Top Mistakes While Actually Fly Fishing in Alaska - Alaska Fly Fishing Trips

Epic Blog

Top Mistakes While Actually Fly Fishing in Alaska


Now that you are actually on the water (and finally fly fishing in Alaska), following is a list of common mistakes you should avoid to get the most out of your day. Our guides are there to help steer you in the right direction (and hopefully keep you there), but if you aware of these possible pitfalls ahead of time you’ll be a few steps ahead.

Top Mistakes While Actually Fly Fishing in Alaska

1. Wade too Far into the Water. Start from the water’s edge and slowly work into the water – especially up SAFARI camp’s River and on the Tidal Flat at low tide – salmon sometimes quietly hang within 10 feet of the water’s edge in surprisingly shallow water. Staying on dry ground or in ankle deep water may be all that’s required to catch fish.

2. Loose Rod Sections. Each day before hitting the water, and sometime during the day, check to make sure each section of your fly rod is firmly seated together. Loose fly rod sections are the one of the quickest ways to break your rod while fighting salmon.

3. Cast as Far as You Can. Be patient and thorough covering the water. Start your cast close and slowly work it out further and further. Do not start with your longest, best cast first. You’d be surprised how often fish may be within 10 or 15 feet of you (especially if you walk and/or wade quietly).

Keep your rod tip low while stripping flies.

Keep your rod tip low while stripping flies, shown here while chasing salmon off the beach at SAFARI camp.

4. No Strip Set on Salmon. Once a salmon takes your fly, instead of just lifting your rod tip up as if you were dry fly fishing (or conventional rod fishing), you need to make a quick and hard 8 to 12 inch strip with your stripping hand to really set the hook on a salmon. Your strip set will be greatly improved if you keep the rod tip pointed at the water (#5) and the rod parallel with the fly line (#6).

5. Rod Tip too High. You often hear this while fighting salmon, but in this case we’re talking about before you’re hooked up – while you’re swinging or stripping flies. In general while fly fishing for salmon in Alaska, keep your rod tip near or in the water.

6. Rod 90 degrees to Fly Line. Once you’ve learned to keep you rod tip low, you should also keep your rod fairly parallel with (or pointed at) your fly line. Follow your fly line with your rod tip as the fly line drifts downriver. This keeps a straight-line connection between your line, fly and fish.

7. Wade too Loud/Quick. Fish are spooked by noise and sudden movement. This is pretty much stating the obvious, but we are surprised by how often fishermen actually do go crashing into or through the water. Wade and move around quietly.

When all else fails, trying catching by hand. Gerhard Wittich photo.

When all else fails, trying catching by hand. Gerhard Wittich photo.

8. Fight Fish Improperly. Avoid these common mistakes while fighting big Alaska salmon.


Please remember, as with any advice, it’s just advice… The above is not meant to cover every situation and every type of fish… there are times when you need to wade deeper into the water or make a really long cast. Or, just drop your rod and go for it…

Learn more here: Other Mistakes While Actually Fly Fishing in Alaska

Posted in All Posts, Fishing, Tips