Essential Alaska Flies and The Best Fly Fishing Near Anchorage

Would you like to contact to check availability or learn more?


Fill out the info below and someone from will get back to you.

Email Sent


Posted by Mike Brown on

We get a lot of inquiries from visitors who will be in Anchorage and are looking to get in a little fishing without travelling too far...so we recently asked Mike Brown who is the owner & operator of Mossy's Fly Shop in Anchorage, Alaska if he would share some advice for anglers looking for fishing opportunies within a couple hours of Anchorage, Alaska. We hope you find the Q&A with Mike to be helpful in planning your Alaska fishing adventure. Mike shares his experience helping anglers looking for fishing advice, his favorite flies, his favorite waters to fish and more.

Can you give us an overview of your Alaska fly-fishing experience, Mossy's Fly Shop, and how often you get out on the water to fly-fish Alaska?

I am a born and raised Alaskan, my father came to Alaska in 1948 and never left. I have spent my entire life fishing the waters in Alaska, most of that fishing has been off our road systems such as the Alaska Parks Highway, but I have been very fortunate to have had plenty of opportunities to fish Western Alaska as well as South East Alaska waters. I get out on the water at least once a week during the season, can be tough during our busy months to find time but I do. I host two trips a year out to the Copper River off Lake Illiamna and I usually take a late season trip out west in the late fall.

Do you get a lot of people on DIY/self-guided fly-fishing adventures stopping into Mossy's Fly looking for advice?

We definitely get a lot of DIY folks in the shop during the season. Folks that are here strictly to fish, typically have researched and have a game plan, they are looking for the latest intel on what's working, what are the river conditions and just some verification they are on the right track. We also see a lot of folks who have a day or two to fish and want to find out where should they go and what should they use.

What do you feel the main benefits your able to provide these angler's that stop into Mossy's for advice are?

I think the big benefit that we have for people, time fishing in Alaska. Having spent my entire life here gives us a big advantage on having a good historical view of our fisheries. We love to fish and we love to experiment, this gives us a pretty good feeling to help others get out on waters they don't know. We carry all the flies you would ever need to fish in Alaska as well as all the gear from Rods to reels to waders to layering. One question we answer a lot about, is bears. People can be uncomfortable about the bear situation, as they should be. We spend a fair amount of time talking about bear safety, the do's and don'ts while being in bears country.

Essential Flies for Fly-Fishing Alaska

If you had to pick your 5-10 essential flies for fly-fishing Alaska what would they be?

  • Dolly Lama – Black & White or Olive & White. This fly will catch anything that swims at any time of the year.
  • Stimulator – Size 12 Orange & Yellow. When Trout are sipping on top, this is my go to pattern. While Alaska is not looked at as a dry/nymph fishery, we have ton's of aquatic bug life and the trout feed on it.
  • BH Copper John – Size 14 Red & Copper. This is my go to nymph pattern for Trout, Dolly Varden and Grayling
  • Sculpin – My go to streamer in Olive, Black, Natural or Brown for Trout
  • Intruder – Chartreuse/White or Chartreuse/Blue. This is my go to fly for King Salmon, these two colors have a great baitfish appeal.
  • Mini Krystal Shrimp – Size 6 Chartreuse. This is my Sockeye Salmon fly, people will tell you that sockeye won't eat a fly, this fly has proven that theory wrong time and time again.
  • HC Bunny Leech – Purple/Pink. This fly, even more so just the color's, is almost guaranteed to get you a Silver Salmon.
  • Parachute Adams – Size 14. This fly will get you into Grayling all day long and is another fantastic pattern for those sipping trout.
  • Flesh Fly – lesh can be in a wide variety of sizes, colors and styles but on thing is for sure there is always flesh in the water and Trout/Dollies/Grayling love it
  • Egg Sucking Leech – Before the Dolly Llama, the Egg Sucking Leech was the pattern to never be with out in your fly box and to this day it still can hold court.

If you are interested in any of the flies above we recommend stopping into Mossy's when you get to Anchorage or reach out by email/phone if you have any questions before your trip – https://mossysflyshop.com/contact-us/

Best Rivers & Creeks to Fish Within 2 Hours of Anchorage

What are your favorite rivers, creeks and streams to fish within a 2 hours drive of Anchorage?

Russian River

  • Location – Cooper Landing, Alaska
  • Distance from Anchorage – 1 hour 45 minutes South of Anchorage
  • Overview – Freestone walk-n-wade river. Big boulders can make for a tricky wade, but very doable. Easy access through the Russian River Campground.
  • Fish is Best For – Trout, Sockeye and Silver Salmon
  • Best Time of Year – Trout June-Sept; Sockeye June/July; Silver Salmon late Aug/Sept

Upper Kenai River

  • Location – Cooper Landing, Alaska
  • Distance from Anchorage – 1 hour 45 minutes South of Anchorage
  • Overview – Big river that is easier to walk-n-wade in the late fall but has plenty of gravel bar access from the Sterling Highway that follows along the river.
  • Fish is Best For – Trout, Dolly Varden, Sockeye and Silver Salmon
  • Best Time of Year – Trout & Dolly Varden June-Oct; Sockeye Salmon June/July; Silver Salmon Late August/September

Quartz Creek

  • Location – Cooper Landing, Alaska
  • Distance from Anchorage – 1 hour 45 minutes South of Anchorage
  • Overview – Freestone walk-n-wade creek, very easy to wade. Plenty of pull outs along Sterling Hwy as well as easy access from Quartz Creek Campground and Crescent Creek Campground.
  • Fish is Best For – Trout, Dolly Varden
  • Best Time of Year – August & September

Willow Creek

  • Location – Willow, Alaska
  • Distance from Anchorage – 1 hour 20 minutes North of Anchorage
  • Overview – Freestone walk-n-wade river, easy to wade for the most part but has some bigger boulders in the upper stretches. Easily accessible at the highway where it crosses the river and at the mouth at Willow Creek Campground. Trail follows up the river. Upper river has easy access at deception creek confluence, plus some other access points further up the river.
  • Fish is Best For – Trout and Grayling
  • Best Time of Year – June - September

Little Willow Creek

  • Location – Willow, Alaska along the Alaska Parks Highway
  • Distance from Anchorage – 1 hour 25 minutes North of Anchorage
  • Overview – Freestone walk-n-wade, easy wade. Accessible where the highway crosses, trail down river
  • Fish is Best For – Trout and Grayling
  • Best Time of Year – June - September

Sheep Creek

  • Location – Willow, Alaska along the Alaska Parks Highway
  • Distance from Anchorage – 1 hour 30 minutes North of Anchorage
  • Overview – Freestone walk-n-wade, easy wading. Easily accessible where the highway crosses, trail runs down river.
  • Fish is Best For – Trout and Grayling
  • Best Time of Year – June - September

Montana Creek

  • Location – Willow, Alaska along the Alaska Parks Highway
  • Distance from Anchorage – 1 hour 40 minutes North of Anchorage
  • Overview – Freestone walk-n-wade, easy to wade Accessible where the highway crosses with trail to mouth and some trail upper river. Accessible on the upper stretches, look at area map. Need to be cautious of private property.
  • Fish is Best For – Trout and Grayling
  • Best Time of Year – June - September

Glacier Creek

  • Location – Girdwood, Alaska
  • Distance from Anchorage – 30 minutes South of Anchorage
  • Overview – Freestone walk-n-wade, not a lot of wading required. Accessible at the highway crossing and in town of Girdwood
  • Fish is Best For – Pink & Silver Salmon
  • Best Time of Year – Late July & August
Alagnak Lodge - Extraordinary Fishing on the Alagnak River

Recent Articles