Alaska Silver Salmon Flies – 5 Favorites

Got one.
Photo: Cameron Miller

The period from late July through early September at Alaska West is just one big mess of silver salmon mayhem. At this time of year the leopard rainbows, dollies and other salmon species in the Kanektok make room in already crowded waters, because they know as well as we do that the river gets jammed with silvers.

Our silvers love eating flies. They typically stack up in softer-water sloughs and along undercut banks. This tendency to hang out in softer water makes them excellent targets for stripped flies, both on the surface (that’s right – poppers and pollywogs) and beneath the surface.

Here are five of our favorite flies for targeting silvers on at Alaska West, in no particular order.

1. Riverborn Pink Popper.

Photo: Riverborn Fly Company

We’re going to come right out and say that we’d rather catch silvers on topwater flies than beneath the surface – the visual nature of the popper/chugger/pollywog game is just way too much fun to not indulge whenever given the chance. These days we prefer actual foam-headed poppers to the traditional spun deer hair Pollywog, simply because we catch a lot of fish and a foam popper keeps floating for fish after fish, while Pollywogs tend to get waterlogged.

2. Solitude Starlight Leech, Pink.

Photo: Solitude Fly Company

This type of fly right here is your go-to silver fly when you’re fishing the lowest stretches of the Kanektok. Pink is king the majority of the time. The lead eyes are important too – silvers can’t get enough of the slight jigging action that results from stripping a lead-eyed fly.

3. Solitude Starlight Leech, Purple.

Photo: Solitude Fly Company
Pink is king most of the time, but if you’re showing your pink fly to a bunch of fish and they seem to have turned off of pink…show them the same thing in purple! Seriously.

4. Idylwilde Hickman’s Party Boy, Pink.

Photo: Idylwilde Flies

Jeff Hickman, Deneki Outdoors alumnus, created this very versatile pattern, and we like it. For those situations in which the silvers seem to want a longer, ‘leechier’ type of pattern, the Party Boy is a great option. Also, it’s pink.

5. Idylwilde Idyl’s Bruiser, Black.

Photo: Idylwilde Flies

It doesn’t happen often, but if you can see a bunch of silvers in the right kind of water, but you can’t get them to eat, it often pays, after throwing some pink and purple at them, to try a moderate-sized fly in black. We don’t know why, but it won’t hurt to have a few of these in your box.

More On Silver Salmon At Alaska West


  1. Mark B says

    @ Allen Kitts: I get my Starlight Leeches from Bristol Bay Flies. They’ll tie them in pink if you ask. No extra charge.

  2. Chase says

    Those pink and purple Starlight Leeches killed it on humpies and coho down here on Puget Sound rivers this fall!

  3. Mike says

    What is the pattern for tying Idyl’s bruiser. Can’t find it online. Anyone willing to share the materials for tying this pattern.


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