Fishing Guide for the Alagnak River in Alaska

Fishing Guide for the Alagnak River in Alaska
Most fishing trips on the Alagnak River in Southwestern Alaska are targeted on king salmon. The river is remote and requires boat or fly-in access. Fishing the river requires situational awareness as well as fishing skills due to the high number of grizzly bears that patrol and fish the same waters for the abundant salmon each season. Hire a guide, book your air charter and head out for a fishing trip in the Alaska wilds on the Alagnak River.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fishing gear, rod and reel
  • Rain gear
  • Rubber boots
  • Bear spray
  • Guide or charter
  • Air service
  • Boat with captain or guide
Step 1
Book or hire an air service out of Anchorage, the biggest jump-off point for anglers heading to Alaska to fish the Alagnak. Buy any last-minute gear, tackle or forgotten items in Anchorage as the prices are much lower than in the bush and the selection is comparable to other mid-sized American cities. If you purchase bear spray in Anchorage, tell your pilot about it so they store it in the floats, as required by law, and not in the plane's cabin. If your guide service does not arrange for fishing licenses, buy them in Anchorage.
Step 2
Pack brightly colored flies, as the guides at the Alagnak Lodge recommend them for fly-fishing the river. Bring orange, red, green and hot pink flies for king salmon, along with a selection of 3/0 or 4/0 hooks. Bring red, orange, yellow, green, pink and purple flies with #1 to 2/) hooks for silvers. Use sparse patterns with #4 to 1/0 hooks for sockeye on the Alagnak.
Step 3
Pack and use Popsicle, Alaskabou, Chum Candy, Everglow, Yellow Bunny Fly, Fuchsia Bunny, Pink Pollywog and Polar Shrimp fly patterns for the above mentioned salmon, in the colors appropriate for the fish you want to catch.
Step 4
Hire local guides to bring you into the prime fishing areas of the Alagnak. Local guides give you the benefit of their accumulated knowledge and save you the hassle of trying to find boat rentals, which are very difficult in this area. When hiring your guide, ask if they arrange for licenses or if you need to procure them on your own.
Step 5
Fish with a combination of weighted and unweighted flies, as the different depths of the pools and eddies require weights. Bring fly rods rated at 5 to 6 weight and 6-foot tippets for trout, and a 10 weight rod for salmon on the Alagnak.

Tips & Warnings

Be sure to tell your pilot if you are packing bear spray, which needs to be stored in the floats of the plane.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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