Originally Posted by coolhand
I will relate a recent Alaska fishing experience.
Just got back from a wonderful 10 day trip to AK with my wife. It was mostly just an anniversary vacation, but we did fish for the last 4 days. Trip was great, the fishing was just ok.
We tried some do-it-yourself, close to the road fishing, at various places around the Kenai Peninsula. IMO, It was very affordable, $55 for a 7 day fishing license and a ton of good access.
Our results were just fair. Admittedly, I didn't call anyone or get any advice other than just general internet searches and a few popular Alaska Fishing Guidebooks. I also haven't fished much in the Salmon/ Sea-run realm, mostly trout fishing in the Rocky Mountain region. Also, we didn't get too far from the beaten path as my wife (and myself as well) were a little nervous about bruins.
The Silvers were pretty much done running, with relatively few, fresh fish, just luck of the draw with timing. Also, all the water was really high as they have had a very wet late summer in AK. The Kenai River itself is really big and fast and really tough to wade fish. Looks to me as if it is pretty much the realm of the drift boat. (Maybe, I just didn't know where to go)
I did catch a very nice steelhead and several, hard fighting Dolly Varden (I was very impressed with this species). It was pretty interesting watching the Rainbows and Dolly Vardens really dogging the spawned out Salmon. But, I had a hard time convincing these fish to eat my bead eggs and flesh flies rather than the live fish that they were focused on. I really admire the angler that can get these little carnivores to eat a fly.
What was really surprising to me was amount of fishing pressure these places get, and the aggressive attitude of adjacent anglers. The banks were beat down with big paths through the grass and brush. Several times, other fishermen pushed their way into the run or hole that we were actively fishing (and there wasn't room for both of us), especially if they saw one of us catch a fish. I was taken aback by this behavior. It certainly didn't seem like "normal" streamside ethics to me. I regularly fish many popular spots, the Big Horn, Yellowstone, and Madison Rivers in Montana, the North Platte, Green, and Snake in Wyoming. And I have never seen this much aggression. Maybe just unreasonable expectations...
Alaska is enormous and beautiful. I am sure that there is fantastic fishing, and many places that don't get "pounded" by excessive fishing pressure. But, the shear size and diversity of the place is overwhelming. Looks to me as if you can't do too much homework in preparation for you Alaska trip. Don't be afraid to call several fly shops, guides, whoever... Get as much advice as you can.
Unfortunately, I found this part of the forum, just tonight, too late to help with my trip.