For 42 years I’ve been guiding anglers worldwide from our Alaska’s Talaheim Lodge.  Twenty-five years ago Talaheim Lodge slowly starting promoting fly fishing and today, almost 90% or more of our anglers’ fly fish.  Catching an Alaskan salmon lure so many anglers to Alaska, but all in all, rainbow trout draw most of our clients.

Rainbow Trout Food Source

Pacific salmon quit feeding once they reach fresh water to spawn and can be difficult to entice to your fly.  Silver salmon and King salmon are the most aggressive on a fly… instinctively striking for food source.  On the flip side, rainbow trout are actively feeding.   Almost all Alaskan predators, whether they have scales, feathers, or fur, rely on our Alaskan salmon to survive.  Rainbow trout are no different.   In June, we find our trout feasting on salmon fry followed by salmon eggs which are dropped in our rivers during late July through September.

The state of Alaska’s land mass differs greatly and so do the rainbow trout.  Steelhead run throughout southeast Alaska’s panhandle.  The range of Alaska rainbow trout run from the southern Alaskan Peninsula to about 100 miles north of Anchorage.  Rainbow trout are mainly found in the vicinity of salmon spawning streams.  There are some landlocked lake fish, but these trout without the huge amount of salmon food don’t grow to Alaskan standards.

Where To Find Them

In southwestern Alaska, most rainbow trout are characterized as two types of fish…. Lake fish and river fish.  Lake Iliamna and Naknek Lakes are a couple of lakes that are huge and deep.  The trout that live in these warm waters with lots of feed resemble steelhead.  In the fall they are found in the larger rivers, their color being chrome.  Then there are river fish that live in the smaller rivers year round.  These fish sometimes are called leopard trout, as they are so spotted, even in their eyes.

Talaheim Lodge, on the shores of upper Talachulitna River and surrounded by numerous other clear water tributaries, has an abundance of leopard trout.  Our trout live up to the name of rainbow as most all sport a deep red strip from the gill plate all the way to the tail.

What Gear To Use

Big Alaska Rainbow Trout - Talaheim Fishing Lodge

Talaheim Lodge is the perfect destination for anglers wishing to wade smaller rivers and streams armed with a #5/6 weight rod seeking three to five-pound trout.   The best means for catching any trout or fish is matching the hatch.  During salmon spawning times, most egg patterns work great.  Later, when dead salmon lay rotting along the shores, flesh flies are killers.  Leach patters work well almost year round, but the real draw to many anglers is “mousing” for rainbow trout.

Commonly we call “mousing” for trout, but the real fact is that we are imitating a shrew.  In my 40 plus years fishing in our area, I’ve never seen a shrew swimming in our waters, some field mice, but not a shrew.   With that stated, I’ve found many four shrews in a rainbow stomach and several remains of these small mammals in grayling.    I work with fish and game flying salmon counts and was told by a biologist if I see a sick trout, please freeze it and send it in for examination.   One of my clients caught this trout with huge bulges in it’s stomach.  Thinking it was some sort of tumors of such, I killed it and before I froze it, curiosity made me make a small incision to explore such bumps.  Out came four freshly eaten shrews.  Woops, I didn’t send this carcass into town.   I cooked up a couple grayling for shore lunch one day and one fish had a couple remains of shrews in its stomach.

We catch our rainbow all summer long on the surface with shrews, bumble bees, even floating minnows I use for ocean trevally.   Trout feasting on salmon eggs can’t resist some red meat once it’s presented to them.

Plan For Later This Summer or 2021

Due to the Covid, I and most lodges in Alaska have either shut down or are taking just a few anglers.  For the first time in years I’ve had a chance to fish a few hours from time to time.  A few nice evenings I’ve “moused “from our lodge and had great success.  Due to the large pink salmon run last season and millions of eggs that didn’t get buried, our rainbow trout stayed fat right up to the spring.  I was catching trout from 16-22 inches constantly and my fishing neighbor friend caught a two footer.  Can’t imagine the size of these fish come fall.

Talaheim Lodge is looking for a few weary stay at home travelers that would love to come and visit this August our Talaheim Lodge.   We are taking just four guests per week with a limited staff…mostly family and long time employees.   Talk about personal service on top of great fishing.   August 9-14 and August 15-21.  Two great weeks that offer great fall fattened trout, char, and silver salmon.

OK, let the smoke clear and plan a trip for 2021.   Talaheim Lodge is about half full during this year and hope to fill up by mid winter.   Go to our web and then email or call with any questions.

Hope to see you catching rainbow trout at Talaheim Lodge.