Ask the Pro's: Husband & Wife - Fishing, Hiking & Sightseeing
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I have to start by saying THANK YOU!!! Your site is a treasure trove of amazing information. My wife and I are coming to Alaska for the first time July 27- Aug 6. I'm an avid fisherman my wife does not fish at all but will indulge me a bit. We're starting off in Homer and making our way north to Talkeetna with stops in Soldotna, Cooper Landing, Seward and Girdwood along the way. . My questions are:
1. While in Homer are the half-day Halibut trips worth the time and money(my wife doesn't fish and isn't into a 12 hour day on the boat though she will come with me).
2. We have a half-day float trip on the Upper Kenai booked for rainbow trout again worth it?
3. Along the way through the Kenai Peninsula and up to Talkeetna I would like to be able to fish without a guide for Salmon, trout and whatever else would bite(maybe a lake that has some pike). I could definitely use some suggestions on where to go that may not be elbow to elbow and also what gear I will need both spinning and fly. Lures, line weights, flies, etc.
Hike in trips would be great as my wife loves to hike and would make her very happy to hike then stop and fish then hike a bit again.
Also, any Non or less touristy things to do along the way that would awesome to see and do would be appreciated.
Thank you all in advance,
Your coming at a beautiful time of year that should provide some great views and some good fishing.
1) If you are going to be in Homer, it’s well worth doing a little halibut fishing, great fish to take home with you and some incredible scenery to be seen.
2) The Upper Kenai River is a beautiful float and a great fishery. Your timing is going to be in between Sockeye Salmon runs but you should find some good trout action.
3) As for some lake fishing along the drive to Talkeetna, if you want to try for some Pike, try South Rolly Lake and Nancy Lake. Both of this lakes are easily accessible via the road system and are both North of Wasilla.
4) For some hike in stuff, while you are in Cooper Landing, you can hike into Crescent Lake (access from Quartz Creek Rd.) or you could hike into the Lower Russian Lake of falls. Crescent will provide some grayling fishing, while the Russian will provide bear viewing and trout/dollies. Either of these hikes you will need to be bear aware.
5) On the fly side of gear; 6wt for trout and 8wt for some salmon would be perfect, you could get away with a 5wt for trout and a 7wt for salmon if you are careful. Anything over an 8wt would be great for salmon. Flies for salmon, since it’s Sockeye season, I recommend small chart type flies, like a Mini Krystal shrimp. Sockeyes are a tough one to get to eat a fly, but against popular belief, they will. For trout; typical trout dries like Stimulators, Caddis, Adams, Irresistible, Purple Haze. Nymphs, Hares Ear, Pheasant tails, Copper Johns, Prince. Streamers; Black, Brown and Olive sculping and leech patterns. Egg patterns and flesh will also be on the menu as well. You will want waders, rubber soled boots (Alaska is a no felt state), good rain gear and warm layers. I am not the right person for the hardware tackle questions.
Anything we can do to help or answer any questions, just let us know.
Thanks - MikeMike Brown - Owner of Mossy's Fly Shop in Anchorage, Alaska
We're so glad you've chosen Alaska as your destination this summer! Here are some thoughts on your questions below:
1. Half day halibut trips will be well worth the time if you are looking to take some fish home. It is not as easy to get on numbers of big fish, etc but you should be able to catch fish to take home; likewise, there are other species you may encounter on such a trip as well, making it worth your while. This type of fishing can be great for folks with little experience or who aren't into fishing as much as you are.
2. As with fishing out of Homer on a half day, a half day of fishing on the Kenai River is also great. The bonus to this part of the river is that you drift through wonderful scenery, there are no power boats and the rainbow fishing can be great. This is also excellent for all types of fishing and also great for beginners and experienced anglers alike.
3. There are lots of places that are suitable for fishing without a guide. There are plenty of rivers, streams and lakes with easy access on the road system. Since the access is relatively easy, you have to do a bit of hiking to get away from a few other anglers. The number one thing to think about when fishing without a guide is the abundance of regulations with respect to species you are allowed to target (many small streams do not permit targeting salmon at all), there are also hook restrictions (many places you can not use treble hooks and hook gaps can not exceed 3/8" in some areas), other destinations do not allow the use of bait as well, there are also local customs like not retaining trout, dolly varden or grayling on rivers and streams even though the regulations may allow for this and you'll want to be aware of bears and moose this time of year especially. This is prime time for bear activity with spawning salmon as well as nearing mating season for moose.
As far as gear: for fly fishing, you can get away with 9' 5 wt rods on small streams for trout, but you'll want something in the 8 or 9 wt range if you plan on targeting salmon. For spinning rods, medium or light tackle rods are great for trout and you'll want more of a medium to heavy rod for salmon. There are a large variety of flies and lures that work for trout and salmon. Most stuff you'll want can be purchased locally with the help of shop professionals such as those at Mossy's Fly Shop in Anchorage and other outfitters along the road system.
For other activities, there are lots of hiking trails in Alaska, fun little stops along the road system and unique destinations. As you travel from one destination to another, you'll want to plan extra time as you'll no doubt see something that catches your eye like fish viewing platforms, glaciers, majestic views, etc. Even though we live here, we still find ourselves pulling over often to check out random sights.
I really hope this helps! I know I didn't lay out too many specifics, but this is the sort of place where you will want to take your time, explore and discover things naturally. Once you arrive and "get your feet wet" you will see what I'm talking about.
Thank you so much for choosing Alaska and we hope to see you out there!
DaveDave 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.
Neil congrats on you and your wifes upcoming trip to Alaska! My personal apologies for the delay in getting this answered for you, my family and I were on a backcountry ski trip and just returned back to our version of reality. Homer is beautiful! As far as the half day trip fishing for Halibut, it could very much be worth it. It just takes 1 big fish to fill the freezer and memory! But, you are talking to a fishing guide so take that into account. Another option would be for a short drive to the Deep Creek area. There boats/charters don't typically motor out that far so more time is spent with lines in the water. Also if your wife comes it is not uncommon to see sea life while out fishing. A definite added bonus for anyone!
Fishing the Kenai River is a cornerstone of Alaska fishing and has a great trout population. It is beautiful but, it does see it's share of angling pressure, if solitude is the main focus your money could be better spent elsewhere. However, you should catch some nice trout on a 1/2 day float. If solitude and trout are more your focus fishing along the Alaska Parks Highway river systems offer both. Here the rivers generally require a full day as opposed to just a half day if time is an issue. There are many angling opportunities to fish without a guide from Kenai to Talkeetna. You definitely need to consult the regulations for each different river because rules and regs vary greatly from river to river. During the time of your visit you will need a good selection of beads to imitate the different sizes and stages of the salmon eggs that are present in the water. These make up the majority of our fish's diet. In addition to beads, big streamers and some flesh patterns work well for the trout/dolly's/grayling. Salmon will look for larger bright streamer imitations generally. For spinning tackle smaller spinners work well for trout and larger brighter spoons for salmon. Regardless of method all hooks need to be single hooks, no treble or double hooks. We tend to fish 6-7 wts for trout and 8-10wts for salmon. Our fish aren't leader shy, the most techy I ever get is 8lb mono. Typically I fish 10-12lb. Crescent Lake above Cooper Landing would be a good hike/fish option for you and your wife. Up north there are many opportunities on smaller creeks for hiking and wade fishing. Good luck!
Cheers - AdamAdam 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.
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