Bunny Egg-Sucking Leech

fullsizeoutput_a87Earlier in the week I posted a step-by-step for the Tarantula Egg-Sucking Leech (ESL) where I mentioned that there are a numerous variations on the ESL. Here we have one of those variations – the Bunny ESL. The Bunny ESL is tied with rabbit strips, lead eyes, and chenille. Similar to the Tarantula ESL, the Bunny ESL is deadly in the early spring or late fall. Dead drifted or swing the fly across the current when targeting trout and strip the fly when targeting salmon.  Continue reading “Bunny Egg-Sucking Leech”


Tarantula Egg-Sucking Leech

img_3740Standing ankle deep in one of my favorite late-fall fishing holes, I stared into a mess of a fly box – similar to how one stares at a nearly empty kitchen cupboard looking for a late night snack. On short trips to the river, I carry just one fly box with a variety of flies – mostly trout flies but a few salmon patterns thrown in just in case. Freshly tied flies at the beginning of the season are now flat, matted, and missing a few of their original elements. I’ve fished five different flies without a single strike and was about to call it a day.

One fly stood out among a sea of black, olive, and brown rabbit strips – a white egg-sucking leech (ESL). It’s been sitting in the box all year and is in mint condition. ESL’s are not my go-to fly, but they are known to catch any and all species. I tied it on hoping a trout or grayling will be fooled into thinking it looks like a chunk of flesh drifting in the current.  Continue reading “Tarantula Egg-Sucking Leech”

Susitna Valley Anglers Spend Big Bucks

Traffic in Willow
Traffic in Willow

It must be time for the Alaska Board of Fisheries meetings because our local newspapers are beginning to fill up with everyone’s opinion on fish management. A February 14 opinion piece by former chair of the Alaska Board of Fisheries Karl Johnstone reminded me of some staggering numbers in regards to angler spending in the Susitna Valley.

“An 8-year-old study by Steve Colt and Tobias Schwoerer of the UAA Institute of Social and Economic Research tagged angler spending, both resident and nonresidents, in the Susitna Valley alone at something between $63 million and $163 million in 2007. ‘This spending generated between 900 and 1,900 jobs and between $31 million and $64 million of personal income for people who work in the Borough,’ they added. ‘Mat-Su sport fishing activity also generated between $6 million and $15 million in state and local taxes.’”

To read the full article click here.




Proposal Filed to Change Montana Creek’s Resident Species Regulations

Susitna Leopard Trout

You’ve hit the road heading north to enjoy a couple days camping and trout fishing on Montana Creek. Shortly after arriving at the campground you learn the water accessible from the highway and campgrounds are closed to fishing – not just closed to king salmon fishing, but resident species as well. The closure is from the mouth to ADF&G markers a ½ mile above the highway. You’re puzzled.  Continue reading “Proposal Filed to Change Montana Creek’s Resident Species Regulations”

9 Things That Will Never Change About Fly Fishing

Els Van Woert (right) and Orvis’s Jackie Jordan discuss the future of fly fishing in A Kinetic Loop.
Els Van Woert (right) and Orvis’s Jackie Jordan discuss the future of fly fishing in A Kinetic Loop.

Last week I came across a Facebook post announcing the Fly Fishing Film Tour’s (F3T) upcoming stop in Anchorage. The F3T is in its 11th year and I can’t help but think back to all the great films we’ve seen over the years. My favorite film in the long history of The F3T is A Kinetic Loop: A Celebration of Fly Fishing’s Past and Present by Sharptail Media.

The F3T describes the 2014 film as “an attempt to look at the innovators of today, the pioneers of yesterday, and similarities and differences that have defined the evolution of the sportover its lifetime.”  Continue reading “9 Things That Will Never Change About Fly Fishing”

Best of Instagram: #FishAlaska

Enjoy some of our favorite Instagrams from #FishAlaska and don’t forget to follow us @Highway3Angler.

Continue reading “Best of Instagram: #FishAlaska”

Best of Instagram: #TheTugIsTheDrug

Enjoy some of our favorite Instagrams from #TheTugIsTheDrug and don’t forget to follow us @Highway3Angler.

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Take a look at some of the best from #TheTugIsTheDrug. Photo: @aktroutgirl

Enjoy some of our favorite posts from Instagram’s #TheTugIsTheDrug. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @MatSu_IF4.

Continue reading “Best of Instagram: #TheTugIsTheDrug”

Angler Profile: Kory Murdoch


How long have you been fishing in the Valley?
I’ve been fishing the Valley since I was 8 years old, so 36 years.

What do you consider you home waters?
I’d say Montana Creek, but any of the Parks Hwy. streams north of Willow would be in the running.

Favorite season of the year?
Most fly fisherman in Alaska would say Fall, September, October, but mine is Spring. I’ve been exploring the Big Su and Talkeetna rivers right after ice out and have had great success. But what really gets me going are Kings on the swing. Late May through June can be unbelievable.  Continue reading “Angler Profile: Kory Murdoch”

Angler Profile: Spencer Cook


This week we profile Valley angler Spencer Cook. Spencer moved to Alaska from Utah in 2013, where he taught beginning fly fishing classes and guided on the Provo River. His blog, Spencer Cook Fly Fishing, focuses on introducing new comers to the world of fly fishing and giving them the know-how to get started the right way.

First fly rod I ever owned … It was a noodle that came out of my wife’s grandfather’s garage! I don’t even recall the brand, it caught me some fish though.

My favorite thing about fishing in the Valley is … Fishing in the Valley is typically a solitary adventure (Bears and Moose excluded). I can usually get away from people by hiking a little farther than others are willing to go.

My fly fishing mentor is … Mike Navidomskis was my go-to source for fishing knowledge back home in Utah. The guy can catch fish everywhere. He helped to build my foundation of knowledge from the river bottom up!  Continue reading “Angler Profile: Spencer Cook”

Best of Instagram: #Susitna

Enjoy some of our favorite Instagrams from #Susitna and don’t forget to follow us @Highway3Angler.

Continue reading “Best of Instagram: #Susitna”