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Thread: Mind helping me plan a trip?

  1. #1
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    Smile Mind helping me plan a trip?

    If you folks wouldn't mind taking a minute to offer some advice, it would be much appreciated. My grandpa is turning 80 next year, and I want to give him one to remember! The more I research, the more I'm amazed at the cost, but still moving forward. I'm starting to think mid-June is when I'd like to plan it, but I can easily adjust if there's some big reason not to go then. We will fly in to Anchorage, but what to do from there, I don't really know. I'll post a loose itinerary below, and add some info/questions.

    FYI, there will be 5 of us.

    Day 1 - Travel.

    Day 2 - Fishing. I would really like to do one of the Halibut charters on one of the fishing days. Host/Guide/Charter must be able to supply equipment. Can anyone recommend a good Halibut Charter? I found one that is only 40 minutes from Anchorage, but others say you can't catch good Halibut unless you at least go to Homer. Driving to Homer looks like it will take at least 6 hours, and that's going to be tough to fit in, and flying will probably be too expensive.

    Day 3 - Hike, explore, eat fish, see some sights, light day trip, etc.

    Day 4 - Fishing. I would really like to do some Salmon fishing. Host/Guide/Charter must be able to supply equipment. I have no idea where to go, but I know I don't like combat fishing!

    Day 5 - Hike, explore, eat fish, see some sights, light day trip, etc.

    Day 6 - Fishing. It would be great to finish it off with some Trout fishing. I have no idea where to go.

    Day 7 - Travel.

    I would like to have some sort of flow, keeping things as efficient as possible, to avoid wasting valuable time. Any information or guidance is really appreciated. I love giving mom & pop type places my business, so if you have friends of family who are guides, have hotels, lodges, restaurants, etc, please let me know. I much prefer my money is used for blue collar folks like myself.

    Thanks in advance!

    -Mike

  2. #2
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    Default Aniak

    Why not float the Aniak? http://www.aniakairguides.com/

    I haven't done this trip, but it looks awesome. Not as expensive as a crazy lodge. You can do it yourself, or fully guided.

    There is also a dvd you can buy that shows this trip.

  3. #3
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Default

    I'll see if I can help you

    Day 1 - Travel.

    Day 2 - Fishing. I would really like to do one of the Halibut charters on one of the fishing days. Host/Guide/Charter must be able to supply equipment. Can anyone recommend a good Halibut Charter? I found one that is only 40 minutes from Anchorage, but others say you can't catch good Halibut unless you at least go to Homer. Driving to Homer looks like it will take at least 6 hours, and that's going to be tough to fit in, and flying will probably be too expensive.

    I'd steer clear of whittier, you'll make up for driving in the time you are on the boat not fishing, go to seward which is ~2.5 hours from anchorage or homer which is only 4

    Day 3 - Hike, explore, eat fish, see some sights, light day trip, etc.

    Drive back from Homer or Seward

    Day 4 - Fishing. I would really like to do some Salmon fishing. Host/Guide/Charter must be able to supply equipment. I have no idea where to go, but I know I don't like combat fishing!

    Non combat is gonna be tough, especially during king season. I'd reccomend the lower susitna drainage, or the little su for an more inexpensive trip. Places I would look are the Taluchuitna (willow creek resort used to do boat trips up there), Plenty of Guides on the little su, avoid lake creek and the deshka if you don't like crowds, they are usually packed. You could take an extra travel day and maybe try the gulkana or klutina rivers you might consider going to valdez for halibut fishing so you are close to the upper copper.

    Day 5 - Hike, explore, eat fish, see some sights, light day trip, etc.

    Travel back from fishing to somewhere, really there is so much to do everywhere enjoy

    Day 6 - Fishing. It would be great to finish it off with some Trout fishing. I have no idea where to go.

    If you are in the anchorage area I reccomend susitna valley river guides for trout fishing. Mike will put you on the fish If you are in the interior fish dry flies any where that's clear water and you'll catch grayling...

    Day 7 - Travel.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  4. #4
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    Default King Salmon Charter

    Somewhere in your trip I would recommend you fish the world famous Kenai river for king salmon. One of the best guides on the river is Tim Hiner. He has fished the river just about longer than anyone, and still maintains a high sucess rate. He books up fast - so you need to schedue ASAP His contact info is (907) 262-9729
    As far as fishing halibut out of Homer - I would recommmend A Ward Charters.
    Note: your reference to halibut charters 40 minutes from ANC - that's probably 40 minute flight time - not road miles.

  5. #5

    Default Hmmm

    40 minutes from Anchorage will put you in between Girdwood and Portage???? No halibut there. If you continue to Portage and drive through the tunnel to Whittier (or take the drive on train) you could find halibut fishing there.

    Mid June is just the beginning of decent fishing. Halibut fishing out of Deep Creek or Seward will be going reasonably well. The first run of sockeye will be hitting the Russian (very unforgettable fishing there). Likewise, the first run of kings will be reaching the peak on the lower Kenai. The Kasilof will be winding down on the king fishing. The lake fishing should be doing very well during this time.

    I am not familiar enough with the Mat-Su Valley rivers/streams to make any recommendations, but there are many on this board who can.

    One thing to watch for however, if we get some really warm days or heavy rains in mid-June, this tends to pump a lot of mud into the Kenai and makes it almost impossible to fish unless they have an early opener for bait.

    The Russian is famous for combat fishing, and is truly an experience. There is also a great chance of viewing bears fishing along the banks. There will be some areas on the Kenai where you can get away from the crowds for sockeye, but you will have to put your time in to get some fish. I am thinking specifically at Swiftwater Park in Soldotna.

    The scenery will be breathtaking and very green, but there may be a bunch of snow yet in the moutains.

    If you choose to use the services of a guide or charter, you can expect that all tackle and bait will be provided. You can also expect that your fish will be cleaned for you as well.

    A couple of things that you must do while here:

    If you make it to Seward go on the Kenai Fjiords 8 hour trip and spend some time at the Sea Life Center. There are glacier cruises out of Whittier as well. Homer is also a great place to visit, drive out to the Homer Spit, there is also a Coastal Center that would be great to visit.

    The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge visitor center is located in Soldotna and has some great interpretive venues. In Sterling (10 miles from Soldotna) drive out Swanson River Road and you will find an abundance of small lakes loaded with trout and char.

    That should get you started in the right direction. feel free to post any other questions as you refine your plans.

    Cheers

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillBob View Post
    Why not float the Aniak? http://www.aniakairguides.com/
    .
    Funny guy!

    Forget you read this. Few 80 year olds would make it past the log jam without a defibrillator.

    You want a relaxing fishing trip, find a cabin between Soldotna and Cooper Landing on the Kenai Penninsula. Book it for five days and use it as base camp. Just rent your car at the airport in Anchorage well ahead of time as it could be busy this time of year. Rent a minivan and off you go. My wife and I made a three day weekend trip up last year. If you plan well, you can have one heck of a great trip in five days on the Kenai.


    Book a day on the Kenai for king salmon. Your trip timing is great for this. I used Jimmie Jack Charters and they are top notch. If you don't want the crowd of the kenai, and the motor boats to go with it, have Jimmie take you down the nearby Kasilof where only drift boats are allowed. We went last year and it is a nice float.

    http://www.jimmiejackfishing.com/


    For halibut, you can get to Homer or Seward in 2-3 hours depending on where you choose your cabin. I went with an outfit in Seward a few years ago and had a great experience. Consider doing the half day trip. Maybe have lunch in Seward afterwards, visit the Marine Center there (worth seeing), and stop by Exit Glacier on your way back up to the cabin.

    http://www.puffincharters.com/


    You want some rainbows, give the guys at Troutfitters a call and have them take you out for bows one day. They have a good reputation.

    http://www.aktroutfitters.com/


    There are three great days of fishing with some sight seeing thrown in for good measure. I suggest spending the first day getting situated. Chill out and take in the scenery. The road from Cooper Landing towards Soldotna is very scenic. For that matter, the 1.5 hour drive down from Anchorage is very scenic. Plan on stopping (at pull offs) and taking some pictures. Dall sheep often on the side of the road. Beautiful views of Turnagain Arm. Lovely trip. Girdwood is a small town about 1/2 hour south of Anchorage. Stop and have lunch at Chair 5 if time allows. http://www.chairfive.com/ Great place for a casual meal and three beers. So day one is done getting there and chilling out. Three days of fishing. If you have time on the fifth day, consider doing a wildlife/glacier viewing day cruise with Kenai Fjords Tours in Seward. It could be the high point of your trip. Tons of scenery. Below is a link to their website. After that is a link to some pictures I took on their "Captains Choice" day trip.

    http://www.kenaifjords.com/733.cfm

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/2114408...95387576/show/


    This is a full five day trip to remember. Bring extra batteries for the camera!













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  7. #7
    Member Xanfly's Avatar
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    Default

    Good post Dan, couldn't have said it better myself.

    cedew,

    For a five day trip that covers everything you want to do you can't beat the Kenai Pen.

    Just remember June is a busy time in Alaska, crowds are the norm. Don't let that stop you.

  8. #8
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    If you want five days in Alaska, and minimize your exposure to the masses whilst maximizing your time in ALASKA, I'd look into Kodiak Island. They have everything you are looking for, and are off the road system, but still equipped to handle your needs quite nicely.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
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  9. #9
    Member J.J.'s Avatar
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    This is how I would plan it -

    Day 1- Travel day.
    Day 2 thru Day 4. - Go to a first class fly in lodge on a river in the bush, avoid the south central area to see the real Alaska. King Salmon or some of the others.
    Day 5 - Kenai River trip - must do - Guides listed before are all good, however don't expect to get a king. run timing, odds etc. stacked against you.
    Day 6 - Keep this day open for a couple of options. You could go to Seward, Deep creek or Homer for Halibut- or you could do another river trip on the Kenai, ex[plore the Russian river or whatever is hot in the south central creeks/rivers. - Profishnsea in Seward has always been good for me.

    Day 7 - Travel.

    Things to consider: Can your 80 year old grampa keep up with the rest of you. I bet not, that's why you should have the comforts of a lodge in the bush for the first part of the trip. forget the hiking, spend time at camp with him. also -You can get a little sight seeing in on days 5,6,& 7. I wouldn't book the halibut trip in advance for 2 reasons- 1) weather can lousy. Last summer I was blown off the water a couple of times. 2) Can your Grampa handle the ocean. It can beat you up some what. Pulling in even just a chicken or 2 can wear some folks out. On day 5 you can evaluate the weather and make the decision on the halibut trip then based on Gramps stamina and the weather. I would wager that there will plenty of open charter boats this summer due to the economy so I wouldn't worry much about finding a day or charter trip on the rivers or ocean.

    Just my 2 cents-- Good luck & more importantly - have fun!

    JJ

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    the problem with that is the first class fly lodge is going to cost $5k per person, and if your the one paying for everyone, that may be an issue. I know it would be a huge issue for me.

  11. #11

    Default Kodiak

    Running times to fishing grounds are very short, 45 minutes vice 3 hours, compared to other places. Road system fishing is the best bar none.

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    You may also want to consider Prince of Wales island. You can stay somewhere like Coffman Cove relatively cheaply, rent a car, they have an amazing road system there from when they were logging the island. You can drive the island in a day, they have caves, saltwater and freshwater fishing. You can be fishing a stream all by your lonesome, or hire a guide for both the fresh and saltwater.
    Look up Coffman Cove Cabins. really cheap, woodsy experience, small kitchen in cabin. Lots of crabbing. Caught a #110 halibut in the morning, by the afternoon, I was fishing a stream by myself catching silvers. Eagles waiting in the wings to pick off a fish.

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    Also, if you are going to Homer for Halibut, I have fished with these guys 3 times. http://www.fishinghomeralaska.com/ bryan is a great captain. I met up with them after fishing at the salty dog saloon and got smashed, boy those alaskan fisherman can drink!

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    I don't know what to say, thanks so much for all the information! I'll spend a few hours this evening on Google, mock up a new itinerary.

    Also, my Grandpa is in great shape for his age. Two summers ago we all hiked to the top of Mt. Tallac, it wasn't easy for him, but he did it. Just your typical hike in a state park wont be a problem for him, he loves it.

    I will be paying for everyone, the bulk of it anyway, just not food and such. It's the only way I can guarantee everyone will go, which is what Gramps would want. It's an extremely rare circumstance where I can afford it, and he's done so much for me over the years. I could on a tear jerking rant, but I'm sure you folks understand. Anyway, choosing to buy a car/truck/motorcycle over doing this for him, would feel like nails on a chalk board.

    And no worries about the camera, I'm sure I'll be overly prepared in that department!

    Off to do some research...

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    Cedew

    I have a coupon book that has a lot of buy one get one free. You are more than welcome to use the ones for the Kenai Fjords sightseeing tour. I also have one for the Seward Sealife Center. Let me know if you would like me to send them to you. It could save ya alittle bit of money.
    The only thing worse than a Subaru is the as*hole who drives it.

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    My first Alaska adventure I "did it all". I started out flying to Ketchikan, spent a few days at a forest service cabin , did some fishing, took a ferry to Prince of Wales island. I spent a week in South east. We then flew to Anchorage. I spent a few days camping in Denali national park. We then drove down to Seward Alaska, spent 2 days there, did a charter, drove around. Then spent 4 more days in Homer Alaska, did a few more charters, drove around etc.
    I wanted to see different parts of Alaska in one trip. The trip was awesome. However doing it again, I wouldn't move around quite so much. What I learned however was how vastly different the parts of Alaska were. South East is all rainforest and lush with huge trees, dense forest, thousands of streams and lakes teaming with fish. I could fish all day by myself. Anchorage to Homer and Seward is vastly different. More sparse when it comes to forest. Drier climate. Many of the trees are dead because of the bark beetle (induced by global warming). However the mountains are gorgeous, the drive from Anchorage to Homer is fantastic. Fishing on the rivers is combat fishing, shoulder to shoulder with people.
    Homer is cute, lots of charters to pick from. Although I have my favorite. I would say if you don't mind a more touristy vacation, the kenai peninsula is the way to go, lots to do.

  17. #17
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Sounds like BillBob had quite an adventure. Sounds awesome.

    For most people, it would be a good idea to consider focusing on a smaller part of the state. Alaska is huge. If you want "relaxing", give thought to spending time in one area that allows multiple short excursions/day trips. The Kenai offers a good percentage of people this type of experience. Great scenery, fishing, hiking, yet still the modern conveniences that many people expect while on vacation. Consider visiting the websites of Soldotna, Seward, etc... Lots of info online that will generate some thoughts.
    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.

  18. #18
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    What about this.
    You RV Alaska!
    http://www.greatalaskanholidays.com/

  19. #19

    Default any evidence?

    Quote Originally Posted by BillBob View Post
    Many of the trees are dead because of the bark beetle (induced by global warming).
    Last I checked, nobody could put their finger on what caused the beetle to switch from a two year cycle to a one year cycle. Presently in this area they are back to a two year cycle, the wave of death that we experienced in the 80's-90's is not as evident. If it were global warming, I would think that the rampage would still be underway????

    My theory is that the forest simply reached maturity. Normally when that happens, wildfire does its work to recycle forest. But, we keep putting the fires out. So guess what, the beetles prevailed and recycled the forest, and it caught fire, burned way hotter and turned the area into a moonscape. All of which is very healthy for the ecosystem. The mature forest chokes out the disiduous trees which is food for the ungulates, such as moose, the population of which has been undergoing serious decline. By recycling, the underbrush, willows and birch will grow back, thus creating food/habitat for the ungulates.

    Keeping this on topic however, Dan's post is again very wise. Alaska is so vast that there is no way to really experience a lot of areas in one week... I've lived here most of my life and still haven't experienced all that Alaska has to offer. With Anchorage as your hub, I would recommend exploring the Kenai Peninsula. While there will be others around, I believe that you will beat the main thrust of the tourist season. Likewise, the MatSu Valley will have much to offer (though no halibut) and within very close reach to Anchorage.

    Some great hikes: Exit Glacier in Seward, The trail is relatively flat and you can walk right up to the glacier.

    Lower Russian River in Cooper Landing. The trail is wide and mostly good soil. It is handicap accessible. The Russian River Falls (not much for falls) may have some salmon swimming through during your trip.

    Hidden Creek Trail off of Skilak Lake Rd (again in Cooper Landing); maybe a bit more strenuous but will take you to the banks of the Kenai River (may be some sockeye fishing there???)... be careful and alert for bears. Even the drive around Skilak loop is worth your time for wildlife viewing and scenery.

    There are quite a few trails off of the Swanson River Road that I mentioned earlier, most are relatively flat but could have some soft/wet areas. Most will have good trout fishing at the end.

    I could go on and on...

    Cheers

  20. #20
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    I agree, lot to see and do in Kenai. A home base would be great. Yes, it is a few hours to Homer, but what a drive. I read somewhere it is one of the prettiest drives in America. Awesome halibut fishing in Homer. Last time I was fishing halibut in Homer, there were Orcas on the right and humpbacks on the left, really amazing. Great art community too, you can find some cool stuff.

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