Alaska Trout Fishing Techniques Part #2. This week Jackie will discuss nymph, streamer and spey (swing) fishing techniques.
*Please note that this is a general guidance and not an end-all-be-all summary. One of my favorite things to do is experiment to see what’s working. I’ll almost always try a mouse pattern on smaller streams and rivers just to see if it works (even if there’s little chance that it will) because it’s one of my favorite ways to catch trout.
- Ideal Rod
- Small Water/Lighter Currents – 4 to 6 wt – 10′
- Large Water/Heavier Currents – 7 or 8 wt – 10′
- Fly Line and Leader Set Up –Nymphing/Indicator lines like Rio Extreme Indicator or Scientific Anglers Anadro Nymph lines are excellent for nymph fishing in Alaska.
- Flies – Generic flies such as pheasant tails, hare’s ears, prince nymphs in sizes 8-14 – Jig nymphs, czech nymphs and other popular nymph patterns work well.
- Think Caddis, Mayflies and even Dragon Fly Nymphs in some rivers and streams.
- Size #8 to #15
- Method –Nymphing is very similar to the bead setup. You can go with an indicator or even tight line, euro nymph and/or swing nymphs in a lot of bodies of water.
** Make sure you check the regulations where you intend to fish. In Alaska, several bodies of water are single-hook only, so a setup like the often-used “hopper dropper” with two flies would be illegal. **
- Ideal Rod
- Small Water/Lighter Currents – 5 or 6wt – 9′
- Large Water/Heavier Currents – 7 or 8 wt – 9′
- Good for larger rivers and even work well to cross over to silver/coho salmon.
- Fly Line and Leader Set Up – Weight forward streamer lines are great. Floating line is the most popular, but there are some instances where sinking lines or sink tips will get the job done, especially if you plan on fishing lakes.
- Flies – Woolly buggers, Zuddler Minnows, Leech patterns, Sculpin Patterns, articulated flesh flies, etc…
- Method – Streamers can be swung on a tight line, dead drifted under an indicator and even cast/strip-retrieved for aggressive trout.
- Ideal Rod
- Small Water/Lighter Currents – 4 or 5 wt – 11′
- Large Water/Heavier Currents – 6 to 8 wt – 13′
- Most single-hand and two-handed rods will work.
- Line Setup – Skagit, Scandi, Mid-Belly and/or Long-Belly Lines
- Flies – Dave’s Panic Button, Trout Spey Sculpin, and some smaller steelhead flies work well for swinging. You can also try swinging some flesh patterns as well during the late fall.
- Method – This could be an entire article on its own. Single and two-handed fly fishing or spey fishing is increasing in popularity on many Alaskan waterways.
- Anglers use the Skagit, Scandi, Long Belly, Mid Belly and other modified styles of spey casting to catch trout all across the state.
- Generally speaking, anglers will methodically swing flies down and across the run, stepping down after every swing to cover large swaths of water. This method helps show your fly to as many eager trout as possible on a given run.
Connect with Jackie Bowman
My name is Jackie, and I’m the co-owner of Cooper Landing Fishing Guide, LLC on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. I grew up in Wisconsin but fell in love with Alaska and moved to King Salmon (in Bristol Bay) immediately following a two-week vacation in 2009. I worked in aviation management until 2016, when I met my (now) business partner Dave, a guide on the Kenai River. We both had an incredible passion for fly fishing and Alaska’s fisheries and decided to start our own guide service. In 2020, our operation expanding to include another guide, Mike. We are now in our fifth season and guide the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers for rainbow trout, dolly varden, and all species of Pacific salmon. We love sharing Alaska and our rivers with our guests, and we hope they leave with a greater appreciation for wild spaces and wild fish.
When I’m not fishing, I’m usually fishing (😂), foraging, painting, traveling, or hiking. I have two boat dogs named Maxine and Gigi, who are my world.
I started Alaska Women on the Fly a few months ago with my friend Shayna, in hopes of connecting and highlighting women with a shared interest in fly fishing. It has been so cool to watch the page grow and meet a bunch of new people, and I’m excited to plan some meet-ups in the near future!