Fly Fishing with Dry Flies Away From the Crowds - Where to go?

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  • Looking for recommendations on the best locations to target Grayling and Rainbows on dry flies in Alaska this summer (June or July). Would fly into Anchorage, rent a car and find some places to stay near the streams/rivers I want to try.

    Would this be realistic to do with a car?

    Are there places to park & hike into streams & rivers with good fishing?

    Any species other than Rainbows & Grayling you would suggest for dry flies that time of year?

    I'm willing to drive up to 8 hours from Anchorage if needed to find great fly fishing without the crowds. Prefer fishing dry flies but of course I will fish whatever flies work best if needed.

    - Trevor, Vermont

  • You have a couple options you can do during June/July for some classic trout fishing.

    If you want to travel south of Anchorage, down to the Russian River, you can catch Rainbows on dries and nymphs. The Russian is one of the best classic style trout fisheries we have that you can drive to. You will have to deal with crowds due to the Sockeye salmon, but with some hiking up river you can find some solitude. The Russian will have bears and plenty of them as well. Stimulators, Irresistables, olive & brown caddis, Turks Tarantulas in white and Royal Wulffs all work well. Prince, Copper Johns and PT for nymphs.

    For Arctic Grayling south of Anchorage, you could hike into Crescent Lake. Mosquito's, Black Gnats, Wooly Buggers, Princes, Hares Ears in black and natural will all work up there.

    Driving south will be about 2 hour drive.

    Going North to the Parks Highway, you have 5 great freestone walk and wade streams. Willow, Little Willow, Sheep, Goose and Montana Creeks. These streams all have Rainbows and Grayling. The Grayling populations are not huge but they are in there. If you continue North towards Fairbanks on the Parks Hwy you will get to a point where all there are is Grayling and lots of them. You could drive about 4 hrs and take the Denali Hwy across to Paxon and be in a Grayling catching dream with no pressure of other anglers almost at all. Taking this route will be in exclusive Grayling country.

    For flies in this direction, the flies above will be good but I would add a mouse pattern (rainbows on the Parks like them critters) Red and Yellow Humpies, White Wulff, BWO's and some Parachute Adams.

    Hope this helps and if you have any other questions, please let me know.

    Mike Brown - Owner of Mossy's Fly Shop in Anchorage, Alaska
  • There are plenty of places to travel by car and hike/camp/fish in Alaska. By far, the majority of people head down to either Seward or Homer for the fishing that is within a 3 hour drive from the airport. At times, the fishing can be amazing, and usually this is in August once the salmon are spawning and the fish are concentrated behind spawning salmon. Yes, this usually means fishing an egg pattern sub surface, BUT, char, rainbows, and grayling will hit a "gurgler" fly. Here is a link to the pattern I am referring to as well as a cool pic taken last summer with a char that took this surface pattern while the salmon were spawning. Orange Gurglers

    My all time favorite stream to fish south of Anchorage is Quartz Creek. Here is a link to it and some detailed information: Fishing Quartz Creek

    This stream has super hot Rainbows and a lot of Arctic Char. This stream fishes as good as some rivers we fly to in Katmai National Park. It is also easily accessible from the road, and a short hike can get you into great fishing. ALWAYS carry some bear spray just in case. Bears can be anywhere in AK, and a handgun will more than likely send you to jail for shooting a bear, while bear spray is the best option. Bears get really close while fishing and some people that have not spent a lot of time up in AK would think they need to shoot them....not the case.

    North of Anchoarge in the Denali area are streams loaded with grayling. I also got some advice from a friend who wrote a book on fishing grayling - "Pudge" Kleinkauf. She is an Alaska resident and knows all about fishing for grayling from the road system North of Anchorage, away from crowds.

    Here is some advise right from one of the best grayling people in Alaska, "Pudge" Kleinkauf:

    AS for the grayling fishing tell your friend to buy the Highway Angler book by Gunnar Pedersen. It has a good list of grayling spots all over the place on page 23-24. He can also get information about various places from my book, Fly Fishing for Alaska's Arctic Grayling: Sailfish of the North, because locations for good fishing are according to various locations around the state.

    I hope this helps you out

    John Perry - Head Guide & Owner at Angler's Alibi &
    Cecilia "Pudge" Kleinkauf - Author, Instructor & Owner at Women's FlyFishing Alaska
  • For endless fishing options that are both car and hiking accessible, try the many creeks north of Anchorage along the Parks Highway between Wasilla and Denali National Park. For more grayling focused fishing (and even fewer crowds), try the creeks along the Denali Highway between Cantwell and Paxson. Note: there's a couple of lifetimes worth of fishing options along these two highways.

    Depending on your budget, lodging options within close proximity of all the various drainages aren't necessarily numerous, so you'll do a lot of driving as you explore (there are several campgrounds scattered throughout these areas if you're up for camping to reduce drive time). Many streams along the Parks Highway will also hold good numbers of salmon depending on the time of year, but the further north you go, the overall fish species variety may taper off to mostly grayling.

    There is some good road accessible fishing on the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage, but the area can be crowded at times. Try hiking up the Russian River for a little solitude.

    Rus Schwausch - Head Guide & Owner at Epic Angling & Adventure
  • My specialty is the Kenai Peninsula so in relation to what you are wanting to target my knowledge comes from being based out of Cooper Landing, Alaska. June and July are the months you would want to fish dry fly's in Alaska so your timing is right. I would recommend to come to Cooper Landing to start your fly fishing trip. It is 100 mile south of Anchorage and it is full of fisherman and fishing guides. If you decide to do it on your own you will have a hard time finding fishing away from the crowds. Fishing regulations can be challenging to get right even with good intention.

    Allow me to take you down the Upper Kenai River and show you some fantastic dry fly fishing and other techniques used on the Upper Kenai River that are great on any other river in Alaska. I only offer fly fishing and I am dedicated to the craft. We can also talk about the local streams and lakes in the area that hold good numbers of Grayling and Rainbow Trout. We have many lakes and creeks that you can hike into and have a blast catching Grayling and Native Rainbow Trout.

    If you are driven to do it yourself I understand completely. I would recommend coming to Cooper Landing and researching the watersheds in the surrounding area. All lakes have fish in them and the Upper Kenai River is accessible by road for 20 miles. We do have crowds but the crowds are from Sockeye Salmon fisherman so when you are targeting trout and fishing the right water you will not be in a crowded area.

    Zack Walters - Head Guide at Alaska Clearwater Sportfishing
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