Alaska is known as one of the top angling destinations in the world because of the incredible salmon runs, gigantic trout, record halibut and famed crab fishing to name a few and Alaska Steelhead fly fishing is no exception. The fishing opportunities are endless and the quality no matter where you go and what you fish for is, in our opinion, unmatched. In fact, we believe Alaska Steelhead fly fishing to be the all around best in the world. Whether it be the sheer numbers of fish, diverse angling opportunities, extremely low fishing pressure, or the abnormally gorgeous Fall weather, we are confident that you will agree that this is the premier steelhead fly fishing destination for anglers of all ages and abilities. Read on to learn more and be sure to check out our media gallery.
3 Different Steelhead Rivers
The fishing takes place on 3 main rivers located on the Kenai Peninsula. What are the names of those rivers you say? Well, you’re not going to find that out!! But we will say that one river boasts the largest steelhead run on the Peninsula. These rivers are highly coveted by local anglers and guides including Alaska Steelhead Co. and we intend to keep them as pristine and special as possible.
Steelhead River #1
The smallest river of the three can only be accessed via foot. Although this river is the most susceptible to the elements, the Fall season seems to bring relatively stable conditions offering easy wading and smaller, more manageable fishing rigs. This is why we spend a good portion of our days walk and wade fishing this little gem.
This river is best fished with nymph rigs, however, depending on water levels, we take every opportunity to swing using a myriad of flies. Swinging can be done effectively with a single-handed rod, although we do prefer to swing with switch rods using smaller sinking tips or weighted flies. While this river has the smallest run of steelhead, you wouldn’t know it because it has the least pressure from anglers leaving sections of the river all to yourself.
Travel time to this river from our lodge and cabins is only 15 minutes, which our guests find very convenient. Because we can offer two half days of fishing on the front and back end of your stay, this is the most conducive river for a half day trip. Expect to fish this river 2-3 days during your stay with us.
Steelhead River #2
The second of the three main rivers is a bit larger, but offers relatively the same fishing opportunities as the first. Anglers of all abilities tend to do very well on this river because of the sheer number of steehead in the run.
Wading access can be a bit more challenging, but not when our guests are in the hands of an Alaska Steelhead Co. guide. Intimate knowledge of the river is key while getting around this river to cover the necessary ground to get into more numbers of steelhead. One way we combat tougher wading conditions for our guests during higher flows is the unique ability to use inflatable kayaks instead of hiking and crossing the river. Inflatable kayaks are not only extremely fun, but are truly the most comfortable and effective way to fish smaller steelhead rivers during higher flows. If water flows are low, that means the hiking and wading is easy and the kayaks are not necessary.
To put serious numbers of fish in the net, nymph rigs are again the preferred method. However, this river also offers phenomenal opportunities to get your fish on the swing. Travel time to this river is about 40 minutes from our lodge and cabins. You can expect to fish this river 1-2 days during your stay.
Steelhead River #3
The last of the main rivers we fish is arguably the most special and has the largest run of steelhead on the peninsula. We are confident that there is not an angler on the planet that we cannot produce a steelhead for while fishing this river.
Unlike the other rivers we concentrate on, this river is not susceptible to the elements. This is the single most important reason to book your steelhead trip with Alaska Steelhead Co. and what we call our “Ironclad Steelhead Insurance”. The river is glacial fed from a lake giving it a beautiful turquoise color and most importantly, it cannot blow out which is the most concerning of all issues when booking any steelhead trip.
We access this river via drift boat or power drifter and fish from the boat while on the move but mainly as transportation to all wade fishing spots along the river.
While fishing from the boat, we are nymph fishing. Once we reach our wade fishing locations our guests can choose to continue to nymph or pick up the spey rod and swing what we believe to be one of the best rivers to swing a fly in the world. We use a myriad of fly line and sinking tip configurations based on water flows and although this river is very wide from bank to bank, very little weight is needed when swinging flies. Most fish are hooked in 2-3 feet of water and even less than a foot as the season grows longer. Because the river is so shallow by nature, it offers the aspiring two-handed spey fisherman an almost guaranteed opportunity to hook their first steelhead on the swing. An experienced spey fisherman will find heaven on this river and find it hard to leave each year, keeping our guests coming back year after year.
Because of the location of our lodge and cabins travel time to this river is only 15 minutes to the take out where you will meet your guide. Guests then hop in with their guide to drive the dirt road upriver for approximately 15 more minutes to the put in. You can expect to fish this river 3 days during your stay with us, but we can arrange for you to fish there more if you are more comfortable in a boat as opposed to wading.
- 10 foot, 7 or 8 weight single handed rods
- 11 foot, 6 or 7 weight switch rods
- 12.5 to 13.5 foot, 6 to 8 weight spey rods
Fish Species Available
- Steelhead (of course!)
- Silver Salmon*
- Dolly Varden
- Rainbow Trout
* Although we practice catch and release for Steelhead, Dollies and Rainbows, many of our guests choose to keep the Silver Salmon they catch to be processed and shipped home.