Tackle and line vary almost as much as the fishing variety in Alaska. Here are our current favorites to pack in the tackle box when fishing in Alaska.
The Luhr-Jensen Kwikfish has earned a well-deserved reputation for helping anglers draw strikes from salmon in Alaska, and by our measure, is the most widely used salmon plug in Alaska’s rivers. There are an astounding number of color patterns available to meet any angler’s needs. Additionally, there are a wide range of sizes for targeting salmon—from size 9, which is 2 3/4″ long, has size 6 hooks and dives to 10 feet—to the size 16, which is 5 9/16″ long, has size 3/0 hooks and dives to 17 feet. The X series features a fixed eyelet, and dives slightly deeper than the K series which has adjustable screw-in eyelets and can be backtrolled in both slow and fast water. These lures are available in both rattle and non-rattle versions, and some models include a UV Bright finish, which reflects more light and makes the lure more visible. There are also size 5 and 7 models specifically designed for trout. Salmon models feature an aggressive, wide, side-to-side searching action, while the trout models fish with a pronounced wiggle. Read more about catching salmon with Kwikfish in this month’s feature about Togiak River Lodge and check out the Kwikfish video we made with Zack Larsen on Fish Alaska’s website.
|Dardevle Klicker Spoon
The Dardevle Klicker has everything the original Dardevle has plus the extra flash and sound created by the silver “Klicker” blades located on the back of the spoon. The motion and sound of these blades, added to the original Dardevle’s action, trigger aggressive strikes from all types of fish, but are especially effective for salmon and steelhead. The spoon is available in three sizes: 2/5 ounce, 3/4 ounce and 1 ounce. Read about these lures in action in John Cleveland’s article in this issue.
|Rapala Rap-V Blade
The new Rap-V Blade is the perfect balance of metal, plastic and Rapala expertise. This extremely versatile bait produces instant vibration on the lift or retrieve. It can be worked at any depth, from the shallows to deep water, with a wide range of techniques. Designed by the engineers at Rapala, the new Rap-V Blade is a hybrid lure that combines the best of a lipless crankbait with a blade bait. Available in one size at its introduction, size No. 6 (2 ½” long, weighing ½-ounce), the new lure breaks the mold of traditional Rapala lures. Cast it. Jig it. Yo-yo it. Twitch it. Rip it. Crank it. Grind it. Pop it. Snap it. Lift and drop it. The extra-wide metal dorsal fin of the Rap-V Blade features two line-tie positions. When anglers tie their line to the front tie hole, the lure will provide a slower, lazy fall action. If they tie their line to the rear-hole position, they’ll achieve a faster fall, head-down action. When combined with Rapala’s distinctive, loud, BB rattle system, the vibration and action of the lure is undeniable. Freshwater predators like rainbow trout, lake trout, Arctic char, Dolly Varden and northern pike should attack this lure in Alaska.
|Kodiak Custom Fishing Tackle King and Silver Salmon Trolling Spoon
Kodiak Custom Fishing Tackle hexagonal-scale-patterned trolling spoons are hand painted on both sides and specifically designed to catch king salmon, coho salmon and monster lake trout in Alaska, the Great Lakes region and Canada. Kodiak Custom Trolling Spoons are irresistible to numerous other species of aggressive predatory fish including bass, pike, walleye and the list goes on. A barrel swivel is installed between the hook and split ring on the bottom of the spoon, helping to increase hook ups and landing percentages. A small spinner blade is attached near the hook for added noise, vibration and flash that mimics a wounded or scattering bait fish. Lures are 3 ¼” long, made of nickel-plated brass, and are equipped with a 2/0 siwash hook.
|Mepps Comet Combo
The Mepps Comet Combo combines the legendary Mepps spinner with the original Mister Twister Curly Tail Grub. The Comet Combo’s blades spins close to the body, which allows the spinner to easily fish the shallow to mid-depth areas on top of those tight areas above weeds and cover. The Curly Tail Grub is rigged on a Mister Twister Keeper Hook, so it’s weedless when you pitch it into the pads and walk it over logs, rocks or any other submerged cover. Comet Combos are available in 15 fish-catching colors and come in sizes #1 to #4.
|P-Line Sunrise Squid
Squid imitations, AKA hoochies, are a popular and effective attractor for salmon, halibut and bottomfish in Alaska. P-Line’s Sunrise Squid is an excellent choice. The 2.5- and 4.5-inch sizes are well suited to catch both Chinook and Coho while trolling. When presenting bait or jigging to halibut, the larger 7.5-, 9.5- and 12.5-inch versions can help you boat more fish. For anglers fishing bait on or near the bottom, the addition of a squid above the bait adds an attractor that moves in the current, making the bait look alive which can drive halibut to attack. When jigging, some anglers use larger squids on lead heads, and we’ve seen some pack a sponge loaded with scent into the squid, adding both movement and scent to their bait. This same setup will work to help you catch lingcod and rockfish. The P-Line Sunrise Squid comes in several sizes and many color options.
Want more? Check out our yearly Editors’ Choice Awards for the best fishing gear