Fly fishing in Alaska — it’s a dream for many of us. If you’d like to make that dream come true, Brad Elfers is the go-to guy. Brad has owned Alaska Fly Fishing Goods in Juneau since 1998, and he knows fly fishing in Alaska. Brad has worked as a river guide, fly fishing guide and ski instructor in southeast Alaska and the interior. In 1998 he opened Juneau Fly Fishing Goods, southeast Alaska’s first full-service fly shop. In 2008 he renamed the shop Alaska Fly Fishing Goods to better represent the ability to cover the entire state.
Check out their website. It’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet of Alaska fly fishing. Want to fish for salmon? Pick one: Kings, silvers, sockeyes, pinks or chums? How about steelhead? Or big rainbows? Or dollies or Arctic char? Maybe something a little unusual, like grayling or northern pike? Or maybe saltwater — that opens up a host of possibilities. Brad and the crew at Alaska Fly Fishing can put you on fish and make sure you’ve got the gear to catch them successfully.
But Brad is much more than a great fishing guide. He’s a force of and for nature in southeast Alaska. Take Montana Creek, for example. It’s one of the few creeks accessible by road from Juneau. It was also a perennial target for subdivision developers in a community consistently afflicted with a shortage of affordable housing. Trying to battle each individual proposal to drain the nearby wetland and sacrifice the fishing in Montana Creek was an ongoing battle for Brad and a small group of local fly anglers. So, they took the matter to the city, and after a protracted planning process they were successful in creating a 500-foot buffer on either side of the creek. Now, a decade or more later, Montana Creek is a shining example of how cities can make wetlands and riparian zones an integral part of the quality of life in a community.
Now Brad is a leader in the fight to keep America’s salmon forest – the Tongass National Forest that surrounds Juneau — intact anc functional. It’s a huge swath of temperate rainforest, bigger than many U.S. states. And it produces more wild salmon than all the other national forests combined.
This is the last best place for salmon in southeast Alaska. It’s roadless country, accessed almost exclusively by boat or plane, and it’s mostly untouched by human activity. Juneau is unique among U.S. capitals in that there are no roads connecting the city to the rest of the state. The U.S. Forest Service under the Trump administration is considering plans to open over 9 million acres to road building and old-growth logging.
So Brad is on the fight. He’s lobbying hard for the salmon forest, both in Juneau and in Washington, D.C. As he told my friend Christine Peterson (see the Summer 2019 issue of TROUT) “We don’t have any more chances left. There aren’t any more Tongasses. This is an American forest, not an Alaskan forest. It belongs to every American.”
That’s Brad Elfers. That’s a leader. That’s a proud TU Business member.
Alaska Fly Fishing Goods
Juneau, AK 99801