The best fishing rods for Alaska vary widely depending on what fish species you’re targeting, where you are in the state, and each angler’s personal preference.
We at Fish Alaska test a wide range of fishing rods every year from trolling rods in saltwater to single-handed fly-fishing rods. We test spey rods, spinning rods, casting rods, and technique-specific fishing rods for every gamefish in Alaska to find the best fishing rods for Alaska.
These are the best fishing rods for Alaska in 2019
|TFO Traveler TAC TRS 703-3 Spinning Rod|
This 3-piece travel spinning rod was put to the test battling hundreds of silvers on the Togiak and Akwe rivers and it performed well. From twitching jigs to casting and retrieving spinners and spoons, the rod handled lures to 1/2-ounce and our tester landed many coho in the 10-plus-pound range. At 7 feet long, the 3-piece rod fits easily into your checked luggage. Our tester also commented that both the fore and rear grips are comfortable in the hand. We also appreciate that TFO backs their rods with a lifetime warranty.
|Orvis Helios 3F Fly Rod|
We tested the 8-weight and 6-weight versions and they are smooth, powerful, and pleasurable to cast. The F designation means Finesse, as opposed to the P designation for Power. We used these rods to cast streamers to salmon and they effortlessly launched some pretty big flies and put them right where we wanted them. Once hooked up, the 8-weight rod made easy work of 10-pound coho. We also used the 6-weight to present nymphs and buggers to finicky trout and loved how the rod rolled out tight loops smoothly. These are sweet, and make our list of best fishing rods.
|KastKing Krome Salmon/Steelhead Fishing Rods|
KastKing’s Krome series are the new kids on the block, and they are available in 15 technique-specific versions from a 7’11” back bouncer to a 12-foot Pro Troller trolling rod. We tested the Pro Troller 10’6” and 12-foot models, and the 9’6” spinning rod. The components are Fuji. The carbon handles are textured for a better grip. The lower section of the blank has Kevlar reinforcement extending through the handle, adding strength and lifting power. The overall rod actions are a little bit stiffer than most rods used for the Pro-Trolling application—this is a good thing, as it forces the flasher to kick a little harder, and it provides more lifting power to lead a big king to the net. Finally, the tip section is fluorescent orange, enabling you to see flasher action at a glance as well as any take downs. Though these two specific models are designed for Pro-Trolling, they are also excellent rods for backtrolling jumbo divers and big lures or baits for big Chinook, especially for rods fished out of the sides of the boat. The extra length will widen your trolling or backtrolling swath and help prevent tangles. We used the 9’6” spinning rod for fishing bobber and jig combos. It is a fast-action rod and performs well for tossing spinners for salmon and steelhead as well. The price is right, too, making it one of the best fishing rods for Alaska.
|Echo Traverse Kit, 9’, 8-weight|
This is a fantastic set up from Echo. Our tester beefed up the supplied leader and started swinging big streamers to some chunky silvers. This setup has the reel capacity and backbone to handle just about every salmon you’ll run into, with the exception of bigger kings. The included weight-forward floating line matched up nicely with the rod and handled the big streamers and the indicator set ups with ease. If you are looking for a good all-around fly setup for fishing salmon in Alaska, this combo from Echo just might be the answer, making it a best fishing rods pick for us.
|Eagle Claw Dock Rod Combo|
This ultralight combo is the perfect size for our three-year-old testers. The rod is 28 inches long and rated for 2- to 4-pound-test. The spinning reel offers ample capacity and drag for the size fish intended. This combo would also work well when ice fishing for pan-sized trout.
|Pieroway Renegade Switch Rod, 11’6” 8-weight|
Jerry French, consummate pioneer in the swing game, partnered with Pieroway Rod Company of Canada to create the Renegade series of two handers. The rods are available in line weights 3 through 9. According to Jerry, the rods were designed to be the ultimate in casting efficiency and performance. We tested the 11’6”, 8-weight and paired it with an OPST 400-grain Commando head, and 10-foot T-11 and T-14 tips with flies up to five inches in length. The rod is easy loading, yet surprisingly crisp recovering. The result is that both beginners and experienced casters can cast this rod well. Jerry and Pieroway tried to make the casting process easy and efficient with this rod design, and they succeeded. The fit and finish is superb, the styling progressive. Our tester used this rod primarily for steelhead and large rainbows, and it was his go-to weapon on the Naknek this fall where he landed rainbows up to 33 inches with it. It is his current favorite for swinging flies for steelhead and steelhead-sized rainbows, easily earning this award among the best fishing rods.
|Sage Foundation Outfit, 9’, 6-weight|
It’s hard to say enough good things about this set up. Everything you need to get started is included. It casts effortlessly and the drag on the reel is butter smooth. Casting distance was impressive, and it handled big streamers with ease. For someone looking to get into the sport with a higher-end set up or someone looking to upgrade without breaking the bank, this would be a great option among the best fishing rods for Alaska.
|Daiwa Proteus SS PRSS64MHB Northeast Inshore Conventional Rod|
This rod really shines as a light-to-medium-duty bottomfish jigging rod. We used it to pursue a myriad of bottomfish including lingcod, yelloweye rockfish, black rockfish, and more. Paired with a small, capable reel (we used a Daiwa Lexa 300 WN spooled with 40-pound Daiwa J-Braid 4x), this rod is super comfortable and fun to jig with. We used it with jigs up to eight ounces. The lighter PRSS64LB is also an outstanding choice for getting the absolute most out of pelagic rockfish like black rockfish using jigs from ¾- to 3 ounces.
|TFO NXT Series 5/6 Kit|
This kit includes a 5/6-weight fly rod and reel, spooled with backing, weight-forward floating line and leader, as well as a case that fits both rod and reel. The 9-foot, 4-piece rod features aluminum-oxide stripping guides, impregnated stainless-steel snake guides, a composite-cork handle, and an anodized-aluminum reel seat. The medium-fast action rod throws loops nicely, but also gives some cushion when a big fish blows up on a small fly and light leader. We tossed drys, buggers and nymphs to lake-based rainbows this fall and had a blast. The reel offers ample drag to stop hot fish. It’s a nice beginner flyfishing package.
|Redington Fly Rod Outfits Path 9’, 4-weight|
Redington has a reputation for producing great gear and this ready-to-go outfit is no exception. Testers had a blast getting after the grayling and rainbows with this setup. This is a solid outfit for first-time fly fishermen or for the seasoned angler. The rod delivered tiny dry flies with precision and performed far beyond our expectations for an entry-level kit. Everything needed to hit the water is included except the flies.