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Fly Selection Variables for Fly Fishing in Alaska

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For those who take part in fly fishing on a regular basis, the selection of the ideal fly is a major factor to consider. The right fly selection will help you attract a greater volume of fish and reel them in effectively, while the incorrect selection might lead to issues like poor fish attraction and several others.

At Pybus Point Lodge, not only do we offer a variety of guided fishing tips in Alaska from our fantastic lodge, we also offer freshwater stream fishing and access to some of the most remote lakes and streams in our area -- which are perfect for fly fishing, spin-casting and several other methods. We're also happy to provide quality equipment for these trips, including flies and other important needs. Whether from our stock of equipment or if you're choosing to bring your own, here are some basic tips on choosing the ideal fly for your fly fishing needs in Alaska.

What Flies Imitate

The general purpose of using flies for fly fishing is to create a mimicking sensation for the fish you're trying to catch. For this reason, a basic knowledge of what your fishing flies imitate is crucial to choosing the right fly.

Some of the most effective flies for freshwater stream fishing in Alaska are trout flies, salmon flies and general fly patterns that imitate baitfish. For example, an excellent choice is a generic Muddler Minnow pattern because it can imitate several kinds of minnows including cutthroat, northern pikeminnow and more. Other great examples for Alaska fly fishing are Woolly Buggers, Hare's Ears and a variety of nymphs.

For those who really want to get in-depth here, there are actually 13 different categories of insects that trout and other fish will eat throughout the year. While no one is saying you have to memorize the details of these imitations, it might be beneficial to practice your fly fishing techniques with a few different kinds.

Seasonal and Daily Insect Behaviors

In some cases, anglers will go so far as to learn about seasonal and daily insect behaviors in the area they are fishing to have an even better idea of what flies to use. For example, stoneflies are common in many freshwater streams in Alaska during the spring months before they become dormant in wintertime.

When it comes to knowing which fly imitates the right natural food supply for your fish, this all comes down to basic knowledge about your catch and the habits of the fish you're trying to catch. For example, if you can determine that your targets are Rainbow trout, it might be best to stay away from Muddler Minnow patterns and opt for an Olive Matuka instead.

Various Fly Patterns

All this knowledge is great, but it won't have much practical use unless you also know about the fly pattern your fly will take -- that is, the movements it imitates when it's placed in the water and in view of fish. Generally speaking, flies can come in one of four different patterns:

  • Search patterns: Patterns that imitate several different insects, depending on the water substate and time of day. This pattern is used to cover a wide range, including dry fly fishing during the daytime or nymphing at night.
  • Attractor patterns: Patterns that don't imitate anything, but rather use other techniques to attract fish called fly fishing triggers. A good example of this is the classic Woolly Bugger, which can imitate anything from leeches to crayfish to minnows -- but doesn't actually resemble any particular insect.
  • Impressionistic patterns: Meant to closely imitate just one or two specific insects, often for targeting a specific fish species you know likes to eat that insect.
  • Imitative patterns: Finally, this style imitates just a single specific insect with intense accuracy.

Stocking Up on Multiple Flies

A common beginner's mistake in fly fishing: Only stocking a single fly format when you head out to the stream or river for a day's fishing. Even if you're attempting to find a specific fish species or covering a lot of water for trout, stocking up on flies that imitate the common food sources for that fish will do you more good than just one or two specific patterns.

As always, if you're not sure about how to choose the right fly for your needs in Alaska, our team of fishing experts are always happy to help. We have extensive experience with all the fish species in our area, plus which flies are generally most effective for them.

Learning for Yourself Over Time

And while our team is happy to assist you with any and all fly or other equipment needs, this is one area where regular fly fishers should try to become knowledgeable on their own if possible. Fly selection is one of the most important factors of successful fly fishing, and leaving it up to a team of experts is definitely more efficient -- but some people just enjoy the satisfaction that comes from self-learning.

Learning on your own will also make you self-sufficient for situations where you might need to make a fly selection but can't get immediate feedback from our experts. So, go ahead and take the time to read up on some of the most common insects in your local area and familiarize yourself with the right flies to use for each creature. Soon enough, you'll have a much easier time making the right choices on your next fly fishing trip!

For more on choosing the ideal fly for your next fly fishing excursion in Alaska, or to learn about any of our Alaksa all-inclusive vacations, fishing packages or wildlife tours, speak to the staff at Pybus Point Lodge today.

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Discover why people like you can’t stop talking about Pybus Point Lodge. More than 30 years ago, the lodge opened as a simple fishing camp, drawing a devoted following in spite of basic accommodations. With new owners and experienced captains and crew, our corner of Alaska has become an unbeatable fishing and eco-tourism resort.

Andrea Tate

Incredible Experience!

Pybus Point Lodge has some of the most stunning scenery I’ve ever seen. I mean absolutely breathtaking! In addition to the amazing fishing, I hiked to a beautiful secluded lake, soaked in some hot pots, saw several waterfalls, went whale watching, saw bears and all kinds of wildlife and marine life. As a photographer, photographing a wedding under a waterfall will remain a highlight of my life.

Shirley Johnson

Pybus Point Lodge - WOW!

We had the best time! This was our first visit to Pybus, but it definitely will not be our last. The stunning scenery, amazing fishing experience, and the joy of meeting new friends – all outstanding! We did not want to leave!!! If you are thinking about this trip – don’t think any more, just book it. You will not regret it!!!

Sharon Hedding

Trip of a Lifetime!

We had such an amazing time the staff was so wonderful and the lodge was fantastic! capt Joe was so helpful and always doing what ever he could do to make each day special. a special thank you to both Scott and Jody for taking the time to make us feel like family. can't wait to go back next year

Jason Nielsen

Wonderful and Magical Place

We had an amazing business retreat to Pybus Point Lodge.  Everything was top notch... the fishing, the staff, the boat captains, the food, the accommodations, and especially the scenery. I really liked that Pybus took care of everything from start to finish. Chef John is an amazing cook. We had delicious hot meals the entire trip.  The cabins were amazing and very comfortable.  The fishing was awesome and that’s coming from a guy that doesn’t fish that much.

Brandon Foote

We brought home 100lbs of fish!

My wife and I spent a week at Pybus Point this Summer. We had a beautiful, private room overlooking the bay and our own new, ensuite, private bathroom. What an amazing place for couples to get away together. We set our own breakfast time, met our boat captain after, fished the day along, and returned to clean up and enjoy a nice dinner at the restaurant. Next time Alaska is on the trip list, Sherrie and I will go together, and it will be to Pybus Point!

Kent Danjanovich

Fun in Alaska

This was my first trip to Pybus Point. I stayed in one of their new cabins. The accommodations were incredible, the view onto the bay in the mornings was stunning. I loved the staff and the food was really very good. All of this and they have new boats to take you out onto fairly calm waters to fish. The fishing guides were great. Overall a great experience. Definitely going back.


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