Fly fishing in Alaska in July is one of the best and busiest months! On the right river, all five species of salmon can be caught in a day! During July, sockeye salmon are pouring into the river, king salmon fishing peaks at the beginning of the month, and rainbow trout fishing is in full swing!
July is quite possibly the most comfortable month to fish in Alaska too! The mosquitoes are in peak season but the wildflowers are in full bloom and the fish are hungry.
Fly Fishing in Alaska in July for Salmon
Besides having the best weather of the summer, July also provides the opportunity to catch all five species of pacific salmon in one day, otherwise known as the Alaska Salmon Slam. Not all rivers get the every species of salmon, but those that do have this bucket-list opportunity in the last weeks of July.
The beginning weeks of July is typically the last window to see good pushes of fresh king salmon returning to their natal rivers. These first couple weeks of July are popular for anglers looking to catch trophy king salmon with fly fishing and spey fishing methods. Come prepared with a good supply of king salmon flies!
Unfortunately, the global population of king salmon is shrinking. Depending on the watershed, Alaska Department of Fish and Game does shut some rivers down in July if the king salmon escapement has not been met. It’s always smart to keep an eye on the emergency orders on the ADFG website.
Sockeye salmon fishing is in its prime in July. As of the summer of 2022, Bristol Bay saw its largest returns of sockeye salmon on record. With sockeye returns trending better and better there is no reason not to fish for them in July.
On rivers like the Kenai, there is easy access for anglers targeting sockeye, particularly around the Russian River. Be prepared to fish next to other anglers if you fish the Kenai and to share your water!
Fly fishing for chum salmon during July is great as it is the peak month. At the beginning of the month, chrome chums can be caught in the lower river and are great fun on the fly rod. Higher in the river system striped, or calico, chums can be found in sloughs and slower moving water. Make sure you come prepared with a selection of chum flies.
Pink salmon, nicknamed “humpies”, are known for the large humps the males form on their backs. While pinks are not a very common target species, they can be a fun by-catch for the fly angler. Kids also love catching pinks as they are easy for beginner anglers to catch.
In Alaska, pink salmon are more concentrated on even number years – but they can be caught on odd years too! They eat everything pink.
Fly Fishing in Alaska in July for Trout & Dolly Varden
Anglers should not overlook the resident fish species across Alaska! July has great weather to explore over looked corners of the state that are teeming with arctic grayling, pike, and rainbow trout. While the salmon fishing is surely the main focus of anglers fishing in July be sure to leave some time for the resident fish. You will not regret it!
July has some of the bluest skies and clearest water of the summer. This can be great for sight fishing trout. Skating mouse patterns on bright days like this is a must! There is nothing like watching a giant trout eat a mouse pattern off the water’s surface, and very few destinations are better than Alaska to do this!
The growing season is short in Alaska so the trout eat when they can. Some sockeye will begin to spawn late in the July so there is some bead fishing to be had. Generally speaking, trout fishing is most productive with sculpin streamer patterns or mouse fishing.
Like trout fishing, July is very productive for dolly varden fishing. These opportunistic fish will still eat beads in eagerness for the upcoming egg-drop. Rivers like the Kenai will have plenty of resident dollies around and some of the larger anadromous dollies will be returning this time of year as well.
Bring a camera and prepare for lots of action when dolly varden fly fishing. These fish are very closely related to brook trout, except the average sized dolly is a trophy in comparison! Once you have hooked one dolly varden, you are bound to find more! Depending on your fishing location, you might catch arctic char as well!
Fly fishing in Alaska in July for arctic grayling is peak season. Some of the best arctic grayling fishing in Alaska can be accessed near Denali from the road system. This is also a great month to hike to alpine lakes on the Kenai Peninsula and to enjoy the weather – you will likely find grayling.
Dry fly fishing for arctic grayling is our recommended method this time of year. It is also the most interactive technique. Most grayling will willingly take dry flies but some nymphs and streamers should be used as well. Sometimes, we even use mouse flies for grayling, and find it weeds out the little fish!