Ask the Pro's: DIY Fishing Trip Away From the Crowds
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I'm blown away by the shear number of opportunities for great fly fishing in Alaska. I'm in desperate need of a reset, so I booked some plane tickets and a camper van for Aug 29th - Sep 12th out of Anchorage. After reading through the Highway Angler and the Roadside Angler's Guide, it seems my best bets for a semi-DIY trip on the road system are either the Kenai Peninsula or the Parks Highway. I'll fish every day for 2 weeks, and hire a local guide for 1-2 days each week. There's so much good fishing in both directions from Anchorage, I had to ask the pros. If, as professionals, you had 2 weeks to yourself to fish either area, would you head north or south? (And what rivers/ creek would you target?) Nobody wants to spread the word about their favorite honey hole, and I appreciate any/all advice!
I'm seeking solitude but I understand that Labor Day weekend will make it hard during the first few days. I'd love to catch some salmon, but rainbows, dollies, and grayling fit the bill just as well if it means being in a beautiful location with some solitude. Thank you for time and advice!
Having two weeks, I would take some time to go both North and South. Heading south to the Kenai Peninsula, you have Quartz Creek, Russian River and the Upper Kenai to fish. While solitude is always great, that can be difficult along our road systems, but fishing during the week will be quieter than weekends. All 3 rivers will provide good trout fishing, while the Russian and Kenai will provide some Coho (Silver) Salmon as well. The Russian and Quartz are easy walk in wades, the Kenai is a little tougher but has plenty of public access points. Plenty of fishing guide options for the Kenai River, you can contact us directly if you would like some recommendations.
As for going North. Willow, Little Willow, Sheep, Goose and Montana Creek are all great wak in wade freestone streams. Great trout fishing, above the highway on all of these. If you want salmon, you have to fish on the down river sides of the highway. Salmon fishing up there has been tough the last several years and typically have has emergency orders closing them to salmon. I would look at these rivers as great catch & release trout and grayling waters.
Anything we can do to help, just let us know.
Thanks - MikeMike Brown - Owner of Mossy's Fly Shop in Anchorage, Alaska
Good on ya for heading up to Alaska! Be careful though you may never leave! You are so correct with the number of angling options, it can almost be too much to process. I'm always brutally honest with fishing advice so here it goes...
First, fishing during the time of your visit is some of the best of the year so good planning and timing on your part. There are salmon laying eggs which trout gorge on as well as decaying salmon flesh which is also a favorite for trout and dollies.
The Kenai Peninsula has amazing fishing opportunities both for trout and dollies as well as salmon (there are no Grayling in the Kenai). Some of the trout in the "middle" section of the river (accessible mainly by boat) are some of the biggest in the state, some trophy rainbow trout over 30 inch! This area comes with amazing fishing but not much solitude, the term combat fishing was coined on the Kenai. The Kenai is the main river on the peninsula though there are a couple more rivers further south down towards Homer called the Anchor river and Deep Creek. which have amazing Dolly Varden and Silver Salmon fishing. They don't have rainbows and you will be a little too early for steel head.
I like you, enjoy solitude and to me personally standing shoulder to shoulder or being boat to boat is not my idea of fishing. The Alaska Parks Highway system offers up amazing Trout, Dolly, Grayling, and Salmon fishing opportunities with lot's of rivers to choose from. The trout average around 16-28 inches so not the monsters on the Kenai or Naknek but still big wild fish. On the Parks hwy. system there is significantly less pressure so much more chances of having a section of river completely to yourself.
Lastly, the road system fishing in Alaska is amazing, both north and south. However none of them compare to accessing a river that has no road to it or by it! Consider doing a day fly out trip. It is worth the money.
I would suggest spending a little time in both areas (maybe a little more time north than south if solitude is a priority). Having an RV can get you to both and there are plenty of camping areas and places on the sides of the hwys. where one can pull an RV over and catch some sleep. Please feel free to check my website out and give me a call if you have any additional questions or would like to book a trip. Enjoy your travels and thanks for your time and checking out "My Alaskan fishing trip"
Cheers,Adam Cuthriell - Part owner of FishHound Expeditions. His wife Kathryn Cuthriell and business partner Dave "Reps" Repta make up the rest of the company as well as their dogs Hatch, Rado, and Pike. They fish, live, and guide in Alaska year-round. When not guiding on the rivers they guide ice fishing on Alaska's numerous lakes. Originally from Colorado, he began guiding at the age of 19 while receiving a degree in Outdoor Recreation Leadership. Adam is also a current state of Alaska EMT.
It can be quite tough to get away from the crowds on the road fishery system in Alaska, especially on the Alaska Parks Highway and also on the Kenai Peninsula. That being said, if I had 2 weeks where I could do anything, I would get out a map, a regulation book and plan on exploring some of the far reaches of the Parks System rivers and creeks for at least a week, then jump into the mix and go fishing on the Kenai River where you are likely to hook and possibly land the trout and salmon of a lifetime.
On the Kenai, you can gain access on foot in some areas, but for true trophy hunting, you'll need to hire a qualified guide. Not only will you have a chance at some monster fish, you will also, quite possibly, have a chance at multiple fish of a lifetime.
Best of luck!Dave Lisi - Owner/Guide for Cooper Landing Fishing Guide, LLC located in the small mountain town of Cooper Landing, Alaska where he is a year-round resident, guide, carpenter and trout bum. On any given day, you will most likely find Dave on the banks of the Kenai swinging for trout with his best friend and future wife, Jackie. Cooper Landing Fishing Guide, LLC was built in early 2017 with the goal of sharing the love and passion Dave and Jackie have for the Kenai Peninsula and the fish that live there.
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