Outfit Investment Advice
I have 6 50ish Montana flyfishers who are interested in establishing an Alaska outfit for our own use. We like clear gentle flyfishing waters like the Alagnak.
We generally do 10 day floats with 3 persons per raft for rainbows & silvers. We plan to spend about $15,000 or $2500 each to get started.
I'm impressed by you guys collective experience and want your help with the following:
Are there viable rental alternatives you might sugggest that make the investment & storage issues evaporate?
Storage and location of gear is an issue, safe storage in King Salmon is hard to find. Anchorage seems too far from the waters we like but has good storage options....is it practical to charter from Ancorage to Alagnak region?. If we purcahse an outfit we want top quality.
What boats do you suggest?What tent (I was looking at 2 Cabela's Alaska Outfitter 8 man but see you don't recommend it.$569) Please suggest a local supplier we can purchase the whole shebang from. Interested in mutual help situation for you Alaskans that like to fish or Elk hunt Montana...have good gear here for you.........Thanks in advance for your advice
Another option for fly fishing rivers...
This is a bit off subject, but after seeing the trouble/expense you suggest for taking trips in Alaska, I had to make a suggestion that has worked flawlessly for me over the last few years on Alaska fly fishing trips. I bought an Ally canoe three years ago for a lower Noatak trib and love it. I used it again for a 13 day trip last summer on a different lower Noatak trib and will be taking it on a fly fishing trip in Bristol Bay this Aug/Sept. It weighs 46 lbs, carries 900 lbs, is 16.5 feet long, tough as nails, and fits in a backpack that is checked luggage at the airport. If you are set on a raft, this wont interest you. But if you are fly fishing fairly easy paddling rivers, you may want to take a look. They are made of Tarpulon, a lighter version of Hypalon, and assemble in about 20 minutes. Incredibly well designed product made in Norway. My buddy just bought one for the same purpose. I would encourage anyone to take a look at them. I know its a bit off subject, but the cost you are paying to store/ship your rafts and gear blows my mind. Big Agnes makes 0 degree bags that weigh less than 3 lbs and pack to 7" x 8", Black Diamond makes a 4 person tent that weighs 5 lbs and packs to the size of a cantelope, and titanium cookware and MSR whisperlite international stove with fuel for 10 days (4 people) would add about 10 lbs. I know it is a different way of doing a trip like this, but it has worked fantastic for us over the last few years and each year we go lighter and lighter as we learn from previous trips and modify our gear list. You can see the Ally Canoes on the website below. We got the green "down river" models and they have been used in class II and III water with no problems at all. Food for thought.
"Dan, tell me about putting 3 people in a Canoe......I've never had more than 2 with gear, but I see the big wide models advertise they accomodate 3-4 people and gear. Where does a 3rd person nest. I'm not too worried about comport because it seems like we only go a short distance between fishing breaks. What do you use for bear proof containers I assume aluminum dry boxes are not compatible with a canoe.
I'm not into freeze dried food so we bring conventional meals in coolers"
I would suggest two to a canoe. Ally does however make an 18 foot model that would hold 3 people for sure. My 16.5 ft would perhaps, but it would depend on the size of the individual. At 6'6" 310 lbs I like my space. But the 18 foot Ally with the middle person sitting on a cooler would probably work well. Especially if you are on rivers like me that are for fly fishing and dont have any rough rapids to negotiate. The Ally canoe is perfect for this type of fly fishing river. And like you, I dont fish much from the boat. I go spot to spot downriver and stop to fish the good runs/holes. It is very productive for me personally and I perceive no benefit in a big raft. As for food. We cook pinto beans and cornbread (dutch oven) chili and jalepeno cornbread, Grayling gumbo and garlic biscuits (Zatarains gumbo mix with slivers of a large grayling (fantastic) Pitz pizzas (pepperoni and pizza sauce with cheese fish (dolly or salmon) wrapped in aluminum foil with lemon juice and seasoning or cooked in a fish basket pasta rice orzetto biscuits and gravy for breakfast country ham bagels pancakes oatmeal etc.... We eat good is the point. And we have not taken a cooler yet. But you could easily do so and add even more options to the forementioned. One midsize cooler in each of the Ally 18 ft canoes would serve you well I am sure. I have never used one, but can appreciate the efficacy in doing so. That would increase your food options exponentially. And the canoes are plenty wide to carry a very big cooler in. Look at the measurements on the website I posted earlier. These are full size canoes. Not cheap, but you get what you pay for. Much cheaper than a high quality raft I am sure. And the real saving would be the shipping cost or renting cost of every trip you do with them. They would pay for themselves in no time at all. And it when my wife and I go to the airport in Raleigh,NC and take all we need for a 13 day canoe trip in checked luggage with no extra fees. Its hard to beat in my opinion. I added the spontoons (an Ally accesory) on the last trip. I took my wife on that one. They guarantee you wont flip. But the canoes are extremely stable as they come. But I have a high center of gravity and little canoe experience and she had none at the time. So the spontoons make a wonderful accessory. They are torpedo shaped and look sharp too. I got the expedition repair kit (never used it yet) for repairing any possible part of the canoe that could fail. It is a wonderful product and I prefer to spend my time fishing on these trips instead of carrying a ton of gear that I dont need around. It has improved the quality of my Alaska river trips more than I can explain.
As far as the safe storage in King Salmon goes, why not rent a locker in one of the boat yards. Charlies sport shop in KS would be the first one I'd check with.
Thanks Griz......talked to Charlies......thumbs up