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means 08-23-2013 09:42 PM

Need help with an August 2014 DIY trip.
We are looking at a two week fishing trip in late July early August of 2014, it will be mostly a DIY trip to fly fish for trout and salmon. We both have plenty of experience in the backcountry but have no clue as to where or how to plan an Alaskan adventure. The online searches are not giving us the first hand info we want, based off of the following what would you recommend?

We need to be able to drive to lots of fishing spots but at the same time we do not want to do the whole "combat" fishing thing. We will have no issue backpacking a few miles upstream spending the night and then back down the next day fishing along both ways if needed.

So far we have the following:

Fly in and pick up a rental car. We will fish multiple rivers and use two different guides for one day each; the first guide on day one or two and the second guide a week later. We originally planned on a hotel room every night of the stay but are now tossing up the idea of shipping our backpacking gear ahead of us and spending about every other night or every third night out in the woods.

Budget goal is $2,000.00 per person but it looks like $2,500.00 - $3,000.00 is more realistic.

The following prices have already been checked on and are accurate as of right now.

Round trip airfare to Anchorage will be $650.00 each. (Actual cost ended up being $461 each roundtrip)
Guide prices is $550 for two people one day. (Actual cost was $425.00 for a full day of two people)
Hotel is $95.00 a night. (actual cost was anywhere from $75 a night for one night in a hotel to a private cabin of $95 a night pre paid)
Out of state fishing license is $130.00 each if we get the King salmon stamp.
Rental car (ended up costing $980.00 for 12 days renting a large SUV)

That brings the total to $3,990.00 for both people if we stay in a hotel every night. This does not count food or rental car costs. If we plan on camping at least 5 days that will save around $475.00.

We really don't plan on keeping many fish, maybe a few smaller salmon for dinner but that's it so do we really need the King stamp? What would offer us the most solitude, the best chance to catch lots of big fish, great scenery, and the easiest/safest trip? So far we are thinking about flying into Anchorage, spending the night there and visiting Denali NP the next day. Then spending the next 12 days driving around hitting all of the water we can see and running down to the Kenai peninsula to fish.

Updated below with actual costs and any changes from our plans above. 11-29-13

Airfare: $461 each roundtrip.
Book it as early as you can and be flexible on the departure days. We are leaving out to go up on a Sunday morning and leaving late on a Friday night 12 days later to head back home. By doing this we shaved almost $100 dollars off of our ticket costs each.
Looks like the hotel prices are completely insane! The original prices were from when we searched online. We did not realize until now that pretty much everything that has even a remote connection to fishing tourism doubles during the season. Most of the rooms we are finding seem to be around $180 per night during the time frame of our stay. Our dirt bag solution we found is a mix of Hostels and private cabins! Seems that most of the places with Hostels have a "bunkroom" set up and also offer private cabins/shacks. The cost can run from around $30 per night for the bunkroom to around $70 for the cabin. We plan on car camping, slinging the hammocks "bear piņata?", and then taking advantage of the hostels every few days for shower and fluffy bed use.

The trip is also morphing away from 12 days of strictly hard fishing to a mixed trip. In order to keep the female company happy we are now going up to the monument at the arctic circle so that we can get pictures and actually claim to have been to the arctic, we will also spend half a day or so in Denali NP. The week I had set aside for the Kenai has now had some time split off for a hike on the Exit Glacier and a day set aside for the Harding ice field trail. Realizing that the daylight will be longer than we are use to was a blessing. Looks like we will be living on cases of Redbull and just enough sleep to keep the rods from falling out of our hands!
Updated some of the individual prices above to reflect the reserved prices that we have. So far our airfare, rental car, guide, arctic circle trip, private cabins, and hotels are booked and locked in for a total cost of $2,500.00 for two people 12 days. We are going to car camp and maybe even hammock camp for about half the trip. All that's left is food and any incidentals that we decide that we need or want.

I'm not sure how it happened but the total trip price is what I consider amazingly cheap.

The prices for airfare and hotels seem to be extremely volatile. We were seeing hotel prices swing $125 + or - from week to week for our trip time frame.

Ard 08-23-2013 09:47 PM

Re: Need help with an August 2014 DIY trip.
King salmon is closed by August so that isn't an issue, otherwise it sounds like you have things pretty well squared away. if I were you I would rely on those guides for as much information and suggestions as you can get from them. I would offer that if they don't have what seems like a good number of suggestions, that I may be able to help. You may contact me if you feel you want or need more options. If you have not already booked guide services and want to do the camping thing I can do water taxi service for you and get you to some good spots for camps and fishing. Let me know if I can be of assistance.


means 08-27-2013 10:13 AM

Re: Need help with an August 2014 DIY trip.

Thank you for the reply. I sent an email to the info address you have on your website.


means 11-29-2013 09:22 PM

Re: Need help with an August 2014 DIY trip.
Just a update on the progress of my DIY trip for any who may be interested.

It wasn't looking like the trip was going to happen due to various reasons here at home. Then we had the roundtrip airfare fall into our laps today for what I consider a screaming deal. I will update the thread as more and more info is collected and reservations are confirmed.

Ard 11-29-2013 09:47 PM

Re: Need help with an August 2014 DIY trip.
That sounds like a break Shaun, as you know from other messages I will help however I can both as a source for ideas and logistical support if I am free on your in state dates.


brod 12-02-2013 09:03 AM

Re: Need help with an August 2014 DIY trip.

Where in the "Wide, Wide, World of Sports" did you get airline tickets for $461.00" The cheapest I can find for next year is $671.00.

My son lives in AK. I live in MS and fish extensively on the White/Norfork river system in Arkansas.

I have been to AK the last seven years in a row. Plan on going back the end of August and Sepetember 2014 the Lord willing. Have done a couple of flyouts to Bristol Bay and two out of Fairbanks to a local Lake.

That said ninty percent of our fishing is off the road system. Some of our favorite fishing is for Grayling on the Gulkana River at Paxson.

We have a website Lots of pictures and information. It is a bit slanted towards our family.

Will keep up with this post.

God Bless!


mcnerney 12-02-2013 11:46 AM

Re: Need help with an August 2014 DIY trip.
Sent you a PM!


means 12-02-2013 09:34 PM

Re: Need help with an August 2014 DIY trip.
I booked the tickets on the Delta website. I played with the dates some until the airfare would not drop any more. Leaving on late Sunday morning and coming back on a Friday evening 12 days later seemed to be the magic combination for affordable airfare.

ETA: Also we are not traveling through Seattle. We leave out from Northwest Arkansas and our layover is in Minneapolis St Paul, then straight to Anchorage. If we wanted to go through Seattle it made the cost go up and since the name of this trip is "dirt bag cheap" of course we took the cheaper option!

brod 12-04-2013 10:50 AM

Re: Need help with an August 2014 DIY trip.

Thanks. We fly Delta. I will try running some other departure/return dates.

You are leaving from AR? Do you get to fish the White much?

Going to try and be up on the Norfork next week. It may look more like Ak!


means 12-05-2013 08:57 PM

Re: Need help with an August 2014 DIY trip.
Yep we are leaving out of XNA. I have fished the Beaver tailwaters quite a bit but have never managed to hit any other trout water in the state.

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