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.
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!
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
Total trout flies 48.
Total Pike flies 6.
Leaders: The 9 foot tapered RIO #10 pound tippet (or #6 tippet) Steelhead & Atlantic salmon leader is the best all purpose trout, char, grayling, miscellaneous salmon leader. 9 Foot Maxima is just as good. Bring 4 per week.
For Coho & Kings the RIO Steelhead & Atlantic salmon leader, 9 Foot 12# or 16# leader is what you want. Bring 3 per week. Bring a spool of RIO #10 pound and #15 pound "Max", "Powerflex", or Maxima tippet for rebuilding leaders.
There are some other good leaders besides Rio & Maxima including various "Big Game Fluorocarbon" but be extremely wary. You want to bring leaders, which are made of stiffer, thicker diameter monofilament to TURN OVER LARGE FLIES IN THE WIND and have 100% knot strength tied when in a "non-slip loop knot". Your leader is arguably more important than your fly or rod! Use relatively stiff, relatively hard monofilament leaders for Alaska trout for all situations except throwing dry flies. I watch fly casters waste hours and hours each week trying to use supple trout leaders in Alaska throwing weighted leeches. The leader should be labeled "Salmon," "Steelhead," "Big Game," "Bonefish," or "Bass". These are fundamentally different than ordinary trout leaders and designed to deliver heavier flies with fewer tangles. Fishing with the correct leader is your key to maximizing the number of fish caught in Alaska.
Indicators: Most of us have switched to "Thingamabobber" Indicators 1-inch size for larger flies, ¾ inch size for beads and smolt- bring 6. Yarn style with floatant is fine too.
Split shot: Size BB, 1 & 4, get the most use. The split shot brand I use is "Dinsmore" You crimp it on with a hemostat or pliers. I think it stays on longer than split shot with "wings".
Line Nipper: On a retractor.
Hemostat: on a retractor.
Pliers: on your wading belt.
Leave lanyard and chest pack at home. Just bring an efficient wading jacket with minimal stuff dangling to get caught in brush.
Soft release net: 24-30 inch handle and 20+ inch wide mouth. Big fish!
Knots: You need 1 knot for all the leech & streamer fishing in the Bristol Bay. Learn to tie the "non-slip loop knot". It breaks at 100% and will serve you well for Largemouth bass, Redfish, Tarpon, Taimen or anywhere that losing the fish of a lifetime might make you cry. The Improved clinch is adequate only for beads and droppers for trout. Use a "Riffle hitch" or "Turle" knot for mousing & "wogging".
Spare flies Organized in zip locks in your duffle bag along with anything else that doesn't live in your jacket pockets.
Windproof Lighter in jacket.
Deet bug dope: 1 small plastic spray bottle/week per person in Jacket pocket.
Over the years I've visit most of Alaska's fly shops. I've shopped many of the big lower '48 "full spectrum" fly shops, and some mega-Outdoor stores. Most of them don't have the selection or expertise to get all the flies you need for a Bristol Bay trip from a single vendor. The best all around shop that I've found for flies and Alaska tying materials is an on-line shop located in Juneau, Alaska called Alaska Fly fishing Goods. They are extremely good at what they do. Brad Elfers is the owner (907-586-1550). It's really informative to tell him the weeks(s) you'll be fishing and on what waters, and then ask for recommendations!
To produce this June Fly selection list for Bristol Bay I relied heavily on my 35 years of experience in Alaska exploring with a fly rod and from thousands of riverbank discussions with other guides and Alaskan residents. You should know for planning purposes that June is still early spring. Fishing in June is not so much about Salmon but rather the resident species like Rainbows and Grayling, which are hungry after spawning. Aquatic insects, Snails, Smolt, Sculpin, Lamprey, Stickleback, and Fry are their mainstay
This list assumes that your partner will lend you what you run out of or what you did not bring! You should be able to organize these in one large fly box for all the large leeches and salmon flies needed for the day plus one other smaller box for Eggs, Smolt, and a few dries in your other jacket pocket. June is a too early for the salmon spawn so I won't address dead drifting beads through active redds, but, if your trip extends far into July, you will want a separate box of beads purchased as a kit specifically for the weeks and salmon species spawning.
This list also assumes you will be fishing with recommended Salmon / Steelhead leaders in #6-10 class for Trout, Dolly Varden Char, Grayling, Arctic Char, leaders in #10 class for Lake Trout, Chum, and Sockeye. King Salmon and Northern Pike require #16-#20 although a true minimalist can do it all on 10# tippet. Heavier leaders for trout helps us minimize the number of flies left on the river bottom/overhanging trees and to minimize stress to the fish. The trout are rarely leader shy in remote waters (particularly prior to the salmon spawn) and the salmon are not leader shy.