Kodiak Part 1: Blacktails, Silver Salmon and Grizzlies on Kodiak Island

One of the top hunting trips of my life took place about ten years ago in Alaska. The original trip was based upon a caribou hunt I purchased at the MDF Convention in Sacramento.

Ironically, it was the self-guided blacktail hunt on Kodiak Island (which  followed the caribou hunt) that topped the list for excitement.


We arranged for a float plane to fly us from Kodiak (on the Island’s east end) to the Ayakulik River on the Islands west end. The plane, a Grummon Beaver, was quite loaded with our gear as we climbed over mountain tops of the central island and then landed on the river at a remote location.

Although we were not alone (a fishing guide occasionally drifted past us while guiding salmon and steelhead fishermen and one other camper joined us for a few days) most of our company was grizzlies, silver salmon and blacktail deer.

We spent the first day of the trip hunkered down in our tent as 50 mph winds battered our site. It was a good thing that we were prepared and had “tarped” our tent down in case of bad weather. After many games of cribbage,  the weather finally settled enough to allow us ta catch a couple silvers in the afternoon.


Note the well worn trail in this photo. It was made primarily by grizzlies not humans.

On day three we used our small raft to cross the river and climbed the ridge to the west of our camp. Although we spotted no deer from camp, we were surprised that the ridge top was well stocked with sitka blacktail bucks – and also grizzly bears.


More on the deer and the bears later, but here are a couple fishing photos. We were using nine weight fly rods and steelhead flies. It took twenty to thirty minutes to land each fish as they were fresh and strong combining their efforts with the current of the powerful river.rob-with-salmon


Day three produced blacktails like the one below. But there’s much more to the story.


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