The weather in Alaska is constantly changing. One day it can be 75 degrees and sunny, down-right hot, the next day rainy, damp and in the low 50s or cooler with a stiff breeze, and all this can happen in a matter of hours. Fall weather (late August – early October) temperatures get even cooler. Clothing strategies should be based on the “layering system”. By using the “layering system”, anglers can adapt to whatever Mother Nature dishes out.Here is the formula preferred by the staff at Bristol Bay Sportfishing:

  1. Start off with a polypropylene type fabric or silk next to your skin. This usually is a pair of thermal underwear and they come in three weights: light, medium and expedition. According to your individual metabolism, pick what is best for you Synthetics and/or silk materials retain little moisture and “wick” moisture away from your skin. This is very important when you are walking in waders or when outside temperatures heat up.
  2. Your second or alternative layer could be a medium weight wool or polypropylene shirt, sweater or pull-over. Wool is a great insulator and retains its insulating qualities, even when wet. Pull-over fleece garments are a great choice.
  3. Your third layer, if needed, can be a fleece or wool jacket, like the Simms “Windstopper Jacket”. Stick to wool or polypropylene, as again these fibers perform well when wet, wick moisture away from the body and dry quickly in the sun, over a wood stove, or near a camp fire.
  4. Your fourth layer will be your rain jacket. (see Rain Jacket)

Clothing Strategy:
By planning your clothing strategies around the layering system, you can easily adjust and adapt to changing temperatures as they arrive. These layers can be used in any combination and not necessarily in the order listed. For instance, you may wish to put your rain jacket directly over your polypropylene underwear on a warm, breezy day. A final thought on clothing – experience outdoors people agree on one things when it comes to dressing for the outdoors p cotton does not work. Cotton garments are nice in the tropics but have no place in the mountains. When wet, cotton has negative insulating qualities and takes a very long time to dry. Concentrate on synthetics or wool fabrics when packing for Alaska.

1 set midweight Patagonia Capilene or Simms Bipolar Wading Underwear.

1 set fleece pants Patagonia El Capilene, Simms Power Stretch Guide Bibs or Bare Climate Control Underwear.

1 set midweight Patagonia Capilene or Simms Bipolar Wading Underwear.

1 Fleece jacket Patagonia Synchilla or Simms Wind Stopper.

Rain Jacket:
Your final layer should be a rain jacket. High quality GORE-TEX® type products are fine, but they must be seam sealed, multi-layered and of QUALITY construction from a recognized outdoor clothing company. Simms, Sage, North Face, Sequel, Patagonia, Columbia and REI all make some fine raingear. Jackets specifically designed for fly rodders are the best. Oiled cotton jackets are a fine choice and are comfortable to fish in. Barbour, Hardy, Orvis and Filson are the manufacturers to check-out.

Note: Always choose your rain jacket for its ability to ward off rain, not on how well the material is supposed to breath. Buy the best raingear you can afford, as being wet is no fun.

1 Simms Dry Coat or Raincloud, Barbour Spey Wading Jacket or Patagonia SST.

Anglers should bring enough socks to alternate on a daily basis. For a week’s fishing trip, four pairs should be fine. Do not wear the same socks every day, but alternate, having one pair dry and air while wearing the other pair. Wool, polypro or a combination of , are the best choices in sock material. Try on your socks with your waders, before you leave for your trip to insure that you have plenty of room to move your toes. Not being able to move your toes and cramping of your foot in your wading boots is the biggest reason for cold feet.


4 pairs Simms Smartwool Wading Socks, Barbour Eiger Socks.