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Thread: Any advice for a rookie?

  1. #1
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    Default Any advice for a rookie?

    Hello everyone!

    My husband and I are new to Alaska - this is our first summer here. Of course, we wouldn't want to miss the chance to catch the famous salmon run. However, having just moved to Fairbanks we really don't have a clue about where to go and what conditions to prepare for. So I went online trying to get some information and I got lucky and found this forum. If anyone of you has some time to give me some tips I'd be really grateful. We want to go fishing the second week of June and my husband wants to catch some salmon. Which places to you recommend? I read a lot about the Kenai River. Is it really that crowded? Do you have to rent a boat? Preferably we'd like to camp somewhere by the water. Are their campgrounds close by? Thanks in advance for every piece of advice you can give me and I appreciate you taking the time!

    Steph

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    The second week of June can be good for kings on the Kenai River and reds (sockeye) on the Russian River (which connects to the Kenai River about 40 miles upstream from where you would fish kings). King fishing on the Kenai is very difficult without a boat. I do believe that there are some who rent boats, but the technique is not easy without some instruction, so your best bet there would be to take a charter. Half-day charters are available for somewhere in the $100-$125 range (I think), and some forum members here are guides. As for the Russian River and red salmon, that fishery opens on June 11th. Some years the opening day fishing is slow, but at times it can start off with a bang. It can be incredibly crowded on the Russian, but you can find solitude if you're willing to walk upstream from the Russian River Campground 2-3 miles. The walking along the river bank can be a bit tough, but it's worth it. There will still be people, but at least you'll have room to fish.

    As for camping, there are campgrounds, but the spots at the Russian River Campground are usually reserved months in advance. There are other nearby sites, so you can probably find something, but it may take some effort.

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    Member AKRoadkill's Avatar
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    The Parks Highway streams (Willow, Montana, Goose, Sheep and Little Willow Creeks) should be picking up by mid June for shorefishing for kings.

    Once it goes to weekend only, you'll have a lot of company in the campgrounds at Willow and Montana, but it's not a bad bet for kings from shore.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default book...

    There is a great book, "Alaska Fishing", by Gunnar Pederson and Rene Liemeres. It can be bought here on the forum store (or most any book store). Great book and it breaks the fish into chapters and tells you all you need to know. Also, "Flyfishers Guide to Alaska" by Scott Haugen is full of maps and tells you specifically how to get to places. Like 120 maps in the book. Forget that it is a "flyfishing" book. Buy it. The info is universal for the most part. These two books are among the best I have bought. As for locations, you may very well find places closer to home (and less crowded) than the Kenai. I just got back from there myself. We went up this past Friday and fished the Kasilof for kings from a drift boat. We got skunked. But it is early in the season to say the least. The place is a zoo in June/July. I would try to find some places closer to your home and avoid the crowds. You may find it more enjoyable. The books mentioned would be one heck of a way to get ideas of places to go. Both are on the forum store and can also be ordered at Amazon, or my favorite, Barnes and Noble (online). Tons of info waiting on you there. Also, look into the grayling fishing in your area. It can be good from what I am told. I spent two years in NW Alaska (Nome and Kotz) and there was some amazing grayling fishing there. Lots of fun. The Chena River (near you) is a good spot. Check out Chena Hot Springs for that matter. It is about 60 miles east of Fairbanks. I spent a week up there in Nov 2004 and had a blast. That is where they build the ice hotel each winter. Maybe it is up year round now. They were trying to enclose it or something to keep it up year round. A sight to see at any rate. The wife and I are going for a week in February to photograph the lights. Rent snow machines, soak in the natural hot springs with a cold beverage in hand, relax in the bar/restaruant (excellent food), look at the northern lights. Wonderful place. Especially in winter, but also has lots of summer activities too. Check out there website.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default grayling...

    There are two threads in the Flyfishing Forum about Chena River grayling. Take a look.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Smile Alaska Fishing

    My advice to any new Alaska fisherman is to "Just Go". Never have I seen so many helpful people on the river as in Alaska. Whatever waters you choose to go to, there will be plenty of people there to lend a helpful hand. Heck, they even do it for most non residents, just kidding. I think what gear to purchase will be the most important items. That just depends on where you might be headed. Welcome to the Greatland and tight lines.

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    Stephanie,

    I'm just down the road from you and your hubby in Moose Creek south of North Pole. King Salmon fishing on the Chena and Salcha rivers here in the interior starts in July so you'd be early if you stayed in the interior in mid-June. Frankly, compared to some of the places previously mentioned by AkRoadkill, the Chena and Salcha rivers are mediocre for King Salmon fishing.

    Without a boat, the rivers he mentioned along the Parks highway are a really good bet. You'll be able to walk to decent fishing right from your campsite too. Some of these Parks Highway rivers also host Pink salmon, chum salmon, red salmon and Silver salmon a little later in the fall. Come late September/early October try Delta Clearwater this side of Delta Junction. IMHO, it is the best silver salmon fishery in the interior. It's incredible if you can get access to a boat too. If you want more specifics, just p.m. me.

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default Long run..

    ..to get down to the kenai - Look at the run timing on the creeks between you and Valdez...we usually hit kings in that area later in July, but there are some fish to be had late June I think. The king/red combo on a couple rivers there can be good, you may want to save $$ for a 1/2 day charter for Kings -

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    Member akshrop's Avatar
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    Buy the book "Highway Angler." It is a great book to get started fishing without a boat. I lived by it until I got a boat and I still use it for targeting areas close to the road access but by boat. There are tons of places to get started fishing in AK in the fairbanks area. I live in North Pole and fish all over the interior on day trips. Go to the ADFG website for stocking info and maps of local lakes if you just want to wet a line. Talk to locals about what fishing gear you need. Big Rays downtown Fairbanks used to be a great place to get help gearing up. I don't know if they are still as great to newbies, but they sure used to be. I never felt that they talked me into buying anything that I didn't catch fish with and they always stayed in line with my pocket book instead of trying to get me to buy the "best" (read most expensive). Good luck and to echo what JTM9 said, just go and fish! It is the best way.

  10. #10
    Member AKRoadkill's Avatar
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    Another place to try for kings might be the Gulkana River in late June. I haven't been there in several years, so I don't know if there's still public access to shore fishing at Sailor's pit. It's generally less crowded than the Parks streams.

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