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Subject: Kenai, Kasilof, Kodiak area, Alaska

Submitted by GK

Date Fished: 6/25/2003

Water Temperature: 50
Water Clarity: 4 feet or greater

If anyone is planning an Alaskan Fishing trip this summer, I can tell you from 1st hand experience...it is a trip you will never forget.

I just returned from a 2 week (mostly) fishing trip to Alaska and this one was one far surpassed the first two that I had made previously in 93 and 98. Our trip started on June 24th when my wife and I met another couple in Anchorage, picked up our Rental car and drove down to Soldotna (on the Kenai Penninsula) to try our luck for Kings. Our plan was to fish 1 day on the Kenai, 1 day on the Kasilof, and take two fly out trips across Cook Inlet to the Chulitna River, and Wolverine Creek for more King and Red (Sockeye) fishing, and hopefully do some Bear Watching. As it turns out, all of our trips were successful and it was a most enjoyable 4-day 5-night stay in Soldotna.

The first day's plan was to try our luck for a giant King on the Kenai. (we almost opted to pass on the Kenai due to slow fishing reports from the guides, plus the restrictive regulations placed on the river by the Alaska Dept. of Fish and game...however, in retrospect, I'm glad we didn't). Fishing with one of Tom Sullivan's guides (Tom's Cabins and Guide Service in Soldotna), only one King was caught that day...but what a King it was! I was fortunate to have the only take down, and after a 20-25 minute battle, our guide Jeff netted a huge King Salmon estimated at between 75-80 lbs, which surpassed my largest King ever by at least 15 lbs. He was a fresh Male, and would have made a beautiful trophy, but sadly he was only 53 1/2 inches, and thanks to the new Slot Limit on the Kenai this year (44-55 inches), we could not take him out of the river. I was disappointed, but since I live on Lake Fork in Texas where we also must live with restrictive slot limits...I understood the reasoning for the slot. If all the giant fish are harvested, the gene pool can be depleted and future generations will only be able to read about the famous Kenai River giants. The worst part of it was that all 3 pictures of the fish in the net(taken with my fishing partner's camera) all turned out blank, and the only picture we got was one that I took with my digital camera...showing the giant fish's tail sticking 12 inches out of the net. My consolation was knowing that the big fish was able to complete it's spawning run up the Kenai.

The 2nd day we flew over to the Chulitna River, and caught and released Kings up to 35 lbs until our arms ached. This remote river is accessible only by fly outs, and although not as well known as the Kenai Penninsula rivers, it is only a 20 minute flight from Soldotna, and Tom's rates were quite reasonable.

The 3rd day was especially interesting, and it was also a Fly out trip across Cook Inlet to Wolverine Creek. This trip was provided by Maverick Air out of Nikiski, (near Kenai, AK). This popular fishing destination targets Red Salmon (Sockeyes), and limits are not that difficult for even the most inexperienced angler. The main drawing card however, is the opportunity to watch the Alaska Brown Bears…”up close and personal”...(Note the Sockeyes in the foreground of the picture accompanying this report) The large numbers of Salmon naturally attract the bears, and during the 3 – 4 hours we were there, we say at least 4 different sets of Sows with their cubs, some as coming as close as 10 feet from the boat. Needless to say, I did manage to get some great pictures…as well as limit out on my favorite tasting salmon, the Sockeye.

Following a float trip down the Kasilof River, which produced several Kings in the 15 – 35 lb. Class, it was on to Homer to catch the ferry to Kodiak Island. The 10 hour trip from Homer to Kodiak on the Alaska Ferry (Tustamena) is an intersting and scenic trip, but the downside is that it sure does mess up a whole day that could otherwise be spent fishing. If your wife is a non-fishing person, however, she will probably enjoy the mini-cruise (as long as she is not seasick prone). Staterooms are also available in case you want to catch up on sleep while traveling.

We arrived in Kodiak 2 hours late…Alaska ferries are not know for being on time, and discovered that our cell phones are not compatible in Kodiak. Since we were supposed to call our guide and host upon arrival to advise him when to meet us, this posed some anxious moments. Our schedule called for us to be met by a Water Taxi (from Port Lions), and be taken to the small village of Port Lions which is only accessible by boat or float plane. On top of the communications problem, the Rental Car had a blowout, and we didn’t arrive at the pickup point until 11:00 PM, which left only a short time to make the 25 minute trip across Kizhuyak Bay to Port Lions. Fortunately we made it and were met by our guide (Mel Squartsoff, owner of Kizhuyak Charters in Port Lions). The fishing in Port Lions was awesome, and we were treated to some of the finest Halibut and Salmon fishing you could ever imagine. We caught limits of Halibut up to 80 lbs, Red and Pink Salmon until our arms were ready to fall off, plus the facilities and beauty of the Port Lions area was almost indescribable. Mel and his entire family were the perfect hosts and it was almost like attending a family reunion. The prices were extremely reasonable, and after sampling some of Mel’s on-board lunches, “shore lunches” will never be the same.

All too soon it was ready to take the ferry back to Homer, rest for a day or so and drive back to Anchorage for the flight back to “Hot East Texas”. If anyone has ever thought of an Alaskan Fishing Vacation…by all means, do it! You will bring back a lifetime of memories, and I will even share the names of some excellent guides and outfitters with you that will treat you right without your having to take out a 2nd mortgage to afford the trip.

GK

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7-13-2013

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