Catching a fish on a fly you tied yourself is a special thing. It gives you a closer connection to the sport and the fish itself. If you have never experienced this, Alaska is the place to do it!
Whether you’re a beginner or experienced fly tyer, here are a few patterns that we tie a lot of (or variations of) at Alaska West. These flies are simple to tie, require no more than three materials that are all readily available, and super effective! Sure, we love the creative side of fly tying too, but if catching fish is your prerogative, these guide flies are hard to beat.
Marabou King Tube
We fish a lot of tube flies in Alaska, especially when targeting Kings on the swing. More so than the pattern, versatility is the most important thing here. These simple tubes can be fished alone or stacked on top of each other in order to vary both the color and the profile of the fly. This is very helpful when targeting fish in differing light conditions.
Almost any color combination has its place, but combinations such as chartreuse/white, chartreuse/blue, or black/blue (for the darker days) are often standouts. Try any variation of pink when swinging for Chums as well.
These flies are extremely simple to tie. Make a few wraps of polar chenille (or any bulky material to flare the marabou in front of it), followed by wrapping two marabou blood feathers, add a few strands of your favorite flash material, whip finish and melt the end of the tube.
Simple as that, but super effective!
Egg Sucking Bunny Leech
When targeting silvers, chums, or pinks, this timeless pattern is hard to beat. The egg sucking bunny leech is a very quick tie and requires very few materials. Try tying these in a few shades of pink (such as pink and cerise) and purple, and you should have all you need to tackle these three species of salmon. Make sure to incorporate lead eyes onto these flies as this will provide that “jiggy” motion that drives the fish crazy!
Tried and true, many people look past the ‘ol wooly bugger in their box when fishing in Alaska. Our big resident Rainbows love to eat sculpins all season long, and if tied in the right combination of colors, a bugger is a fine imitation. Try tying an assortment in different color combinations to achieve that camouflage look of a sculpin such as a black body with an olive tail and hackle.
For many of us, the wooly bugger was the first pattern we learned to tie. It will catch fish all over the world and Alaska is no exception.