USGS Stream Data

Kenai Rvr @ CooperLndg

  • Water Temp: 44.24 ° F
  • Flow: 7020 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 10.91 ft

Middle Kenai @ Skilak

  • Flow: 9440 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 10.15 ft

Talkeetna Rvr

  • Water Temp: 49.82 ° F
  • Flow: 10100 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 6.46 ft

Situk Rvr

  • Water Temp: 54.5 ° F
  • Flow: 143 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 65.40 ft
Ask About Fly Fishing

Talkeetna River Musings…


This Spring at the Great Alaska Sportsman’s Show I watched a demo for a product being sold through Mountain View Sports called Hevi-Beads. Back too them in a minute…

Now anyone who knows me very well knows that Rich and I have not been great fans of the practice of using beads for trout despite their undeniable effectiveness. They just didn’t seem to be flies to us. So a couple of years ago we set out on a quest to come up with a way to fish beads – with the ability to make quick changes – and we came up with the Select-A-Bead system. A fly with a plastic tag that could be threaded through the bead (or two) and allow you to fish it like a bead head. We’ve tried them in a variety of patterns from standard eggs through Wooly Buggers and Bunny flies to Sculpins. Sometimes they work sometimes they don’t. We had days where they outfished everything else in the box and days where they didn’t catch a thing but regular beads on the line above a bare hook caught many. It was very frustrating. 

Then there’s the issue of colors and painting. Seems like everyone has their own special paint scheme to use that works for them. But painting is messy and time consuming.

So when I saw the Hevi-Beads demo (see, I TOLD you we’d get back to it in a minute) I thought to myself that this was something I could use. Not so much because of the beads themselves – although they are distinctive and because they are ceraminc, sink better – but because the method of attachnent to the line made them much more flexible. Rather than position them and ram a toothpick into them to peg them to the line, you use a piece of rubber band. Easy repositioning and ability to add to an existing bead without cutting the hook off and retying. Wow! Add to that the ability to pre=tie rigs and the ability to add feathers and fur to turn the beads into flies in their own right made me thing it was worth giving them a try. So I got some, the vise, the installation tool, and some bands and started messing around with them.

When we headed to Talkeetna last week for our first trip of the season I decided that I was going to take a chance and only carry these. No other flies. I knew Rich and Dennis were going to be concentrating on smolt patterns – Rich ties some killer tubular smolts! But I wanted to really give these a workout without being able to decide to dump them and go to something else. Only way to make sure I stuck with them was to take nothing else. All or nothing.

First I’ll say installation is easy. (Watch the demo below for the official blurb about how it all works.) The beads are significantly heavier than plastic beads, but not as heavy as glass. They’re also much less fragile than either. I doubt you could actually break one of these in normal fishing conditions. Finish is good with a lot of different color combinations and patterns available. They sink and drift great! I only had to add split shot in a couple of really fast runs. The rest of the time the beads themselves were more than adequate to hold themselves down in the water column.

They did snag in the rocks when they got all the way down. I lost a couple that way as the day wore on. But not a lot. I’m ok with them. Oh, and did I mention that they have UV activated coloring? I don’t know whether you’ve tried UV coatings or additives yet. I’m still not positive ut matters but a lot of folks swear by it. Can’t hurt, that’s for sure.

Anyway, they fished great. I spent most of the day running a double bead set about 2-3 inches above a hook with a little white marabou on it. (Still can’t quite bring myself to fish the hook bare. Quirky, I know.) Got one nice rainbow about 17″ long during the day. This was one of those times when the “fishing was great but the catching left a little to be desired.” However, since Rich also only got one fish, a Dolly, I didn’t feel too bad. When we got back to the launch ramp that evening Rhett from Tri Rivers Charters said if we had caught ANY fish we were doing better than about 90% of the folks on the River that day. THat made us feel a lot better!

So here’s a vid from Hevi-Beads about their system. If you fish beads you might want to think about giving it a try…


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