Any fly fishing recommendations for chasing King Salmon in Alaska?

I always thought of kings as a freight train on a fishing rod. I’ve caught a bunch, but as mentioned previously, I’ve only landed one small one on a fly rod (20-25# on an 8 wt).

Silvers on a stout 5 wt or 6 wt are total acrobats. They’ll strip 100 yards of backing and then take to the air. Very much like steelhead.

Sheefish look and fight like tarpon. One of the coolest fish I’ve laid in to.

Dollies are totally addictive. I’ve had many +100 fish outings on a 3 wt. it’s a total blast.

If you know the right rivers, 20” grayling as deep as your palm boil the water on gnats at mid day. They are totally unselective , hitting any dry fly that you make a decent presentation with.

I personally would not make a trip to Alaska solely for kings. There are so many great fisheries, plan it out and enjoy! Oh, and don’t waste your time with halibut. We made meat runs on chickens to fill the freezer in June. Our boat was rigged for halibut but I only fished for them when I needed the meat. To me, halibut fishing is sheer boredom, and the tourists who come up and do an overnight typically get to experience a special kind is seasickness.
 
Halibut are the closet thing in the ocean to “no flavor whatsoever”, Aka: “tofu of the sea”.:ROFLMAO:
But, tourists seem to be quite enamoured with halibut.
So for the moment at least, our rockfish and cod are semi-safe.
 
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Halibut are the closet thing in the ocean to “no flavor whatsoever”, Aka: “tofu of the sea”.:ROFLMAO:
But, tourists seem to be quite enamoured with halibut.
So for the moment at least, our rockfish and cod are semi-safe.

Yellow eye may be the sweetest meat in the ocean!
 
Thanks, everyone, for the info about good fly fishing lodges for kings.

Any other recommendations out there?

And thanks for the interesting discussion of conservation measures. I've been lucky to spend most of my life fishing around different parts, and I must say that the fisheries here in the states are the healthiest of all the fisheries I've seen. Thankfully, the U.S. has the ability, will, size, and resources to manage its fish better than anyone else in the world, arguably. The U.S. is also a world leader in being proactive about fisheries, which gives hope for the future when so many global fish stocks have been utterly decimated by pathetic political opportunism and short-term ism.
 
Halibut are the closet thing in the ocean to “no flavor whatsoever”, Aka: “tofu of the sea”.:ROFLMAO:
But, tourists seem to be quite enamoured with halibut.
So for the moment at least, our rockfish and cod are semi-safe.

Thought I was the only one who thought that.
 
I don't know if this helps the OP or not, but has anyone ever heard of these guys? They were at a local sportsman's show a few years back and I was interested for sometime in the future.

 
Halibut are the closet thing in the ocean to “no flavor whatsoever”, Aka: “tofu of the sea”.:ROFLMAO:
But, tourists seem to be quite enamoured with halibut.
So for the moment at least, our rockfish and cod are semi-safe.
I agree, which is why I get cod or rockfish with fish and chips. Another issue with halibut is that its frequently over-cooked so it's dry. But halibut is meaty.
I cook halibut in my sous vide. I'll throw in butter and umami-rich flavorings like soy sauce, vegemite, anchovy paste, or Thai fish sauce as well as some other herbs, such as thyme or sage. Add a touch of liquid smoke and serve with a burre blanc sauce. You can also take your halibut filets and encrust them with panko/parmesan breading. I'll throw them on a rack and either broil them or put the oven at 500 and turn on the convection. It's a lot more moist and flavorful. But I don't order it in a restaurant because you are right about it being the very .... bland, to put it mildly.
 
I agree, which is why I get cod or rockfish with fish and chips. Another issue with halibut is that its frequently over-cooked so it's dry. But halibut is meaty.
I cook halibut in my sous vide. I'll throw in butter and umami-rich flavorings like soy sauce, vegemite, anchovy paste, or Thai fish sauce as well as some other herbs, such as thyme or sage. Add a touch of liquid smoke and serve with a burre blanc sauce. You can also take your halibut filets and encrust them with panko/parmesan breading. I'll throw them on a rack and either broil them or put the oven at 500 and turn on the convection. It's a lot more moist and flavorful. But I don't order it in a restaurant because you are right about it being the very .... bland, to put it mildly.
I think a rolled up newspaper could be made delicious with that recipe. :D

The big deal about halibut fishing is not so much the meat as the size of the fish. North Americans in particular are all about bigger is better. The experience of hunting and fishing hardly matters anymore. Float a river when the dogs (chum) or sockeye are running. Just the sight of them filling the water bank to bank is incredible. Or sit on a boat all day to maybe drag up a hundred pound flat ugly slab off the bottom using a crane for fishing gear? A little nine pound sockeye on a fly will give you everything: runs, jumps, tarpon walk. And you can catch a dozen or more of them in an hour if you know what you're doing, have the right gear, and your arms can take it. Meantime your standing in the most beautiful scenery on earth. Big bears are always about. And otters, eagles, osprey, harlequin ducks, etc. Something to see every second. Or you can sit in a boat looking at water and seagulls shitting on you just for the chance to catch one BIG fish. Blech!

And it's not just fishing. Hunting is all about size these days. No one can sell a story about a 4x4 whitetail buck unless it's shot by a kid or a woman. But that gnarly multipoint droptine freak Mr Realtree shot over bait is definitely publishable. My best kudu is only 44.5" but is prettier than most +50" racks I see on the net. What makes it truly "valuable" is the story was anything but uneventful. Nearly a tragic ending that could have ended my hunting (by choice).

I would encourage the OP to reconsider his king fishing goal. If he's looking for something to replicate for the wall, a big king, even when done up by a good taxidermist like my daughter, is relatively speaking boring to look at. Here's one she did last year.
20220517_145206.jpg

But hey, she can make lake trout look good!
20230412_180157.jpg

Catch a bull red sockeye and have it replicated. Now there's a mount that will make your eyes pop. Or better yet, a bull dog salmon. Wow! I call them zombie fish. And I'm sorry but I have to disagree, dog salmon do have plenty of fight. I've eaten them fileted and cooked over the campfire and not bad. Not sockeye or silver good but better than pinks.
 
I think a rolled up newspaper could be made delicious with that recipe. :D

The big deal about halibut fishing is not so much the meat as the size of the fish. North Americans in particular are all about bigger is better. The experience of hunting and fishing hardly matters anymore. Float a river when the dogs (chum) or sockeye are running. Just the sight of them filling the water bank to bank is incredible. Or sit on a boat all day to maybe drag up a hundred pound flat ugly slab off the bottom with a crane for fishing gear? A little nine pound sockeye on a fly will give you everything: runs, jumps, tarpon walk. And you can catch a dozen or more of them in an hour if you know what you're doing, have the right gear, and your arms can take it. Meantime your standing in the most beautiful scenery on earth. Big bears are always about. And otters, eagles, osprey, harlequin ducks, etc. Something to see every second. Or you can sit in a boat looking at water and seagulls sitting on you just for the chance to catch one BIG fish. Blech!

And it's not just fishing. Hunting is all about size these days. No one can sell a story about a 4x4 whitetail buck unless it's shot by a kid or a woman. But that gnarly multipoint droptine freak Mr Realtree shot over bait is definitely publishable. My best kudu is only 44.5" but is prettier than most +50" racks I see on the net. What makes it truly "valuable" is the story was anything but uneventful. Nearly a tragic ending that could have ended my hunting (by choice).

I would encourage the OP to reconsider his king fishing goal. If he's looking for something to replicate for the wall, a big king, even when done up by a good taxidermist like my daughter, is relatively speaking boring to look at. Here's one she did last year.
View attachment 598112
But hey, she can make lake trout look good!
View attachment 598111
Catch a bull red sockeye and have it replicated. Now there's a mount that will make your eyes pop. Or better yet, a bull dog salmon. Wow! I call them zombie fish. And I'm sorry but I have to disagree, dog salmon do have plenty of fight. I've eaten them fileted and cooked over the campfire and not bad. Not sockeye or silver good but better than pinks.
That is an unneccesary judgment and generalization on many levels -- I am not a 'bigger is better' person at all, and I do not believe all North Americans are either.

I'd rather keep this thread positive and constructive, please, as it has been up until your post.
 
That is an unneccesary judgment and generalization on many levels -- I am not a 'bigger is better' person at all, and I do not believe all North Americans are either.

I'd rather keep this thread positive and constructive, please, as it has been up until your post.
I think you missed the point. I never said "all North Americans" are "bigger is better." But one only has to watch the TV shows and what sells in the media, to see the bigger is better phenomenon is what sells. Similarly, the current long range shooting at animals phenomenon is mostly about one-ups-manship.

If you want to go to Alaska specifically for kings, then fine. I have caught plenty of them ... when I was younger and they were more plentiful. Eventually, as fishing dried up on the ocean and king hunters were compelled to move into the Straits of Juan de Fuca, I gave up and ran out six miles to the border to fish for silvers. Lots more action and less angst (guys were actually shooting at each other in next to the Hook!). I would strongly suggest you keep your options open. Fly fishing for kings is very often an exercise in futility. You simply cannot run up the bank fast enough to keep up with them. Most places you can hardly run up the bank at all for brush or debris in the way. If you fish with gear heavy enough to maybe horse one of those monsters out of the current (a big maybe), that gear will wear you out casting it on day one.
 
If you book fly fishing specifically for kings with an outfitter, make sure it's with a guide who will stay with you ... with jet boat nearby. That can be fun (but expensive). You don't want to be simply dropped off. And a DIY float trip won't work well. Again, you'll need that jet boat to stay with the big fish long enough to wear it out. Float raft is useless. Don't fish out of one unless it's anchored. Drift fishing in a river from a raft for salmon can be expensive = lost flies and gear. I would not expect you'd be able to keep any kings, but that's okay. There's plenty of other eating salmon to catch for the grill.
 
I do wish you'd refrain. Judging, generalizing, pontificating, agitating, and boasting really are tedious traits in a man.
 
I do wish you'd refrain. Judging, generalizing, pontificating, agitating, and boasting really are tedious traits in a man.
You asked for information from those who have experience. I have plenty. Thought I would share what I have learned. So what's your problem? There is an outfitter on the Alagnak River I would definitely recommend. A nice guy and his wife is a sweetheart. Their chief guide is a great young fella. He gave me a bunch of flies and leaders as I was running short. Unfortunately I seem to have lost their card. It had a photo of beautiful big rainbow and I gave it to my daughter to use for painting taxidermy. Don't know what she did with it. You could ask Katmailand about fishing for kings from their lodge on the river. Not sure if they use jet boats. Probably. Most of the fishermen I saw when we flew in to pick up the raft were working the water immediately above the lodge. Sockeye and kings were just about done there. Dog salmon were mostly what we were catching in the lower end after being dropped off.

You're welcome.
 
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The lodge on Alagnak is Alaska Trophy Adventures and owners are McGee family. Very nice folks. He also has an interesting background in Africa.
 

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