Blog - Alaska Fly Out

5 Common Traits Of Productive Flies

Be picky when deciding on which flies get to take a swim. Here's what you want to look for.

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Whether you are tying your flies, or buying them, there are 5 traits to keep in the forefront of your mind when making decisions on which flies are worthy of getting wet. Patterns that take advantage of each one of these 5 traits are both effective and easy to cast. Here are the top 5 traits that the flies in your box should always have.

Color.
It is important to use colors the fish are interested in. Resident species such as trout and dolly varden generally prefer more natural, earth tone colors. While salmon, on the other hand, are normally willing to chase around bright, vibrant patterns in pinks, purples, and chartruse.

During dirty or high water conditions, you can do especially well using multi-colored, high contrast flies. Black/White, Green/Yellow, and Purple/Pink can all produce during these adverse conditions.

Hook Orientation
The direction that your hook bend is facing should depend on where you are fishing in the water column. A fly fished near the bottom should always have the hook point facing up, as a downward facing hook will snag up and require sharpening more often. You will find this in numerous sculpin patterns, so beware.

Materials and Movement
Choose a material that moves the way you want it to while being fished. In slow to moderate currents, natural materials like rabbit, maribou, and arctic fox have a silky, smooth flow. Other materials such as deer hair, calf tail, and schlappen hackle have stiffer fibers that hold their shape well, even against heavy current.

Castability
Many flies recently have trended towards being very large and bulky. While they may look impressive, they are a burden to cast. Natural materials like rabbit fur provide great movement, but they also absorb a lot of water. This usually makes them heavy and cumbersome to cast. Synthetic materials, like craft fur, not only give a fly good underwater movement, but also make them easy to cast.

Stability
Stability relates to how the fly tracks when underwater. Flies that are unstable tend to roll or flip over when pushed on by the current. Lead eyes are often used in many trout and salmon patterns. If the lead eyes are on the wrong side, the fly will roll to the wrong position. Make sure that your fly tracks the way it is supposed to. It will result in more fish.

Taking Kids Fishing

The 49th state is the perfect place to instill a lifetime of outdoor passions.

A while back I was introduced to a video called "My First Fish." While not specifically filmed in Alaska, this video perfectly captures the excitement of introducing a child to fly fishing. Of all my years guiding anglers in Alaska, there are a select number of memories that I can relive by just closing my eyes. A few of them are about very large trout and steelhead, a few are of the epic battles that ensued, but many of them are simply memories of days spent fishing with kids. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, uncles and nephews, and all the combinations in between are among the most vivid fishing memories etched into my brain. 

Alaska is a wild and beautiful place filled with mountains, glaciers, salmon, and bears. This translates into being the perfect location for exposing your kids to the excitement of being outdoors. It will instill a lifetime passion in fishing and create personal bonds that will last forever. Do your kids a favor. Bring them up to one of the last "wild" places we have left and take them fishing. You will never regret it.

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Lee Kuepper is professional guide now calling the Kenai River home. He is a co-owner of Alaska's Angling Addiction, chasing the Kenai's monster kings and fabled trout on a regular basis. He is also a member of Loop USA's prostaff and a Certified Fly Casting Instructor through the FFF.

Making Wakes - Catching Silver Salmon On Surface Flies

Silver Salmon can be aggressive topwater feeders if you can keep their attention.

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By Lee Kuepper

Found throughout nearly the entire state of Alaska, Silver Salmon (also called Coho Salmon) are hard fighting, eager biting, and acrobatic - making them a very popular sport fish among fly anglers. Not to mention, Silvers in some parts of Alaska push up to around the 20lb mark! And, Coho are generally "fly-friendly". Now, I am not saying that they are always easy and eager biters, but quite often chasing silvers with a fly is just as productive as fishing them with conventional gear. My final pitch for Silver Salmon is that you can coax them to take a top-water fly, and any species that can be caught on the surface will always get the nod from me.

Locations

cohowaterFrom the coastal rainforests of Southeast Alaska, to the waters of Western Alaska, and everywhere in between, the demeanor of the Coho (Silver) Salmon are always the same. They will always choose the path of least resistance, and if they can lazily mill around in "froggy" water, they will. With that in mind, you would be well advised to leave the heavy currents and fast riffles to those not in-the-know.

Now, there is an exception to this general rule in the tide-water areas. When fish are fresh from the ocean they will often enter in massive, sprawling waves that coincide with the incoming tide. As soon as they hit non-tidal water though, they take on the lazy-boy mentality and begin looking for couch water. Weedy sloughs, inside river bends, behind islands, or any other breaks in the main current will usually provide some spectacular Silver Salmon fishing.

Ryan Peterson's New Movie "XBoundary" Flows Strong!

Filmmaker Ryan Peterson's new video "XBoundary" highlights the the open pit mining boom in B.C, and follows the impacts and concerns for Alaska. Filmed for Salmon Beyond Borders (www.salmonbeyondborders.org).

From The Filmmaker - An open-pit mining boom is underway in northern British Columbia, Canada. The massive size and location of the mines--at the headwaters of major salmon rivers that flow across the border into Alaska--has Alaskans concerned over pollution risks posed to their multi-billion dollar fishing and tourism industries. These concerns were heightened with the Aug 4, 2014 catastrophic tailings dam failure at nearby Mt. Polley Mine in BC's Fraser River watershed.

I Am A Flyfisher - The Story of Alaska's Pudge Kleinkauf

After surving cancer, Pudge Kleinkauf decided to spend her life doing what she loves: fly fishing.

By Lee Kuepper

Part of the Indie Alaska series, "I Am A Fly Fisher" follows the story of one of the most well known and respected female anglers in Alaska, Pudge Kleinkauf. I have met Pudge up here a few times, and can tell you that she is quite an amazing woman. More so, I have run into many of the women she has taught and touched along the way, furthering the respect I have for her passions and pursuits in the fly fishing world. 

Find out more about how to go fishing with Pudge.

Alaska's Mountain Kingdom - Ski Video

Get a glimpse of the skiing and winter experience with Ultima Thule Lodge

Truly an incredible project working with Ultima Thule Lodge, Chris Davenport, and the Claus Family. This isn't heli-skiing. This is genuine winter adventure in one of the most awe-inspiring places on planet Earth.

Book your trip today!

 

Alaska's Top 3 Trophy Trout Rivers

When chasing down your 30 inch rainbow trout, head toward Alaska's "Big 3."

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Each year thousands of anglers board a plane chasing the bounty of 49th state, taking a shot at hooking into the rainbow trout of their dreams. While other foreign destinations such as Russia and Argentina may produce some big fish, there is no doubt that the accessibility and accommodations of our Alaska fisheries, in combination with the wide array of time periods, make Alaska a very easy choice when you decide on where to go to hunt for your Troutzilla.

Similar to other waters throughout the country, Alaska has a benchmark length that is considered the "trophy" designation. In Alaska this mark is usually set at an astounding 30 inches. While there are many factors that come into play when embarking on this quest, the first step to improving your odds is choosing the right river system to target.

The "Big 3" is a term that people use to refer to the top three systems that tend to pump out more monster trout than any others in the state. Topping this list of legendary trout rivers are the Kvichak, Naknek, and the Kenai. While they are not the only rivers systems in the state that hold monster trout, there is no doubt that they produce more gigantic rainbows on a regular basis than any others in the state.

Prime dates on these rivers fill in fast, so anglers heading out would be well advised to call, and book their trip early.

The Breach - 5 Showings in Alaska

Salmon Conservation Film by Mark Titus

When fishing guide/filmmaker Mark Titus learns why wild salmon populations plummeted in his native Pacific Northwest, he embarks on a journey to discover where the fish have gone and what might bring them back. Along the way, Titus unravels a trail of human hubris, historical amnesia and potential tragedy looming in Alaska – all conspiring to end the most sustainable wild food left on the planet.

Alaska Showings & Schedule

• 2/19 – Anchorage – Bear Tooth @ 8 p.m.
• 2/20 – Juneau – Rockwell Ballroom @ 7 p.m.
• 2/21–22 – Ketchikan – New York Café @ TBD (with Bristol Bay Sockeye dinner special)
• 2/24 – Fairbanks – Blue Loon @ 6 p.m.
• 2/26 – Dillingham – Middle School Gym @ 7:30 p.m. (with subsistence food potluck)

Trout Fishing Adventures In South-Central Alaska

The Shangri-la of trout fishing, variety, and natural beauty is just a short, easy flight from Anchorage

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South-Central Alaska holds a very special place in my heart. It was where I first cut my teeth guiding in this great state. The waters of the South Central region of Alaska are often under publicized, and overlooked. For the adventurous angler looking to score some great trout fishing, this region of Alaska is a true diamond in the rough.

River drainages such as the Susitna, Yentna and Copper reach far inland towards the towering mountains and glaciers of Denali and Wrangle-St.Elias National Parks. Eventually, they wind their way south, finding their terminus in the salty waters of Cook Inlet or the Gulf of Alaska. The clear, pristine headwaters that feed these massive systems provide some spectacular fishing for a wide variety of species. The trout fishing in particular is uniquely exceptional, perfectly catering to the angler that wants to try a wide variety of fly fishing techniques. Mousing, nymphing, beads, dry flies, smolt, and baitfish imitating methods are all productive ways to fish for the resident leopard rainbow trout of South-Central.

heliphoto2A variety of accommodation styles can be found throughout the region. Comfortable riverside and mountain lodges as well as multi-day remote wilderness float trips are all available to the traveling angler searching for their trout fishing vahalla. Access to many of these rivers is generally floatplane based. After the flight to the main lodge, anglers will then explore the area via jet boat, raft, or even helicopter.

Recently, I contacted a good guide friend of mine, Casper Leffel, to discuss his personal choices regarding fly selection throughout the waters of South-Central Alaska. Casper is a very experienced guide throughout the region. He began his career on Lake Creek, and has since guided on multiple other South-central watersheds including the Talachulitna. Casper is without a doubt a trout addict, and the passion shows in his guiding.

Here are his thoughts regarding fishing the waters of south-central Alaska for trout, and the flies you will want to bring along for your next trip out.

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