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Thread: Bringing Fishing Equipment to Alaska

  1. #1

    Default Bringing Fishing Equipment to Alaska

    So everything is ready to go except one thing, Do i buy fishing gear here in the lower 48 and bring it, buy it up there and ship it back, or just rent it when we get there. last time i was upn there i bought a telescoping rod and reel for like 40 bucks but that was just a POS rod and reel to get me on some fish.

    This trip is going to hopefully be 9 days of fishing and some sight seeing on the way. We are going to be traveling by car over 1200 miles in alaska and I want to get a solid pole for my wife, (i have reels) and I want to get waders, (if necessary), for her and me. Everything else that i think i need i have already or have purchased.

    What would be best up there, Can I find a rod and reel to rent for my wife, (i am bringing fly fishing rods for me), or should I spend the $100.00 on a traveling one down here that i dont really need.

    On the waders, are they necessary for July fishing? (worth the money just for a week) or can i just wade in shorts and wading shoes? If I can rent this equipment, wheres the best place to rent it? I will be fyling in to Anchorage.

    Thanks for the info

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    Not sure on rentals - if you're doing any guided fishing, the guide will supply tackle (generally). If you're going unguided, I'd bring the tackle with me.
    Waders - if this summer is any like the last 2, I wouldn't want to be without. Depends on your tolerance for wading/standing in cold water. It may be 80 degrees in the sun, but I wouldn't expect water temp to rise above 60 degrees and cooler is the norm. Lakes may be the exception.
    If your wife doesn't care if the boots "fit", you should be able to find her some $30 hip waders at Wal Mart or fred Myers. If she wants them to fit, I'd do the shopping at home, rather than waste fishing time shopping. If I wanted my wife to really ENJOY the experience, I'd probably spend the time shopping (with her along) and get her decent stuff. Who knows, if she really likes it, she might want to do it again.

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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    If you are visiting the KP, bring the rod/reels you are comfortable with.... but shop for all your terminal gear at Trustworthy in Soldotna. They'll have the right stuff in the right sizes and the right colors to catch salmon like crazy... just like the locals do.

    And usually for hella cheaper than the prices and 9% sales tax we pay in WA state!

    Tell 'em the crazy eye doc from Aberdeen sent ya.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Tell 'em the crazy eye doc from Aberdeen sent ya.
    Don't tell them ANYONE from Aberdeen sent you, if the've been there, they'll kick you out!!!

    I used to live in Montesano and then Brady before moving to the big city of Tumwater and... well you get the idea...

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    Just tell 'em you're tourists, up for vacation, and looking to catch some fish.


    They understand . . . trust me . . . no need to slather on any BS . .

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    I would suggest getting everything you need now and flying it up. This is what we do every time we visit Alaska. Reels and tackle go in coolers as checked baggage and the rod case is another "bag". Depending on the airline it will cost a little but no more than shipping probably. Plus, you have a chance to try out the gear and become comfortable with it as others mentioned. Also, you won't be at the mercy of availability of whatever shop you visit on your trip. For the flight home we ship all of our gear back via snail mail and bring fish back on the plane in coolers or fish boxes. Just remember to check the weight of the cooler/fish box AT THE AIRPORT well before your flight leaves. You definitely don't want to go over the 50lb limit that most airlines have on regular baggage. We learned this lesson the hard way by using a cheap scale that was way off. Now we just go to the airport a couple hours in advance. We find a scale that isn't being used and rearrange the boxes until we are just under the 50lbs. This little bit of effort can save you hundreds of dollars.

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    Member NeverLand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colonel00 View Post
    I would suggest getting everything you need now and flying it up. This is what we do every time we visit Alaska. Reels and tackle go in coolers as checked baggage and the rod case is another "bag". Depending on the airline it will cost a little but no more than shipping probably. Plus, you have a chance to try out the gear and become comfortable with it as others mentioned. Also, you won't be at the mercy of availability of whatever shop you visit on your trip. For the flight home we ship all of our gear back via snail mail and bring fish back on the plane in coolers or fish boxes. Just remember to check the weight of the cooler/fish box AT THE AIRPORT well before your flight leaves. You definitely don't want to go over the 50lb limit that most airlines have on regular baggage. We learned this lesson the hard way by using a cheap scale that was way off. Now we just go to the airport a couple hours in advance. We find a scale that isn't being used and rearrange the boxes until we are just under the 50lbs. This little bit of effort can save you hundreds of dollars.
    I concur with everything said. Let me add that you should bring everything you can with you, even food. At the Safeway in Seward we often pay 2-3 times as much as we would pay at a discount groceer in the lower 48. Another thing to consider is shipping your gear to Alaska. I bought 60# of rock cod sinkers and had them shipped direct to Seward for $15 (USPS flat rate box). Cost for the 15 - 4# sinkers including shipping was under $75. Cost for the same sinkers at Sportsman's Warehouse in Anchorage would have been $390. A carry-on bag full of snacks was a $100 cheaper at a Walmart in Virginia than the Safeway in Seward. We bring as much of our consumables with us as we can and take fish back in the same boxes. One more option is using a fish processor to pack your fish for the return. They'll get you within a couple of ounces of the baggage weight limit. Last, save your frequent flyer miles. If you can get an upgrade to first class you can take 3 - 70# bags instead of 2 - 50# bags.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NeverLand View Post
    I concur with everything said. Let me add that you should bring everything you can with you, even food. At the Safeway in Seward we often pay 2-3 times as much as we would pay at a discount groceer in the lower 48. Another thing to consider is shipping your gear to Alaska. I bought 60# of rock cod sinkers and had them shipped direct to Seward for $15 (USPS flat rate box). Cost for the 15 - 4# sinkers including shipping was under $75. Cost for the same sinkers at Sportsman's Warehouse in Anchorage would have been $390. A carry-on bag full of snacks was a $100 cheaper at a Walmart in Virginia than the Safeway in Seward. We bring as much of our consumables with us as we can and take fish back in the same boxes. One more option is using a fish processor to pack your fish for the return. They'll get you within a couple of ounces of the baggage weight limit. Last, save your frequent flyer miles. If you can get an upgrade to first class you can take 3 - 70# bags instead of 2 - 50# bags.





    This is 100% true! Fly as much of your food up as possible. Carefully plan your meals so that nothing has to come home with you. We freeze our meat and pack as many dry goods in our fish boxes that we came home with last year. Also, for whatever reason the meat in the stores is horrible. Only buy your milk, eggs, bread, etc in Alaska. You should be able to fly each box up for around $20 depending on the airline. Even at $50-$75 you will still save a bunch. Buy 4 piece rods that can fit in your luggage to avoid having to transport a pole tube. The money you save by flying your own food up can buy a full day Halibut Charter for 2 or more people. As far as tackle goes, I have personally found pretty decent prices at Fred Meyer. Also, I have found Sportsmens Warehouse to have very fair pole prices...... That's only my personal experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccooper88 View Post
    So everything is ready to go except one thing, Do i buy fishing gear here in the lower 48 and bring it, buy it up there and ship it back, or just rent it when we get there. last time i was upn there i bought a telescoping rod and reel for like 40 bucks but that was just a POS rod and reel to get me on some fish.

    This trip is going to hopefully be 9 days of fishing and some sight seeing on the way. We are going to be traveling by car over 1200 miles in alaska and I want to get a solid pole for my wife, (i have reels) and I want to get waders, (if necessary), for her and me. Everything else that i think i need i have already or have purchased.

    What would be best up there, Can I find a rod and reel to rent for my wife, (i am bringing fly fishing rods for me), or should I spend the $100.00 on a traveling one down here that i dont really need.

    On the waders, are they necessary for July fishing? (worth the money just for a week) or can i just wade in shorts and wading shoes? If I can rent this equipment, wheres the best place to rent it? I will be fyling in to Anchorage.

    Thanks for the info
    Some insight into where your planning to fish and what you want to catch would help.

    I would NOT plan on wading in shorts, many (most???) rivers up here are glacier fed, super cold! I wouldn't trust rental waders or rods.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    My rocommendation is to buy as much as you can once you get here.
    If you buy it at a store like Trustworthy hardware in Soldotna you will get a good price on the right gear.
    I couldn't imagine buying my gear outside only to find I bought something inadequate or that just doesn't work up here.
    A good local store like Trustworthy won't sell you junk you don't need or that which doesn't work or isn't used locally.
    Also things change and it would not be good to come up here and find the King gear (for example) you had bought down south is useless because the rivers are closed to king fishing due to an EO.
    You can rent fishing rods but after 10 days or so you could have bought a halfway decent setup for the same price. Same with waders. A pair of hip boots is only about $15 or $20 and they are brand new not used and abused like rental gear.
    As for shipping things up how much do you trust those USPS employees not to loose some vital piece of your gear?

    It is hard to believe people are so CHEAP they cannot even buy their food up here. WOW.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    My Alaska Airlines airfare is typically paid with miles, but I usually purchase one ticket and get the identical companion fare at $100 for a buddy, or for a pair of kids. I bring good bait that I've generally caught and prepared with my own hands. Rods/reels... a locally purchased set of king gear stays with a guide buddy in Sterling.

    Apart from that basically everything else is bought on the fly while in Alaska... food, lodging, terminal gear, camp/boat supplies.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    My rocommendation is to buy as much as you can once you get here.
    If you buy it at a store like Trustworthy hardware in Soldotna you will get a good price on the right gear.
    I couldn't imagine buying my gear outside only to find I bought something inadequate or that just doesn't work up here.
    A good local store like Trustworthy won't sell you junk you don't need or that which doesn't work or isn't used locally.
    Also things change and it would not be good to come up here and find the King gear (for example) you had bought down south is useless because the rivers are closed to king fishing due to an EO.
    You can rent fishing rods but after 10 days or so you could have bought a halfway decent setup for the same price. Same with waders. A pair of hip boots is only about $15 or $20 and they are brand new not used and abused like rental gear.
    As for shipping things up how much do you trust those USPS employees not to loose some vital piece of your gear?

    It is hard to believe people are so CHEAP they cannot even buy their food up here. WOW.
    it only makes sense to fly our food up rather than to pay 200-300% higher prices at the chain stores. Doing so gives us extra money to spend with the private stores, like Trustworthy. Call us cheap or say WOW all you want. It makes total sense!

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    As for shipping things up how much do you trust those USPS employees not to loose some vital piece of your gear?
    As much as I trust the airlines to not loose my baggage I kid of course. However, I agree that more things could happen to cause delays. We ship our gear home as cheap as possible with insurance so it doesn't matter if it takes 2 months as long as it arrives.

    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    It is hard to believe people are so CHEAP they cannot even buy their food up here. WOW.
    We usually buy a good bit of our food and supplies there. Mostly I think it is because we bring too much gear and have no room for food. You have to admit that the prices do get a bit high. I would rather save the money to spend in a mom and pop store/restaurant than padding Walmart's profits.

  14. #14

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    Sounds like everyone has very good points. I know that coming home, (hopefully with a mess of fish), would be harder with a bunch of gear as far as the cost of flying with more than they allow. I am definitely carrying my fly rods and reels on the plane with me so i dont have to worry about them.

    I think the only thing I would really need up there that would be hard to bring, as far as weight restrictions go, would be waders. I might just buy them up there and ship them back. seems like a good consensus of yall ship your gear back.

    I will definitely hit up Trustworthys when i get around to that side of the peninsula. Do any of you recommend anywhere that is in anchorage? I am flying in there and driving straight to denali to see it and then coming back down through Talkeetna> Girdwood>Seward>Homer>Ninilchik>Soldotna>Cooper Landing. So half my trip will be over with by the time I get to Soldotna.

    Also another question. I know you can go a little crazy buying tackel and flys, "made for Alaska" or "alaska Salmon". is that stuff necessary or even worth buying before i come? I mean i assume that yalls local shops will have more than enough of what i need. I like to tie my own flies but I almost would rather just buy some up there so i dont have to buy all the supplies for one week.

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    I'm one for buying local. My fishing trips are 3-5 days and being a pilot I get a little break on moving gear. We hit the ground running and after hitting Carrs for a kingKong sub and a few items We are off for fishing. Day two is always hitting Soldotna Hardware for gear, fishing reports and food at Fred Meyers if we are in the area. Listen to the locals for great breakfasts and plan on eating fresh fish or reindeer sausage. I dont think I've seen anything that cost 200% besides bananas in Homer.

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    Buy your waders here. They need to fit and Fred Myers stores have them for about $40. Get the wife a spin cast rod for $35 at Sportsmans/Fred Myers. Get groceries here. They are higher, but not 200%. Spend some money here and enjoy yourself! Sounds like you have a good plan with your fly rods. Good Luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by NeverLand View Post
    I concur with everything said. Let me add that you should bring everything you can with you, even food. At the Safeway in Seward we often pay 2-3 times as much as we would pay at a discount groceer in the lower 48. .
    This is why you should consider shopping in Anchorage before you head north or south. Food prices in the big city are (mostly) comparable to anywhere in the US. Some things will be more expensive, some less, but not by a lot either way. If you have a Costco membership, pick up your steaks there. Best beef in AK!

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    If you are visiting the KP, bring the rod/reels you are comfortable with.... but shop for all your terminal gear at Trustworthy in Soldotna. They'll have the right stuff in the right sizes and the right colors to catch salmon like crazy... just like the locals do.

    And usually for hella cheaper than the prices and 9% sales tax we pay in WA state!

    Tell 'em the crazy eye doc from Aberdeen sent ya.
    Just spoke with owners Brian and Scott this morning...they didn't know who the hell you were. That doesn't surprise me, as there are thousands of tourists like Doc up here every year.

    Trustworthy is a great place, but they only have a limited selection of the basic stuff (mostly due to limited space)...not exactly everything we locals use. That's ok for the most part and it will get you started, but you might find there is a reason the locals are hooking up if you're not. I buy some of my favorite colors, hooks, and nifty terminal gear on-line, because that's the only place I can get it. Waders are not always available either (sold out in popular sizes). Good bait is scarce. I say if you are an enthusiast who is particular about your fishing, bring your own stuff. I always bring my own whether salt water fishing the tropics, walleye fishing the upper midwest, rainbow fishing in New Zealand, or bass fishing back east.

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    great post till the last 4 words....

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    I bought everything but my rods and I make those myself and waders in AK. I would have bought them there are well but no one would have my size 15wide and BIG! The prices up there are not bad at all. Trustworthy and Fred Meyers takes care of almost all our needs just fine with a few bait shops filling in the rest. Also why bring food to AK. We eat a lot of fish an again Fred Meyers is not bad at all for prices. Its not cheap to fly lots of gear so buy it in AK.

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