Today is another edition of a series of posts where we answer basic questions about some of the topics we normally cover in a lot of detail. No question is too simple!
9 Questions About Alaskan Trout Fishing You Were Afraid to Ask
Alaska is a big place with highly varied fishing – we’re going to answer these questions from our standpoint at Alaska West.
- What kind of tippet do you use? We use pretty heavy, thick tippet since our fish get big and we fish around a lot of structure that can break fine leaders. We don’t use 5x tippet at all – 10 pound Maxima Ultragreen is a common choice.
- How many fish can you keep? None. All trout fishing in most quality waters in Alaska is catch and release. You can take home a box of delicious salmon that you caught instead.
- Do you use dry flies? We almost never use traditional dry flies that imitate insects, since insects are a tiny part of our trout’s diet. More on this below. The most common form of dry fly fishing we do is mousing!
- What’s mousing? Our trout actually eat rodents than fall in and/or decide to swim across the river. Mousing is using really big dry flies (about the size of a golf ball) that imitate rodents. It’s a really fun way to fish because trout move a long way for that big meal.
- What other kinds of flies do you use? Typical sculpin flies, a variety of leeches, flies made of rabbit fur that imitate pieces of salmon flesh, small beads that imitate salmon eggs, and other stuff too.
- What weight rod do you use? A 6 weight is the standard trout rod in Western Alaska – big enough to fight most fish, but still fun to cast all day. 7 weights are used to target the biggest trout, and 5 weights can be fun in small water like side channels.
- Is it hard? Since our trout have only a few months to feed, they have to be really aggressive, which means that it’s usually not hard to catch a bunch of fish. However, the biggest trout in Western Alaska are old (well over 10 years!) and smart, so they can be much harder to hook and land.
- Do you wade or fish from a drift boat? Both! We fish on foot in the main river and in side channels. We also fish from our small jet boats just like you would from a drift boat. We don’t use real drift boats because there are no roads in our part of the state – you need a motor to go upriver.
- Why should I fish for trout when there are salmon around? Because our trout are really beautiful, you might catch the biggest trout of your life, you can use a wide variety of techniques in a bunch of different parts of the river, and trout fishing can be a really nice break from slaying salmon all day.