature of a float trip, most outfitters provide accommodations that are surprisingly comfortable, and the food always tastes good after a long day on the river.

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