Spring fishing in Alaska begins around mid-April/May (depending on what part of AK you’re in) when the temperature starts to increase. Rainbow trout are ready to stuff themselves with food after the long and cold winter. Spring also brings hungry local anglers, that catch some beautiful trout after reminiscing on fall fishing all winter long. Below are ten flies that are a must-have for your spring fishing trip in Alaska.
Alaskan trout eat sculpin all spring long, so it’s no surprise that the olive sculpzilla is a beloved spring fly. It imitates sculpin and gets deep enough for trout to snatch up. Any sculpin pattern does great for spring fishing in the last frontier, but a sculpzilla is like the queen of sculpin trout snacks.
This is a necessary nymph for matching the stonefly hatches that occur in Alaska. Although the land of the midnight sun is known as a streamer fishing paradise, nymphs can be quite productive in spring and summer. We recommend trying the stonefly out in early spring for the best results.
Another large streamer, the conehead zuddler is made for large rainbow trout. If you’re looking to catch the big boys and girls, you will want to try tying this buddy to the end of your line. Although great for spring fishing, it is a solid year-round fly. The conehead zuddler comes in olive, black, and brown.
Salmon fry are a big part of Alaskan trout diets. This fly might not look like much but it does a great job of imitating salmon fry. The small fry is also quite simple to tie.
Another realistic pattern, the wounded rainbow smolt will make large bows hungry. If you’re trying to weed out the big trout from the little bows, this is the fly to use. This wounded smolt is irresistible to those viciously hungry spring trout.
Beadhead Hare’s Ear
If you’re looking for a solid nymph for spring fishing, the bead-head hare’s ear is a good all-around fly. It is great for trout, char, and arctic grayling! Having a couple of beadhead hare’s ears in your fly box is always a good idea.
Who doesn’t love a dirty hippy? Trout certainly love this smolt and sculpin patterned dirty hippy. This fly is made of peace, love, and a hidden conehead that will make it sink down right near trout faces. The dirty hippy is the perfect fly to add to your spring fly box.
A staple fly in Alaska, the black and white dolly llama works great on trout year-round. For spring trout fishing, we suggest using a black and olive dolly llama. You can purchase this fly online or at any Alaskan fly shop. It is also an incredibly simple fly-to-tie! This video explains the few materials you need and how to make a dolly llama.
Another tasty leech that Alaskan trout love, the flash-a-bugger is simple but effective. As the name says, it’s flashy but will sink well due to its bead-head! We recommend trying this fly in olive, white, and black.
This sculpin is made for spring trout fishing. If you enjoy fishing big streamers for big fish, you need the Exasperator Sculpin. It is a very realistic-looking fly that moves great in Alaska’s rivers and creeks.
Trout spawn during springtime, so it is very important to check regulations in Alaska. The Kenai River is closed from May 1 to June 10, and some other rivers have restrictions as well. To make sure you are current on the rules for spring rainbow fishing, check out the Alaska Department of Fish & Game’s sportfishing regulations.