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Thread: Father and son- First AK trip and would love some suggesstions and ideas!

  1. #1
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    Default Father and son- First AK trip and would love some suggesstions and ideas!

    Hi Folks,

    Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Adam and this is my first time posting on the Outdoors Directory AK Forum. I just joined and have been sifting through older posts and soaking up as much information as I can. I am a big believer in firsthand knowledge and local suggestions and that's why I joined this forum...which brings me to my next point:

    My father is turning 60 at the end of this month. Me and my family never have done much for him in previous birthdays, but I found a GREAT deal on flights to Alaska- and so that is where I begin. I am trying to throw together a trip to Alaska for me and my father to celebrate his 60th birthday. A father and son trip for the ages. Here is what I know so far:


    • We will be in Alaska from Aug 29th- Sept 8th 2013 (yes, I know kinda last minute).
    • Flying in and out of Anchorage.
    • We have been fishing and hunting our entire lives, so we are no stranger to the outdoors.
    • We have never been fishing or hunting anywhere up North, let alone Alaska!
    • We're not picky, in fact we prefer more rustic and rural accommodations (as opposed to hotels and fancy lodges).
    • I'd like the trip to be focused around fishing.
    • We will have a rental car.
    • Were not rich! I am trying to keep things economical.


    I have been to the local bookstore, ordered "The Milepost", and researched dozens of ideas online. Here is what I've learned so far:


    • The weather in South Central AK in late August/Early September can be very fickle. Expect cold nights and cold days 40/60 F.
    • The Silver Salmon should be running strong during this time, specifically the Kenai River.
    • The Rainbow Trout and Dolly Varden also should be picking up.
    • Halibut bite is still going, and Homer AK is the place to go- however some charters only offer half day due to limited sunlight.
    • All the cool, rustic, rural cabins seem to only be accessible by float plane, long hike, or water taxi!
    • Its possible to see the Northern Lights in September (Fairbanks area)


    I have focused the majority of my research around the Kenai Peninsula area. I really like the idea of fishing for Silver Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden on the rivers. I plan on using a charter service, for a day or two...but I cant afford one EVERY day. I'm hoping to get some feedback on bank accessible/wade fishing areas as well. Something close to a cabin rental would be even better. I'm also looking at one day of Halibut fishing (Homer? Seward?). I'm also toying with the idea of taking 2 days or so to visit Denali NP, or should that be saved for another trip?

    Still with me? Overwhelmed yet? Let me make it simple...

    In a nutshell I am asking, based on the information above, what would you do for a 10 day Father-son trip to Alaska?

    Please feel free to recommend specific cabin rentals, charters, areas, activities, etc...I will be actively checking this post over the next few days, and for those of you still reading this long post, I sincerely appreciate your feedback!


    (Moderators, please feel free to move this post if necessary, I am looking for feedback on saltwater fishing, freshwater fishing, activities and accommodations, etc and I thought the Saltwater forum would get the most feedback.)


    Adam

  2. #2
    Member Brandon Emmett's Avatar
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    Hi Adam,

    The end of august is one of the best times to fish the greatland. I personally have never fished the kenai for silvers but have heard it can be a blast.

    For the budget minded individual though there is really no better place to fish than Valdez in late august. It is a 6 hour drive from Anchorage but one of the most scenic routes you could ever imagine. The silver salmon fishing in Valdez is unreal and the vistas are breathtaking. you do not need a guide whatsoever. Some of the best fishing can be done from the rocks of Allison Point near the pipeline terminal. Get yourself a medium weight rod with 30 lb test braided line and a few lures. I like to fish 1/2 oz. pink pixies, 1/2 oz green pixies, #5 chartreuse vibrax and #5 pink vibrax. 20 fish a day per angler is not uncommon. There are many cabins and bed and breakfast type places both in and out of town. No Name Pizza serves up the best pie in Alaska. Try the sledneck stix.

    I hope this helps.

    Tight Lines,

    Emmett

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    contact Manns Charters out of Homer AK. It will make your trip.

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    A few points about recreating in "the north". Read up on hypothermia and learn the signs, it can creep up on you here. If you get wet (fall in the river), goal number one becomes get dry, this means packing dry clothes. Don't plan for average temps, dress like its eternal winter (for your area) because it WILL feel that way to you!

    The suggestion to see Valdez is excellent.

    For your time on the peninsula I would highly recommend a silver/trout combo trip on the Kenai early on in your trip. The trip will likely cost you $250 to $300 per person, do a google search for "Mark Glassmaker", he catches fish. You will have a great time and you will learn how to fish for trout on the Kenai. Those techniques can be used on the Russian River and Quartz creek, as well as shore fishing the Kenai which is the most economical way to fish. If you do that trip first thing you will learn how to use the gear the previous poster mentioned for Valdez too.

    While on the peninsula I would also highly recommend going on a halibut trip. A halfday trip will run you about $100 a person, check with Rainbow Tours in Homer. The half day trips are cheap but typically catch smaller fish and are big boats with lots of people. Some locals talk them down but for you guys it will be a whole new experience. If you want to spend a little more, six pack boats run closer to $300 a person but MAY get you on a little bigger fish and possibly more variety of fish.

    Another option would be walk in guided trout fishing on the Russian River or Quartz Creek. I don't know what they charge but Kenai Cache does those trips.

    Keep in mind that your short time frame may make it difficult to get on any of the charter options however the half day halibut trips seem to almost always have openings. Another issues is many tourist oriented businesses' shut down toward the beginning of September so you MAY have trouble finding someone who is still operating.

    THe Kenai has numerous public access points which are all listed in the regulation book when you get here. I don't fish silvers from shore so I don't have much personal experience to offer up.

    Take a day to drive to Seward and see Exit Glacier, you can walk right up to it. Its about a mile walk/hike on a really easy trail.

    Good luck!

  5. #5

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    Seward Fish Co. Randy wells for charters in Seward
    www.fishsewardalaska.com/

    Accommodations in Seward with Stellar B&B
    www.stellerbandb.com/

    or Check out Millers Landing for a rustic camping/ cabin experience www.millerslandingak.com/

    Kenai River Check Out Troutfitters in Cooper Landing
    www.aktroutfitters.com/
    or
    Mystic Waters
    www.mysticfishing.com/
    Piscor Ergo Sum

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    Member carolinaboy's Avatar
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    Adam,

    One of the best things you can do with whatever agenda you decide upon is take a good camera, charger and 3 or more extra batteries. Not necessarily an expensive rig like a Nikon D70 or other big DSLR... It will get “Alaskafied” in short order if you really get immersed into your trip. I use a point and shoot Olympus Tough....it’s “me-proof”.....plus drop, shock, crush, water, dirt, dust ( haven't seen much dust, though) and Alaska proof. It goes on all my fishing, hiking, camping, everywhere trips. So good I’m getting another newer model for my trip up there next month.


    Take hundreds if not more pictures of everything up there. Get a snake or octopus/spider type tripod to set your camera on timer for selfportraits with you and your dad. Or ask others to take pics for you.


    Be very attentative to the advice you’re gotten so far. Good stuff. Especially about the hypothermia. It will be quite chilly to a Floridian. I know,... I spent all my high school years summer in the FL panhandle, 30 years in North Carolina and believe me the 50 degree water temps feels like 30 if you slip, fall or even just dip a cup or less of water down your waders. A fall in the water and you’re done fishing until you dry off and warm up. A leaky wader will numb your foot in a hurry. A black trash bag over your leg and inside your waders makes a handy “band-aid” until you repair/replace the waders.


    Take more pictures, NOTHING in Alaska looks like anything in Florida.
    The sky, the clouds, the trees, the rocks, the fish, everything. If you take 500 pictures or more you will thank me later for having done so.


    Plan your agenda carefully, choose your activities wisely. You can’t do it all but you can get the most of what you do. Where I go we see bears daily, fish most of the time, hike some, see the scenery, play tourist at the end of the trip and take lots of pictures along the way.


    Then back home, rested and recovered, take your pics to your PC and find one of the scrapbook sites like Shutterfly or Picasa and make you and your Dad some memory books. That would be the icing on the Alaska Cake....after you enjoy a salmon fillet on the grill.

    hope this helps,

    Steve

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    Buy both yourself and your father a pair of yellow inexpensive shooter's glasses. On rainy or dark cloudy days they will cheer everything up...

    Rosenberg; Kodiak, AK / Sarasota, FL / Zhengzhou, CN
    "Two decades researching and defining fishing opportunities in the Last Frontier!"


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    Wow, everyone- thank you so much for the replies. I had no idea Valdez even had a silver salmon fishery. Much less one that could be fished from the shore. Maybe I will split the trip- 4-5 days in the Kenai/Homer area, and another 4-5 days to Valdez area.

    It just so happens I was able to snag a cabin reservation at the state recreation area of the Matanuska Glacier for Sept 5th. Which looks like somewhere in between Kenai and Valdez on Highway 1. So theoretically I could do something like this:

    Aug 29th- Anchorage
    Aug 30th- Soldotna/Kenai area
    Aug 31st- Soldotna/Kenai area
    Sept 1st- Soldotna/Kenai area (or seward?)
    Sept 2nd- Homer area
    Sept 3rd- Soldotna/Kenai area
    Sept 4th- Soldotna/Kenai area
    Sept 5th- arrive at cabin rental at Matanuska Glacier
    Sept 6th- head to Valdez
    Sept 7th- Valdez
    Sept 8th-Anchorage

    Just a rough idea...

    I am thinking of doing a full day silver/trout charter, and a 1/2 day Halibut charter. I think I can swing those for my dad and I. Then, hopefully we will learn enough to spend the rest of the trip chasing salmon/trout on our own at the smaller rivers, creeks and banks....(we plan on bringing our own poles/tackle.)

    Keep it coming, and thank you again!

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    Sounds like a "doable" plan. You may want to call the Valdez tourist folks or the CofC to check on both the fishing and accommodations availability. Many tourist-related operations shut down around Labor Day, so just make sure you're not surprised. Also, the commercial fishing seiners sometimes move into Valdez port area the first week of Sep to "clean up" the fish. (It's been a few years since I was over there, so that could be incorrect info).

    As mentioned, warm (polartec or polar fleece) clothing is a must. We have a saying here -- "Cotton Kills". Blue jeans and sweat shirts stay wet, and hypothermia sets in quickly. Also, bring the best raingear you can. If you plan on bringing waders, remember that a recent rule here prohibits felt-bottomed soles.

    Best of luck.

  10. #10

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    To add a couple of points...

    Take pictures...Yeah, I know you've heard it before, but keep that camera snapping. To support this, either plan to pick up lots of batteries at Wally World in Anchorage or plan to carry extra ones with chargers. Additionally, you will need several memory cards because during the course of a day you can easily take hundreds of pics.

    Our family (wife and 3 kids) went there in 2012 for a ~13 day trip and we had a two or three digital cameras (one underwater one...Olympus Tough?), one video camera, laptop, external hard drive, memory sticks, memory cards, extra batteries, chargers, and etc... It was a nightly ritual to download and back-up all pics to (laptop, ext drive, memory sticks) AND recharge all batteries and repackage for the next day. In total we have ~7400 still pics and ~16 hours of video. Sure, there's a few blurry shots and some 'what in the hell was that?', but there are some gems that are now one the 'all-time classic' list for our family. Was it a pain? YES! Was it worth it? You bet.

    Another thing you may want to consider...We rented an RV from Anchorage and drove from there to Fairbanks to Valdez to Anchorage to Seward and back to Anchorage. Don't have to worry about check in-out times, everything is in your hand, etc.

    Finally, Alaska is a BIG place... It's very easy to underestimate how long it will take to travel from one spot to another, especially if there is any construction going on (which is most of the tmie during summer, right?). On a tight schedule, this is an important note.

    You and your Dad are in for one really great trip.

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    Member BIGAKSTUFF's Avatar
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    +1 on the Valdez expedition, and Seward is a whole lot prettier than Soldotna/Kenai IMO....
    The Second Amendment.......Know it, love it, support it.

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    Ok guys,

    looking at possibly a new plan. Instead of renting a car, and trying to rent cabins in each of these different towns...I am thinking of renting a small RV.

    This would allow my father and I the flexibility to come and go as we please, and kill two birds with one stone. It will keep us from being pinned in any one place too long, and allow us to move if weather gets bad, etc.

    Any thoughts? Any recommended RV rental companies?

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    ABC Motor Home and Car Rental.

    Great Alaskan Holidays
    Piscor Ergo Sum

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    Member Lone Wolf1's Avatar
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    Agree with Franken Fish. I've used Great Alaskan Holidays several times when family visited, and had quality equipment and service each time. Here's a link:

    http://greatalaskanholidays.com/

    Also, using a motorhome gives you a great deal of flexibility if your plans change. That late in the season, it should be a little easier to find campsites (if you prefer to use them).

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    Member BIGAKSTUFF's Avatar
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    I wanna say that my father in law found they had cheaper rates in september as well, so hopefully that will help you out some.
    The Second Amendment.......Know it, love it, support it.

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    Just wanted to give an update. Great Alaskan Holidays was booked up on smaller RV's. So I called ABC rentals next, and they gave me a great deal. So, its official. RV for our trip. My father and I have never done RV'ing before...usually when we camp its in a tent, lanterns, etc. Flying from Florida its pretty tough to get all our camping gear over, and for our first trip I feel the RV will give us flexibility and comfort. I certainly dont want to bite off more than I can chew.

    I also booked a full day charter for silver salmon/trout on the Kenai River (SUPER EXCITED)
    For Halibut, I think we are going to keep an eye on the weather and if we see a good window, make the drive down to Homer and try to jump on a half day boat (as opposed to booking in advance).

    Now I just need to start looking for some RV parks and campsites!

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    If you go to Valdez stop at the Matanuska Glacier. You can drive to with in 1000' of the glaicer and they have a hiking trail that takes you out onto the ice. It is well worth the stop.

  18. #18

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    We did this one....Absolutely fantastic afternoon. We did a guided trip and my boys got to bang away at the ice with picks and drink from the glacier water. Really cool place.

    Quote Originally Posted by akdd View Post
    If you go to Valdez stop at the Matanuska Glacier. You can drive to with in 1000' of the glaicer and they have a hiking trail that takes you out onto the ice. It is well worth the stop.

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    If it was me, I wouldn't focus so much time on the Kenai Peninsula, especially since you are planning on going to Valdez. One day in Valdez isn't enough to fully appreciate it and the potentially outstanding silver fishing. I would also recommend Valdez first for the simple reason that after Labor Day the commercial boats come in and have a free-for-all netting the silvers. It's closed to them prior to that, maximizing sport fishing success. It's looking to be a banner year there for silvers, too, so if you time it right it's newb/idiot proof fishing. Just do what everyone is doing.

    It's a long and scenic drive, and I would imagine you will want to stop for pictures several times along the way, so calculate that into your planning.

    Also, if you're planning on spending the money on a halibut charter, you can do that out of Valdez as well, though this late in the game it might be hard to find a charter with room.

    Just my thoughts; no matter what you do, I hope it works out to be the trip of a lifetime for both of you!

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    Thanks for the tips and help. Can anyone recommend any campgrounds or RV parks on the Peninsula? We're not looking for anything fancy, but close to some accessible fishing would be great!

    Thanks,
    Adam

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