Fishing Gear Equipment and Techniques

Some people prefer a keep it simple minimalist approach and will be very successful with their existing gear. 2 pixies-1 stimulator-4 eggs-3 purple egg sucking leeches on 20lb test may be all you need! Others strive for perfection and are willing to pay the price for the fish of a lifetime. There is so much information available on the web. Our recommendations below have been simplified but very effective.

Fly Rods:

1 (5/6 weight) rod with compatible reel or reels (20lb backing). A floating line can be used for both dry and wet flies Grayling, Char, Dollies Rainbows, Pinks and Sockeye. A sinking line is not necessary but provides added flexibility for wet flies especially Rainbows and on the lower larger river. Multi tip lines may prove beneficial in the larger lower water sections.

1 (8/9 weight) rod with compatible reel for Salmon is recommended. A variety of sinking lines (or multi tip lines) are a plus when fishing for Salmon. Substituting a 7 weight for large rainbows and Salmon (not kings) may work fine but quick release of fish recommended for the fish and your shoulder.

A 10-12 with 200yds of #30backing is good for targeting fresh kings. A 9 weight can do a reasonable job on kings if they are not the primary target.

Spinning or Casting Rods

Light tackle on the upper rivers is a blast. But 8 days of light tackle and hundreds of big fish can be tiring.

One spinning rod with 4-8 lb test is useful on the upper river for Lake trout, grayling Char and rainbows.

One spinning or casting rod and compatible reel with 15 – 25# test is recommended. Taking a “back up” rod and reel is recommended in case one is lost or broken! The 20-25lb test is to protect your shoulder and quickly release the fish. Plus saving terminal tackle!

Waders and Boots

Breathable waders are recommended. Lightweight neoprene (3mm) will also work. Rubber soled wading boots only (felt soles restricted by Alaska F&G). Corked or spiked soles on wading boots are totally prohibited due to damage to rafts!!!! Don’t forget a wading belt and wader patch/repair materials. (Patagonia Cramp-ons are available for rental and may be removed while floating but provide excellent traction in the water).


Small spoons (Kastmaster, rooster tails, and spinners-think small fish imitations eggs and decaying salmon) and jigs (black and white earthtones and bright colors).

Large- Lures –My “go to” lure is a 7/8 oz Blue Fox Pixie. It catches everything top to bottom and casts well in the wind. Color doesn’t matter and smaller is OK. Silver with red, orange, pink or green inserts all work well. Spinners in 3’s and 4’s in the same colors work well. Heavy duty “locking type” swivels are also recommended for the Pixies. I also suggest that you replace hooks on the lures with extra strong hooks (1/0 size works well). (6-12)


Packing one or two small “active” boxes with your go to flies plus a group stash of other flies offers comfortable wading and protects your “warehouse” of flies. Below is a list of a go to flies that will catch everything in the river. Designate the gear guy as the keeper of the stash and save yourself some money.

Dry Flies “go to”– Any fly that floats will work. Size 10 to 16 Attractors stimulators, parachute adams, caddis. Mice can be good. Remember your fly “dressing”. (2 dozen)

Wet Flies “go to”- For Rainbows, Grayling, Char and Dollies: egg patterns (beads or flies), flesh flies, egg sucking leach, Alevin (fry patterns-early season). Don’t be afraid to go BIG with white/black/green Muddlers, Zonkers, Dolly Llama, sculpin. Seasonal favorites can be found on various websites/books. (3 doz). If you plan on fishing a dry line bring along some weighted streamers or split shot. Black orange white green Yarn and a box of hooks can be a good way to bring 100 extra flies at very low cost.

Salmon Flies “go to”

  • Kings: light and dark/big and small profile/chartreuse in tidewater (12)
  • Sockeye: orange comets thin sparse and bright (weighted) (6)
  • Silvers: Pink/Purple/Black leeches with sparse flash. Also large “flash type” fly. Surface Pink “wogs” are a must. (12)
  • Chum: king flies down low chartreuse/cerise/pink-anything up top
  • Pinks: pink purple flash or not they are already in your box above
  • Sheefish 8-10 weight fast sink tip fly line with 3-5 foot 20 lb leaders.
    • Sheefish Flies: Habit Green 2/0, Mega Dolly Llama Chartreuse & White 1/0, Mega Clouser Minnow Chartreuse & White 2/0, Mega Dolly Llama Black & White 1/0, Gen X Bunny Fire Tiger


2 pairs of pliers and clippers are recommended. (pinch all barbs for your protection and quick releases!!!!)

Misc fly gear

Floatant, split shot, indicators, leaders or #35/25 material and #20/15/8 tippet, rod tip and wader repair kit, leader glue and knot tying tools, no felt waders and removable cleats, clippers/forceps, bug spray, filet knife.

Polarized sunglasses are a must to protect eyes and see fish. Photosensitive polarized glasses are better for both sunny and cloudy days. A spare set of sunglasses is good and some low light specific sunglasses can be advantageous also.

Group Misc fishing gear

Filet knife — Note: Check your backing/fly line/leader knots and make sure you have a spare fly line or two for each size rod for the group. Remember a fly rod can effectively throw a fly line up or down one so you don’t need a crazy assortment of extra lines. (1 crazy gear guy in the group is recommended but two may be too many.)


Licenses can be purchased online from the Alaska Fish and Game Department or at the Lodge upon your arrival in Bethel.