My fiancee and I are am coming to Alaska for the last two weeks of August for our Honeymoon. We will be flying into Anchorage and driving directly to Seward for the first five days of our trip. We have one full day chartered combo lined up. We will then spend the next three or four days between Girdwood, Cooper Landing, and maybe Whittier.
Our tentative plan is to then head north and spend the remaining four or five days of our time between Talkeetna and Anchorage.
We may change this if we are greeted by throngs and throngs of tourists like ourselves on the way and folks recommend other options. (IE we might consider a ferry over to Cordova in lieu of Cooper Landing or Girwood. I will spin for Salmon on three or four days other than the guided trip.
My questions are:
1) Should I bring hip waders (I already own a pair - would not have to purchase new)?
2) Are there destination you would recommend over our planned itinerary? (Can't base this decision solely on quality of fishing - also need to consider general ambiance- overcrowding, natural beauty, cultural interest etc.)
3) Is Cordova a good alternative to Girdwood/Cooper Landing?
4) Should I gear up with Vibrax/Pixie Spoons etc in Anchorage or Seward - any shop recommendations.
Thanks in advance - again great site.
First of all, the hip waders will be useful, but they sure are bulky to pack. You can buy them here for $20 or less, so that might be preferable to packing them. One way or another, though, they would be good to have.
As for Cordova over Cooper Landing/Girdwood, well....all three are vastly different places. Cooper Landing is right in the heart of the mountains and great salmon/trout fishing. There should be decent fishing for silver salmon there around that time, and absolutely excellent fishing for rainbows and dolly varden on the upper Kenai and the Russian River. If you read about the Russian you'll here about crowded combat fishing, but in late August the crowds are gone and the river is gorgeous. If you hike a few miles upstream you'll probably be alone with the ravenously hungry trout. I love that place late in the season. (on a side note, a half-day float of the upper Kenai is gorgeous and there are plenty of fish to be had - reasonable price, too)
Girdwood is a nice little resort town. Great hiking around there, but little in the way of fishing. You could probably get into some pinks in the river that runs through town, and there are other decent pink/silver streams nearby, but Girdwood is not a fishing hotbed. Great if you want to access the high alpine for hiking, though.
As for Cordova, it's an entirely different ball of wax. Obviously, it's on the ocean. Awesome ride over there as far as scenery is concerned, and plenty of fishing opportunities. To be honest, I'm not familiar with the fresh water options over there, but I know they exist. Can someone else chime in here?
So, I wouldn't say that Cordova is a good substitute for the other two, as they're all widely different, but I'm sure it would be just as fun - though it depends on what you're seeking.
I wouldn't worry too much about crowding. There will be people here, for sure, but the tourist season is winding down by then and the combat fishing conditions are subsiding. Seward will probably be the most crowded of them all, but it'll be worth it for the fish you'll get into.
As for gearing up, the cheapest route would probably be Wal-Mart or Sportsman's Warehouse in Anchorage. If you want some good local advice, though, stop in at Mountain View Sports in Anchorage or the Kenai Cache in Cooper Landing. They'll point you in the right direction.
Having done the Alaskan honeymoon, which led to us becoming Alaskans, I can relate.
There is something to be said for putting in some milealage to see the state. I'd recomend driving from Anchorage to Valdez, and taking the ferry to Whittier then back to Anchorage for a very scenic trip.
Are you planning on camping or staying at B&B's, lodges or hotels? We tented our trip all but the last night. Makes for a very flexible schedule, drive 50 miles or 300 miles a day depending on the mood, and setup camp wherever.
I don't think anyone could have put it better than B M did, although Pauls idea of driving to Valdez and then fairy to Whittier would be well worth it. The only thing I can add at the moment is that it is starting to cool off here, not that it ever got real warm. But it would be a good idea to bring some warmer clothes.
We are trying to stay flexible to keep our travel options open and our costs reasonable. That said we had not planned on bringing camping gear for the sake of the bulk. We have reservations in Seward for our time there and were planning on making resevations for Cooper Landing and Girdwood when we get there. I'd love to hear suggestions for affordable accomodations in either town if you have them.
Also, am I making a mistake targeting primarily Silver? I was planning on spinning with a 6.5ft. med ugly stick. That said if the trout fishing is significantly better at that time I could bring a spare spool with lighter test or even the fly rod as a substitute. I just want to see a lot of action. I only chose Silver for the opportunity tire out my arm on a bigger fish (not readily available where I am).
I don't see any mistake in targeting silvers. Seward is a good place to get into them when you are here and you won't soon forget it. I would suggest that whatever pole you are using, use no less than 15lb and preferably 20lb test line. I prefer green vibrax in size 4 for silvers.
Romance and Reason...
Definitely bring the waders. If you keyword search "cargo bags" on the Internet up will pop E-Bags. They offer a rolling cargo bag that you can stuff with a hard-sided 48 to 54 quart cooler plus your waders.
The cooler on the way up contains your frozen food comodities that you consume during your trip. The cooler on the way down empties out to fill with your frozen vacuumed wrapped catch to bring back home. Definitely bring a bottle of champange on the way up in each cooler!
With the weight of the cooler and the cargo bag averaging about 15 lbs., this gives you about 35 lbs. of fish you get check back home for free. Add the new bride's cooler and there's 70 lbs. of free fishing checking for the two of you. Use your other checked bags for each of you in the packing of your personal gear. Carry-on your rods and smaller overhead bags or backpacks, and you've got it made.
And while you're waiting in the Anchorage airport for your connection coming home, pick up the phone and have the Clarion on Spenard pick you up for free and enjoy lunch or dinner on the shores of Lake Hood, the largest seaplane base in the world. It simply does not get any better than this...
Hello: obviously you are doing a car rental. You might consider driving from the Anchorage area to Valdez. Sorry, lots of tourists, but unless you get off the beaten path you are going to find tourists. Valdez is beautiful with both charter, shore and rent-a-boat accomodations for fishing. Yes, bring your waders and a good raincoat. Call Fish Central regarding renting a skiff for your own do-it-yourself fishing. Silver salmon should be available that way as well as rockfish. Shore fishing should bring in both rockfish and pinks for the heck of it. Usually the shore-caught pinks are too far gone for eating but great fun on a flyrod. There are tons of small streams, creeks and good fishing rivers toward Talkheetna area and alot of people enjoy visiting there for the heck of it. Anywhere in the areas you mentioned should produce you good camping and fishing. Haven't been to Cordova so don't know the area, but hear the fishing is good there too and the town is worth seeing. Have a good trip!