OMJ Report: Bears and Rainbows


WFF Supporter
No, this is not a report on Care Bears!

I just got back from a 10 day trip to Alaska so thought I’d share my experiences, just for you OMJ :).

The first few days were spent in Talkeetna where I went up to Denali where we saw moose and carabou. First time seeming wild carabou so that was cool. I also fished a couple of creeks in the Talkeetna area and although I did not catch any monsters, I caught many in this class...

After Talkeetna, we headed to Katamai National park where we camped at Brooks for a couple of days. It was crazy hot while we were there (I slept in shorts with no shirt, outside my sleeping bag with the rain fly off). Record heat meant no rainbow fishing at Brooks river. Instead of cancelling the 1/2 day I booked, I went out after sockeye. No pics (flossing) but they were still fun the catch. One thing I know is I need to work on my flossing technique; I was out fished probably 3-1 by the guy I was out with :). First off, a few bears. Just photos from the phone....



When my wife booked this trip, she mentioned we would be extending our Brooks bear viewing a few days by staying at a different lodge and flying in daily. I said fine and did not think about it again until a couple weeks before the trip. Come to find out we were staying at a fishing lodge, and a very good one at that. The first couple days I DIY’d it around the lodge before and after dinner based on a few tips from the guides. Wow, what an amazing river. Quality and quantity was really amazing... DBA12CC3-6889-4307-8894-37EBB9B0B036.jpeg






One night after dinner, I came a cross fish rising. One of the fish landed was this guy. I laid him up against my Radian to see how close he would come to the 24 mark inch on the rod. This one went about 22. Caught on a giant yellow stonefly pattern. Don’t even think those hatch there but it was one of the only dries I could tie on my 12 lb mono...

Another on a mouse...

After having photographed bears for 5 days straight, I decided to send my wife to Brooks on her own and stay back at the lodge to fish for my last day and a half. Good decision, the fantastic river combined with the knowledge of the guides I went out with led to a memorable day and a half of fishing!

3477EB17-6327-463F-B0CE-14FF1CC20CB1.jpeg F65580B1-988C-4B26-9C10-4777358A6A44.jpeg


In the end, came back with about 4K bear pics, caught more quality rainbows then I can remember and had a hell of a time in general. I cannot believe I have only been to AK twice. I should have been traveling there for years! One regret this trip; I would have had my wife go to Brooks one additional day on her own and I would have done a fly out to fish for char and/or grayling. I’ll do that next time..
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WFF Supporter
Getting me primed for Bristol Bay in 3 weeks! Love the pics!

It really is an amazing place. I’ve been twice and I am heading back next September. Maybe I should be glad I never discovered it when I was a young’en. Might have made a bad decision and never came back. Then again, maybe that would have been the best decision of my life :).

I tried liking this but couldn’t so I’ll just tell you, great post. I miss Alaska.

I have been back less than 24 hours and I miss it already!


Active Member
Were kings up in the Talkeetna tributaries?

I’d imagine water levels were crazy low with the heat streak.

The Talkeetna tributaries get hit pretty hard these days. Might have to do with lack of size. I’ve noticed the lack in size on a few of the streams I fish.


WFF Supporter
Were kings up in the Talkeetna tributaries?

I’d imagine water levels were crazy low with the heat streak.

The Talkeetna tributaries get hit pretty hard these days. Might have to do with lack of size. I’ve noticed the lack in size on a few of the streams I fish.

Yep, I came across them in one. I won’t name it because like you said, it seems like those creeks get hit pretty hard. It is a famous one so you can probably guess. I did not target them because I was not 100% sure they were open. I bet they’d be fun though!


WFF Supporter
Beautiful fish!

They really were pretty fish.

Some bright, some darkened up. They fought really well. Kind of like a late season August rezzie salmon in the 3-5 lb range. None got me in my backing but a few tried fishing a 6 weight and an 8 weight. They were wild fish and jumped like crazy. Not like the big rainbows you can sometimes catch in tail waters in the lower 48.

I have been fly fishing for about 18 years now. However, I have never really swung streamers in rivers much. I was a dry fly purist with some occasional nymphing for trout in rivers when the occasion called for it. I really, really had fun swinging for those fish. On top of that, I caught them on dries, mice, and even a little yellow bass popper one of the guides tied on one day for fun. Rainbows on a small bass popper, certainly a first for me.

I’m spoiled. The manager of the lodge mentioned he felt bad for fathers and sons that visited that river because the fishing was just not going to be that good for the young one when they got back home, no matter where they came from. I believe that.

I think I will have trouble with that myself...

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