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Thread: Planning a fishing trip to Alaska 2016

  1. #1
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    Default Planning a fishing trip to Alaska 2016

    Hello Everyone! This is my first post here and sorry for it being so lengthy but I really need some advice and pointers (don’t worry, not asking for #’s). My wife and I are planning a long trip to SE Alaska in 2016 and I’m trying to get my ducks in a row ahead of time. We are both experienced boaters and have fished this boat from Washington to Mexico. We are both retired (me from Fire Dept/Bomb Squad and her from the state) so we have plenty of time off now. We plan to tow the boat from Carson City, NV to Bellingham, WA and take the ferry up to Ketchikan and begin our adventure there. We’re planning for the months of June and July to fish/sight see starting with a week in Ketchikan then taking the Inter Island Ferry to POW and spending the rest of the trip there. I’m thinking Craig (2 weeks), Thorne Bay (2weeks) and Coffman Cove (2 Weeks) with the remaining week dedicated to traveling to all these places. If there are better months, suggested changes in the itinerary or you think this is not doable please feel free and let me know.J

    The boat is a 1992 Celebrity “Fishawk”, 24’10”, 8 1/2’ beam,deep “V”. She carries 153 gallons of fuel, hard top with leaning post, Raytheon V-850 Depth finder, Raytheon 575 GPS and a Humminbird 798 CI SI combo, 350hp Stroker w/Alpha 1 outdrive. She has a Honda 15hp kicker tied into the main tank, 2 18’ outriggers, 2 Big Jon downriggers and 3 gaffs along with a sturgeon snare. I have 4 heavy “sport”crab pots and 4 “light” crab rings. We have all the rods, terminal tackle and lures to fish Marlin to Trout and anything in between. She can sleep 2 in the cuddy cabin but no stove or heat and she has a porta potty. I need to outfit her with a canvas enclosure and get charts before the trip but other than that she is pretty well squared away.

    We plan on putting the boat in a slip and leaving the trailer at our stops and doing the hotel/motel/BB route. I don’t plan on doing any guided trips as I’m kind of weird like that and like to learn/explore on my own plus trying to keep the cost down. We are thinking a 50/50 split between fishing/exploring and doing the touristy stuff/looking at property (we would like to have a get-a-way on POW), maybe a little heavier on the fishing side if I can sweet talk her into it.J I’m more of a catch-n-release guy but we may keep a small salmon or halibut for a dinner now and then along with some crabs but for the most part we have no way of cooking large meals or keeping stuff frozen while in Alaska. We would like to catch some large Halibut/Lings for the fight/sporting aspect (I think it would be so cool to bring up a 4X8 piece of plywood from 300+ feet, told you I was weird!) but like I said I’m into catch-n-release with LOTS of pictures.

    So with ALL that being said please feel free to beat it up and offer any suggestions for a better trip and thanks in advance, Mark

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    Sounds like a fantastic trip & adventure. I wish I had the knowledge to assist you with additional information. How about a report when you get back??

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    Check our regulations on crab pots.The location of the escape holes may be different.

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    I'm a highly inexperienced saltwater fisherman but have been to POW twice and I can't imagine a better place to spend the amount of time you have listed above. I'm insanely jealous!! One of my goals is to do just what you're doing, 2 or 3 weeks, but to stay on the inside of POW.

    We fished out of Klowak, Thorne Bay and Coffman Cove as well as bank fishing in Whale Pass. Even with my inexperience in the salt I felt comfortable in a skiff out of Thorne Bay and Coffman Cove. I'd never be able to not soil my waders in a skiff or other out of Craig but it sounds like you have the boat and experience to make that happen. When the breeze blew up we'd run for the dock like scalded cats while the experience boaters remained out. All in all had a great time trolling and bottom bouncing but, frankly, only caught decent size/numbers of halibut and salmon on guided days. We did knock them dead on the bank in Wale Pass, though, and hit just below our limit for two days.

    We stayed at Adventure Alaska both times and would gladly do it again and it sounds like there are several nice places in Coffman Cove. I always drool over the lots for sale in Thorne Bay and Coffman Cove, a guy can dream, when I'm there.

    When you get back tell everyone how awful it was, just like we like Montana tourists to do!

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    I think your plan sounds great! Sitka is too far and out of the way to make it worth checking out for what you have planned, but if you ever decide to do another trip up here to southeast, a fun trip could be Sitka, Tenakee Springs, Hoonah, Angoon, Baranof Warm Springs area. The fishing out of Sitka and Cross sound is fantastic. Hell you could even jig up some Black cod in Chatham strait if you really wanted to! That's all beside the point....

    The escape rings for Alaska dungy pots have to be on opposite sides of the verticle walls, they can't be on the bottom and top like down south, and make sure you have proper cotton bio-escape on all your pots (I learned the hard way with a $260 ticket). You should have good fishing out of POW. I've never fished there, but I would imagine the fishing to be better on the West (ocean) side of the island, as it is here in Sitka. If you can make it out to Noyes Island and the areas around there, you should have great King Salmon fishing in June/July. The closer you can get to the ocean is typically better fishing. No matter what, you're going to have an amazing time up here, there is so much to see and do, and generally that time of year the ocean is pretty timid.

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    Thanks everyone for the replies! I will definitely brush up on the regulations come 2016 as I assume they change every year (quotas, limits and such). That is very interesting about the escape rings. All my pots have 2 escape rings opposite each other however; they are at the top of the vertical walls so I will have to look at the dimensions and location that Alaska regulations require. I hope I don’t have to buy new “Alaska” pots! I have been using “Rotten Cotton” on my pots down south here for years so I hope I’m good there.

    Sitka would be a wonderful place to explore and fish! It is a bit far from Coffman Cove though, looks like about 220 miles across the top then down through Neva Strait or 175 miles coming up on the outside. I have a 322 mile range @ 31mpg burning 14.4gph so it could be done on 2/3 of a tank. The outside might be out, too much Open Ocean but the inside would be doable and fun if one took their time and enjoyed all to be seen on the way up.

    Was just wondering, what are the prevailing offshore winds and swell in SE Alaska during June and July? That southern section below Sitka on the outside looks VERY interesting (Whale Bay, Yamani Cove), Do many people fish Sitka south?

    I plan on taking LOTS of photos and video and will post when we get back home.

  7. #7

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    Tactically speaking, I'd jettison the crab rings and bring no more than 2 pots. There are specific regs for AK pots. Check with LFS in Bellingham regarding the pots you own, and in reality plan on leaving yours home and buying a couple from them.

    With that much time on the water, I'm betting the fishing will grow pretty "stale" before your trip is over. There's so much water and the fishing is generally so good, it can get routine. Since you're doing C&R, I'd think about putting a little extra fun into it, whether fly fishing or light tackle jig fishing.

    I'd also get a coast pilot for the area and study your potential anchorages carefully. I'd also figure on a dinghy or raft for lots of shore visits, if you don't already have one.

    I dunno that area, but long days on boats in a comparatively small area can get really long if you aren't flexible and safe.

  8. #8
    Member Anythingalaska's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bombtech View Post
    Thanks everyone for the replies! I will definitely brush up on the regulations come 2016 as I assume they change every year (quotas, limits and such). That is very interesting about the escape rings. All my pots have 2 escape rings opposite each other however; they are at the top of the vertical walls so I will have to look at the dimensions and location that Alaska regulations require. I hope I don’t have to buy new “Alaska” pots! I have been using “Rotten Cotton” on my pots down south here for years so I hope I’m good there.

    Sitka would be a wonderful place to explore and fish! It is a bit far from Coffman Cove though, looks like about 220 miles across the top then down through Neva Strait or 175 miles coming up on the outside. I have a 322 mile range @ 31mpg burning 14.4gph so it could be done on 2/3 of a tank. The outside might be out, too much Open Ocean but the inside would be doable and fun if one took their time and enjoyed all to be seen on the way up.

    Was just wondering, what are the prevailing offshore winds and swell in SE Alaska during June and July? That southern section below Sitka on the outside looks VERY interesting (Whale Bay, Yamani Cove), Do many people fish Sitka south?

    I plan on taking LOTS of photos and video and will post when we get back home.
    Here are the crab pot regulations for southeast Alaska. http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...heastGear.main

    The fishing on southeastern baranof is great. Sandy, Snipe, and Whale bay (North Cape) are all popular power trolling areas, and come July 1st it will be covered in power trollers for the King opener. I was fishing North of Yamani cove to Sitka this summer and it was great. There are lots of awesome bays to explore on the outside. Branch bays, Redfish, Secluded Bay, Dorothy Cove, Toy harbor. The list goes on. Sitka is definitely a bit out of the way for you, especially from POW. There is usually a westerly swell, but depending on the recent winds, the water can range from nasty, to flat calm as far out as you could drive. The tides rip hard off the lower southeastern end of baranof island, and the water can stack fast.

    The inside way is just as amazing though, and some of the best Dungeness crabbing in southeast can be had in Peril Strait/Hoonah sound. If you make it up into Chatham Strait, Red Bluff Bay is a breath taking area and is not to be missed. Baranof Warm Springs is right up the coast, and you can tie off to the dock and go take a hot tub in the warm springs. Keep an eye out for the mountain goats cruising the ridges above! Kelp Bay is another awesome spot. If you make it into Peril, stop into Hanus bay and anchor and walk up the FS trail to Lake Eva. Some of the best trout fishing in the Sitka area can be found in the river and lake there.

    If you want to know more, PM me, I think I've said too much!

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    I agree with you completely Brownbear! I know firsthand about boats, fatigue and stupidity (my own!) and how a 2 hour run uphill in gale force can beat a man down. X-times sloppy seas then X-times two or three weeks of that snot and it can turn the best trip sour! My wife is a great grounding force for me and pulls me back to reality when I stray from my focus, plus she carries a REALLY BIG stick! There have been plenty of times I have said “enough is enough, let’s just stay home today honey”. She’s a real animal when it comes to her hunting and fishing but still likes her “girlie” stuff like getting sea shells or chipping off a chunk of blue ice and trying to get it home before it melts. As for the dingy we have a small 8’ AVON I can carry strapped down on the hardtop (I didn’t think about that one, thank you for the reminder!) Anythingalaska sent me a link with the ADFG regulations for crab and shellfish so I will be looking at them closely and doing some measuring of my pots. If they don’t meet the regulations I will buy 2 (in Bellingham) when we come up there. I like the idea of only 2 pots, it gives us more deck space and less weight to haul, heck I may only need one pot, it’s just the two of us and we can only eat so many crab (3 or 4) boiled on a portable single burner stove in a quiet cove somewhere. I will be ordering the Coast Pilot in 2016 as I understand they get updated periodically.

    Anythingalaska, thank you for the info on Baranof and the link to the ADFG Shellfish regulations! That West swell could really suck taking a beam sea both ways (I hate crawling from one side of the boat to the other on your hands and knees)! I suppose it’s like fishing open ocean down South, you have to pick your good days and just do it. My wife would love a hike to Eva Lake for some trout fishing and it only looks like about ¾ mile. Bears, do I need to bring my model 29? Warm Springs, is that where the hot college coeds go on spring break? Ouch! Just got hit with the REALLY BIG stick again! I’ll send you a PM and we’ll talk more.

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    I’m very sorry Anythingalaska; I cannot send you a PM due to me being a “New Member”. I will have to wait 1 month and post 15 times before I can become a “Member”. I spent the better part of the day trying to PM you but no options under my settings tab, then read older posts on the subject of PM’s and found out the rules. Sorry about that, I will send you a PM in a month. Thank You!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bombtech View Post
    I’m very sorry Anythingalaska; I cannot send you a PM due to me being a “New Member”. I will have to wait 1 month and post 15 times before I can become a “Member”. I spent the better part of the day trying to PM you but no options under my settings tab, then read older posts on the subject of PM’s and found out the rules. Sorry about that, I will send you a PM in a month. Thank You!
    Roger that! I think if you contact one of the moderators and ask for it to be unlocked, they can bend the rules a bit and do that for you.

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    Bombtech, if you're fishing in Ketchikan and do wish to keep some fish, there's a DIY vacuum packer & freezer available at Knudson Cove Marina. Or, you can pay Cedars Lodge to clean, pack & freeze your catch. I suppose this is only help if KTN is your last stop.

    As far as catching a big halibut ... it's nothing like pulling a sheet of plywood up, unless said plywood is trying to run off with a hundred yards of line while pulling your arms out of their sockets! Good luck! We come up each summer, so if I can think of advice from the traveler point of view, will let you know.

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    Anythingalaska, I sent Admin an e-mail about seeing what they could do so I’m just waiting to hear back from them. I guess along with not being able to PM I also don’t have access to a few Forums (General and the Trapping Forum). I’m kind of interested in the trapping forum because my son and I trap here in the winter for Bobcat, Grey Fox, Beaver, rats (Muskrat) and Coyote and it would be interesting to see how you all do it up there.

    Thanks Zeek the Greek for that info on the cleaning and freezing facility, things like that are invaluable! Would you say Knudson Cove Marina or Cedars Lodge are good places to stay (boat slip and a room for a week or so)? I definitely need advice and info from the good people here on the forum on the marinas (Slips) and places to rest our weary bones (hotels/motels/BB) in Ketchikan, Craig, Thorne Bay and Coffman Cove. Anythingalaska made my ADHD kick in…………....Prince of Wales Island, what a wonderful place to fish and…………….Oh, look at the pretty Halibut in Sitka! So, I may need some info on Sitka too!

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    Hello Bombtech! I'm in Reno and planning to do something similiar in 2016. I'll be retired by then, so I plan on driving the entire way (I won't be able to bring my model 29 as I'll be going through Canada.) Good luck and I've enjoyed this thread.

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    Hello BAH468, Good to see I’m not the only crazy one in Nevada! Congratulations on your upcoming retirement, you’re going to LOVE it! As soon as I’m able to send PM’s I’ll send you one and maybe we can chat in person, I’m in Reno every 1-2 weeks picking up something I can’t live without.

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    I'll look forward to it.

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    Had to put off the trip planning for a few days to make 600 pounds of Elk sausage, Mild Italian, Hot Italian and Chorizo! Hum, Halibut sausage........spices, cayenne pepper and some fennel seeds, might work!
    Sausage 1 2014.jpg
    Sausage 2 2014.jpg

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    BT Mark,

    your trip has a glitch in it......why the devil are you waiting til 2016?

    Just kidding.....somewhat....but sincerely, it sounds like you've done your homework. I've been visiting POW over the last 15 years long enough to almost have half a year of residence there. I go up every fall for the Silver run and have been to all those locales you mentioned and made a few friends along the way. I can't say anything contributory boatwise since we stream and river fish mostly or charter our saltwater excursions.

    I can recommend the best spot on the island to purchase real estate , IMO at least. Two places - Clark Bay in Hollis or Port St. Nicholas in Craig. Unless you want to get away from everything...then head north.


    BTW- good looking links. I have the same in Bison in my freezer, plus, salmon, cod and halibut. Besides grilling our fish we can anything left in the freezer when it gets close to AK time. Yum, yum! I don't eat canned tuna anymore...that's cat food compared to canned salmon.

    best of luck, I will be back up there in 5 weeks or so.


    Steve aka carolinaboy

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    Steve, I’m so jealous, I wish I was going up there in 5 weeks! It’s seriously killing me not being up there fishing after reading all these posts on the fishing that is happening right now. I have worked it out every way I could think of to get up there in 2015 but just isn’t happening. We are both retired but my wife works for the Nevada State Legislature when they are in session (every other year) and session starts this coming January and ends towards the end of June if they don’t do a special session (extension). I really want to hit June and July when we up there for the weather and the Kings, I hear that’s one of the best times for the Kings. Where I fish in Fort Bragg the best fishing is in July but the really big kings get caught in August, not very many and not as hot but usually when you get one slow and deep it’s a hog. Is it the same up there or are the BIG kings early?

    Are those places that you recommended to look at real estate good fishing? I know from what I have read here that Craig is supposed to be top notch but you don’t hear very much about Hollis, please pardon my ignorance as I have not had a chance to actually visit those places yet.

    Yup the sausage turned out great, just about killed me but we got it done. We killed 5 cow elk out of 6 tags and 5 doe out of 6 tags last year and because of everybody’s schedule we didn’t get around to making sausage until now. We have 6 cow elk tags and 6 mule deer buck tags for this year so we’ll be doing this all over again in October, I sure hope this old body can take it, I know……..it’s a rough life but someone has to do it!

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    Mark, i'll post a few pics and links of the fishing and real estate tomorrow. Hollis is on the east side in Clark Bay with a ferry terminal, floatplane dock and the Harris river which sports a natural Coho run. Port St. Nick is on the west side just down the road from Craig with the best views on the island, good weather protection from the big blows and a terminal king fishery. But I'm giving up too much intel and "everyone" will want to move there.

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