1st trip to Alaska for fishing - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Wink 1st trip to Alaska for fishing

Looking for any help or suggestions I can get with planning our first fishing trip to southern Alaska. Not sure how much we could do in 7-10 fishing trip but we were hoping to get to a few different locations and maybe a day or two traveling sight seeing. I've been told all the following locations offer a ton (Kenai, Soldotna, Seward, Juneau & Ketchikan) anyone have some words of wisdom to offer? Could we fly into Anchorage and out Juneau to experience more? Thanks for anything you can offer. Not looking for city visit, more country, woods, nature, rivers, boats & planes. From northern New England so more that type of dirt roads and great fishing.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 02:21 PM
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There would be more opertunities on the Kenai peninsula as far as rivers to fish. Ketchikan would be very limited unless you do fly outs, don't know much about Juneau but it is isolated like Ketchikan. Not much help but I spent some time in Sitka and there is not much to do(or get to) in SE Alaska without a float plane or a boat.If you get a chance do a float plane ride with a bush pilot!!
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Wishin I was fishin the Sauk!!!
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 02:30 PM
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I'm going to make a couple of assumptions here. Since you are on this forum, you are a fly fisher. "We" might be in reference to????

First, you need to do a little more research on Alaska. To say that Alaska is huge, does not do justice to the word. Bigger than Texas is just a start. The highway system, if you can call it that, numbers five. You heard me right, five highways in all of the state, none of which are Interstate, because Alaska is not connected to the lower 48. Everything else is gravel or dirt. The Kenai peninsula is a short drive from Anchorage. Not only is it a popular tourist attraction when the Salmon, especially the Kings, are in, it attracts the locals as well. Combat fishing at it's worst. Seward & Cordova are popular Halibut fishing destinations. Juneau is accessible only by air or sea. Ketchikan is much the same plus it is a cruise ship destination. When multiple ships, each carrying upwards of 3,000 passengers, are in port, you don't want to be there! Prince of Wales Island, is do able as a fly out destination, if you do your home work & can rent a forest service cabin for a week. Otherwise, rent a car & do what you can on the island. You can also rent a car & work/play/fish out of Anchorage. But keep in mind,,,

All Alaska residents are allowed to keep 250 fish/year, any species, any way they can catch them. To many Alaskan's fish are food. Needless to say, fly fishing is far from the most preferred method of stocking the freezer. With that in mind, there are several books on DIY Alaska.

If you really want to experience the Alaska that you've read about, you need to get away from the crowds. If (fly)fishing is the main attraction, with sight seeing subordinate to that, then a fly fishing lodge that does fly out trips is the way to go. Brooks Lodge is where all the Bears gather at the falls to fish. Probably the most photographed spot in all Alaska! The Valley of 10,000 Smokes is a fly over on the way to Brooks Lodge. Denali Natl Park is another popular tourist destination, although private vehicles are not allowed in the park. So it's either a hike in or tour bus situation. And don't be too disappointed if Mt McKinley is obscured by clouds. It's high, & it rains a lot in Alaska, the clouds are always there.

The best recommendation I can offer is do your homework. Talk to flyshops & travel agents. Airfare to Alaska is not cheap. It would be a shame to spend all that money to get there & come home disappointed. Oh, one last thing, timing of the Salmon runs is everything in Alaska.

Have a great trip.

I fish because the voices inside my head tell me to.

Last edited by JDJones; 05-16-2016 at 12:22 PM.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 03:40 PM
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More on Alaska

The number one thing I was advised on my first trip to Alaska was to count on rain every day. Invest in a good rain jacket. I think it rained the first three days & we kept asking our guide doesn't it ever quit raining? When it did quit, the bugs came out & then we were wishing for rain. Deet eats PVC fly lines! A nice dry lodge to come home to after fishing in the rain all day sure is nice.

Bears are a fact of life in Alaska, they are protected, they have the right of way, not because they are bigger than us, but because they were there before us.

Two hand rods are not the norm in Alaska, even at most fly fishing lodges. If you want to fish your two hand rod, choose a lodge that caters to two hand fly fishers. It makes for a much more enjoyable day on the water if everyone in the party is playing the same game.
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I fish because the voices inside my head tell me to.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 09:35 PM
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done it

I pretty much started where you are at 20 years ago. I have since returned to fish Alaska each year since then at least once and most times twice a year. Right from the get go, my buddy and I wanted to do it on the cheap, which meant no hired guides and no lodges. We bought and read every book we could on fishing Alaska and even 3 books on recorded bear attacks! After our first 2 years, we tried Southeast Alaska and honestly, have never looked back. The waters are protected (Inside Passage) and the numerous islands have tons of streams with plenty of fish. Years ago we would actually catch all 5 species of Pacific salmon, trout and char. Most recently, in the last 10 years, we fish spring for steelhead and fall for silvers (cohos). The kings are ridiculously huge, too huge for fly rods in my opinion and pinks not much more than annoying, no offense intended.

Travel partners have changed over the years, tons of planning between trips have helped refine our guidelines and that process continues today without fail. We pretty quickly opted to center our trips around the use of USFS (United States Forest Service) cabins located at the mouth or a particular river that was located on the saltwater. And, Southeast Alaska has most of the USFS cabins. Flying in proved expensive and weather conditions often resulted in unexpected delays. Saltwater lent itself to being transported by boat, which we hired operators to do. Once there, we either had kayaks or skiffs with jet motors.

After doing this for a few years, we bought our own skiff. Then we had the very clever idea of not using a cabin, but buying a larger boat and sleeping on it. Then we bought a series of Mokais (8 in totl)(check them out!) to get us further up rivers. Money invested over the years in pursuit of enjoying the outback adventure goes untolled, easily surpassing $100,000!! And this is all for one or 2 weeks of the year!!! Crazy. All of our gear is stored locally. We fly in, food shop, gas up and we are gone. I mention the money only to emphasize "Alaska" can become an addiction. Hey, my buddy just bought 3 acres and is now developing it. Alaska is a big, wild place and there is a lot to love about it.

Do you research. Ask, read and listen. Glad to give you more specifics, just PM me.

Good luck and hope you have a great time. Oh yeah, expect more rain in Southeast Alaska than you have ever seen before, it happens.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-10-2016, 09:53 PM
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Think outside of the box.. Smaller rivers away from the crowds offer some fantastic fishing, ie the Willow North of Anchorage with a stunning view of mountains and the Anchor on the Kenai Peninsula
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-11-2016, 01:25 AM
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Alaska is vast and the fisheries are varied. Do some research on the rivers, what you'd like to fish for, check on run timing (you can't catch them if they aren't there), and pick one area that gives you what you want. If you try and travel and see too much you'll end up like all the other tourists and be packed into the roadside hotspots and fishing on overfished and overcrowded waters. Get off the beaten path, and you'll find better fishing, but weather can blow rivers out so have backups and be prepared to roll with whatever comes your way.
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"Perhaps fishing is, for me, only an excuse to be near rivers." - Roderick Haig-Brown
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-11-2016, 06:25 AM
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Drop Ard a line. He know Alaska.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2016, 11:09 AM
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Also, I found Scott Haugen's books on fly fishing in Alaska to be useful, although it's kind of pricey.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2016, 12:18 PM
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first trip

Prior to Alaska, I had been a warm water fly fisher. My bucket list included bones, permit, tarpon, stripers, bass & northern pike. While striper fishing with a wise old Indian in Oklahoma, I was advised to check out Alaska.

"We" were into Bluegrass (picking) & had discovered a bluegrass festival in/around Anchorage in July. Based on that, I had checked out a few fly fishing lodges within close proximity of Anchorage. The thought was fly up there with our instruments (pre 9-11) plus fly fishing gear for one (me). Attend festival over the weekend, & then while I fished for a couple three days at a lodge, wife could shop & bum around Anchorage.

Fly shop travel agent talked me out of that. (1) Three days fishing is only enough to wet your appetite. (2) Don't waste your time going to a bluegrass festival in Alaska. You can do that at home. So I fished from a nice lodge for a week, met wife at hotel in Anchorage on return, rented a car & did a road trip for a week. That worked out well for both of us.

I fish because the voices inside my head tell me to.

Last edited by JDJones; 05-16-2016 at 12:37 PM. Reason: the Indian was right ;-)
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