Trout fishing in Alaska is not the same as trout fishing in other parts of the world. If you’re chasing trout in Alaska for the first time, keep these handy tips in mind.
How to Catch More Rainbow Trout in Alaska
- Get your fly down. Rainbow trout in Alaska (Western Alaska, at least) feed mostly on salmon parts – eggs and flesh that tumble along the river bottom. In most situations, if your fly’s not way down deep you’re not in the game. Get your rig ticking bottom, and don’t worry too much about a perfect dead drift.
- Mend less. Don’t worry too much about a perfect dead drift! Hitting the right spots and getting your fly deep are much more important than a perfect subtle dead drift presentation. Salmon parts tumbling downstream don’t move perfectly with the current anyhow. If you’re throwing tons of stack mends and constantly trying to set up the perfect drift, you’re missing lots of spots along the way. Get your mend in the ballpark and fish it!
- Fish heavy tippet. 10 to 15 pound Maxima Ultragreen is our go-to material at Alaska West. Alaskan rainbows get big. They’re not leader shy. Stiff leaders help turn over heavily weighted rigs. There are lots of snags around. This is not the land of 4x tippet!
- Match the salmon hatch. They might be aggressive but they’re not stupid. Sockeye eggs look nothing like king eggs. Fresh flesh looks nothing like old flesh. Live eggs look nothing like dead eggs. Know what’s in the water you’re fishing (or reach in and check it out), and match it.
- Rig multiple rods. Many of the biggest trout in Alaska are caught from a drifting boat. Many of the biggest trout in Alaska live around structure that’s extremely hazardous to flies. If you’re not losing flies, you’re not in the game – but if you you have to re-rig every time you lose a fly, you’re going to float right on past an awful lot of prime water. Keep multiple rods ready, so when the inevitable break-off happens you can just grab another weapon and keep fishing.
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