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Thread: Alaska trip help

  1. #1
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    Default Alaska trip help

    Hi Everyone, I'd love to hear your thoughts on where I should try to fish in the last week of May/first week of June. I'm taking my father on a dream trip for both of us and that's the only time slot that works.

    We'd like to target both Halibut and Salmon and we're basically open to going anywhere (aside from one of the expensive lodges - simply don't have the budget). Right now I'm considering flying into Anchorage, renting a car and driving out the Kenai Peninsula to fish in a few spots - maybe the Kenai river, Homer, and somewhere else. This plan would also give us the chance to see the Peninsula a little bit, which we've always wanted to do. As I understand it, this area also allows for 2 halibut per day unlike SE Alaska (correct me if I'm wrong). Might be able to sneak in a day of razor clamming as well.

    My second option would be to go somewhere like Sitka and just fish that one location for several days. Though I've read that late May might be a little early for SE Alaska.

    Any other options worth considering? At this point, I'm completely open and really want to do everything possible to stack the fishing odds in our favor. We would also be using charter guides the whole time.

    Cheers!

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    I have fished mid april with Daniels out of Anchor Point/Homer. We limitted on rockfish, almost limited on halibut (6 of us) and caught 3 kings - in one day. One of the halibut was 60 pounds. They have a very nice "cabin" that was very reasonable early season (rates go up during peak, but I don't know the dates).

    May/June might be real tough fishing inside because I think that the King runs are going to be dismal again this year. If I were you, I would focus on the saltwater. By this time, the saltwater will be doing good out of whichever Port you choose.

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    I agree with Bullelkklr, Homer would be my choice given the time frame you have to work with. Certainly the fishing in the salt (halibut, rock fish and maybe even feeder kings) will be going strong, and I wouldn't necessarily rule out the Kasilof for kings.

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    do your clam digging early the first week when the tides are extreme and also salmon fishing. when the tides decrease go halibut fishing.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I would go to Southeast - maybe Petersburg, Coffman Cove, or perhaps Sitka. The kings in the salt should be good by then, and the halibut/rockfish/etc. will all be great as well. Yes, you'll only be able to keep one halibut/day, but the king fishing will likely be far better and there are loads of small streams where you can likely get into great dollie and cutthroat action.

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    I've been doing some planning myself for trips around that time frame and like retiredinhomer stated the tides will be big during the last week of May (28th of May has a 25' tide in the Cook Inlet). That tide is great for clamming, but it makes it difficult for bottom fishing if your chosen charter likes to anchor up versus drifting.

    During those big tides I tend to bottom fish out of Seward but with the right captain who knows how to and enjoys drifting, the bigger Cook Inlet tides can be fished.

    Feeder Kings in/around Homer will be your best bet. The early season King runs (Freshwater fisheries)have been dismal; the seasons may be closed by the time you and your father get up here.
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


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    Yeah, I'd certainly consider Homer as well. Last year on June 8th, despite the lousy king runs and a big tidal swing day my clients got a limit of halibut and then we went up past Anchor Point and got a limit of three kings:

    There are plenty of "feeder" kings around at that time, and if the king run is strong enough there are lots of spawning kings around in the salt, too. And if the kings do decide to show up this year then there would be wonderful river fishing in both the Kasilof and the Kenai to take advantage of.

    And don't be that concerned about the tides. As AKArcher says, a good captain knows how to fish any tide. Having a big tide swing is NOT detrimental to bottom fishing. You just have to know how to do it. My clients got this limit

    of halibut (the big one there is 39 lbs.) on June 4th last year and the tide swing that day was one of the biggest of the year with a minus 5.5' tide at 9am and a plus 19' at 3:30pm. Yes, it is possible to catch very nice halibut on a big tidal swing day.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
    http://muttleycrewfishing.com

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    Member AKArcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post
    And don't be that concerned about the tides. As AKArcher says, a good captain knows how to fish any tide. Having a big tide swing is NOT detrimental to bottom fishing. You just have to know how to do it.
    I think the key thing here is to make sure you go with a Charter Captain that knows what to do on those big tide days; ask them directly if they drift on high tide days before you book your trip. Bait checks and sorting through chickens on a ripping tide will turn even the more experienced deep water anglers arms/back/shoulders into mush.
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

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    Thanks for all the great replies so far. It sounds like both Homer/Kenai and SE Alaska are doable; with SE Alaska maybe winning the better fishing category in late May but Homer definitely being an option with the right guide. How long is the run to the fishing grounds from Homer, Anchor Pt, etc? Is there a specific town that would be best to book from? With a limit of 1 king and 2 hali's per person, i assume it's not that difficult to limit out? Or do you then just move on to rockfish and other species.

    Lastly, is the drive from Anchorage to Homer/Anchor Point scenic - anything in particular we should make sure to do?

    Thanks so much and I'm still open to location recommendations.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKArcher View Post
    I think the key thing here is to make sure you go with a Charter Captain that knows what to do on those big tide days; ask them directly if they drift on high tide days before you book your trip. Bait checks and sorting through chickens on a ripping tide will turn even the more experienced deep water anglers arms/back/shoulders into mush.
    Thanks for mentioning that because it brings up the experience of the captain as well. Some captains use baits such as squid and octopus, or jigs with scent applied that doesn't necessitate having to check your bait every time you get a missed strike. I have spots that I fish in around 120' of water where jigs are often times more effective than any bait I've ever tried. And, yes, bait sometime IS more effective, but you certainly want to fish with a captain that is going to do everything he or she possibly can to get you the best fish possible.

    Definitely check out any potential captain's website to see what kind of fish they were able to dredge up from the depths last year AND what the captain has to offer to you. And don't hesitate to email them and just drill them with questions. That alone can help you weed out the good from the bad. A good captain will be more than happy to give you all the information you seek.

    And if you do decide to come to Homer, DON'T forget about Seward and even possibly Whittier. I LOVE Homer, but I think the scenery out of those two places is unparalleled when it comes down to just plain beauty. If you can manage to do it, do a trip out of each spot, even if just for one day and I doubt you'll be disappointed.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
    http://muttleycrewfishing.com

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishseeker29 View Post
    Thanks for all the great replies so far. It sounds like both Homer/Kenai and SE Alaska are doable; with SE Alaska maybe winning the better fishing category in late May but Homer definitely being an option with the right guide. How long is the run to the fishing grounds from Homer, Anchor Pt, etc? Is there a specific town that would be best to book from? With a limit of 1 king and 2 hali's per person, i assume it's not that difficult to limit out? Or do you then just move on to rockfish and other species.

    Lastly, is the drive from Anchorage to Homer/Anchor Point scenic - anything in particular we should make sure to do?

    Thanks so much and I'm still open to location recommendations.
    From the harbor to where I normally fish for halibut is about a half hour to an hour. For kings it's about the same.

    Anchor Pt. is right in the heart of the "king area" if there are spawning kings around. If you go with a charter service that launches from the beach there you only have to go 2 miles to "Whiskey Gulch" or the "South Marker" to get to fish like the three you see in my previous post. And they'll just run you out to the "halibut grounds" 15 minutes to half an hour out. But Anchor Pt. is 20 miles north of Homer and there aren't a lot of places to stay up that way that provide the amenities that Homer provides.

    If you go out with a charter captain that can't limit you out on Halibut you didn't pick the right charter captain. It's almost impossible to go out there on a good water day and NOT limit on halibut. It's just a matter of how big a halibut you're willing to keep.

    Kings kind of depend on the day. Like I said before, if the king run is "hot" then the fishing will be hot as well. "Feeder" kings can be hit and miss, but a good captain should be able to get you onto at least a few.

    So if you plan on fishing the lower Peninsula area I'd definitely book out of Homer. BTW---I'd totally disagree that SE would be a better pick than anywhere on the Peninsula---Homer OR Seward. You can go out each day from Homer and catch 2 halibut per person. And if the king run is good you can get into some incredible king action. In SE, there's absolutely no guarantee the king runs down that way won't be bad either. It's always a "crap shoot" wherever you go. If you notice in Brian's post about SE he says the king run "should be good by then" and "likely be far better" than in the lower Peninsula area. I'd take "will be" and "definitely better" but I'm not sure I'd bet on "should be" and "likely be" if I'm looking for the best fishing. Just because the king runs have been on the poor side for the last number of years doesn't mean they won't be good this year. Those 3 spawners in my previous post sure put a BIG old smile on my client's faces. As did the 2 fish limit of halibut each day!

    The drive from Anchorage to Homer has scenic areas. It has some not so scenic areas, too, though very few, but you always have to take the good with the bad.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
    http://muttleycrewfishing.com

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    Another vote for Homer. Halibut/Salmon combo is good imo out of Homer at the time of year mentioned, I would say that the halibut fishing isn't as good out of Homer in late may/early June as say mid June-late July, it can still be pretty good, and IME, the king fishing is best this time of year in Homer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishseeker29 View Post
    Thanks for all the great replies so far. It sounds like both Homer/Kenai and SE Alaska are doable; with SE Alaska maybe winning the better fishing category in late May but Homer definitely being an option with the right guide. How long is the run to the fishing grounds from Homer, Anchor Pt, etc? Is there a specific town that would be best to book from? With a limit of 1 king and 2 hali's per person, i assume it's not that difficult to limit out? Or do you then just move on to rockfish and other species.

    Lastly, is the drive from Anchorage to Homer/Anchor Point scenic - anything in particular we should make sure to do?

    Thanks so much and I'm still open to location recommendations.
    to go after Lings, it's a long ride out of Homer about the same for Seward and Whittier. You are aware (aren't you?) that the Ling Season doesn't open until July 1.

    Having chartered out of Homer for a number of years, I'm partial to Homer. You should check out the charters in Deep Creek, Anchor Pt and Homer and make your own decision as to which town to launch from. You'll have a greater selection for lodging, dining, drinking and I suppose even dancing in Homer than you would in either Ninnilchek or Anchor Pt... (if that matters)

    the drive to Homer from Anchorage is very scenic. Especially on a clear day when you can get some fantastic views (photos) of the West Side of Cook Inlet. Seriously, don't go anywhere in Alaska without a camera.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    In regards to Southeast versus Homer, there is no doubt that Homer is a wonderful place to base such a trip from. I spend quite a bit of time down there and love it. That said, Southeast has a magic about it that I have yet to find anywhere else. Our last trip down there were were catching 25 pound feeder kings 20 yards offshore in 15 feet of water, then we ran 5 minutes to pull the dungeness crab pots, then we ran 10 minutes to pull the shrimp pots, then off for halibut all along the shoreline of the coastal rainforest...you get the idea. You won't have the option of crab or shrimp in Homer (though those can be harder to arrange for a DIY trip anywhere in Alaska). If I'm correct, the king limit is 2/day in SE that time of year (I could be wrong - check the regs), while it is 1/day in Homer. Also, you could rent a skiff in SE and then have the same 2/day limit as Homer (unless they changed that law? Again, check the regs.)

    Homer is awesome, no doubt. For a guarantee of consistent halibut action, Homer is the choice hands-down. For sheer adventure and variety of experiences, though, Southeast would be my choice.






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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    If I'm correct, the king limit is 2/day in SE that time of year (I could be wrong - check the regs), while it is 1/day in Homer. Also, you could rent a skiff in SE and then have the same 2/day limit as Homer (unless they changed that law? Again, check the regs.)
    If you fish south of Bluff Point parallel latitude (59 40) the limit for kings out of Homer is 2 kings per day. Granted you can't get the crabs here (well maybe you can somewhere in town that I don't know of, LOL!), but in my experience people that I take out are more interested in filling their cooler with halibut and salmon that they can take home with them rather than crabs or shrimp. And whether or not we'll be able to catch crabs this year or not still remains to be seen. If so, it isn't a problem at all to arrange getting crabs here----we drop the crab pots on our way out in the morning and pick 'em up on the way back in.

    One of my most memorable days of king fishing was catching 40 lb. kings about 20 FEET from shore up in Whiskey Gulch. I was afraid I was going to run aground as I watched kings rolling in the surf chasing bait. I got two kings (released the first one, kept the second) within about 5 minutes of each other. If you really wanted to rent a boat and do it yourself you can do that in Homer, too, AND go up and chase those kings and halibut yourself. I'd recommend hiring a guide, though.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
    http://muttleycrewfishing.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post
    If you fish south of Bluff Point parallel latitude (59 40) the limit for kings out of Homer is 2 kings per day.
    Good to know. I thought it was reduced to 1/day in the Bay as well once the spawners started returning, but I suppose I stand corrected.

    I still argue that SE presents a far greater adventure than Homer for the angler looking for such. Still, you're quite the cheerleader for your town, and I can't fault you for that.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    In regards to Southeast versus Homer, there is no doubt that Homer is a wonderful place to base such a trip from. I spend quite a bit of time down there and love it. That said, Southeast has a magic about it that I have yet to find anywhere else. Our last trip down there were were catching 25 pound feeder kings 20 yards offshore in 15 feet of water, then we ran 5 minutes to pull the dungeness crab pots, then we ran 10 minutes to pull the shrimp pots, then off for halibut all along the shoreline of the coastal rainforest...you get the idea. You won't have the option of crab or shrimp in Homer (though those can be harder to arrange for a DIY trip anywhere in Alaska). If I'm correct, the king limit is 2/day in SE that time of year (I could be wrong - check the regs), while it is 1/day in Homer. Also, you could rent a skiff in SE and then have the same 2/day limit as Homer (unless they changed that law? Again, check the regs.)

    Homer is awesome, no doubt. For a guarantee of consistent halibut action, Homer is the choice hands-down. For sheer adventure and variety of experiences, though, Southeast would be my choice.





    Brian
    I truely enjoy the way you (and Stid too) back up your side of any discussion with photo's that are really hard to argue against!!

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    I concur. Those photos are great. Brian - where would you recommend going in SE Alaska? Seems a little trickier to get to places like Sitka (fly through Juneau or somewhere). Another benefit we're seeing with the Kenai is the option to fish/explore multiple places (Homer, Soldotna, Seward, etc). Is this possible in SE Alaska within reason?

    As for a boat rental, that would be great except they seem to charge almost what it costs for 2 people to take a charter.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Honestly, I don't even know Southeast all that well myself - I've only been able to get down there a couple of times, but that is changing quickly as that area has captured my imagination something fierce. I would start by calling Mike at Coffman Cove Adventures (on Prince of Wales Island) while also looking at Sitka and Petersburg. There are plenty of other options down that way, though. As for getting around, it is certainly more difficult if you mean getting from town to town. On Prince of Wales, though, you'd likely have a rental truck and could explore the island with its many small streams that are begging to be explored.

    The Peninsula may very well be the right choice for you - there are some incredibly places to check out in both locales, for sure.

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    Fishseeker if you end up doing a Kenai peninsula trip I would suggest looking into a motorhome rental vs a car. I have several friends do it this way and thier hotel goes with them.. There is soooooo much to see and do besides fishing on the peninsula...just a thought

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