Ask the Pro's: Fishing & Wildlife RV Trip
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Hi my wife (Doesn't fish but loves wildlife) and I will be in Alaska from July 8th.- July 23rd. most of which is already booked from the 8th-19th. We do have a RV rented on the last leg of our trip from July 19th.- July 23rd. So would like to know if there are any good trout or salmon fly fishing creeks, streams, accessible by RV which maybe we could spend the day or two fishing and photographing wildlife?
We will be picking up the RV in Anchorage on the 19th, and really had no plans as of now so anywhere within a reasonable drive for Anchorage for our trip.
Picking up a RV is an amazing way to see Alaska, fish, and view wildlife. You have 2 options from Anchorage, you and your wife can travel south towards the Kenai Peninsula or north towards Denali. There is fishing and wildlife in both places. Here are some of the differences...
The Kenai River is a big glacial river, a beautiful turquoise blue with good access and good fishing. It has some of the biggest trout in the state, some around 30 inches! It is about 3 hours south of Anchorage. It draws some amazing salmon runs and has great trout fishing. It also draws a ridiculous amount of people, it is where the term combat fishing was coined. At the time of your visit the Sockeye will be thick and folks will be shoulder to shoulder (literally) catching them. Trout and Dolly's will be feeding on the eggs they are laying. There are many guide services and independent guides, too many to count or name to be honest. There is a decent chance of seeing brown bears feeding on the Salmon especially at a tributary named the Russian River, it is a beautiful little creek full of fish, bears, and lots of people.
Your other option is to travel north towards Denali. There is amazing small river and creek fishing all along the Alaska Parks Highway. This is one of the locations where my company FishHound Expeditions operates. We are in the little town of Willow about an hour and 10 minutes north of Anchorage. We have incredible trout, Arctic Grayling, and Dolly Varden fishing as well as great salmon runs. Kings, Chum, and Pinks should be there during the time of your visit. We see moose, bear, and eagles. Our rivers are clear water not glacial like the Kenai so one can see all the fish in them. Our trout range from 12-27 inches as the rivers are smaller than the Kenai.
Denali is about a 5 hour plus drive north of Anchorage and offers some of the prettiest views in the world and lot's of wild life. There are probably a dozen rivers that the cross the Alaska Parks Hwy. towards Denali. All have decent to good access. The Kenai is close to the town of Seward which is incredibly beautiful where the mountains meet the ocean.
A 9 wt. is an ideal salmon rod but a bit heavy for trout, though it will accomplish the job. Both floating and sinking lines are used through out the state depending on preferred method of fishing. We fish beads to imitate salmon eggs. Dolly Lamas and Sculpin/leach imitations are a must. Smaller Stone flies both as dries and nymphs are recommended as well as some basic Caddis imitations. The fish in Alaska are typically not as picky as fish in the lower 48, "on most days!"
Please feel free to call or email with any additional questions. Thanks and good luck!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.
July is a beautiful month here, but it is a busy month on the rivers as well. The Northern streams along the Parks Hwy will provide great trout/grayling fishing and possibly some Coho (Silvers) salmon and some Chum's as well. The wildlife viewing will be a little tougher, unless you travel further up the highway.
The Kenai Peninsula will provide good fishing for 2nd run Sockeye salmon as well as trout and dolly varden. This will be the busiest place, as it has the most popularity. The Russian River will provide good bear viewing and great trout/dolly fishing as well. You can travel down to Homer as well, pretty cool to drive on the furthest southern road we have. Homer is a neat little town on the water, you can also take a halibut trip too.
A wildlife viewing trip out of Seward might be a good option as well. These boat trips can provide a good shot at seeing whales, birds, otters and sea lions as well as some very beautiful scenery.
A guided fishing trip on the Upper Kenai would be a good option. The Upper Kenai is a beautiful float, great fishing and the opportunity to possibly see a few bears.
I hope this helps. If you have more questions or want some guide recommendations, please let me know.
Thanks - MikeMike Brown - Owner of Mossy's Fly Shop in Anchorage, Alaska
It sounds like you have a great vacation planned and I want to welcome you to Alaska in advance! The last leg of your trip in an RV will definitely be a great way to round out your stay in Alaska. Within a couple of hours from Anchorage there are countless streams, rivers and lakes - all with incredible fishing opportunities. The most important thing is to think about is what species you'd like to target and then it is much easier to narrow down your options as well as the appropriate rod and fly setups. With that being said, a critical component to roadside angling in Alaska is the overwhelming variety of regulations that are associated with our individual fisheries. You'll definitely want to pick up a regulation book and comb over it carefully.
With respect to the fishing and species, that time of year can be really good for dry fly and streamer fishing for trout and grayling and can also be a very productive time of year for king salmon fishing on a fly. Further, many roadside fisheries, such as those here on the Kenai River, offer incredible Sockeye Salmon fishing from the bank (although access points and banks can be quite busy).
If your goal is to catch some feisty rainbow trout and grayling, the drainages of the Susitna River can be a lot of fun that time of year as well as the rivers I guide on here on the Kenai Peninsula. If you'd like to gear more towards salmon, the sockeye fishing on the Kenai River is hard to beat and the small stream fishing for Kings (and even big river fishing for them) can also be quite rewarding.
Often this time of year can be great for combo float trips for both Sockeye and Trout on the fly. The floats on our rivers are incredible and are excellent for experienced anglers and beginners as well.
Hopefully, this helps you narrow down some ideas for your RV fishing adventure! I hope you have an incredible Alaskan vacation and tight lines!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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