Fishing Alaska on budget

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by gbhstrat, Mar 20, 2002.

  1. gbhstrat New Member

    Posts: 82
    Covington, Wa, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Does anyone know of a good way to fly fish Alaska on a budget? I am thinking about going to Alaska this year and staying with some friends who live in Anchorage. I don't have the $$ to a fly into one of the typical two grand a week lodges. Does anyone have any suggestions for good day trips, recommended low dollar lodges etc? I can deal with the $200-300 float plane trip if I could just find a reasonable place to stay. I have been really looking hard at the Talachulitna river area, but I can't find a reasonable place to stay.
  2. pwrbatrhatr New Member

    Posts: 7
    Everett, WA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    When are you going? I was in Alaska last summer with limited time and a limited budget (I was on a business trip). There are a bunch of streams in and around Anchorage that are a blast. Resurrection Creek is about 30 minutes away and was great for pinks in late July. There were also lots of bears and moose to be seen. You don't really need a float plane to find great fishing.

    Your best bet is to check out (I think?). There is a discussion board that is very useful and a lot of locals that like to help out. I even had one guy offer to take me on a dogsled ride along part of the Iditarod trail! Unfortunately work got in the way of my fun.
  3. Chris Bailey Member

    Posts: 120
    seattle, wa, USA.
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    My wife and I went to Anchorage and Kenai penn. on our honeymoon. I was looking for some cheap and easy fishing for one of the days we were there. I was directed to the Russian River not too far upstream from the confluence with the Kenai. There was an RV campground with a trail right down to the river. We were there in late June during the Sockeye run. There were alot of people around, but most of them were just snagging, I mean fishing, for salmon. It was pretty easy to sight fish for the rainbows using roe or flesh patterns or just cast behind a pod of salmon. The fishing was great by my standards. I was also told that if you hike the trail up river the fishing is phenomenal for rainbows. But, your just asking to see a bear.

    This would probably be a pretty lame trip for those who know Alaska, but with cheap airfare from Seattle, a rental car, and a couple hours drive (I think), I would definitely do it again. The drive from Anchorage is worth it.
  4. circlespey Member

    Posts: 244
    Seattle, WA.
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Bailey's suggestion is a good one. There are plenty of low-end places to stay along the Kenai River, as well as several campgrounds, and there are lots of car fishing opportunities and hike-in opportunities. However, on the Kenai (as well as any other place that's a drive from Anchorage) be prepared for crowds. The Kenai/Russian River confluence during the sockeye run has to be seen to be believed; this place defines combat fishing. Of course, the farther you hike, the better off you are, but you should just know this going in. The good Anchorage flyshops can recommend other driving options as well. For example, I've caught lots of grayling and rainbows on small creeks and lakes along the Denali highway. Also, the other major rivers along the Kenai peninsula are almost as fishable as the Russian. I have fished the Russian all the way up to the waterfall / lake, and the fishing is good but it's not appreciably better than 500 yards above the confluence (where most snaggers stop walking). One of my favorite Alaska memories is nymphing for rainbows on the Russian and hooking into a late run king on my 6 weight. Pretty fun on a river half the size of the Stilly. The thing shot upstream about 40 yards and then jumped over a deadfall and broke me off.
  5. scottr Active Member

    Posts: 450
    Chasing trout and birds
    Ratings: +106 / 0
    I think it was Fly Rod and Reel (maybe flish fishinga nd tying journal) that just did an article on Alaska on a budget. The authors idea of cheap was about $300 a day but they were renting a big truck/camper. The article does give some really good info on streams to hit neah Anchorage and down towards the Kenai.
  6. Chris Bailey Member

    Posts: 120
    seattle, wa, USA.
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    I had totally forgotten about the crowd where the Russian flows into the Kenai. It was entertaining to watch, like the Hoodsport hatchery in the middle of a river. I found that 99% of the people fishing in that area were targeting the sockeye as it was the heart of the run. I generally don't like fishing around other people but in an area that I wasn't familiar with that has bears I welcomed the crowd. Even upstream of the confluence there were quite a few people but I had no problem finding spots to fish for the rainbows. One spot, for example, had a whitewater chute that the salmon heading up and everyone was dragging their lures through that fast spot. I fished the slack water on the side and it was great for rainbows.

    Something I forgot to add in my original post was that a friend of mine did an RV trip recently from Anchorage and said that the rental fee for a small RV was reasonable, especially relative to hotel+rental car costs.
  7. fishnfella New Member

    Posts: 148
    Grand Coulee, Washington, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Fish till ya drop.
    Then suck it up
    and fish the evening hatch.

    As someone suggested, about the only really "Cheap" way is to take up a truck w/camper. Accomodations are out of sight on a per day basis even in the not so popular locations.
    There is a way cheap that works if there happens to be one near where
    you want to fish. There are FREE remote cabins maintained by the Tongass National Forest I think. You have to reserve them but they are
    FREE. Very primative, but safer than tent camping.Contact the National Forest Offices for details,locations,etc.
  8. n1507l New Member

    Posts: 24
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I guided in AK for several years and typically go back up for at least two weeks each summer. Sometimes when I go with my buddies, we go on a budget and you can do a great trip for cheap. Part of it depends on how many people you have with you (can you split car expenses, etc?). We did a trip two years ago for about $100/day (not including airfare).

    Keys to savings money on an AK trip:
    1. Camp. Not only do you stay closer to the water, it's $15/night.
    2. Take food and cook it - eating out kills your wallet
    3. Rent a car/SUV and split the cost with multiple people
    4. Go during the "off season" - Depending on what you're fishing for, September is the best time to go and everything's cheaper

    As far as fishing goes - if you go during "peak season" - you'll find crowds - period. The key during these times is to fish at rediculous hours. We would fish roadside creeks from 3:30 AM to 7:30 AM then again from 8PM to midnight. Sure, your sleeping pattern gets screwed up, but you avoid the crowds and the fishing can be great.

    Again, go in Aug/Sept - most of the tourists and families have gone home and the locals are working during the days. Someone else made a good point about remote cabins - there are several of these for free (or close to it).

    If you let me know what time of year you're planning on going or what you want to fish for, I can help you key in on some great areas. Also, let me know how much of a "budget" you're really on (this means different things to different people).

    One last thing: if you think those fly-out lodges are $2k, you're in for a huge surprise - even your "mid-class" ones are $3500/week now...
    SteveA likes this.
  9. n1507l New Member

    Posts: 24
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Oh, and if you want to fish the Tal (highly recommended) - float it. That's the only way to go. You won't find any "reasonable" place out there for a budget...
  10. gbhstrat New Member

    Posts: 82
    Covington, Wa, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Thanks for all the good info. I have the flexibility to plan my Alaska trip at almost any time from July through September. I appreciate all the good advice. I am debating between Montana and Alaska for my one fishing vacation this year. I can afford a guide in Montana for several days for the price of the Alaska trip so my wife is trying to steer me more towards Montana. I have never been to Alaska so I need to convince my wife that two trips are necessary!
  11. clancy New Member

    Posts: 9
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    There are some great streams within a short drive of Anchorage. Willow and Montana Creek are close and are no secret (though the crowds are not bad at all late in the summer). There are campgrounds on the river and I have seen people catch 10 pound rainbows, more than you can count in the 4-6 pound range.
    rwbailey05 likes this.
  12. n1507l New Member

    Posts: 24
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    You can get a full day float trip for easily less than $200 in several areas. Go in September and you can sight fish for monster rainbows all day long just hiking along many roadside streams. Egg and flesh patterns and you can catch dollies and rainbows until your arms fall off.

    Avoid July - that's the most uneventful month for roadside angling. The second run of Kenai kings are in and there are some sockeyes around - later in the month Ship, Montana, and Bird creeks get some decent coho... Still, you're better off in August or Sept.
  13. sagdvm New Member

    Posts: 2
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    We 2 are planning a trip into Anchorage Sept 19-29 this year. Have fished in Cordova at this time of year a few years ago and had a great time. Would be interested in something different. Would love suggestions for even a 4 dy float trip or cabin type experience . Thanks
  14. Woollyworm New Member

    Posts: 129
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I haven't fished in Alaska, although I had started the early stages of planning a trip there. Several folks recommended the following book:

    Fishing Alaska on Dollars a Day
    by Chris Batin

    Also, there are numerous cabins available to rent in the Tongass National Forest along the southeast AK coast. Apparently, many of these are situated on prime salmon fishing, if you time your stay well. It's my understanding, however, that you'll need to charter a plane or boat to reach many of them. Here's a website that may be of some use:

    Hope that's of some help. If you get a trip together, I'd love to know how it goes.

    Good Fishing,
  15. 0012 New Member

    Posts: 55
    Eagle River, Alaska, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Email Me I'll hook you up with some great trout and grayling fishing 40 minutes from anchorage if you caN HELP ME FIND som fish down there (Bass are nice!)
    Tight Lines From Alaska
    0012 :THUMBSUP
  16. DCL New Member

    Posts: 1
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I am planning a trip to Alaska, how do I contact you to discuss. thanks in advance for the help. We are looking to go in September for 10 days, renting a RV and looking to max out at 2K
  17. jeff bandy Make my day

    Posts: 2,413
    Edmonds, Wa.
    Ratings: +404 / 2
    Good luck, poster's last was 10 years ago.
  18. rwbailey05 GO COUGS

    Posts: 620
    Spokane, Washington
    Ratings: +43 / 0
    Two summers ago I was in Anchorage coaching basketball for 4 weeks. At the end i had a week left before i flew back to seattle. Spent my time fishing out of an RV all around Anchorage, found the best success by stopping and talking with some local fly shops. When i explained my situation they were more then helpful in guiding me to some fish. Even had one owner come out with me for an afternoon and get me into some amazing Rainbows!

    Put Montana Creek on your list, easy camping and great Rainbow fishing. Clancy was not exaggerating when he mentioned big rainbows!
  19. Josh Stroud Active Member

    Posts: 245
    Ratings: +71 / 0
    You can actually get a guide on the Kenai for a decent price. I would suggest doing this for at least one of the days why you are there. You can fish from the banks but will have much more success from a drift boat. There are also great streams just north of Anchorage that can be easily accessible, just be sure the check the USGS as some of these river can get blown out quickly with the AK summer weather.
  20. gator7354 Member

    Posts: 42
    Greenacres, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    You have gotten a ton of good advice from several of the above posts.
    I have fished in Alaska 5 or 6 times and try to spend 10 to 12 days when I go. About half those days I do it on my own to cut costs. When I go, I try to be there at least the 1st week or so in September and spend it on the Kenai Peninsula. At that time you have a chance to have very good fishing for rainbows, and dollys. If you get some rain or snow you will get fresh silvers entering the rivers daily, kings are done by then and the pinks on the odd years pretty much suck after they hit fresh water in a day or so. There are 4 rivers besides the Kenai and Russian I have fished and done well on at times, and it would be worth it to spend at least a little time on, they are Deep Creek, the Ninilchik and Anchor Rivers for silvers with the right water conditions, Quartz Creek has always fished well for me for dollies.
    The best day I ever had fishing in Alaska was fishing was with Billy Coulliette at Trout-Fitters in Cooper Landing, we fished the Kenai below Skilak Lake the 1st week in September, I've guided for 12 years in Wyoming and New Mexico and Billy is the best guide/fisherman I've ever been on the water with, great teacher as well. He's the kind of guide I would like to be. I would fish with Dusty at Trout-Fitters she is a very good fisherman/guide as well, and a good person to spend a day on the water with.
    Understand salmon runs very from year to year, so most of my trips have been centered around rainbows and dollys, I look at salmon as somewhat of a bonus. I also would read the book Flyfisher's Guide to Alaska by Scott Haugen, over all its a pretty good book, at least the parts on the Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak Island that I know.
    If I can help you in anyway shoot me and email with a phone number by the middle of April. From late April to late September I'm on a 593000 acre ranch in NM with no internet, and cell service that works on about 100 acres.
    Good luck with your trip