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Thread: Moving to Alaska

  1. #1
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    Default Moving to Alaska

    Hey guys! I thought that I'd stop by and introduce myself. I'm Josh. I'm moving to Anchorage from Wyoming in a couple of weeks on May 1. I've lived most of my life in Wyoming, and I started fly fishing shortly after I learned to walk. I'm definitely looking forward to fishing Alaska this summer. I'm hoping to find some small creeks throughout the Anchorage area that I can fish most days after work. I'm also hoping to find some lesser known salmon streams on the weekend. Here's for hoping!

    The worst part about moving to Alaska is that I have to buy a new fly rod. You can probably tell that I'm really torn up about it. I'm currently deciding whether to buy an 8-weight or a 9-weight rod. I think that I've decided on the 8-weight. I really like the TFO TiCrx line, so I think that I'll go with that.

    Anyway, I just wanted to come introduce myself. Having never fished for salmon, I'm sure that I'll be on here looking for tips on what flies to use, where to go, and your favorite salmon recipe.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnengr View Post
    I'm currently deciding whether to buy an 8-weight or a 9-weight rod. I think that I've decided on the 8-weight. I really like the TFO TiCrx line, so I think that I'll go with that.
    Welcome.

    I'll let the folks around Anchorage shed some fishing light.

    As for rods, what's your next smallest? I like to go in two-size jumps between rods, so if your next smallest is a 6, then an 8 will be ideal. If your next smallest is a 7, then go to the 9. The difference between rods jumping a single line size is too small to matter in my experience. Heck I line up or line down rods one size, depending on the conditions and details.

    As for TiCRX, they're tops for the buck for big waters, big fish, big winds and big flies. I've got-top end Sage, Loomis and Winston, and the TiCRX casts better with my aggressive style. Go for aggressive lines with it to bring out it's power and still turn over big flies. If you want delicacy, use something else.

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    Member Raptor_1's Avatar
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    Welcome to the site and you are deffinitely moving to the fly fishing Mecca. There are not a whole lot of streams in town that have any decent populations of trout. There are a few that have a run of salmon but be sure to study the regs as to where and when you can fish for them. There is one called Ship Creek that usually gets a decent run of king salmon, although it was not very good last year. There are a bunch of lakes in town that are stocked by fish and game that you could fish though. If you want better trout fishing it would be beneficial to make the drive north to the Parks Highway streams. As far as a lesser know salmon stream goes....good luck with that. The fishing up here is like no other in the world. If a stream/river is road accessable, and it has a fishable salmon population, there will be hoards of people there. It's called combat fishing. There are a few places where you can get away from the big crowds but there will still be people there. Facts of life when fishing up here. Some places are literaly shoulder to shoulder. Float trips and fly ins are your options for getting away from the crowds. Due to the nature of the fishery, anyone that has a secret spot is going to be VERY tight lipped about it. I would come up here with a completely open mind because it's going to be way differen than what you expect.
    Alaska: We're all here cuz we're not all "there"

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    Default Look Around

    Welcome to the fly-fishing jungle. There is some incredible fishing in this state, but few spots with any seclusion. Just don't let it get you down. Good fishing can still be good fishing, even if there are a gazillion people around. Be friendly and enjoy the experience. Everyone else is there for the same reason you are. I will also give you a hint. Get a small motor boat and some topo maps. There are lots of small streams up north and on the Kenai that hold fish, but take some effort to get to. The further you get from town, the fewer people you'll find. (except on holiday weekends!)

    There are actually a few streams in and around Anchorage that have fishable populations of trout. Don't expect to catch 10 fish in a day, but if you don't mind working for a few smaller fish, there are some options. I've been surprised a couple of times by good size fish too, but in my experience, they are the exception, not the rule. Ask around at the fly shops and you'll get some good info and directions.


    Good luck and welcome to the Greatland. I think you'll agree that Alaska definitely gives Big Sky Country a run for its' money.

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    Default Really?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raptor_1 View Post
    Welcome to the site and you are deffinitely moving to the fly fishing Mecca. .
    I think if this guy grew up in Wyoming and fished since he was a kid he's seen more of the Mecca's than he will when he gets here (A river runs through it?) I just got back from a wonderful revisit to the Bitterroot in Montana and am constantly impressed with the complexity of flyfishing down there (Hatches, timing, temps, clarity, patterns, light tippets, finess casting/presentation etc etc etc etc etc.) Fly fishing Alaska can be different, but is much much much less complex than other areas. All the flies I need in AK fit in one medium box....

    So, welcome mtnengr, I'm sure all your skills will help you immensely as you get acquainted with a rather different style of fly fishing. You will get many suggestions...none of them are wrong...but if something feels right on the water (nymphs, dries, etcetcetc) that made sense in other situations....give it a shot, even if no one has brought it up. As was said, a big piece of water to yourself may be challenging to find from Anchorage, but there are certainly fish to be shared with those you meet. Also, fish aren't as wary here as in other places and densities and sizes can equal or trump what is found in the Rockies. (size especially). And, remember that there's alot of state beyond the road system. Floats in remote areas etc. are plenty doable monetarily with some planning and can offer you some great memories and good times.

    ps, An 8 wt is a great start....if you decide to start chasin kings with a fly you may want to bump up but you will always want that 8 wt if for no other reason than trying to huck 4 inches of wet fur in a high wind.

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    heh I've often thought how sweet it'd be to move to wyoming to go fishing a bunch
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Member Raptor_1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch It View Post
    I think if this guy grew up in Wyoming and fished since he was a kid he's seen more of the Mecca's than he will when he gets here (A river runs through it?) I just got back from a wonderful revisit to the Bitterroot in Montana and am constantly impressed with the complexity of flyfishing down there (Hatches, timing, temps, clarity, patterns, light tippets, finess casting/presentation etc etc etc etc etc.) Fly fishing Alaska can be different, but is much much much less complex than other areas. All the flies I need in AK fit in one medium box....
    It was more of a play on words to get him excited about moving to Alaska.
    Alaska: We're all here cuz we're not all "there"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raptor_1 View Post
    It was more of a play on words to get him excited about moving to Alaska.
    Like any of us needed more of that when we knew we were moving up ! Now he may pee himself...

    I almost considered getting valium for the month between the job interview and touching down on Alaskan soil...flyrod in hand.

    I get what you meant (kinda) but think in general there are lots of neat places to go flyfishing in this world. Alaska is a great one for sure but many of the other fisheries offer different challenges and flavors. To choose just one forever would almost be...well....unamerican.

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    I think it's good advice to have a two-size jump between rods. My next smallest is indeed a 6-weight, so it looks like I'll be jumping after the 8-weight. I don't think that I'll chase kings too much my first summer; I'll be more interested in finding a few less crowded places to fish.

    Thanks for all the tips on finding secluded spots. I definitely do not mind working hard to get to a secluded spot. I'm looking forward to fishing some of the smaller, more technical trout streams around in the Anchorage area as well as the larger, more popular areas.

    And if any of you are ever heading down to Wyoming, hit me up. I'll give you some recommendations on where to go.

  10. #10
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    Default Effort pays...

    Quote Originally Posted by mtnengr View Post
    ... I'm hoping to find some small creeks throughout the Anchorage area that I can fish most days after work. I'm also hoping to find some lesser known salmon streams on the weekend. Here's for hoping...
    There are good resources for fishable waters in the area, some published in books and many posted on these forums. Check out the Search/Advanced Search/Google Search functions for plenty of tips and good, late night reading. I did purchase some of the available books for tips, but had an interesting conversation with someone in a fly shop one day that's gradually changed my thinking.

    In general, I've become more reserved about discussing specific places to fish (see the thread, "Local waters, special places..." at http://www.forums.outdoorsdirectory....d.php?p=447250), but I like what Scottsum posted here -including: "...Everyone else is there for the same reason you are" and especially agree with his comment about effort. Hiking up most streams, it won't take long for the crowd to thin. The gains in solitude or quiet are usually worth the effort, even if it means a few less fish. Like Scottsum, some of the best fish I've ever hooked were on relatively skinny water where no one else was fishing.

    Best of luck to you up here - your timing is perfect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch It View Post
    Like any of us needed more of that when we knew we were moving up ! Now he may pee himself...

    I almost considered getting valium for the month between the job interview and touching down on Alaskan soil...flyrod in hand.

    I get what you meant (kinda) but think in general there are lots of neat places to go flyfishing in this world. Alaska is a great one for sure but many of the other fisheries offer different challenges and flavors. To choose just one forever would almost be...well....unamerican.

    Isn't it funny how the "grass is always greener" somewhere else, even when it comes to fishing. I love catching these large rainbows and salmon, up here, but I too miss the complexity of fishing in the lower 48. And don't even get me started on fishing the flats for Bonefish and etc!

    I still haven't caught a brown trout of any size, and I've never caught a brook trout, and it's pretty tough to complain about fishing big hopper patterns and stimi's after work on any of a half dozen different streams within an hour's drive!

    I guess, like most of the women I've known, Alaska just can't completely satisfy me....

    I said most women! Of course my wife is the one exception

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    Default Nice Save on the wife part....

    Quote Originally Posted by Scottsum View Post
    Isn't it funny how the "grass is always greener" somewhere else, even when it comes to fishing. I love catching these large rainbows and salmon, up here, but I too miss the complexity of fishing in the lower 48. And don't even get me started on fishing the flats for Bonefish and etc!

    I still haven't caught a brown trout of any size, and I've never caught a brook trout, and it's pretty tough to complain about fishing big hopper patterns and stimi's after work on any of a half dozen different streams within an hour's drive!

    I guess, like most of the women I've known, Alaska just can't completely satisfy me....

    I said most women! Of course my wife is the one exception
    No, it's really true, fishin is fishin is fishin. I can cast as well as most, tie a nice Alaskan fly and etc etc etc. but I still love soakin livers for catfish in Illinois whenever I got to see buddies there, flippin jigs for bass, or tossin poppers for bluegills...don't get me started on the walleye chess game. Never did like the purists, even though I now look like one with all the gear I tote around when I go. Out in Bristol Bay I hear and meet lots of folks visiting from the lower 48 who like to swap stories...and I think it's great. Catchin wierd stuff like drum, gar, dogfish, plus all the other game stuff, makes for good fun and stuff to share. If it swims, I'm probably interested in lookin at it, and more than likely to try to catch it.

    Every place offers something different, my dad's place in Wisco offers muskies to brook trout within a half hour....not much solitude but that's the price of diversity and pavement. In Bristol Bay, my boat can put me on the biggest king run in the world, amazing rainbows, char, grayling and some nice pike...but for four years I had to poop outside to afford the boat and gas and snowgo to go chase these critters....ain't nothin free but it's all fun.

    Fish on guys. we've all got a lot more in common than we think. (this is a post regarding lots of the rougher threads that have happened lately..and maybe I've had a few ambers and feelin a little nicer than usual)

  13. #13
    Member Raptor_1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch It View Post
    flippin jigs for bass, or tossin poppers for bluegills...don't get me started on the walleye chess game.
    These were two of my favorite things to do back in Wisconsin. I loved flipping jig and pigs under logs of into heavy grass mats for bass. Fished walleyes almost everyday and loved every minute of it. Fished tourneys for both and won a little money here and there. I often go home in the summer for a few weeks to do some fishing. Another one of my favorites is fishing cut bait for cats all night long with a couple buddies. Caught a lot of huge cats doing that.
    Alaska: We're all here cuz we're not all "there"

  14. #14
    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Default Moving from Wyoming to Alaska huh?

    I know a little about that...

    First off, you have every reason to be excited. Alaska is awesome. This'll only be my third summer up here but I already feel like I've done so much. You could pick a million other places to move worse than here.

    That said, as others have already said - keep an open mind. It's different. You've never seen crowded fishing until you've seen Alaska. When I first moved here, someone said something like "If you're fishing on a salmon stream near a road in Alaska and you're the only one there, then A: you're way off on the timing and there are no salmon there or B: the stream's closed and you're not supposed to be fishing." But it's still a lot of fun.

    As someone who appreciates a trout, and isn't 100% preoccupied with salmon, your ability to get away from the crowds goes up substantially. There's no better time to fish for rainbows on Stream A when everyone else is fishing for salmon on Stream B. But odds are, it's likely still going to be more crowded than you're used to.

    I remember fishing in Wyoming and I'd drive up to a stream and if there was anyone else within sight I'd say, "screw this... I'm going elsewhere." (I'd probably also make some comment about Coloradans...)

    There are a few streams in Anchorage, but they typically don't produce real well. Be prepared to put some miles on your vehicle. In Wyoming I put anything over an hour into a "long" trip... only rarely did I find myself going 3 or 4 hours. Usually I was on the water in 20 or 30 minutes. Up here, most of the time, two hours one way is about the minimum if you live in Anchorage. Just FYI. Access really is the name of the game and biggest thing working against you. Imagine you have all of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah to fish... BUT, you only have I-25, I-15, I-80, and I-90 to access the entire mess. It's not quite that bad, but it's pretty close at times. Logging roads, dirt roads, side roads... realistically they don't exist in the southcentral area (Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula, Matsu Valley) like you're used to coming from Wyoming.

    I'm not trying to turn you off the idea, or crush your enthusiasm. Like I said, I love Alaska. But I just know it was much different than I expected when I came up there. If you're willing to work, though, you can find some spots to get away from the crowds. Why just last September (prime fly fishing season) I drove to a great trout/dolly stream on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and couldn't believe that I never ran into another person in a couple miles of stream. Guess there's something to hitting a few of those streams that aren't highlighted in every fishing guide book. (Seriously, though... pick up a book or two. Haugen's Flyfisher's Guide to Alaska - available in the Alaska Outdoor Supersite bookstore - is a great start. Lot's of good info there.) Actually, I miss the majority of the best fly fishing of the year (late August through early October, more or less), because I get caught up hunting that time of year. There's only so many days in the year...

    Anyway, good luck on your move and enjoy the adventure. Be sure to keep asking questions. Oh yeah... and that 8 wt you're looking at will serve you well up here.

    Out of curiosity, where are you from in Wyoming?
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

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    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch It View Post
    No, it's really true, fishin is fishin is fishin. I can cast as well as most, tie a nice Alaskan fly and etc etc etc. but I still love soakin livers for catfish in Illinois whenever I got to see buddies there, flippin jigs for bass, or tossin poppers for bluegills...don't get me started on the walleye chess game. Never did like the purists, even though I now look like one with all the gear I tote around when I go. Out in Bristol Bay I hear and meet lots of folks visiting from the lower 48 who like to swap stories...and I think it's great. Catchin wierd stuff like drum, gar, dogfish, plus all the other game stuff, makes for good fun and stuff to share. If it swims, I'm probably interested in lookin at it, and more than likely to try to catch it.
    Well said. scott, catch, raptor... I'm right there with you. I just love to fish, wherever I am. And wherever you are in the world, it's worth taking advantage of what's around you. Crappie, walleye, catfish, trout, salmon, bass, so forth... I've had a ball fishing for all of them.

    Sometimes as I'm cruising through all the fly tying websites I get to looking at all the different mayfly and caddis and stonefly patterns... emergers, duns, spent, cripples, nymphs, pupae, etc. etc... and I really do miss some of that. Then I crank out another ESL.

    I have a couple 20-inch brook trout on the wall that constantly remind me that no matter how good the fishing is here, there's always something else to fish for somewhere else. Scott... this one's for you. A typical brookie from one of my old haunts. Caught on a beadhead olive wooly bugger of course (the world's greatest fly!!! some things don't change.)
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

  16. #16
    Member Scottsum's Avatar
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    Default Dream Fish.

    Heck of a nice fish man! Someday I'll get one of those.


    The last couple of years I've been experimenting with more traditional fly-fishing (bugs instead of beads) in out of the way, smaller streams, as well as the Kenai, and I've been surprised at how much "real" fly-fishing is actually available up here. We all know that Alaskan trout still eat bugs just like their lower 48 cousins, they just tend to forget about them once the eggs start to drop. It seems like we forget about it too, and stick with the tired old "Alaskan" patterns of steak, eggs and leeches.

    When I lived in Anchorage (which wasn't that many years ago) you could still catch the occasional 16-18 incher on nymphs, buggers, and even dries in some of the in-town streams, if you were willing to put some time-in and forget about the numbers game.

    I'm happy as a clam with a chunky 12 incher on the end of my 4wt that launches-out of the water a half dozen times and bull-dogs me in the faster current in the middle of a small stream.

    As fun as this all is though, there's just something about being able to spend the entire day wet-wading in cool (not hypothermia inducing) water catching rainbows and browns on dry flies. Yeah, it's hot, but if it gets unbearable, you just set your rod and vest on the bank, find a deep hole and go for a swim. I love Alaskan fishing, but I do miss Montana sometimes.

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    Member 900fusion's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Beautiful fish man, we use to catch them like that back in micigan but no where near that size!
    -Tight Lines & head shakin

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    Mtnenger,
    If you don't have something smaller than the 6wt you may want to consider getting something in the 3 or 4 wt. I came up from MT and was used to fishing the Madison below Raynolds pass and some of the small rivers and streams in and north of YNP. The Kenai and some of the other rivers are nice but like Wyo2ak said if you like trout and are not crazy for salmon there is alot to offer. There are a ton of places to fish small streams for dollies and grayling you don't have to fly or float to. If you can take a long hike there are plently of places you can have all by yourself. Get a topo of the Kenai peninsula to start. Haugen's book Flyfishers Guide to Alaska is also pretty good and has a number of maps and is a pretty good reference. Fishing of the road near talkeetna is pretty good too, as long as the salmon run is not in full swing. Check the regs before you go, some places close for salmon fishing but remain open for catch and release of dollies, trout and grayling. Keep your nymphs and dries handy too. Grayling and dollies in the upper streams love them.

  19. #19

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    Scott Haugens book mentioned earlier is a good reference tool and learned a lot from it. Hubby keeps a copy of the Highway Angler in his truck, though it isn't a strictly fly fishing book it does point out a lot of waters to go and when.

    I have done OK in streams in and around Anchorage in May in years past. Campbell Creek can be pretty good for dollies. As mentioned before, not a numbers game, just enjoy the early season experience.

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    Thanks for the help, guys. I'm looking forward to getting my line wet, even if it is with a bunch of friends who I haven't met yet.

    Wyo2Ak...
    I was born and raised in Sheridan. My parents moved me to Gillette when I was in high school. I went to school in Laramie. And now I am in Cheyenne....for another week or so. What about you?

    AlpineEarl...
    I have a good assortment of rods. The 6-weight is just my heaviest rod at the moment. I'll be bringing them all though!

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