Fishing Alaska on the Cheap

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Bradf0rd, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. Here's the story:
    For my and my wife's undergraduate graduation presents last year we were given money and told we could only use it on a vacation. A year later after storing it away, we're ready to start planning our trip and we've decided we're heading to Alaska (flying in and probably out of Anchorage) from June 15 to the 23. Our current plan is to fly in and drive around the area, take a ferry, take the train to Denali, etc. I'm looking for advice on getting some fishing done while I'm up there and it'd be nice to do it fairly low cost. No float plane trips or overnight things. Looking more at a day guided trip or something like that. Any suggestions?
  2. Bradf0rd -
    I lived in Anchorage for 2 years. There are a lot of places to fish right out of town. If you are looking for a day guide I highly recommend Susitna Valley River Guides, Mark is a great guide and knows what rivers are fishing well. He also has a web site

    I hope this helps you out.

    SB :cool:
  3. I can't be much help on places to fish, but if you want to stop in and have a beer and shoot the breeze, look me up. My company is moving me up there in April and i will be buying a place in Wasilla.
  4. I went last over the same dates as you are looking at this year. I will be up in Alaska again this year from the 13th of June til the 17th. There will be 6 of us and we are doing the trip for under $1000 and that includes fours night in cabins and 2 days guided fishing. E-mail me if you are interested in the cabins and guides names.
  5. One idea is getting the book entitled "Fishing Alaska on dollars a day" by Chris Batin. He presents the concept of staying at USFS cabins that are located primarily in Alaska's National Forests.
  6. If on the cheap, beware the prices for rental cars is crazy to say the least!!! Like 100 a day....
  7. Heading up in July myself. I lived there for a long time. Red's flying service has their own cabins and a good rep, Alaska Air Guides, Rust's Flying Service are good ones to check out. Red's and Rust's are probably the oldest services in town. Most of the flyouts are pretty close to anchorage so day trips are no problem. A couple of or three hours south to Soldotna/Kenai will hook you up with a Kenai River guide for Kings or rainbows, in June there should be plenty of availability esp on weekdays. Make sure to see Homer and Seward. Halibut charters are hot in June out of Homer for a shot at a 300-400 lb halibut and certainty of smaller ones. I'd highly recommend Kenai Fjords tour out of seward instead of a ferry. The 12 hour tour includes lots of birds, glaciers and wildlife, otherwise catch the columbia glacier tour out of valdez, fantastic. The train to denali is the best way to do that trip and make sure you take the trip into the park for some of the most incredible scenery on earth. The triangle from valdez to homer to denali is the most visited part of alaska and for good reason, it's some of the most senic. course it helps that it also has roads. As you pass through Soldotna take a trip out to Echo Lake Lockers for some Jalapeno Cheese Dip and Salmon Dip. Those items are world famous and they ship constantly all over the globe. Not to be missed. Get those round tortilla chips they sell at the shop to go with for the proper taste and you'll be hooked. Stop for breakfast at Sourdough Sal's in Soldotna and make sure you eat at Gwinnie's in Anchorage, and if you can, get into the Fly By Night Club for a show. They are closing in September after many years as the most famous nightspot in Alaska, guess mr. whitekeys is retiring. If you spot someone who looks like a movie star in the audience at the whale fat folleys or springtime in spenard, it's not a look alike, people come from all over the world. Chillkoot Charlies and the Hogg Brothers Cafe are just on up Spenard. enjoy.
  8. Thanks guys for all the ideas, especially Tony. I know Denali, Seward, and the fjords we're on the list. I was hoping to head over to the Kenai if I could, but a lot of it does depend on transportation costs. Is the drive from Anchorage to the Kenai for the fishing worth it?
  9. You could take the ferry over to Kodiak. That's a pretty cool place and there are a couple rivers just outside of town and from what I've heard the ferry ride is pretty cool itself. You might burn a couple days on the ferry though. Have fun
  10. yeah the drive is worth it. It's a great drive anyway, very senic, always something striking about it even though I've made that trip at least a hundred times. Check out for some rainbow info. the sockeye smolt migration will be about when you are there and the rainbows will be pigging out on them. You need to get about 100 miles out of Anchorage in either direction to find much fishing as a rule, unless you are flying. car rental will be your biggest expense by far. looks like I'll run into about 400 for flights and 1200 for a car when I'm there. Lucky for me I have free places to stay most of the time and a buddy with a boat. it can be a cheap trip if you are sharing expenses rather than solo. if i can ever figure out that car problem i'll make it a more frequent trip but i hate borrowing someone's car. one tactic is to rent from rent a wreck rather than an airport vendor. you have to take a cab to pick up and drop off though. If you go south the russian river and upper kenai are the first places i'd bother with fishing in june. expect crowds even if you fly out.
    not sure when the ship creek runs start right in anchorage, but of course that will draw a crowd. don't just look at a map and think that every stream holds fish because most don't either because of gradient or silt.
  11. Where would I call to rent a wreck. I will be up there for the last 2.5 weeks in June myself and remember a few years back renting a old white van with holes in the floor boards and all but it ran good for a pretty good price but since I had not set up the rental I no idea who we got it through.
    I will have an RV to stay at while I am up there and food every nights but I would like to rent a car since the group my not want to fish where I will want to. Most of the group fishes gear most of the time and the fly rod just for a change up when the coolers are already full.
    If not renting a wreck how about a scooter since all I really need it transportation for my self and small back pack.
  12. I will be up there 6/21-7/06,starting out in Palmer area then head down to the Kenai pennensula. If you see a crazy Idaho driver in a rented motorhome,its probably me. I've got some family up there,who I am counting on for current fishing info.,although they are mostly hardware throwers. Lochsabound,if you're around, I'd love to tip one or ten with you, Palmer and Wasilla are fairly close
  13. just do an internet search or look in the anchorage yellow pages. there are several rent a wreck locations in Alaska and they are actually very nice cars.
  14. last year or the year before my FIL and his brother were up there and paid A LOT for a rental car, mostly in 'airport taxes' I think. So the trick might be to get off airport property before you rent.
  15. Just booked airfare and now looking into guides and such. The rental isn't too big of a deal as I get a nice discount with USAA insurance but I'm looking into Rent-a-Wreck as well.
  16. My wife and I did a vacation in AK where we backpacked in Denali and fished the Kenai. I will second the vote that the drive is well worth it to the Kenai.

    In our trip, we flew to fairbanks, took the train to Denali. After that, we took a shuttle to Anchorage. I really thought the Kenai was one of the prettier parts of AK. We floated the upper river with guides. I can't speak about the ease of walking in fishing, but the road parallels the river and there were many bank fishermen.

    I'd love to go back and explore some off the beaten trail places.

  17. Well right now we're flying into and out of Anchorage on June 17 and June 22 respectively. We wanted to do Denali, but the stupid train up there is way too expensive and it would take three days out of our schedule so we ditched that part of the trip. Right now it's Anchorage on 6/17-18, Seward 6/18-19 for the Kenai Fjord tour to Fox Island and stuff. Then it's on to Soldotna for fishing on 6/19-21 (still trying to figure out the details of that part), and then back to Anchorage on 6/21 until 6/22 and we fly back to Seattle at 1:44 a.m. on 6/23 (only way I could use my free miles). Once we return to Seattle, it's two Mariners' games versus Cincinnati to see Griffey's return to Seattle. The Seattle part is the start of my farewell tour of Washington State as the wife and I are heading to Boulder/Denver area at the end of July as she begins grad school at University of Colorado - Boulder after living in Washington for our entire lives.
  18. For what it is worth, here's my thoughts for you. Long before I worried about "where" I was going to fish, I would look into "what" I was fishing for....I have lived in SE AK for 35 years with 4 spent in Anchorage. I can't recall when the sockeye runs on the Kenai begin but I would check. The Kenai is full of elbow to elbow fishermen when the fish are in. If this is a once in a lifetime trip then seriously think about flying in someplace. It will be much more enjoyable for you. After all, every fisherman from Anchorage south will be heading down that one road to Kenai and homer. Despite what everybody thinks, a lot of AK fishing is dependent of what fish are in and what is running. If you do your homework now, you will be happier I think. Not trying to discourage you, just alerting you.
  19. Bradf0rd,

    I can highly recommend Capt. Harry Temple, guide and owner of Little Bear Lake Lodging (907) 260-3779, Soldotna, AK. he can provide you with home style lodging in his beautiful log home (he has two seperate rooms in his daylite basement which over looks the lake in his backyard) Harry is also a very accomplished guide and will offer you some real great options for fly fishing.

    We stayed with him and his wife Barb last year and will be going back June 23-30th. That is just after you plan on being there. If you call Harry tell him the Bairds recommended it. Harry and Barb will treat you like welcome family, ask him to show some of his videos in the evenings after dinner :thumb:

    Check out my pics in the gallery.

    Hope your trip turns out great.

  20. Tony,

    You must have been last up here a long long time ago. Reds flying service has been out of business over twenty years, Air Guides sold out to Jim Air in the 90s, and then went out of business last year after crashing in a whiteout in Portage Pass. Rusts has changed to catering to flight seeing tours with big groups (connection with the tour companies). Whitkey's Fly By Night Club closed last year. Hog Brothers moved off of Spenard Road sometime in the early 90s into a Sizzler building. Fishing is substantially changed on the Kenai if you were last up here since all of those businesses were still operating.

    Check out Denali Rent a Car for off-airport older cars. The cars are not real beaters, but significant savings with them over the big Chains. For flyouts on floats you might check out Alaska Air Taxi, Trail Ridge Air, Regal Air or Ellison Air, however I heard that Ellison Air may not be operating this summer.

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