Alaska fishing trip advice needed.
January 29, 2011 2:00 PM   Subscribe

Need recommendations please for an Alaskan fishing trip.

I want to take a fishing trip to Alaska between about April and September, and would like some recommendations.

It will be 3 or 4 people.
We'll be flying in from CA, AZ and ID.
Location in AK not really important, unless it drastically affects airfare.
3 - 5 days total. 2 or 3 on the boat.
Open to 2 or 3 day trips. or perhaps 2 or 3 days on the boat including overnight.
We would like the boat to ourselves. (plus captain and/or hands, but ideal would be without other customers)
No open 'panga' style boats. I'm thinking 32+ with bathroom etc...
I think we would prefer the ocean stuff (king salmon, halibut, etc..), as opposed to fishing for the spawning salmon in the rivers. But I'm open.
Hotel recommendations would be appreciated as well, or packages which include lodging.
Under $2k per person. The less the better. We don't need resort style hotels.

Thanks for any info.
posted by gummo to Travel & Transportation around Alaska (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Location in AK not really important, unless it drastically affects airfare.

Location in Alaska drastically affects airfare. For a fishing trip you will likely fly into Anchorage and then drive to Seward (2 hour drive), Homer (4 hour drive), or fly to Kodiak. You can do river and ocean fishing out of each of those towns. Another option is flying into Juneau from Seattle, but Juneau is filled with cruise ships in the summer.

No open 'panga' style boats. I'm thinking 32+ with bathroom etc...

You will not be in an open panga-style boat fishing in Alaskan waters. Most (all?) charters have bathrooms on board, they are very accustomed to working with customers uninterested in peeing off the side of the boat.

For a full-day charter, you can expect to pay about $300 per person to fish multiple species (halibut and salmon). But if you want to buy out a 32-foot boat for your small party you will be paying more. Most charters have smaller 6-passenger boats available with restrooms and cabins. I can recommend Inlet Charters and Central Charters out of Homer, both run by good people my family has known for years.

We don't need resort style hotels.

That's good, because Alaska has very few resort-style hotels, especially in fishing towns. Lands End is as nice as the hotels get in Homer; Seward and Kodiak are similar.
posted by rhapsodie at 2:34 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I second Inlet and Central Charters fir halibut. They're both good outfits. Fishing the Kenai river and the Russian river are your best bets for salmon. Fly into Anchorage and drive to Kenai/Soldotna/Homer. It's the most beautiful car ride you will ever take. There are a million ways to fish Alaska, but your first time should be on the Peninsula. As for hotels- its six of one and half a dozen of the other once you get outside of Anchortown. Have fun!
posted by madred at 7:22 PM on January 29, 2011

Juneau is filled with cruise ships in the summer

South Franklin street is filled with cruise ship traffic, a small part of the entire city and borough. You could easily visit the city, stay in any number of hotels or bed & breakfasts, and use it as a base to go out fishing (mostly likely leaving from the Auke Bay harbor) without ever stepping in cruise ship gift shop land.

A Southeast Alaska / Inside Passage fishing trip is certainly worth looking in to. Besides Juneau, Sitka is beautiful (also has Alaska Airlines jet service) and Gustavus is used as a base for fishing in Glacier Bay National Park.

That said, rhapsodie's recommendations are also good.
posted by D.C. at 8:03 PM on January 29, 2011

There's plenty to do in Juneau, but I would not recommend it as a fishing destination.

I agree with madred and rhapsodie, the Kenai Peninsula is where you'll want to go to fish. In late July, the Soldotna area is the best place for sockeye salmon and king fishing. You don't need to take a charter for sockeyes since you can catch them from the banks of the Kenai and Kasilof rivers. For Kings you'll need to take a charter although I've seen them caught from shore. If you go in September, the upper Kenai river is awesome for coho salmon and trout. There are also fewer people at that time of year. For halibut, go to Homer or Seward, or the Deep Creek area just north of Homer. If you want some solitude, there are plenty operators based on the Kenai Peninsula that will fly you across the Inlet, but that would entail forking over a bunch of $$$. The Kenai Peninsula is an awesome place to be in the summer time. Me-mail if you'd like guide recommendations or tips/info.
posted by Beardsley Klamm at 9:18 PM on January 29, 2011

I will only comment on trips out of Los Anchorage's Ted Stevens (God rest) International.

If you want to maximize your opportunities to fish for in-season species, you should choose to fish in July or August. If you fish out of Seward in April, for example, you probably won't be keeping, or for that matter catching, any cod or salmon. Here's a basic guide to the seasonal availability of sport fish. If you want more detailed data, there's plenty of free and easily accessible stuff out there. Especially helpful for timing the river run.

Since every other fisherman worth his salt will also carefully time his fishing trip, crowds will form, especially on the rivers. High season rental car rates are a major bummer, so that's another factor to consider. But the scenery on the drive down to Homer and Seward is priceless, so a car is worth it.

I highly recommend you reserve a national forest service cabin for one night, somewhere on your way through the Kenai peninsula, since many of those cabins are a short hike from the road, and are often right on a trout stream. Might be a nice way to get away from the crowds, break up your ocean fishing frenzy, and let your buddy from Idaho break out his fly rod. But those cabins book up fast, so you'd have to know soon.

Oh, yeah, and if you want, I will put you in touch with the tippy top, most nonpareilest guide ever for fishing Kings on the Kenai river.
posted by L'oeuvre Child at 1:08 AM on January 30, 2011

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