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Thread: Fishing the Gulkana

  1. #1

    Default Fishing the Gulkana

    I'm not very experienced at fishing in AK nor elsewhere for that matter. I want to target some kings this year and I have heard that the Gulkana River is the place to go. I don't have a boat of any sort. How accessible is it for shore fishing or wading?

    Also any tips on tackle or gear for those Kings?


  2. #2
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Rifle River MI

    Default I'll Bite

    The Gulkana offers access from the Richardson Hgwy Bridge up to Sourdough Landing for bank fishing.

    Things to consider:

    Bridge Downstream to the Copper Flies only
    Bridge Upstream no restrictions until you get above the Westfork.

    Timing 6 June - 19 July Peak 12 June - 12 July IMO

    Access with ease Lower River - Richardson Hgwy Bridge if above the high water mark Ahtna Permit required i.e. Land Use fees. f you walk along the South side for a mile or so you will find a couple of good holes to cast for kings with bate.
    Access below the bridge on state easement nothing.
    Sailors Pit about 6 miles up from the Bridge Native land use permit required but great access.
    Gulkana River RV Park - Use fee and Camp ground becoming more popular year to year a couple fo decent holes to fish but expect company during Mid to late June.
    Poplar Grove State owned a little hike down the hill and your fishing.
    Sourdhough Landing BLM I do not believe there is a day use fee as of yet ( lots of power boat traffic.

    Set can be simple and cost effective - Standard Med / Heavy action 7-8ft Ugly Stick Bait Cast or Spin 25-40 LBS P Line will get you in the ball park. Lots of snags i.e. rocks to hang up on. Standard Corkie or Spin and Glow with a fair portion of cured salmon eggs. You will want to set it up with a tri-swivel and drop weight.
    If spin fishing look to Vibrex size 5 or 6 just about any color.
    Last year we had good sucess fishing Slip Bobbers and Roe in the deeper holes that allows you to avoid a lot of snags.

    I see that last year you were chasing Grayling on the Chena. You can also apply this method for Kings on the Chena and Salcha Rivers both have had strong returns of Kings over the pat two years. The Chena offers just about unlimted access for fishing Kings from the bank directly after the 4th of July from the Flood Control Project down stream as well. as in town.

  3. #3


    I will only add a couple things to the gulkana, mind you I havent been able to fish it these last couple of years now due to charter fishing obligations.

    The run has really started getting shotty over the years. We've done well and those who know how to fish it still produce. But the reality if it is, the fish just arent in there like the were. Now 07 and 06 I cannot vouch for. But the years behind that to 95 were progressively better as they went back.

    Yarn was our go to forever and until I started raft fishing it, remained so along with some fat freddies. the fat freddys worked very well in orange, fuschia, orange and chartues with the latter usually being the top and the fuschia a very close second. You dont need a fly rod to fish the fly only water but you will need a pass from Ahtna to hike down river. The fat freddys are heck enough on a bait caster, a fly rod is no fun at all with them after awhile. When the fishing is hot, it doesnt matter, when you're beating the water all day for a bite or two it really sucks big time. Yarn is much easier once you learn to tie an egg loop.

    Don't be put off by this, she can be and is a very good river to fish....once you learn it. The only catch to it is not being anywhere near it when the rains come. IF she's raining in the headwaters, she'll be blacker then mud in no time. She also will rise and fall very fast.

    Hoping to be back on the river this year if all things work out...or should I say dont work out. If ya see a 16' green jag cataraft with a short bald kinda pudgy dude in it rowing for tea in china, that's me. My takle box is a rubber maid, should be the dead give away there. Stop by. If not find the two 5 wheelers below the bridge, one has WI plates. Lettem know I sent ya. It's my buddies parents, and then 2nd is my buddies and his wifes. Very very good family friends and dang good people to fish with! Not only for the company, good fishns types too


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Sarasota, Florida

    Default On the Gulkana...

    The reply you got from Blue Moose hardly scratches the surface. Visit his website at and you will find that he has a terrific site that offers terrific trips at reasonable prices.

    It will be my good fortune to be under his guided expertise on the Gulkana this July...

  5. #5

    Default second to Moose

    Our family floated the Gulkana over last fourth of July using gear and advice provided by Blue Moose. We had an excellent time and his passion and knowledge of the river greatly enhanced our experience and the number of fish we caught. I don't know if your looking to do a guided trip but at the very least I'd look at his website and would highly recommend doing the float either by yourself or with a guide if you have the time to go through with it.

  6. #6


    Hey guys, thanks for all the help and advice you've given me. Sometimes its like pulling my own teeth trying to get information from people on the how to and where to go.

    Much appreciated and I'll check Moose out!

  7. #7

    Thumbs up Another Moose fan

    I have to agree with everyone else. I fished the Gulkana last year with some advice from BlueMoose and had a very successful trip. Also, the river is beautiful and holds a variety of fish.
    Good Luck

  8. #8
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Rifle River MI

    Default Thanks all for the comments

    Wow thanks! Not required but always appreciated. Again thanks!

  9. #9
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Eagle River, AK


    Quote Originally Posted by TradBow View Post
    If ya see a 16' green jag cataraft with a short bald kinda pudgy dude in it rowing for tea in china, that's me.
    Short, bald, and pudgy??? I don't think that's you, man. When I read your stories about stalking sheep with a stickbow far off in the rugged peaks, I envisioned a 6'3" man with flowing locks and a superman physique. You're saying I have this wrong?

  10. #10


    Well, you know those long dark cold winters have a way of working on a man . As does all the other projects, time goes by way to fast and spring is knocking at the door. shew.

  11. #11
    Member BlueMoose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Rifle River MI

    Default Lol B

    Yeah don't let him fool you. I have seen Dan in action dude is an animal behind the sticks and goes 24 -7. Heck he came down the river one year with rope and a stick for an oar in that Cat and had no issues getting the Cat back to the boat landing.


  12. #12


    Here is a guide on the Gulkana, check out his site. I have never fished the Gulkana with Tyler, but have hit the Kenai with him. He is very knowlagable and a great guy.

    good luck on your trip.

  13. #13


    invention is the spawn of the times . Oh we had problems that day, but we still caught fish!


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