Flyfishing for Stealhead - Fly Fishing Forum
Pacific Northwest Sea Run Forum No such thing as rainbow trout, only landlocked steelhead

Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 12-26-2002, 06:50 AM
Stefan S's Avatar
Stefan S Stefan S is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Germany
Posts: 48
Flyfishing for Stealhead

I hope to get two weeks off from family next year for a fishing trip to South East Alaska.
Now Ive read a lot about fly fishing for stealhead. It sounds great and Im really interested to give it a try. Im an experienced flyfisher, but I never fished for stealhead before.
Do you think a beginner has a real chance to catch stealhead? I havent the money to stay in lodge or take a guide for more than a day.
I have the oportunity to fish in alaska maybe every 5 or ten years. If possible, I want avoid to fish two weeks for stealhead and see no fish. The alternative would be to fish salmon during summer time.
My target will be Ketchikan Area, Misty Fjords or Prince of Wales Island. Has anyone some tips for good stealhead waters in this area? What will be the best time of the year?
Thanks in advance.
Greetings from Germany
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Old 12-28-2002, 02:18 PM
SparseHairHackl SparseHairHackl is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Oregon
Posts: 171

Since nobody else has responded yet, I thought I'd help where I can...

I can't help you out with steelhead fishing locations and times in Alaska. See what you can learn about the area and strongly consider hiring a guide for 1 day--that will really help you learn one river, and the basics about steelhead fishing.

Yes, a beginner certainly has a chance to catch a steelhead. You said you're an experienced flyfisher--if that means you have trout experience, start by just thinking of steelhead as large trout. Here are some general rules for steelhead fishing, especially for summer or water temps above 44 to 48 deg F (7 to 9 deg C) that I've posted on other sites in the past.

Line--DT floater or long belly steelhead line. WF floater is OK. Won't need a sink tip until the water temp is below 48, even down to about 44 deg F, perhaps even colder on rivers east of the Cascades. I've caught fish on the surface in temps down to 41 deg F. So, the line is not too critical.

Leader--not too critical either. Nine or 10 feet, with an 8 to 10 lb tippet. I use Maxima Chameleon; steelhead don't care about the leader.

Flies--typical would be a size 4 or 2. Go smaller or larger depending on the river more than the size of the fish. Obvious choices for 3: Skunk, regular or green butt; Purple Peril or variation; and Muddler. Muddler can be natural, or purple or mixed colors including green. Many/most flies will work; I almost never fish a Skunk but most do. Just pick one and fish it; don't waste time changing flies much.

Get the idea not much of this is too critical?

What is important is to keep moving. Move typically 2 long steps between each good cast. If you're not sure if the water is good, move 3 or 4 steps between casts. Good water is typically about walking speed, but just consider steelhead to be very big trout, and you'll guess the water types OK.

Also, don't yank your fly when mending--better to not mend. Fishing down-and-across, a slight belly in the line is OK; mend if the fly gets going to fast due to a big downstream belly. Usually better to slow the fly down with upstream mends than to have it moving too fast, but again, don't jerk the fly. Bad mends will cost you a lot of fish.

Finally, don't set the hook, at least not quickly--let the fish have the fly, even giving some slack initially if you can.

Enjoy it, and support a fish conservation group so we can all continue to enjoy these fish.

Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 12-29-2002, 01:54 AM
speybum speybum is offline
The Speyshop' Speybum
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Snoqualmie, Stilly, Sky, Sauk, and Skagit
Posts: 369

Stefan S
Having lived in Alaska for 26 years and chased steelhead for most of my life all 50+ years: I must say you have made a Great choice.
I spent 13 years living in Ketchikan and loved it.
I would highly recommend Price of Wales Island,
If I were you I would contact the FIREWEED LODGER ( or BOARDWALK LODGE (.
These are two very good places to start.
If will try to locate the Right Reveren Steelhead or Joe Oliver and pass your info on to them.
These two guys live the life as Steelhead Bums.
Steelhead Run in the months of April and May,
The Streams to target are the Thorn, Eagle,Logjam, Staney and Klawock.
These are all-accessible from the road and offer excellent fishing.
You have a lot action from Dolly Varden and Sea Run cutthroats at this time of the year all so.
Just bring a trout and 8or 9 (of course I prefer speyrods 6 or 7 weigh and a 14 for a 9.
Floating lines and sink tips, there is not a lot of trypical steelhead water there but lots of fish.
Much of the fishing is done with indicators and glowbugs.
Glowbugs match the hatch every thing from bright Orange to pale Cream in color about size 4 Tied Teimco 105.
Eggsucking leaches and number of other standard patterns,
I suggest the larges size would be 2/0 for the leaches.
Keep you trout flies to Elvin patterns and small bait fish type.
A small amount of dries will help also.
If you need more let me know

Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Fly Fishing Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:
Home Waters
Your home waters
Current Favorite Fly
If you only had one... (change anytime)


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
crazy huge looking stealhead catch! darkFly Worldwide Flyfishing Discussion 16 12-14-2006 07:39 AM
What it is about flyfishing... juro Worldwide Flyfishing Discussion 8 11-17-2005 10:31 AM
Not flyfishing steelheadmike Stripers and Coastal Gamefish 4 04-23-2003 08:50 AM
flyfishing alone richD Stripers and Coastal Gamefish 0 04-25-2002 01:41 PM

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:53 AM.

vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright (All Rights Reserved)