View Full Version : Going to Alaska
The family and I are heading to Alaksa in August for a little river fishing for salmon. Anyone got any hot tips or baits? How about tackle for salmon. I have never fished for them up there. Do we need northern/ musky type rods, reels and line or would heavy walleye/bass stuff be ok. I have 2 days planned to be guided, the other 8 days are going to be on our own so I want to be prepared. Any help would be appreciated.
01-10-2006, 08:25 AM
Email email@example.com and tell him that I gave you his email. He lived there for 15 years and goes back 2-3 times a year to fish/hunt. His family still lives up there.
01-10-2006, 08:30 AM
alagnak should have some good info. for you as well - he guides there every summer.
01-10-2006, 08:47 AM
Yeah- give me an email some time hamswank@hotmail and we could talk on the phone about specific gear when you're getting your stuff ready.
Unless you flyfish or want to get into it a little, you should be able to use most of your same gear with few changes. Salmon and trout are often taken easier by fly especially in moving water so I do encourage you to have that option for yourself as well.
I do have one thing to say about alaska. If you want to see the REAL Alaska you must give yourself the opportunity- and that means getting OFF the road system. Think about it, if you can drive there- so can EVERY OTHER PERSON IN THE US/CANADA. Even if you don't have the $ to spend on flying to fishing destinations you can (with some hard work) hike a little ways off the beaten path, raft, boat, whatever. When you get up there you'll know what i mean. There are very few roads in alaska, and millions of visitors. It could really take the fun out of some of your trip if you don't work hard (just like any other fishing) getting away from the crowds. The people can't stop you from seeing the beautiful landscape and wildlife, but it can put a bad taste in your mouth.
I don't work on the road system. I'm almost 400 miles from the nearest blacktop road so i'm a little spoiled, but when i have traveled myself before and after my fishing season it can be ugly.
In any way, shape or form you get there and travel it doesn't matter- if you've never been up there it will forever change you and haunt you everyday you're not there! I hope your wife likes it- because you'll want to move there if you're an outdoors type already!
01-10-2006, 08:52 AM
I forgot to mention- DON'T spend much money on tackle. Salmon don't feed in freshwater, they just hit things. So any bright colored/flashing ANYTHING like spoons or spinners work 99% of the time. It's not rocket science. And even though you may be looking at a thousand fish all laying in front of you (again- they're NOT feeding, just striking) they might not want to hit at that moment and it doesn't matter what you have in your box. Believe me on this one. It's hard for people to understand from down here but that's the way they work. There is no magic lure. It's just if they feel like striking or not. Time of day doesn't usually matter, hot sunny weather is usually bad though.
Thanks Mike, I will do that.
Alagnak, wow that's ton of info right there. I have been to Alaska and would like nothing more than moving up there...hopefully the wife(who hasn't seen it) will feel the same. I was up there about 6 years ago in December duck hunting. Can't remember the name of the place, but it was out of Homer and you have to go by boat. What an awesome trip. We will be staying at a resort on the Kenai river for 6 days and on our own after that. I am affraid most of the that time will be sight seeing more than fishing. I have told her and my sons we will be off the beaten path every chance we get. I ain't affraid of no stinkin bears....well maybe a little :D My plan was to get a bunch of pixie spoons in different colors, but that was about it for tackle. We do have 2 fly rods going with, but no one that has fished much with them. Thanks for the info. I will email you when the time gets closer and I start getting gear ready. When do you head up for the summer? Appreciate all the good advise.
01-10-2006, 11:38 AM
I head up a few hours after i get my grades in the computer and clean off my desk! (I'm a HS shop teacher) And come back usually late (during workshops) a few days before we start here.
I've been going up there since 98 and yes, have also been very close to moving year-round but it has it's ups and downs. I've turned down many bush jobs up there and am waiting for the right one somewhere.
Pixies of course are the #1 hardware thrown, probably tied with vibrax spinners. As far as line, step it up a few pounds per pound of fish than you're use to- those ocean fish tug and run like no other, especially in fast rivers!
With your fly rods stick to floating line and just use a 8-10' tapered leader and you can always add split shot to get your fly down to where you want it. In august the only salmon in the rivers (fresh) is going to be silvers along with some kings and chums probably spawning or spawned out. The good thing is silvers are very agressive (usually) and love the flash and vibration of gear more than flies usually (unlike some other species). Check your specific river but you may also be able to use bait (roe) for the silvers which is also VERY effective where it is legal. Out in Bristol Bay near me it's a no-no because of the trophy rainbow fishery and the rainbows key in on eggs (just as they do naturally) and inhale the rigs and get gut hooked- just like they do on the Kenai i'm sure so check to see if it's legal. There are also BIG bows in Kenai and some nice Dollys too that you can catch on lighter tackle (ultra light for dollys if you want) than the silver stuff. Heavy bass/pike gear will be great for the silvers and longer rods are usually a little better if you're shore fishing for obvious reasons but i wouldn't go less than 15lb unless you're in a boat. Any small stream you cross or hike to usually has plenty of grayling and other small species such as dollys or trout. Typical trout gear for that but grayling love dry flies. If you can't sight the fish, pick a bud off a tree or little piece of bark or something that floats and chuck it in the river and watch- they'll come up and nail it just to see if it's food so if you see a rise anything dry (fly) will prob. work.
I think our website has some general gear recommendations but i'm not sure about tackle (hardware). You can look if you want- alagnaklodge.com
And PLEASE don't worry about the bears! We have enough tourists up there already thinking they need to run around with a .480 or .454. If i'm camping and have food and am in a remote location I usually have a shotgun for peace of mind. Honest to god, where I work and fly into (Katmai National Park) has one of the heaviest bear populations per mile in the world and I haven't even carried a gun since the 3rd year I worked up there (and these bears don't see many people). The bears you'll see have seen more people than you can imagine and all they are doing is walking the shore looking for your fillet scraps or a spawned out fish- OR your lunch if it's not on a pack on your back- DON'T EVER set your lunch down while fishing unless it's by your feet or you'll turn around for a suprise and you'll go hungry! Get a can of bear spray which does work good and an airhorn- this way you, your family, and the bear is safe. Make noise like clapping and singing while going through dense brush and they will stay clear of you. Everything else i'm sure you've heard already like staying away from cubs and all that. Oh- and don't let them lick the mayo off the corner of your mouth!!!
Pete, all good stuff, thanks a ton. I am getting real anxious just talking about it. I can't wait to get back to that country and to show my wife and kids. I know my wife will fall in love with it. We are going to take a helicopter tour also and that should be a one in a life time event up there. Thanks again and I will email you mid may. If you think of anything else I'd like to hear it.
01-10-2006, 06:40 PM
I spent a summer in Alaska(South Nack-Nack), and caughts tons of salmon. We used big boats and huge nets. I worked in a salmon plant, that was the hardest I've ever worked.
01-10-2006, 08:49 PM
Tex- how many years ago was that? I don't know too many people who know where Naknek is! I fly in to Naknek (north) and King Salmon a couple times a summer if I have to for stuff. My lodge is about 45 miles north of there. I forgot the name of the bar in south Naknek. I know I felt scared for my life for many reasons the last time I stepped in there- its a rough town in the summer with all the commercial fishin going on.
My 2 roommates and I were going to do that between our 1st and 2nd year of college, but someone got cold feet and my future wife was not real thrilled about me being gone all summer after 9 months at college. I still regret not doing it. I work with a guy who did it several years and like you said, it's hard work. He was actually on a boat/ship and has lots of stories.
Pete, is there any thing that comes to mind as far as sight seeing. We will be at the resort the first 6 days then renting a vehicle and flying by the seat of our pants for 4 more days. Which way would you head from Saldotna? Is it easy to find a place to stay, mom and pop motel, camp site, or sleep in the vehicle with out reservations? I would think the tourism is slowing down by August or am I mistaken?
I remember where we went duck hunting... Seldovia, I think it's an Island.
01-11-2006, 06:46 AM
When in august will you be up there. Yes, the last 2 weeks of august are drastically slower because there are less families around with kids going back to school and all that so hopefully you can benefit from that. If you've never been to Seward that would be a great place for you to go with them. You can camp near and visit 'Exit glacier'- not that there aren't lots of them but this one you can hike near/around and offeres some great pictures and trails. There seems to be alot to do in Seward. I brought my GF there last june and we went to the 'sea life center' for half a day (awesome for kids!) to view and get hands on with some of the creatures. And you can camp at a couple diff. campgrounds right off the beach but yet have a town close by if you need anything. Very nice people and all that. My (x fiance) lives there now actually but other than that- great town. :D
I really haven't had a lot of time to travel around myself down there. if i go I go out of Fairbanks! I have friends up there and 2 years ago brought my grandpa's ashes up to his old gold claim near circle hot springs and camped for a few week and dug up some gold. That was awesome too as long as you like mosquitos as much as I do! If I think of anything else i'll let you know. Just remember- anything you do yourself with a little direction is going to be more rewarding, more fun, and less expensive than any tourist website some one's trying to sell you/suck you in to. Just my $.2
01-11-2006, 07:24 AM
I was there the summer of 95. We had a ball while we were there, but by the time you worked your 16 hour shift then spent a few hours in that crappy little bar and then tried to fit in sleep......No way I could do it today. While I was there the main thing I could not get over were the size of the bears. We would have them come right in our camp. On all fours those things are the size of a volkswagon beetle. But if your not far from there you probably know.
Pete, were are going the first week of August. How are the mequitos that time of year? I will check out Seward. I don't want to use any of those travel/tourism things just for the reasons you state plus I don't want to be in a traveling circus or play follow the leader. Thanks for the tips.
01-11-2006, 07:49 AM
Yeah- most people wouldn't believe it unless they see it in person. My pictures of even the biggest ones i've seen over the years really don't do justice. There are tons of them in and around town too. They love to get in the garbage and back of trucks before the salmon start running since they don't have any chow. At the lodge I work at, the corners of my cabin are worn down to nothing from them scratching thier back and $%^ on there. When you get up to take a leek in the middle of the light you peek out the window first I know that! :eek:
Now Pete, you just told me not to worry about the bears and then you say they are as big as a house :eek: :D
01-11-2006, 11:11 AM
Yeah but not down where you'll be. You go out west to the coast/alaska penninsula or kodiak and get into the coastal brownies and they can and do get up to 1500-1800 pounds- that's not bs-ing either, thats a fact.
:eek: that's a lot of brown fur right there.
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