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Thread: Looking for Alaska Fishing Help

  1. #1
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    Default Looking for Alaska Fishing Help

    We're in the beginning stages of planning a fishing trip to Alaska for 2011. Could anyone make a couple of recommendations? We've fished off of Ketchikan once - trolled with a charter company and took turns reeling in - which isn't our cup of tea. We're avid fishers in Colorado and are looking for a lodge with a guided yet "do-it-yourself" feel. We're looking at June for King and Halibut, but would also like the ability to fish the shore or a river or two on foot, yet we're not into the shoulder-to-shoulder thing that we've seen pictures of (on the Kenai River and such). Our first thought is Southeast - Sitka/Yakutat. Haven't done much research on South Central, but have read good things about Cordova/Valdez/Whittier/Kodiak Island. Any advice is appreciated!!!

  2. #2

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    You wanna mooch then. (Cut plug/banana weight) You do the fishing, feel the bite, set the hook. The guide isn't handing you a rod when it pops out of the downrigger, and no taking turns. FWIW, my kids don't like trolling either. They LOVE mooching, as they are in control of their own fishing destiny.. I'll usually offer up $20 to the first kid to land a king, and they get downright competitive about it!

    PM me if you want some recommendations for some good fishing outfits on POW where you can mooch up your salmon. The west coast Prince of Wales charter fleet are moochers. Good stream fishing on POW too.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    You do the fishing, feel the bite, set the hook. The guide isn't handing you a rod when it pops out of the downrigger, and no taking turns.
    270ti---if you know of a guide that is setting the hook and then handing the rod to a client I hope you'll report them to ADF&G immediately. That is totally illegal. According to the regs, the person setting the hook is the person that fish belongs to. I know it happens, but it shouldn't. When I take clients out on a charter I don't touch a single rod other than to set it up, or if someone is having a problem.

    I love mooching when there are fish around, but I've found if you're not catching anything the rods usually end up being put in the rod holder and the person sits down and just watches it. So you might as well be trolling. If there are no fish biting it can get pretty tedious.

    But I do agree with you when the fish are biting. I LOVE the interactivity of it, and especially when you hit a big school of coho and one of them comes close to ripping the rod out of your hand.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post
    270ti---if you know of a guide that is setting the hook and then handing the rod to a client I hope you'll report them to ADF&G immediately. That is totally illegal. According to the regs, the person setting the hook is the person that fish belongs to. I know it happens, but it shouldn't. When I take clients out on a charter I don't touch a single rod other than to set it up, or if someone is having a problem.
    I'm looking at the regs, and I don't see where a guide can't hand a rod to a client. Can you copy/paste that reg? I must be looking in the wrong place.

    None of the charters in my area even have downriggers on them. But, clients I had that had fished in downrigger ports (sitka/ktown) all had the same complaints as the OP.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post
    270ti---if you know of a guide that is setting the hook and then handing the rod to a client I hope you'll report them to ADF&G immediately. That is totally illegal.
    You must be really popular in your area, if you run around reporting things about them to the ADF&G..

  6. #6

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    To get back to the original post (LOL!). I think where you want to go kind of depends on exactly what kind of fishing you are most interested in doing, and what you can afford. There are a lot of lodges across the inlet where you can go fish for 5 - 10 lb. rainbows and catch one on every cast, but you'll be paying them a LOT of money.

    I'm not at all familiar with SE, but I do know there are plenty of operations here in the Homer area that can get you into kings and halibut and won't "catch" the fish for you and then hand you the rod. When I take clients out on a charter my goal is to make sure they are the ones being interactive and catching the fish. It can get pretty exciting when you get into a nice halibut patch and 2 or 3 people hook into a fish at the same time.

    Kings can be a bit more boring because often times you can go hours without getting a hit, but when you do it can get pretty interesting pretty quick. I've hooked into 50 lb. kings out in saltwater that have stripped about 50 yds. of line off my reel in just a few seconds.

    If you're interested in fishing for kings off the bank you probably aren't really going to be interested in fishing the Kenai. People do it all the time, but it really helps to know what you're doing. The Kenai is notorious for big kings and not a lot of places with enough bank to fight them from. I love the Kasilof because there are some nice places along the bank where you've got plenty of room to fight your fish. The fish there typically aren't as big as in the Kenai, but I've never had any problem catching 15 to 30 lb. kings!

    But just about anywhere you fish on the road system in SC AK you're going to run into a lot of people. Not always "combat" fishing, but there will be people around. That's why I spend about 98% of my fishing time out in salt water.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    You must be really popular in your area, if you run around reporting things about them to the ADF&G..
    LOL! Seriously, I hate unscrupulous guides and people that try to "bend the rules" for their own purposes. Does it show!?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post
    LOL! Seriously, I hate unscrupulous guides and people that try to "bend the rules" for their own purposes. Does it show!?
    I'm still looking for that reg that says a guide can't hand off a downrigger rod to a client.. Point me in the right direction?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    I'm looking at the regs, and I don't see where a guide can't hand a rod to a client. Can you copy/paste that reg? I must be looking in the wrong place.

    None of the charters in my area even have downriggers on them. But, clients I had that had fished in downrigger ports (sitka/ktown) all had the same complaints as the OP.
    You don't know that regulation!? Guess you'd better get a copy of the regs and read them a little more carefully. It is one of the most common rules that gets "bent" by charter operators. On page 5 of the regs under definitions you'll find for "bag limit" (daily limit) means"...a fish when landed and killed becomes a part of the bag limit of the person originally hooking it." It is common knowledge that "the person originally hooking it" means the person that "hooks" the fish. How much clearer can that be!?

    I don't know about your area, but you won't see very many charter boats around Homer without downriggers. I'd feel like an idiot taking clients out and trying to flatline them all or use planers.

  10. #10
    Member ksaye's Avatar
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    I think you shoud give the Kenai pennisula and Parks Hwy a shot. I think you would like the variety of opportunities the area has to offer. Hike into crescent lake for grayling, combat fish for sockeye at the confluence, catch 24" rainbows or dollies on the upper or middle Kenai, catch some pinks up at Resurrection creek, catch some kings on the Deshka, Kasilof, or Kenai....do a day trip fly-out across the cook inlet for kings or silver, charter a boat out of homer, ninilchik, seward, or whittier fo halibut, rockfish, ling cod, or silvers...there is a lot to do and you could quickly fill a solid week of fishing. This is just a sampling of what can be done. Combat fishing is limited to a few areas and is not all that bad; but by walking a little you can get away from the major combat areas.

    Kodiak may be a great option as well; heard a lot of good things but have only fished Kodiak once; so my experience is limited.

    Also, don't know what you want to spend...but a week at a good lodge will be ~$3k +/-. But I am sure it would be well spent.

  11. #11

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    CoBassin---If you book a charter with a company that doesn't use downriggers to troll I'd be a bit suspicious of them. In my 20 years of trolling I've found there isn't a better way to fish while trolling. Divers, planers or flatlining with 4 clients on your boat is asking for trouble and totally unprofessional IMO.

    Mooching can be a very effective way to fish in the right circumstances, but in most cases when fishing for kings (in Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet at least) they aren't fish you'll mooch for. Silvers are a different story because you'll get schools of them that will come through. But if I went out with a guide around here that decided to pull up and mooch for kings I'd ask him (or her) for my money back.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post
    You don't know that regulation!? Guess you'd better get a copy of the regs and read them a little more carefully. It is one of the most common rules that gets "bent" by charter operators. On page 5 of the regs under definitions you'll find for "bag limit" (daily limit) means"...a fish when landed and killed becomes a part of the bag limit of the person originally hooking it." It is common knowledge that "the person originally hooking it" means the person that "hooks" the fish. How much clearer can that be!?

    I don't know about your area, but you won't see very many charter boats around Homer without downriggers. I'd feel like an idiot taking clients out and trying to flatline them all or use planers.
    Thanks! I knew that rule, just couldn't find the exact wording of it under the statewide regs on the adfg website. It was under the definitions link. We never had to worry about it, as we are moochers on charters down here. I have downriggers on my skiff though and love to troll.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post

    Mooching can be a very effective way to fish in the right circumstances, but in most cases when fishing for kings (in Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet at least) they aren't fish you'll mooch for. Silvers are a different story because you'll get schools of them that will come through. But if I went out with a guide around here that decided to pull up and mooch for kings I'd ask him (or her) for my money back.
    The guides on the west coast of POW excel at putting clients on big kings, while mooching. They are highly skilled at boat control and fishing the kelp lines and bait balls. The big spawners hug the kelp, and they are there to intercept them.

    One of the best books I've ever read was "Salmon on my Mind". It has a few chapters on the first moochers that showed up to SE Alaska. Great book.

  14. #14

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    Another Question for muttley crew,

    The wording of the reg is "Hooking".

    Now, if a rod releases from the clip on a downrigger, guide reaches over and takes the rod and hands it to the client. The client reels down and "hooks" the fish... Is that illegal? Is it the first person to touch the rod after it releases who owns that fish? What if the downrigger release is tight enough and the hook is sharp enough so the fish is hooked at the bite? Do guides in your area get busted for handing a downrigger rod to a client after it releases?

    Thanks!

  15. #15
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Thus it would seem that downriggers should be illegal for charters as it is the guides equipment that he setup that hooked the fish.

    The problem with laws is intent, wording and enforcement. The intent of the law is for the guided fisherman to catch the fish, not the guide. It is not clearly spelled out in each fishery what is meant by catching or as worded hooking a fish.

    I can understand why a guide would hand the rod to a client, as he doesn't want the client letting the rod fall overboard as he excitedly fumbles it out of the rod holder. I can't see that as the guide hooking the fish, but I can see how it could be interpreted as such.

    To the o/p I'd focus on SE, Kodiak or Cordova. If you want a more remote type feel, avoid areas that are on the road system. Also ask the charters if they jig for halibut vs. fish bait. If you want to feel like you are fishing vs. reeling in, by all means jig.

  16. #16
    Member Tight Lines's Avatar
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    Wink Gota Love Yak!!!

    YAKUTAT

    On the Situk River the middle to the end of June for the river is best for Kings & Reds. On the years I go there I usually spend Fathers Day there. The Kings in this river run in the 25-35 pound range a 40 is huge in the Situk, not monsters but they do put up a good fight. The Reds seam to run big here 8-12#; itís not unusual to hook 100/day.

    As far as bank fishing goes, river access is limited. You can walk in at the takeout on the lower end of the river and fish the last 2-3 miles (very good for fresh fish), but it can get crowded. The upper end can be fished starting at Nine Mile Bridge and going up or down river.

    For Salmon fishing on the Situk I would recommend Ron DeNardi. I have fished with Ron for over 30 years in CA, OR, and AK. He will work his butt off to put you on fish. He has a limited number of user days on the river so itís best to book early. He can be contacted at one of three locations October through November in CA @1-916-842-7655, December through February in OR @1-707-487-3474, and March through September in AK @1-907-784-3301. Ronís boat (in pix) is used to float down the river, the motor helps in the slow stretches.


    There are two guides on the river that are allowed to run jet boats and they rocket up river from the take-out at the lower end (Frank Deverox & Bob Fraker). If you want to contact them I can give you their number if you like but, they have a 4 man/day minimum ($1000/day).

    He also has a lodge in Yakutat (The Dream Catcher Lodge, it a 5 bedroom house and can handle group of 10 but he will book two man rooms separately) itís a DYI, buy your food at one of the two markets and do your own cooking. He may be able to accommodate you at a reasonable price. To top it off Ron is the only fish processor in town and can vacuum seal, freeze and store your fish until your departure.


    The Mooring Lodge (1-888-551-2836) same DYI and thereís a grocery store next door. Their a condo type lodge and they also rent vehicles.

    Glacier Bear is an OK place and can do the full service deal (rooms, food, guides and all). I have stayed there at least 8 times, but it can be pricey!! Same goes for Yak Lodge, the only draw there is back is that their almost on the airport runway.


    For a rental car: Situk Leasing @: 907-784-3316

    Bears arenít really a problem but if it makes you feel safer, I recommend bear spray (available at the ACE Hardware store) rather than iron but it's actually easier to travel with a gun (they don't allow bear spray in your luggage) so if it makes you feel safe bring it.


    While your in Yak, donít miss out on the great Halibut, Ling, & cod fishing and for that it has to be Gary Klashcan (1-907-784-3598) I have fished with him many times over the years and he does know where the big ones hang out. He has a new boat this year that is very nice and fast!! If you call Ron from the dock after halibut fishing he will pick up your catch for processing.

    So after all that, hereís what our group likes to do: We either stay at Ronís or the Mooring Lodge and DYI meals. We always pack a couple of frozen steaks in our luggage to hold down cost. Ron picks us up in the morning and itís off to 9 Mile bridge for a 9-11 hour drift. The boat is used to go from spot to spot for fishing.

    Search some of my other posts for pix and more info.

    Set the hook!!!
    Dave
    I'll hold on to my Bible & my Guns, you can keep the change!!!

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post
    Divers, planers or flatlining with 4 clients on your boat is asking for trouble and totally unprofessional IMO.

    Why??? I guided for a lodge out of Ketchikan in the early 90's and quite often ran a couple lines on downriggers for kings and flat lined a couple rods for silvers, worked great, once put a 54 lbs. king in the box that hit a flat lined rod.

    To the original poster, I'll second what 270 is saying about P.O.W. Is. and the hands on fishing. 95% of the guides on the westside (Craig/Klawock) motor mooch, you will find very few guides in the area that even have a downrigger on board and if you do find 1, I probably wouldn't recommend fishing with them.

    As someone else posted, some people will mooch for a while then get bored and rod holder their rod, you rarely see that where we fish, there always seems to be something biting, if not, guide will move on to another area, doesn't usually take alot of searching to find fish/biters, especially in June if your looking for kings.

    As for handing off fish, rule in our area states you can only have as many rods fishing as you have paying clients on board, if all clients are fishing the guide better not be. If I client takes a break the guide can fish that rod and hand off any fish hooked, if it is a king it cannot legally be kept, anything else can go in the box. I always ask my guests if they want me to fish while their taking a break and if they'll take the handoff, if they don't want me to fish, I won't, most though have no problem with it and usually hand me their rod and ask me to hook them up if they need a break or haven't caught anything in a while.

  18. #18

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    I never had anybody say "this sucks" when they were catching fish mooching! They usually say "this is much better than the downrigger fishing we did at that other lodge"..

  19. #19

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    I'm pretty tired of quibbling about what the law says, what its intent is or what people do. I am not an ADF&G representative and don't claim to know what their idea is in writing any of the rules they write. I do know that anyone that knows the first thing about fishing out there knows that whoever grabs the rod, or is holding the rod when a fish hits it is the person that "hooked" the fish. Sorry. That's pretty common knowledge.

    I couldn't care less what anyone else thinks is the "intent" of the law, or what their interpretation of it happens to be. I DO know that if I'm a guide, grab a rod and then hand it to a client that is MY fish and not the client's in the eyes of the law. I'm not going to justify it, or even tell you that YOU have to feel the same way, but go find an ADF&G officer and ask them how they feel about it. I can assure you I know what they will say. Once again if you've been fishing in Alaska as long as I have you will know that's what the INTENT of the law is.

    I am a fishing guide and I stake my reputation on my ability to get my clients fish and get them those fish in a legal manner. In most cases I know what the intent of the law is and I do my absolute best to make sure I abide by it.

    BTW Paul H. If you think it's the downrigger that hooked the fish, I guess you could expand on that and say it was actually the boat that caught the fish since it was the thing that was powering the downriggers. Or then you could take it one step further and say it was the tide that caught the fish. I usually troll with the current, so the tide actually is the thing "hooking" the fish. Or maybe it was Gamakatsu. They made the hooks I use. If I didn't have one of their hooks down there in my herring I never would have hooked it. Or maybe it's the fishing gods. Or maybe....

    Please.

  20. #20

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    So, have guides in your area been busted for handing the rod to a client when it releases? What about an adult handing a rod to a kid that popped out of a downrigger? Would you turn someone into the fish cops for doing that?

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