How to Choose the Right Colors For Alaska King Salmon Fishing

Unlike other fish that you may have swung a bug at before Kings aren’t necessarily picking out their next meal on the way upriver

It is that time of year again and soon the King Salmon in Alaska will be starting the journey upriver to their spawning ground. This is the time of year that we have all been waiting for. Just thinking about it gives me tingles with excitement. It’s going to be epic the same as it is every year in Alaska!

Unlike other fish that you may have swung a bug at before Kings aren’t necessarily picking out their next meal on the way upriver.

Too successfully hook into one of these monsters the things that matter are the lighting from the day, water clarity, levels and where you land that fly. In our experience it matters less what fly you use and more along the lines of what color of fly you use with each situation.

Picking THE Right Color for King Salmon

Now I am not going to sit here and pretend that I know the EXACT fly that you should use to catch the fish of your dreams.

There are literally hundreds if not thousands of different designs that all will work in their own given time and we have caught them on a crazy number of these. Everything from a size 14 to lord knows how big! We can, however, help you with getting started color wise.

Black and Blue flies just plain work for salmon fishing
Black and Blue flies just plain work for salmon fishing

Flies with a contrast of colors just work best for salmon and steelhead.

This has been my experience with both salmon and steelhead. The theory is that the fish can pick in up quicker than that of a solid color. Here’s our favorites for Kings.

  • Black & Blue – Just plain works. The main water condition that is preferred is when the water is high and off color or when the days are cloudy and dark. Always remember dark water goes with dark colors and clear water is light colors. Always has been this way and always will be with exceptions…
  • Chartreuse & Blue – This is the favorite among most fishermen and is our favorite as well for Kings. We have found that it works best closer to the ocean which seems to be the case with most things blue. This is a color combo that works in bright sunny conditions but we have also seen it work exceptionally on the low light days or in cloudy water. When all else fails just tie it on.
  • Pink & Orange – Right behind Chartreuse and blue is pink and orange. This is ideal for that transition time of day for after the sun is up just enough that the chill is off the water. Has a lot to do with where the sun is at on the water. In its moments this can be the only one that will catch fish.
  • Purple and Black – Looking for the color of the fly for that first tie on in the dull morning light? This is it. Something about this contrast in the water is just right at that time of day to get that first hookup. You can bet your dollar this is the evening color as well.

Let the fish decide.

Any experienced fly fisherman already knows this. They all have their days and we haven’t a clue why. Especially with salmon and steelhead.

When there are many of you fishing be sure to mix it up and find the color that works. Not only can you cover the water faster but you can cover the colors as well.

When you do hook into one of The Kings of Alaska you had better hold on tho… It’s Going to Be a Ride!

3 thoughts on “How to Choose the Right Colors For Alaska King Salmon Fishing

  1. Pingback: Alaska Fishing Gear – What to Pack – Got Fishing

  2. Pingback: Fishing Buoy 10 Astoria Oregon » We've Got Fishing

  3. Pingback: Fly Fishing The Kanektok River in Western Alaska

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.