Here's a great selection of our favorite Alaska fly patterns for fly-tying enthusiasts.

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There are many Alaska fly patterns that are successful when pursuing various Alaska salmon, grayling and trout species. We have narrowed down our choice of fly patterns to a select few endorsed by our guide team. Here are some essentials for your Alaska fly fishing packing list.

Clouser Flies

green clouser fly pattern

Clousers are the bread and butter fly of the fly fishing industry. The Clouser is quite possibly the most versatile fly in the world fished reliably in both fresh and saltwater environments with a high success rate. Alaska is no exception. These flies are our go-to for silver, chum and pink salmon + spring rainbow trout. They are effectively fished at various depths and with various swing and retrieve methods.

The Fly Pattern: Clouser - White/Chartreuse, fluoro red thread. We also have much luck with Chartreuse/Turquoise and Pink/White Color combinations.
Body/Tail Danville 210 Denier Flat Waxed Thread (Fluro Red), Large Northern Bucktail - White, Large Northern Bucktail - Chartreuse, Flashabou
Head Brass Eyes (silver/gold) - Medium (Increase weight for higher water conditions)
Hook Daiichi 2546 Saltwater Hook (Size 6)

Hareball Leech

Alaska hareball leech fly for salmon.

An incredibly large variety of leech patterns have been made famous by Alaska fly tiers. All have their place and application. The great thing about leech patterns is they mimic such a wide variety of food sources found in Alaska river systems. They're superb natural action entice violent strikes from all salmon species and monster rainbow trout. The Hareball leech is one of our favorite leech fly patterns. A similar variation we often uses is the Starlight leech. Also we tie many leeches with marabou, which tend to have faster sink rates compared to the more dense, buoyant bunny strips. All are effective. Hareball leeches are dynamite when we spot cast / strip retrieve to large schools of salmon schooled up in slack water.

The Fly Pattern: Hareball Leech (Purple), Pink Danville Plus 6/0 Thread
Weight .035 or .030 Lead wraps over shank of hook.
Body/Tail The tail is Krystal Flash with a single Purple Rabbit Strip. The body is tied with Large Cactus Chenille with a Purple Rabbit strip palmered over top followed by a hackle of collared Schlappen.
Head Silver Dumbbell eyes - Medium (Increase weight for higher water conditions)
Hook Tiemco 811S, sizes 6 - 1/0

Gurgler Flies

Alaska gurgler top water fly pattern.

Gurglers are our top water fly pattern of choice for triggering aggressive strikes from silver and chum salmon. Big rainbow trout are also known to smack these flies tied in colors similar to mouse hair. The fly is typically fished with a quick popping strip retrieve, or a slow sweeping strip producing a slight side to side swimming motion. Gurglers are easier to cast v.s. deer hair Wogs and are easy to tie and are quite durable. We also have much success with these flies in our nearby northern pike lakes. They also can be tied with flashabou tails, or without the tail altogether.

The Fly Pattern: Pink Gurgler
Thread Danville’s 3/0 or Monocord, white
Body/Tail Body is constructed of white closed-cell foam, with five evenly-spaced segments. Foam should be 1/2″-3/4″ wide for most flies. Use foam at least 1/8″ thick. Tail is made of a Large Rabbit Strip plus five or six strands of pearl Glimmer or Krystal Flash (Red).
Rib White Rabbit Strip palmered between segments
Carapace or Shell Closed-cell foam pulled over body and secured just behind eye. Trim foam leaving an excess of about 1/2″ protruding beyond eye
Hook Daiichi 2720 Wide Gape Stinger Bass Hook (Size:1/0, 2/0) with optional weed guard of 40lb mono

Smolt Patterns

Alaska smolt fly patterns are effective for spring trout.

Just after ice out millions of baby salmon smolt begin their migration downstream Alaska rivers bound for the salt waters of the Pacific ocean. This is the first major forage opportunity for hungry rainbow trout. So, with that in mind, we must "match the hatch" so to speak. Our smolt fly is best fished with a intermediate or sink-tip fly line presenting the fly subsurface on the swing. Short strips at the very tail end of your downstream swing often entice aggressive strikes. Our smolt pattern often is a secret weapon for wary salmon in low, clear water conditions when a smaller, sparse pattern can be the key to success when other larger, gaudy flies are ignored.

The Fly: Lake Creek Alaska Smolt
Hook Daiichi 1710 2X-Long Nymph Hook Size 8-10
Thread Danville 210 Denier Flat Waxed Thread in Fl. orange or Fl. red
Underbody Uni-wire Medium, Silver or red in color is wrapped along hook shank for weight
Rib White Rabbit Strip palmered between segments
Body Belly: EP SILKY Fibers - White. Dorsal Wing: ICE WING Pearl UV Hue, ICE WING Silver, 6-8 strands of Jailhouse Marabou Barred Black/White and topped with a few strands of Black DNA holo-fusion or ICE WING Minnow Back
Eyes 3D Holographic Eyes - 1/8'' 344 Silver
Head Build up with tying thread and epoxy eyes using Clear Cure Goo or 5 minute clear epoxy

Alaska Marabou Leech Flies

Alaska marabou leeches are classic Alaskan favorites.

In addition to the rabbit strip leeches such as the Hareball or Starlight leech, we like to tie up a good selection of marabou leeches. Marabou tends to be more sleek and less buoyant while in the water which equates to a faster-sinking fly that can be presented better in deep water or slow current conditions. Weight can be added to the head of a fly to resemble a jig that can be swam through mid-depth areas, or stripped along the river bottom. This is a very effective fly for all salmon species and rainbow trout alike.

The Fly: Marabou Leech - Orange Head Variant
Hook Traditional up-eye Salmon hook size 2/0-4/0
Thread Danville 210 Denier Flat Waxed Thread Fl. Red or Fl. Orange
Tail/body 4 Black Marabou feathers, 2 tied in along each side of hook
Flash 6-8 strands of black holographic flashabou tied on each side of fly
Collar 2 turns of black marabou topped with Orange ICE dubbing tied with a dubbing loop and teased out with a strip of Velcro
Eyes (optional):Medium to Large Dumbbell eyes
Head Orange Cactus Chenille

Sculpin Flies for Trout

Alaska sculpin flies work awesome for rainbow trout.

Sculpin minnows are a major year-round food source for rainbow trout in Alaska rivers. Therefore, the sculpin fly is an essential for the Alaska trout fly fisherman. When all else fails, these flies produce. We fish our sculpin flies subsurface, often right along the very bottom of gravel runs and sweeping stream channels. Natural colors such as olive, black, amber and ginger tend to be the best producers. Vary your color and size based on water levels and clarity.

The Fly: Lake Creek Sculpin
Hook Daiichi 2220 4X-Long Streamer Hook (Size 4-8)
Thread Danville 210 Denier Flat Waxed Thread in Black or Olive
Body Cream dubbing or chenille substitute (material not overly important, just as long as it's cream or white). Tie to cover 2/3 of hook shank and make a small ball at end closest to eye of hook to splay out pectoral find and dorsal
Tail, dorsal wing Black or Olive Grizzly Zonker Strip tied "zonker style" and twice the length of hook shank (2-3.5 inches)
Pectoral Fins black or olive grizzly soft hackle tips tied 2 on each side
Throat fluro red glow bug yarn under eyes for bleeding gills and cream/white sculpin wool or deer hair at front, trim to shape
Head black or olive spun deer hair or sculpin wool substitute, trim to shape

King Salmon Intruder

Alaska intruder flies work great for king salmon.

Intruders are sleek, flashy flies that are extremely effective attractor patterns when swinging for king salmon in Lake Creek, our main river. We fish these flies mainly with double-handed spey fly rods on the swing in deep water, main river channels where king salmon hold. The King Intruder Fly can be tied with different variations and amounts of flash to suit water clarity as sometimes the slightest color variation makes a world of difference with respect to strikes. The general rule is the more turbid the water, the more flash you should use.

The Fly: Alaska King Intruder
Hook Senyo's Articulated Shank (40mm) attached to Gamakatsu Suicide 1/0-3/0 via 1.5-2.5 inch loop of 50-80lb braid. Braid can be replaced with Intruder wire.
Thread Danville 210 Denier Flat Waxed Thread in Fl. orange or Fl. red
Collar Purple craft fur covered by 4-6 wraps of Purple Marabou
Tail 15-20 strands of pearl lateral scale 4-5 inches long, 20-30 strands of silver holographic flashabou 4-5 inches long.
Eyes Large Dumbbell eyes
Head STS Trilobal Dub - Fl. Flame tied in with a dubbing loop and teased out with a strip of Velcro.