Our week with Wild Alaska Cruises was spent along the southern edge of islands known as the ABC Islands of Alaska. There are many other groups of islands in the world’s oceans with the same name.
The three islands that make up the AK-ABC group are Admiralty Island, Baranof Island and Chicagof Island. Our fishing took place south of Admiralty and west of Baranof Island to the east of Petersburg where our flight landed.
Our trip on the Perseverance was slow and steady. It traveled at about seven knots. Most of the time, the two guide boats either led or followed the mother ship to our destination, as they could travel at greater speed. That gave us time to fish along the way. Stratham Straight is a large body of water with heavy ocean influence. There we found halibut, salmon, lingcod and rock fish.
Our host was Larry Larson, Captain and owner of the Perseverance. Our fishing guides were Robert Elliot and Chase Martenson. They knew how to find and catch fish. It is a very large area with plenty of voids and also nooks holding numbers of fish.
Got home at midnight last night. No time for details. Here’s a representative photo from each day of our trip.
We flew out of San Jose on Saturday and landed in Petersburg about 3 PM. Spent the night in town and were underway on Sunday morning, September 9.
My plan is to expand on this post as I find more time. Lots of photos and lots of fish.
Halibut and rock fish were landed on Sunday afternoon.
On day two, we landed limits of coho salmon and saw our first brown bear.
Day three produced salmon limits again and perfect weather in the cove where Perseverance was anchored.
We had a lot of fishing action on day four.
Day five produced more fishing success and some variety.
Day six was our last chance to catch salmon.
On day seven, I found this dog sleeping on an island in the bay, a prelude to some fishing excitement.
More to come.
Will Robin land the halibut?
We were on the Copper River for five days with Jack Johnson of the Alaska Legends Lodge. The sockeyes arrived two days before we did. There were plenty of them. The trout were scarce. We spent some time trying to catch them too, but the big ones mostly broke off.
For the most part we cast pink and green sockeye flies at the fish with six to eight weight rods and ten to twelve pound leaders. The sockeyes were very fresh and very strong. They fought like crazy, jumping and cartwheeling. We may have caught 50% of what we hooked.
For trout we tried a lot of flies. I hooked a large rainbow with a cadis imitation dry fly, but couldn’t keep him on. A fly called the Dolly Llama hooked the most trout, but again we failed to land the largest of the bunch.
Typical size for the sockeyes was five to eight pounds, with a few outliers.
Best photo of the trip:
Here are some more photos. More to follow.
Me and five buddies will be landing at Lake Iliamna on Friday. Were going to spend five days with Jack Johnson at the Alaska Legends Lodge. Purchased the trip as a group almost two years ago.
The plan is to catch a bunch of sockeye salmon and also some of the huge rainbows that follow the salmon up stream during July.
All fly fishing. My bags are packed. I’ll probably unpack and pack them again later today.
Hopefully I’ll have some great pictures upon return. Here’s my draft check list.
Fish finding is not necessarily the same as fish catching.
The fish finder can be a bit frustrating. Captain Bob has been making some changes to our tweeting fish finder and it has been helpful. Yesterday our fish finder “runnethed over”, but the fish did not follow.
Here are a couple views of our fish finder yesterday morning.
First we tried the entrance buoys at Half Moon Bay. Here’s what we saw.
Ironically, despite a lack of visuals, we managed to catch a salmon of about 7 or 8 pounds after an hour of trolling. Then word came in that fish were stacked up at the Pacifica Pier – about 15 miles north.
We were on the move and when we arrived near the Pacifica Pier, here’s what we saw.
Once again you ran see the path of our two downrigger balls and single lead ball. You would think that we would have had a triple hook-up. Amazingly, after about 3 hours fishing near the Pier, we had caught only one fish – a shaker about 15 inches long. And, we had a couple other fish on for a moment.
About 1:00 PM we departed back towards the Half Moon Bay dock. Near the entrance buoy we trolled again, until about 2:30. Not much going on and no fish.
We arrived at the dock to learn that at about 2:00 PM, the fishing at the Pacifica Pier went wide open with many people catching limits in a hurry.
Not only do you need to find’em. You need to find’em when they’re hungry.
Captain Bob and I made our first salmon attempt out of Half Moon Bay in April. Then we tried Monterrey Bay and out the gate to the South buoy. After three trips we were still stuck on zero. The closest we came to paydirt was a boat-side miss on the Monterrey trip.
Monday we finally turned it around. Three of us landed four of the seven fish we hooked and I was fortunate enough to land a 20 pound plus king that made me proud. Captain Bob and his guest Paul landed the other three which were all between six and ten pounds.
We caught the fish on a trip to the north, almost to Point Reyes and within a few miles of the Farallon Islands. Here’s a photo of my fish. You can see Point Reyes in the background. We used anchovies trolled with a triangle flasher.
We had a great day with good salmon action, light seas and many interesting critters – whales, porpoise and seals – around to keep us entertained.
According to reports we gathered, the fishing was generally about a fish per rod, with one notable exception, a ferry boat that fished away from the pack and caught limits around.
Thought Monday might be a good day to catch a salmon, so my friend, Captain Bob, and I headed to the south buoy to see what we could find.
Nobody there so we asked on the radio where everybody was. The response was “head south on 210 and you’ll find the fishermen.”
We did and we did, but we couldn’t catch a fish – not even a hit-and-run.
However I did snap a few photos of some of the whales that we circling us most of the day. That’s all I’ve got.
There were quite a few birds around as well. This gull was a pretty boy.
We also noticed that the area we fished was loaded with sea-birds eating something on the surface of the water. Maybe krill (small fish) – possibly the same thing the whales were after.
The trip back got a bit rough, which made things a bit more interesting. All and all it was a good day. From the reports we got, our experience was consistent with the norm, but a few nice salmon were caught.
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Day four of our Kodiak adventure was very enjoyable. If only we could have figured how to reel those silvers in quicker, we could have caught a plane load – all with fly rods.
In addition to silvers, we even caught a couple dolly vardon, but no steelhead. The fishing was everything Alaska fishing can be, but the mountain was calling for me to climb it and bag another deer which would include venison for the trip home if we could figure out how to hang onto it.
During the night of following the fourth day we could hear soda and beer cans clinking in the night. Could it be that the grizzlies liked soda and beer?
We attempted to save a slab of silver salmon by inserting it into a zip-lock bag and sinking it to the bottom of the river (by putting a rock in the bag along with the salmon) in four feet of water. No luck, the bears got it too.
On the fifth day (one day before our departure) I climbed the mountain again and this time turned to the north at the top of the ridge. I wanted to hunt an area not previously disturbed.
I was a little discouraged by the lack of deer, but eventually found a decent buck in a large brush patch. Always concerned about having time to shoot, find, clean and carry the deer back to camp before dark, I decided to waste no time and shot the buck.
It went down in the brush and before long I’d recovered it.
You’ve probably heard stories about rifle shots being like “dinner bells” for the grizzlies of Kodiak Island. So had I, and I wasn’t a bit comfortable skinning and gutting that deer in a brush patch where I could see about ten feet.
My loaded .7mm and my .44 magnum revolver were stationed at my side. It was an eery feeling.
I reduced the deer to carrying size and moved it onto a nearby open hillside where I could complete work on it while keeping an eye out for grizzlies.
I was a pleasantly surprized that the buck had four points on one side, a Sitka four-point buck is unusual, but it wasn’t particularly old or large antlered.
I managed to load the animal onto the back pack and carry it to camp before dark – crossing the river by raft one last time. In camp we debated our options. We decided to go with the only option that would give us a reasonable chance of saving our venison.
It was the “Lean the meat against our tent and keep our loaded rifles at our sides” option. It was a little scary (sleeping a couple feet from grizzly bait), but we figured the snoring and odors emitted from our tired bodies would keep the grizzlies away and it did.
On Saturday we loaded the Grummon Beaver and headed back to Kodiak with a couple silver salmon and one Sitka blacktail to take home to California. The venison and the fish were both excellent table fare.