Alaska Fly Fishing

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SALMON R NR HYDER AK: 56.025815, -130.066982
SOULE R NR HYDER AK: 55.833029, -130.183369
TYEE LK OUTLET NR WRANGELL AK: 56.199642, -131.508362
STIKINE R NR WRANGELL AK: 56.707722, -132.131965
TAKU R NR JUNEAU AK: 58.538298, -133.701743
SALMON C NR JUNEAU AK: 58.332174, -134.467607
LEMON C NR JUNEAU AK: 58.391343, -134.422606
MENDENHALL R NR AUKE BAY AK: 58.429397, -134.574559
ANTLER R BL ANTLER LK NR AUKE BAY AK: 58.851624, -134.710401
TAIYA R NR SKAGWAY AK: 59.511618, -135.346275
CHILKAT R NR KLUKWAN AK: 59.414947, -135.931020
SALMON R AT GUSTAVUS AK: 58.444657, -135.741830
GOVERNMENT C NR KETCHIKAN AK: 55.342430, -131.700574
FISH C NR KETCHIKAN AK: 55.391604, -131.195583
STANEY C NR KLAWOCK AK: 55.801029, -133.110322
OLD TOM C NR KASAAN AK: 55.395194, -132.408627
SAWMILL C NR SITKA AK: 57.051027, -135.229540
ALSEK R AT DRY BAY NR YAKUTAT AK: 59.190264, -138.328409
SITUK R NR YAKUTAT AK: 59.586366, -139.494188
GULKANA R AT SOURDOUGH AK: 62.520392, -145.533015
COPPER R AT MILLION DOLLAR BRIDGE NR CORDOVA AK: 60.671143, -144.746714
GLACIER R TRIB NR CORDOVA AK: 60.532797, -145.380615
SOLOMON GULCH AT TOP OF FALLS NR VALDEZ AK: 61.078643, -146.305070
LOWE R AB HORSETAIL FALLS NR VALDEZ AK: 61.067083, -145.906111
WOLVERINE C NR LAWING AK: 60.369959, -148.898762
GROUSE C AT GROUSE LK OUTLET NR SEWARD AK: 60.197774, -149.375484
UPPER NUKA R NR PARK BOUNDARY NR HOMER AK: 59.683857, -150.705447
UPPER BRADLEY R NR NUKA GLACIER NR HOMER AK: 59.699969, -150.704616
BRADLEY R BL DAM NR HOMER AK: 59.757741, -150.852678
MF BRADLEY R NR HOMER AK: 59.777746, -150.756295
MF BRADLEY R BL NF BRADLEY R NR HOMER AK: 59.797741, -150.865463
BRADLEY R NR TIDEWATER NR HOMER AK: 59.801074, -150.884908
ANCHOR R NR ANCHOR POINT AK: 59.746609, -151.755212
SNOW R NR SEWARD AK: 60.294440, -149.346040
KENAI R AT COOPER LANDING AK: 60.492193, -149.809920
COOPER C AT MOUTH NR COOPER LANDING AK: 60.479980, -149.882711
KENAI R BL SKILAK LK OUTLET NR STERLING AK: 60.466099, -150.601090
KENAI R AT SOLDOTNA AK: 60.476929, -151.081668
SIXMILE C NR HOPE AK: 60.820273, -149.427443
CAMPBELL C NR SPENARD AK: 61.138891, -149.925534
CHESTER C AT ARCTIC BOULEVARD AT ANCHORAGE AK: 61.204726, -149.897483
SHIP C NR ANCHORAGE AK: 61.225006, -149.637201
EKLUTNA LK NR PALMER AK: 61.410292, -149.124436
KNIK R NR PALMER AK: 61.504461, -149.032765
MOOSE C NR PALMER AK: 61.682802, -149.045541
MATANUSKA R AT PALMER AK: 61.608631, -149.073043
L SUSITNA R NR PALMER AK: 61.709743, -149.231938
SUSITNA R AB TSUSENA C NR CHULITNA AK: 62.823333, -148.604722
SUSITNA R AT GOLD CREEK AK: 62.767290, -149.693379
CHULITNA R NR TALKEETNA AK: 62.558108, -150.236160
TALKEETNA R NR TALKEETNA AK: 62.346439, -150.019201
MONTANA C NR MONTANA AK: 62.104762, -150.059749
KASHWITNA R NR WILLOW AK: 61.925864, -150.073075
L WILLOW C NR KASHWITNA AK: 61.809746, -150.097238
WILLOW C NR WILLOW AK: 61.780303, -149.886679
TERROR R AT MOUTH NR KODIAK AK: 57.693978, -153.163909
RUSSELL C NR COLD BAY AK: 55.176906, -162.689511
CHULITNA R 5MI AB MOUTH NR PORT ALSWORTH AK: 60.203659, -154.704435
BEAR C NR ILIAMNA AK: 59.823762, -154.884405
UPPER TALARIK C NR ILIAMNA AK: 59.785976, -155.255241
ILIAMNA R NR PEDRO BAY AK: 59.757950, -153.846887
NUYAKUK R NR DILLINGHAM AK: 59.934830, -158.190006
KUSKOKWIM R AT LISKYS CROSSING NR STONY RIVER AK: 62.051277, -156.212907
KUSKOKWIM R AT CROOKED CREEK AK: 61.868745, -158.113785
CROOKED C AB AIRPORT RD NR CROOKED CREEK AK: 61.889301, -158.156842
MOSQUITO FORK 2 MI BL KECHUMSTUK C NR CHICKEN AK: 64.034444, -142.528333
WADE C TRIB NR CHICKEN AK: 64.118012, -141.555895
FORTYMILE R NR STEELE CREEK AK: 64.308855, -141.404517
YUKON R AT EAGLE AK: 64.789168, -141.200089
YUKON R NR STEVENS VILLAGE AK: 65.875101, -149.720349
GOLDSTREAM C BL ALABAM C NR LIVENGOOD AK: 65.575403, -148.391125
HESS C NR LIVENGOOD AK: 65.664834, -149.098925
GOODPASTER R NR BIG DELTA AK: 64.450174, -144.944572
PHELAN C NR PAXSON AK: 63.240422, -145.469735
SALCHA R NR SALCHAKET AK: 64.472359, -146.926265
TANANA R AT FAIRBANKS AK: 64.792344, -147.841310
CHENA R NR TWO RIVERS AK: 64.902374, -146.359366
CHENA R BL HUNTS C NR TWO RIVERS AK: 64.859588, -146.805751
CHENA R BL MOOSE C DAM AK: 64.800412, -147.230193
FISH C BL SOLO C NR CHATANIKA AK: 65.009303, -147.200773
L CHENA R NR FAIRBANKS AK: 64.885690, -147.249648
CHENA R AT FAIRBANKS AK: 64.845403, -147.703536
MARGUERITE C AB EMMA C NR HEALY AK: 64.008434, -148.728167
TANANA R AT NENANA AK: 64.564815, -149.094063
TOLOVANA R BL ROSEBUD C NR LIVENGOOD AK: 65.464841, -148.631114
WF TOLOVANA R NR LIVENGOOD AK: 65.466229, -148.669170
SLATE C AT COLDFOOT AK: 67.254290, -150.176061
YUKON R AT PILOT STATION AK: 61.933687, -162.882936
NIUKLUK R AB MELSING C AT COUNCIL AK: 64.891944, -163.670000
SADIE C 1.3 MI AB MOUTH NR KOTZEBUE AK: 66.817222, -162.512500
DAHL C NR KOBUK AK: 66.945560, -156.911619
KOBUK R NR KIANA AK: 66.972994, -160.133631
WULIK R BL TUTAK C NR KIVALINA AK: 67.875441, -163.677373
MEADE R AT ATKASUK AK: 70.495376, -157.395848
IKPIKPUK R BL FRY C NR ALAKTAK AK: 69.766390, -154.664406
COLVILLE R AT UMIAT AK: 69.360170, -152.124623
KUPARUK R NR DEADHORSE AK: 70.281385, -148.962786
ATIGUN R BL GALBRAITH LK NR PUMP STATION 4 AK: 68.452397, -149.371127
SAGAVANIRKTOK R NR PUMP STA 3 AK: 69.015833, -148.817778
HULAHULA R NR KAKTOVIK AK: 69.711187, -144.192756
TANANA R UNNAMD SL AT MOOSE C DAM NR NORTH POLE AK: 64.714854, -147.302962

It's hard to find a place as beautiful, serene, and untouched as Alaska, and with that said you can bet you're going to find all kinds of incredible fly fishing opportunities. What makes the state so special is that you can get as remote as you like with your fishing. You can even charter a float plane that will take you to a deserted island or lake just so you can enjoy fishing in complete solitude. In Alaska you won’t have to worry about fighting crowds of anglers no matter when you fish.

Looking at some of the statistics, it's hard to believe but the state offers 3,000 streams and rivers, and more than three million lakes. Yes you read that correct, three million. Just try to wrap your mind around what that means as an angler. Of course you've got both salt water and fresh water options to choose from. There are opportunities to just get away for a few hours or create your own overnight fishing getaways.

In this guide we will take a look at some of the top spots for fly fishing in Alaska, even though it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few. We will also examine when the official fishing season is, and the gear you’ll want to bring with you.

Where to Go?

In some states in the country, it’s really easy to pick a couple top streams and rivers that you’ve heard about and read about, and now you want to visit. With Alaska, this isn’t the case at all. Instead, it feels like the entire state is just one big area waiting to be discovered and enjoyed by you. When it comes to the style of fishing, fly fishing is by far the method of choice here in Alaska. The typical fish you'll be catching are bass, trout, and salmon.

Here’s a look at some standout locations as far as fly fishing in Alaska goes. It’s important to note that the state is massive, as are the opportunities. Sometimes the greatest locations end up being those that you find as you head out on a hike or drive, so don’t be afraid to get out there and do a little exploring with a map in your hands.

Alagnak River

The Alagnak River is found in southwestern Alaska in the Bristol Bay Region. This particular destination made the list in Travel and Leisure's Best Places to Fly Fish in 2015. The typical trout you'll find here are rainbow and you'll also find all of the Pacific salmon species (five in total), and arctic grayling. What makes this area so spectacular is that the fish you'll be catching tend to be much bigger than the average size. It doesn't matter if you are an experienced angler or a beginner, you'll be able to fish this river with ease. There is a lodge located at Bristol Bay so if you choose you can stay right there and make the fishing all the more convenient. The river is a premier location that won’t leave you disappointed.

Kenai River

The Kenai River is found in southcentral Alaska and is very popular with anglers and guided fly fishing tours. In particular the Upper Kenai River tends to be quite popular as this is where you'll catch some massive king salmon and rainbow trout. This river is usually preferred by drift boat. Many people deem this to be the most popular river for fishing in all of the state. An interesting fact is that it is the world record holder for the largest king salmon ever caught. It weighed in at just over 97 pounds and was caught in 1985. People flock to this river in hopes of catching their own record holder.

The river itself is 82 miles in length and travels from Kenai Lake all the way to the ocean. Along the way it drops in elevation.

Denali National Park and Preserve

The Denali National Park and Preserve is found in the state's interior and is another top destination for fly fishing. You can plan a half day, full day, or many days here and never run out of exciting opportunities. A good spot within the park is the Nenana River, which isn't too far inside the park entrance. Here you'll be able to fish for arctic grayling and rainbow trout. In this area you can fish by shore or by wading. As for the skill level, even beginners can handle this river. Because it's not far from the park entrance it makes for a great one-day adventure.

Within Denali National Park are a number of other great rivers and streams, and many of them are accessible from lodges found on the grounds. This can make for a great way to enjoy the park and spend more than just one day there. Keep in mind the areas that are “the best” for fly fishing tend to change throughout the season, so checking in with local fly and gear shops is a great way to find out where these top spots are.

When to Go?

The typical fishing season runs from April through to October in much of Alaska's rivers and lakes. With that in mind there are months that are better than others. Most anglers would agree that you can't beat the fishing in August and September. Just like with most states, this is when the largest varieties of hatches are taking place.

Unlike other states in the country, you won’t find any fishing once the winter cold sets, which happens pretty early here in Alaska. By the end of October the fishing season is as good as over, except for halibut, which can be fished year-round. Quite frankly, the weather conditions aren’t ideal for anglers to be out in the winter for any length of time anyways, as it gets too cold and there is too much snow.

The hatch season can tend to be a little shorter here in Alaska, which comes as no surprise thanks to the weather. The pale morning dun starts up in mid-May and then the caddis and mayflies follow.

What You Will Need When You Get There?

What makes fishing in Alaska a bit unique as far as your gear is concerned is that you will be catching some pretty large sized trout. With that in mind you want to pick your gear accordingly. If you're heading to the large lakes and rivers opt for a rod between 9.6 feet and 10 feet. You can use a five weight with it. If you prefer more of the lower key streams and rivers where it's not quite as big, and the fish reflect that, then you can pick a nine-foot rod with either a four or five weight.

Your flies will be dependent on the season; as mentioned you are trying to match them to the current hatch. If heading out in early spring a good choice is fry and alevin patterns. As you head into the summer, nymphs, dry flies, and mice make a great choice. Then in the fall you can use flesh flies. These flies work especially well when trying to catch rainbow trout in particular, but keeping that golden rule of matching the fly to the hatch can be used with all fish.

Alaska does differ in that even though you want to try to match your hatch, it's not quite as important as it is in other states. Alaska features arctic climates, and this affects the fish and what they are looking to eat. If you’re not a resident or you’re new to fly fishing in the state, it’s a good idea to visit a local fly shop and get some tips and advice since the hatches can be a bit deceiving and differ quite a bit from region to region.

If you plan on fishing in Alaska you will need a valid state fishing license. These are available through the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and can be purchased as an annual resident license, or a non-resident license. If you are a non-resident you can purchase a one year, 14 day, seven day, three day, or one day fishing license. Anyone who is 16 years of age and older requires this license. If you plan on fishing for king salmon, you will also need a special stamp.

In order to stand out and draw anglers from around the country, and even the world, a destination has to offer something unique. Alaska does this in spades and so much of it is due to its stunning untouched landscape. You are truly in another world when you visit Alaska thanks to its arctic climate and landscape that you just won’t find in other areas of the United States. The fact that you can find species here that aren’t common in other states is another big draw for anglers. For many people Alaska is that dream destination, that once-in-a-lifetime trip that just can’t be missed.