Kenai questions - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Kenai questions

The GF and I are thinking about a trip to AK for some hiking and fishing. It'll be my first time there. Thanks to some great info found via the search button, it looks like Cooper Landing on the Kenai will be a good destination for us. It'll give us plenty of hiking and fishing close by, and we'll be able to make the trek to Homer for some halibut fishing as well.

Just a couple questions, though-

What's a good time to aim to be there? I'm not picky about targeting a specific species, but it would be fun to get after some large bows when we're there. I've heard that some of the salmon (pinks maybe?) are only really caught by flossing, not into that. Swinging flesh & mice for bows would be more my thing. But I think the GF would be psyched for numbers/size of any salmonid, so that's something to consider...

What's a good campsite to look for? I read Russian River... Any others? Or, what's the best way to track down a small cabin in the area to rent for a week or so?

Any guide recommendations in the area? We'd like to hire a guide for one or two days to lessen the curve and then strike out on our own.

I'm still considering the lodge route, but it might jump the cost up significantly. It would also then be more of a dedicated "fishing" trip, and I know she wants to spend a good amount of time hiking, so a lodge for a week probably isn't the best bet.

Thanks for any suggestions! Cabin fever up here in the northeast is KILLING me right now!!
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 09:08 PM
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I'll send a PM

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 11:26 PM
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Cabin Fever?

Are you kidding me? Cabin Fever? Try SAD on steroids...

Back to topic, sorry.

Cooper Landing has a ton of hiking and Seward is a short hop, and so is Homer. Seward has glacier camping and hiking, way cool. July 4th is a race up the 3000 foot Mt. Marathon in Seward. Nationally known if you're tough.

Swinging flesh or leeches is more like it. Not so much for the mice on the Kenai. Check Alaska Fish and Game for sonar counts on what is running for when you're thinking. I would fish September. Tourists mostly gone and bite is on. Silver in at that time.

Recreation.gov has cabins and camping in the area. They control federal land reservations. Russian River is less family friendly and more Bubba friendly. More beer into the wee hours it seems to me.

The Kenai is considered three rivers in a way. Upper (no motors) Middle and Lower (closer to the mouth).

I like a guide named Dan Hardy. He runs the middle and does the single and two hand thing. Trout and salmon.

PM me, but that will get you started. It's all fun, all good.

Only 14 weeks until opening day (estimated).
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-27-2013, 08:18 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. I will send out a few PMs.

September sounds good to us- I should have said that we'd like to avoid the giant rush of tourism, so that would work out well. From doing some more reading I guess it's pretty well mobbed in June/July? And I hear September is really nice out there. Also would give me a chance to see aurora (a life goal )
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-27-2013, 08:33 AM
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1st 2 weeks of September has many advantages: Tourists are gone, most locals are focused on moose hunting, the sockeye are gone and the crowds that accompany them, the first of the late run silvers are showing, weather is turning but decidedly better than the latter part of the month.
Do not miss an opportunity to fish the Kenai Canyon (boat access only). You could rent an RV in Anchorage and use it as base camp. Campgrounds should be pretty open that time of year.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-27-2013, 03:49 PM
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I was there first 2 weeks of September a couple years ago, it still seemed very busy to me but I guess it is much busier in the summer.

The area was amazing so many hiking trails, your GF will be in her element if she loves to hike.

I chose to camp just a bit further away from the main event I was totally turned off by the main campgrounds especially the russian one too busy and too expensive. I camped along a beautiful creek right near where it flowed into Kenai Lake, great campground and much quieter. My apologies I have forgotten the name of the campsite.

If you have a chance to sneak down to the Ancor I would do so, the fishing was lots of fun there in september. Fresh steel and coho moving in on the tides. I caught both on the swing/ strip the locals will tell you the steelies there only take beads but trust me they will take swung flies as well.

Last edited by Pat AV; 02-27-2013 at 04:36 PM.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 07:51 PM
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I usely go in Sept. I figure it's the best time to catch a 30" bow, which is a life goal for me. Also the silvers are coming in too, which is fun. A popular spot is the campground at the Russian River. That is a great starting off point. Good wade/do it yourself fishing, good hiking and excellent bear watching. Cooper Landing is cool. There's cool little bars and restaurants along with some little motels that would be cheaper than doing the lodge thing.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 08:29 PM
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This just got posted today. Great scenes of the Kenai:

http://www.alaskaflyout.com/magnetic-north-episode-2
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 01:23 AM
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PM Sent...
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 10:46 AM
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I was lucky enough to fish on the KP last august/sept, and had a blast. We had lots and lots of pinks, quite a few silvers, and even got a very nice steelhead. Oh and about the Pinks, many folks will really kind of turn their noses up at them, but actually fresh from the salt they are quite aggressive and really fun to fish for; they do deteriorate pretty fast though once they hit fresh water. I believe it's the Reds that are often "flossed", from what I hear anyways. Sometimes good room to swing was not in the cards, but still found plenty of places to catch some fish.

We did float the middle Kenai one day, but honestly that was by far the low point of the trip as a whole. Lots and lots of boats, and the fishing was not as hot as we had hoped for. Also spent about an hour fishing at one of the drive up access points on the Kenai, and found about as great of a circus scene as I ever hope to experience. About an hour was more than we could take, even though the fishing was what I would consider to be "on fire" at that time. I'm not trying to be down on the Kenai river itself, but I would say that to really get into some quality fishing there you would want some time and/or guidance (and a boat). Otherwise there are quite a few other options further down the peninsula towards Homer. If you can I would try to work in a bit more time in that area, in part just for the scenery there... utterly stunning.

Have a great time on your trip, I can't wait to get back up there again myself!
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 12:57 AM
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Hello. There was an earlier thread where folks, including some that live there, discussed Cooper Landing. You can find it here: http://speypages.com/speyclave/showthread.php?t=62615

My family and I go there in August/September for the diversity of activities and proximity to Seward, Homer, Anchorage, etc. Like it and the folks in that area alot. Highly recommended.

Besides great fishing, hiking, biking, etc., expect to see lots of wildlife, especially if you spend some time on the coast.
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 10:39 PM
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kenai

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Originally Posted by KGJ View Post
Thanks guys. I will send out a few PMs.

September sounds good to us- I should have said that we'd like to avoid the giant rush of tourism, so that would work out well. From doing some more reading I guess it's pretty well mobbed in June/July? And I hear September is really nice out there. Also would give me a chance to see aurora (a life goal )
Feel free to shoot me a PM when you're plans are more solidified. As a former New Englander, I'd be happy to show you around a bit and maybe talk some Pats.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-08-2013, 09:32 AM
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One thing I haven't seen mentioned is the Cooper Landing bear situation. I've done this DIYer trip down the Kenai Penn four times....and like Copper Landing for being central between Homer and Seward. I've had three close encounters with Brown bears in this area.

Make sure you have some Bear Spray. The problem I see in this area...is the bears are TOO used to being around humans. I agree with everybody on going in Sept. Lots of big bows and Dolly's.....but there will still be plenty of old sockeyes in the tribs...and the reason the bears are still hanging around. My wife and I did the hike to the Russian River falls...and then fished back down to the confluence ...Easy...but beautiful hike...and then fishing your way down ...lots of fun and action...and didn't see another angler all day.

BUT got back to where we wanted to walk out and had a bear walk up on us...(22 feet away)....younger bear which worrried me more ...looking out for the SOW...but luckily he had been released by momma by then.

My point...great area to fish...and hike...just be aware of the brown bears.

Feel free to PM me for more info on the tribs in that area.
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-09-2013, 01:01 AM
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Alaska + salmon = bears

Just a fact of life. Yes, you need to be aware, but don't let it stop you.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 03-12-2013, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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Trying to condense all of the good info I've gotten here and via PMs- Thanks guys!!!
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