Alaska Trip Report

Well first I want to state, that two weeks is NOT ENOUGH time to fish Alaska… I would have preferred the whole summer…

The trip started out with me collecting 4 of the other 5 kayak fishermen (Besides myself) at the airport and a 6 hour late night early morning drive from Anchorage to Valdez. On arriving in Valdez we ate breakfast and got a couple hours of sleep at a friends house.

Around 10 am, we quickly took our flyrods to Allison Point and fished from shore for Pink Salmon, easily catching up to 20 a person in a period of 2-3 hours… Then a trip to Valdez to see the sites, to shop for supplies for the next morning adventure, and to get some dinner… Then it was back to my friends house to separate the what we were taking with us for 5 days in a remote Forest Service Cabin at Port Chalmers, Montague Island, Prince William Sound… And sleep…

The next morning we arrived at the docks to load our gear and the 6 rental SOT kayaks for our journey on the Transport Ship… Around 9 a.m., we left the dock for a bumpy 3 hour trip to cross the sound in Small Craft Advisory weather (3-5’ seas).

When we arrived at Montague Island, we had difficulty locating the 10’x12’ cabin nestled in the woodline, but eventually found it and transported all our gear to the cabin and set up camp… Around 2 P.M., we all geared up and set out in search of Halibut, Salmon, Lingcod and Rockfish…

The Copper Rockfish and Black Rockfish were more than cooperative, as was one large Skate (6’ long). MSGDAN (From KFS) hooked what was the largest Halibut of the trip (Estimated at over 70 lbs by those who saw the fish in his 15 minute battle with it), and it looked promising despite the cold weather (Almost 10 degrees below normal this summer), winds and rain… But it soon broke free, and was lost to Davy Jones Locker… We kept 5 of the Copper Rockfish for dinner… Everything else was released.

We returned to the cabin around 10 P.M., and enjoyed a meal of fresh Copper Rockfish Taco’s that I cooked up… The fact that there were no leftovers, and I cooked for a dozen, leads me to believe that it was as delicious to everyone else as I found it.

The next morning started early, as we were all on the water by 0700, antsy to get the first Halibut of the trip to shore… I hooked up with a 22 lb (39") Halibut, and numerous Rockfish, a Black Cod and several sepcies of flounder… All but the Halibut returned in excellent shape. Polepole (KFS and NWKF) and JonS (KFS) both caught halibut up to 14 lbs the second day, and 1 of them were kept, along with my 22 lber, the remainder released as they were too small (Less than 10 lbs). The highlight of this day was JonS and Polepole witnessing breaching Humpback Whales from their Kayaks…

That evening we ate Fresh Halibut Pasta in a Garlic Cream Sauce… that I cooked up… The fact that there were again no leftovers, and I cooked for a dozen, leads me to believe that it was as delicious to everyone else as I found it.

Day Three, found small craft advisories, high winds and heavy rain, so we all decided to stay put. Instead, we explored the island, looking for the elusive Trout, Dolly Varden and Salmon streams that every report claimed were in the area… None were to be found, but we did find a Bear Skull and got to see some beautiful old growth forests…

Dinner this night was fresh Halibut Sashimi prepared by Sailfish and Polepole, and Fried Halibut Filets with vegetables and rice, made by JonS… Mmmmmmm.

Day Four, we again left early, into light rain, and winds, and again pursued the elusive Halibut, Lingcod and Salmon… The Salmon ended up being non existent, odd for the area… The wierd weather this year in Alaska, coldest on record, believed to have had something to do with this fact. Polepole caught a HUGE 50 lb Halibut who he invited home for dinner, and JonS added two more 12-14 lbrs for the evening meals. JoeyKayak and MSGDan (Both from KFS) added to the days catch with small “Chicken Halibut” (Up to 12 lbs) that they released. Sailfish (KFS and NWKF) and I only caught Rockfish this day… But lots of them, up to 18"… The highlight of the day was a Grizzly Bear swimming between islands that passed within 20 feet of several of the group, who took photo’s and quickly moved out of reach.

Back at camp, we ate fresh Halibut Sashimi prepared by Sailfish and Polepole, and some great Halibut Cioppino prepared by JoeyKayak. Wonderful…

The final day, consisted of packing and cleaning up camp, and eating leftover Sashimi and Cioppino… Though Polepole, Sailfish and JonS took the Kayaks out to fish for a few hours, and to try to get Sailfish a Halibut from a kayak… No luck on the latter.

The boat to pick us up arrived around 4 P.M., and we got back to Valdez around 8:30, to quickly unload the ship, settle up with the captain, and find a restaurant for dinner, followed by a return to my friends house to sleep.

The next morning found us waking up early for some Pink Salmon fishing, this time to keep so I and Sailfish could smoke some for the trip home. Within two hours, we had limited out on fresh salmon, and returned to my friends house to pack for the drive to Anchorage to drop off three of the group at the airport for the return home. I preppared and applied a Dry Brine to my Salmon Filets and placed them in a cooler for later curing. We left Valdez around 4 P.M., and drove to Anchorage and dropped Sailfish, Joeykayak and MSGDan at the airport around 10 P.M.

Polepole stayed in Valdez, and caught a flight out. That left Jons and myself with a whole week to vagabond around Alaska… We travelled to another friends house in Eagle River, and acquired a Tent and Cook Stove from ArmyJim (NWKF), and set up camp in the nearby Eagle River Campground for the night.

Early the next morning, Jon and I broke camp and went to Jim’s house, where we linked up and travelled a couple of hours to the Little Susitna River in a quest for fresh Coho… Unfortunately, they were not cooperative… We returned to Jim’s house and had some of his wife’s Lasagna, while I smoked most of the Salmon Filet’s, and Jon and I showered and washed laundry. Jon and I left for Seward around 11 P.M., and arrived at 2:30 in the morning and set up camp.

On Monday morning, (6 hours or so later), Jon and I travelled 2 hours to the Kasilof River, in search of Sockeye (Red) Salmon… Again, there were none to be found, as the commercial netter had set up camp the previous day at the mouth of the river… Argh… So we headed back towards Camp, and stopped at the Russian River and combat fished for some Reds, I caught one, and Jon had 3 Reds and one Chinook (King) salmon break off…

We arrived back in camp around midnight.

The next morning, I spent 5 hours smoking the remaining Pink Salmon filets. We then tried to fish some local waters for Trout and DollyVarden, but since the Salmon had not made it to those rivers yet, they were not to be found, so we again headed to the Russian and more combat fishing… This time Jon caught one Red, and I was skunked…

Wednesday found us trying to fish for Coho’s at one river, to no avail, and hiking a 1-1/2 mile hike to Tonsina Creek, to target Chum (Dog) Salmon. The hike is literally straight up and straight down, rising from sea level to over 600 feet (I think closer to 1000 feet) and back to sea level. Luckily the Chum Salmon were IMMEDIATELY cooperative, and in the hour we were there, we each caught two nice 12 lbs Salmon each, in full spawning colors… Unfortunately, Chum are only good for smoking, and in this late stage of spawn, they aren’t even good for that, so none were kept… But they fight like no tomorrow… Especially on a flyrod.

Thursday we arranged to borrow some SOT kayaks from a local friend, and we paddled the 1 mile from his business to Tonsina Creek and targetted Chum Salmon, Pink Salmon and Dolly Varden. We mostly wade fished the flats, but I did catch on Chum, estimated at 15 lbs, from the kayak and received a nice 400 yard sleigh ride for my efforts. Awesome.

Friday found Jon and I breaking camp and cleaning gear for the return flights the next day.

Saturday ended with us driving back to Jim’s house, returning the gear we borrowed, and leaving him some extra stuff we had left over, and driving to the airport for our flights home…

Two weeks is not enough time to enjoy Alaska… I cannot wait until I can spend my whole summers up there.


Day five

How much weight did you gain?
I’m sure the food was so good as it was the energy spent fishing and all that good air…but the food helped. Sounds like a good time had by all.

Actually I lost some weight…
About 3 lbs total… I credit that to eating my regular sized meals, without the snacks between… And some exercise.


only partially related question
Nice trip. I was trying to think of a sufficient adjective, and not finding any superior enough, settled for emphasis through understatement.

The only partially related question - is pepper spray and good booze available in Anchorage on short notice? When I head up there next summer, I owe someone two bottles of Languvolin. Actually, I owe him one and the other’s for me. Plus I’d like to have some pepper spray just in case. I’m guessing TSA will not be thrilled with either of them in my luggage. I’m frustrated with the new regs. I used to carry-on my tackle bag, which has many remarkably sharp things including a large fillet knife and many other things that are flammable, including magnesium for starting emergency fires. Never a problem before some rat bastages decided to turn planes into bombs.

  • Big D

Bear Spray… Err Pepper Spray Bear
Taste Enhancer, is readily available at many sporting goods supply stores…

As for the booze, do not worry, wrap it in bubble wrap and ship in your checked baggage… I sent one bottle of this:

and 5 bottle of this:

TSA opened the cooler they were in (Had to have something to tranport my fish back, and to keep cold food and Fresh Fish in while on the trip) and inspected it, but the bottles were unharmed.


Pictures anyone?

– Last Updated: Aug-06-08 3:20 PM EST –

The view from outside the cut at Port Chalmers, Montague Island, of Montague Island at low tide.

Polepole fighting his 50 lb Halibut off Montague Island, Prince William Sound

JoeyKayak fighting a Halibut off Montague Island.

The First Chum Salmon I had ever caught... On a Fly too, at Tonsina Creek Mouth, near Seward, Alaska

Jon (JonS - KFS) first Chum Salmon at Tonsina Creek.

Battleing a Chum Salmon with a Flyrod from a Kayak off Tonsina Creek, near Seward Alaska

Landing the same Salmon.

My estimated 15-20 Lb Chum Salmon.


real nice…and you made my mouth water describing your meals…nice trip…lucky you guys…it does look like gloomy skys…