For The Fly Fisherman

Having grown up in Wyoming, I have several friends who are die-hard fly fisherman (it’s sort of a way of life there, you know), and thinking about one of them the other day reminded me that the Spring fishing season is almost upon us. Accordingly, those of you who are die-hard fans of the sport are probably in the process of planning your next fishing trip.

It’s a sport enjoyed by sportsmen (and women) of all ages, and those who love it will tell you that fly fishing takes only a short time to learn, but a lifetime to perfect.

It’s undoubtedly quite popular in the U.S.; current estimates suggest that there are around 40 million anglers who participate in the sport domestically.  A good portion of them reside in Alaska, which is known for extraordinary fishing, and is also a sought-after vacation destination for serious fisherman.

The Ketchikan region seems to be at the top of the list, and luckily, if you’re headed to our northernmost state via a cruise, you have the option of chartering a shore excursion to experience some of the best fly fishing available.

Here are some options if you’re headed that direction:

Private Fly or Spin Fishing on Local Streams– $309 per person

Experience local fly or spin fishing at its best with a local guide who has over 25 years of experience. We have permits and access to beautiful streams and lakes in the surrounding areas, including access to private waters where fishing is frequently almost too good to be true.

During the early season from May through mid June, you have a great opportunity to catch a variety of trout species, including native cutthroat, dolly varden, and rainbow trout (some steelhead are even available early and late season). From mid-June through September, you will have an opportunity to catch three of the five species of salmon, including chum, pink, and coho.

Find out more here.

Private Fly Out Fly or Spin Fishing with GuidePricing varies, contingent on group size: $1589 per person.

This is the fishing trip that most anglers only dream of, and only a lucky few have the opportunity to experience. You and your private guide will take a scenic journey aboard an Alaska floatplane to a remote wilderness lake where you’ll fish for native trout and occasional salmon. The scenery is spectacular, and there are frequently sightings of a variety of Alaska wildlife, including black bear, eagles, mountain goats, and deer. Fish on a lake at the mouth of a stream, where the trout congregate the stream enters the lake.

Find out more here.

Private Misty Fjords Fly Out Fly or Spin Fishing with Guide Pricing varies, contingent on group size: $1949 per person.

Combine the best that Ketchikan has to offer with an opportunity to fly through Misty Fjords onboard an Alaska seaplane on your way to a remote wilderness lake with your private fishing guide. Misty Fjords is one of the most scenic natural areas in the world, and you will be fishing right in the middle of it. In addition to frequent sightings of Alaska wildlife and the spectacular natural scenery, you will have the opportunity to experience fly or spin fishing for native Alaska trout on a wilderness lake, truly the fishing experience of a lifetime.

Find out more here.

Are you staying in the lower 48 this season? Here’s a listing of the ten best U.S. fly-fishing locales (courtesy of America’s Best and Top 10 at  Alaska is listed here, of course, but you’ll also find that there are plenty of other great options.

1. Wind River Range – Wyoming
The Wind River Canyon is trophy style water with many of the catches well over 20 inches. The predominate species in Wind River Canyon are Brown and Rainbow with Cutthroat also being present.

2. Henry’s ForkNear Last Chance, Idaho

The Henry’s Fork is one of the most famous and diverse fly fishing rivers in the world, with plenty to offer the advanced angler as well as the beginner. Its prolific aquatic insect hatches draw fly fishers from around the globe to test their skills against highly selective rainbow trout. Experience world class fly fishing. Float through diverse wildlife, abundant hatches, and varied terrain for these are the finest trout streams in the west.

3. Nakalilok Bay for Silver Salmon – Alaska
Nakalilok Bay on the Pacific side of the Alaska peninsula offers remote, uncrowded fly fishing you can only dream of. Staying at a wilderness camp is the best way to go.

4. North Fork and Main Umpqua River for Steelheads – Oregon
The North Umpqua is all steelhead rivers: As it gouges a path through steep canyon walls, the North Umpqua creates every imaginable kind of steelhead water and all of it in abundance. From glass-smooth tailouts and choppy runs, to gliding bedrock-rimmed chutes and deep pocket water, the North Umpqua offers something for everyone and in doing so becomes unique unto itself.

5. Green River for big trout, Utah
Located in northeast Utah, it holds over 30 miles of water that can be floated and fished from shore. The river passes through a beautiful red canyon, and this topography makes for impressive pools. Peer into the clear, greenish depths and you will understand how a 30-lb. leviathan of a brown trout was caught here in 1996.

6. Au Sable River for brook, rainbow and brown trout – Michigan
Located in northeast Utah, it holds over 30 miles of water that can be floated and fished from shore. The river passes through a beautiful red canyon, and this topography makes for impressive pools. Peer into the clear, greenish depths and you will understand how a 30-lb. leviathan of a brown trout was caught here in 1996.

7. The Keys for bonefish and three-figure tarpon – South Florida
If the winter weather has also been mild in the Florida Keys, other schools of tarpon will arrive in and around Key West as early as the first part of February, and a month or so later the Miami fish will begin to migrate south, while some of the tarpon that arrive in Key West do the same, heading north a month or so after they arrive in Key West.

8. Armstrong’s Spring Creek for browns and rainbows – Livingston, Mont.

Armstrong Spring Creek is a classic, flat water, meadow stream that varies in width from 50-100 feet. Intense hatches of midges, caddis, and mayflies throughout the season make for some world class dry fly fishing and terrific sight fishing with nymphs. These are wild beautiful, fish that average a solid fourteen inches and often exceed twenty. Most of the trout are acrobatic rainbows, but some very nice browns and cutthroats are present as well. The fish are all brilliantly colored – some of the most gorgeous fish you’ll find in Montana.

9. Upper Delaware River for rainbows – New York
The river itself varies in character. After dropping down some rapids below the dam, the upper West Branch flattens out and flows around modest islands, which gradually disappear and yield to long, wide pools interrupted by shallow riffles. The West Branch is dominated by browns, with some rainbows and brookies to be caught, and much of it can be waded.

10. Gallatin River – Montana
The Gallatin flows over 90 miles with hundreds of small creeks adding to its flow. It heads from springs in Yellowstone Park and flows to Three Forks. The classic river fishing scenes from “A River Runs Through It” were filmed here. Browns, Rainbows, Mt. Whitefish, and Cuttbows are the predominant species here.

If you’re ambitious, and want some instructions on fly-tying (or have some you’ve done and would like to submit) take a look at this page:  The site not only demonstrates tying techniques, there’s also info on fishing safety, various podcasts and a blog for frustrated fishermen who are currently tied to their desks.

Happy casting!

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