Harding USFS cabin comments
We targeted Chums on the Harding River in early August 2006, but by the time we got there the run had already petered out. We encountered the largest and sportiest pink salmon that I have ever fished for in Ak, and they kept us entertained a few hrs each day. Basically, the fishing for these pinks was outstanding at the first major pool upstream from the cabin (which was about ½ mile upstream) on the rising tide until about 15 ft. Once the tide got much higher than that, the pool flooded and was basically unfishable from anything other than a boat. One day three of us hiked 2 miles upstream to the USGS flow gage in pursuit of cuts and/or dollies but we caught none. Probably should have started the day earlier and hiked up even farther as reports in the cabin log book suggested the good trout/dolly fishing started at about that point.
We had quite good bottom fishing in 50-100 ft at slack tides on a reef in mid channel near Tom's Creek. Using 1 oz scampi gigs we caught quite a few quillback/copper rockfish, several halibut in the 20-40 lb range, one 30-40 lb king salmon and uncountable irish lords. A depth finder was essential and a GPS would be quite helpful for this reef fishing as the currents continually pulled us off the best spots.
Freshwater fishing opportunities would be greatly improved at this cabin if the USFS cut a trail to the first major pool upstream. [But apparently there is a parcel of private land there so this is unlikely to ever happen]. This pool had by far the best salmon holding water, but was without a boat a real bugger to hike to because the shoreline access to this pool was littered with large deadfalls and boulders which were all covered with extremely slippery algae/mud because this area was within the inter-tidal zone. Upstream of this pool hiking was quite easy because the river channel was wide and shallow.
The Harding River cabin (an improved hunter style) and surrounding environs were excellent. Crabbing on the alluvial fan right in front of the cabin was good to excellent (we set our trap in 30-50 ft of water). We had only (very) limited success shrimping at 150-200 ft. A grey whale and calf hung out in front of the cabin the first 3 days of our trip and we saw killer whales when we fished the reef.
Provided you hit the salmon run a little better than we did (I suggest a few weeks earlier for chums and a month latter for silvers), this cabin is an excellent place to combine outstanding esthetics with quite good marine bottom fishing, good river salmon fishing, and good/excellent crabbing.