Alaska must-have items

SO, I move to AK (Anchorage) in mid July. What are some essential materials/flies I MUST have that might not be something I have acquired for stream trout fishing?

figure that trout food will be chironomids/mosquitoes. leeches. damsels, dragons, smolt, scuds, eggs and salmon flesh. few mayflies, stoneflies, but there are caddis. leeches and scud are deadly. anything connected to salt water will have salmon at some time of the year so big rainbows and dollies will key on smolt, eggs and flesh depending on the time of year. one of the best salmon flesh flies is made from a couple colors of bunny strips, eggs are best imitated with beads or hot glue thats orange or red, there are hundreds of smolt patterns. For salmon you will find most people using some color of the "coho" fly. color on top white on bottom or sometimes yellow on bottom. easy to tie and works well. just browse the sporting goods stores and you will have no trouble figuring things out. Try tying larger than usual. everything may be big in texas, but it's bigger in Alaska. You lucky dog!


Steve Cole - Nisqually and Adjacent Environs
I can't resist... the great thing about Anchorage is that you are only 20 minutes from Alaska.

Aside from a good sense of humor, there are some other items that I consider "essentials" for fishing in AK including:

1. Some form of bear deterrent (I packed a cut down 12 gauge when I knew there was a better than even chance of having an encounter... never used it in the 18 years I fished there, which is a good thing. I also always carried a can of pepper spray and a bear bell as well. )

2. Skin So Soft - about a gallon, and a really good bug net, the kind that fits over one's head and shoulders. When the no-see-ums and black flies are "hatching", you gotta have something to slow 'em down. There is nothing so annoying as being on the fish but having to deal with multiple and numerous bug bites at the same time.

3. If you are in the bush, bring backups along for gear that could break, get lost, etc. A back up rod and reel is really recommended (my old Scott SVS 6 weight and a Pflueger 1495 1/2 reel I brought as back up on a trip to the Yakutat Forelands saved me after my Sage/Ross outfit wound up at the bottom of the river in the first hour of a 3 day trip...). Just remember that once the plane or boat drops you off, what you have is what you have as far as gear (or food or clothing) goes.

4. If you do a fly-out or similar trip, do it with someone experienced and reputable. I personally know of at least two parties that were stranded for days by their outfitters after... in one instance the trip was planned for only a day and my friend and his party had to flag down another pilot to get back to civilization after waiting in vain for three days to get picked up by the guy who originally flew them in. Ask around and find out about the people who are doing the flying before you make a decision.

5. Late summer can be a really busy time on the rivers in Southcentral AK and really crowded when the fish are running. Alcohol flows, tempers get short, and normal people do dumb things. With a little research, you can find decent fishing venues that aren't crowded and avoid that unpleasantness so long as you are willing to maybe hike a half mile and/or drive for an hour. After Labor Day, things get more reasonable and there is excellent fishing to be had on streams that otherwise get hammered during the height of the season (think Kenai Peninsula).

I am sure I will think of more stuff but that's it for now. Enjoy yourself... AK offers truly great fishing opportunities.


Steve Cole