Alaska off the beaten path question.


New member
As an avid fly fisherman I am curious. How many from the lower 48 have gone to our 49th State and explored the fishing along some of the lesser travelled roads such as the Dalton Highway, the Parks Highway, etc....? Having driven to Alaska in my younger years when the Alcan was still gravel and not having much green in my pocket I have always dreamed of doing it again and doing it up right. Now some 35 plus years later I am in the process of planning a return trip to Alaska and doing it right. The one time I drove up there was on a fluke, no more than me and my cousin drinking beer one night deciding to go....we collected our paychecks that Friday and was on the road by 7pm with nothing more than a few paychecks worth of cash each we had saved, what was left from our fur check from the previous winter (that is how I bought my truck with cash) , a road atlas and a brand new 1981 Toyota 4 cylinder 4x4 pickup loaded with camping and fishing gear. Needless to say, we caught fish, but not like we had dreamed and we had no clue where to go. This was long before the advent of the internet and we just had a few magazine articles to base our plans on....and every one of those places was what I came to learn was known as combat fishing Alaska style, no where near the wilderness we had dreamed of. So, here is my question. Those of you that have done this, what words of wisdom can you impart upon a fellow traveler who is looking to bend some fly rods? I have ordered a 2018 JKUR loaded with goodies and will be testing it out over the next year to learn what exactly I will need in the way of overland gear to enjoy the trip with some modicum of comfort. I will be taking about a month and a half off from work and will be driving from SOWEGA (for those of y'all that ain't from around here, that is South West Georgia). Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom directed my way. As an interesting aside note on my previous Alaskan visit, when me an my cousin were heading back to GA, we were coming from Anchorage stocking up on food and beer for the return trip. At the Ft. Richardson entrance, we notices a hitch hiker holding a sign saying Georgia. We picked him up and gave him a lift all the way to Stone Mountain GA. Has to be one of the longer rides in North America given to a hitch hiker.


New member
Hello Jay61,
I live just north of Fairbanks, AK, and have been here since 2008. Before that, I lived in Anchorage and grew up on the Kenai Peninsula.
You're right about the combat fishing. I remember as a kid, when combat fishing for reds (sockeye salmon) seemed bad (busy) to me. Now it's worse than ever and is not a fishing experience as much as filling the freezer with everyone else who just drove out of Anchorage for the weekend.
Since you call out fly fishing specifically-stick to the trout and grayling species. Your best bet for that is alpine areas like the Denali Hwy between Cantwell and Paxson, the Dalton Hwy, pretty much anything North of the population base of Anchorage. If you have available funds, there is great fly fishing available on fly-in trips, but airplane time is expensive. Also, a little foot time will get you to places that aren't overfished.

Spend some time over at the Alaska Outdoors Forum: it's got a ton of useful info.

The most fun I've had out exploring and fishing a bit is in fall, just remember that moose season is in September and anywhere you can drive a Jeep will be busy. Grouse/ptarmigan season opens August 10, and you could get a week or two hunt/fish license and have a blast on the Denali Hwy chasing fish and ptarmigan. There are a lot of trails off that hwy that are primarily UTV/ATV trails but a nice JK setup would be fine till you hit the bottomless swamps.

As for gear, bring a mosquito headnet. I used to camp in a pickup shell and the skeeters would even get in through the gaps between the tailgate and bed. Also, a lot of these alpine areas don't have anything to winch to if you get stuck. Have some kind of deadman and a shovel to bury it for a winch anchor.


New member
Thanks for the advise AK_Sierra, I will definitely keep that in mind. I had thought about a little bird hunting too. I just happen to have a jam up bird dog but I was worried a wee bit about bears and my dog, she is fearless and I would hate to run across a bear with her. I have no intentions of repeating the combat fishing for salmon, though I figured I might can be there during a pink run and at least hit it for one day....grayling, trout and char are what I had in mind mainly though....


Did you end up making a trip up to AK as you had planned?

I've not traveled up to AK, but I'm an avid fly fisherman and get around the western US through various regions yearly. AK is on my radar one of these years soon to get out and hit the backcountry for rainbows, char and grayling on some of the remote rivers and streams. One thing I think that would be a useful tool to incorporate into your plans would be a pack raft, IE: Alpacka Raft. It would allow for access to lakes but namely floating some fine rivers and streams up there. I'm sure you could arrange shuttles, hike in or fly in' opens up a lot more options to hit more or less inaccessible water to the average angler.