Within a few days I’ll be launching the boat and begin searching for the tip of the king salmon returns. This is my favorite time because while there may be few or no kings far enough up river for me to fish the flies with Spey rods there will also be few to no other fishermen out. I’ve found them as early as May second and hope springs eternal with the salmon fisherman in me.

The flies I will use are all variations of a pattern I discovered within my first week in Alaska in 2004 as a resident. If you are planing to come to AK. to fish for kings it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have something like this with you.

This is pretty much what the original pattern I found looked like and it caught plenty of kings for me.

The thing about doing the guide business was that I could no longer live in the Stone Age with regards to my flies so I changed with the times. I began making tube flies and tying on Shanks as well. Below is what the AK. Assassin looks like today.

I have a hard time tying identical flies so all of mine vary to some extent but they all possess the same basic shapes and colors. The fish don’t seem to notice the subtle variations and with that in mind just tie whatever you can make that looks similar.


All of these share some common traits, all are tied on Pro Tubes, all are weighted to some extent, and they all possess the chartreuse butt – white middle and hot pink front collar.

The materials I use are Arctic Fox – Burnt Goose – and Senyo Chromatic fibers wound into a dubbing brush. The collar is a mix of schlappeln and marabou with a small cone behind the feathers to support them. I add trailing fibers from Amherst Pheasant and dyed Rhea feathers too. There’s no right or wrong but I do believe in the color combo due to the number of fish taken with these flies.

The next article down the stack here on the blog page is about hooking and landing the fish who bite on these flies. I hope you will enjoy or benefit from some of the observations I describe in the article and as always, I appreciate you stopping by this website.


  1. April 25, 2017
    rick granstrand

    Love yourwriting style, Ard. Picked up your blog from speypages. I have fly fished for steelhead since the early 70′s but am just getting excited about chinook so am very interested in your articles on salmon. Thank you, Rick

  2. April 26, 2017
    Ard Stetts

    Hi Rick,
    And thank you for leaving me a comment! There are many articles about the salmon here on the page, some are pretty far down the stack.

    I’ve used a bunch of patterns for kings but the one featured has caught more than all others combined. I’ve sent them to guys who fish in BC. for them and they reported that the pattern on standard hooks worked well there also. As soon that I find some fish I’ll start making daily reports here :)

  3. May 6, 2017
    rick granstrand

    Where did you happen to buy those cones on your flies, Ard, I really like them.

  4. May 8, 2017
    Ard Stetts

    Hi Rick,
    The flies are tied on Pro Tube components and those cones / discs are all available wherever Pro Tubes are sold. I believe they are now called Pro Sportfisher Tuubes. Caddis Fly Shop has a good supply of them and I have ordered from there in the past.
    They also have solid metal in many colors and a selection of drop weights if you need to get down.


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