Do I Need A Special Rod For Alaska?

Ard

Administrator
Staff member
Messages
21,419
Reaction score
4,025
Location
Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
Somehow even a discussion of fly rods digresses into a gun forum. For anyone who might plan to stay in one of the campgrounds at Russian River, these are very large developed places. Another thing to know is that the Russian River is a very shallow stream and quite small; this is why bears want to go there to catch fish. On any given day during the sockeye runs there are at least 1000 or more people crowded onto this small shallow river. The hype and fear of and about bears on the Russian has led to more bears being shot there and more confrontations than anywhere else that I know of.

I personally do not fish this river regardless of how many salmon crowd into the shallow flows. I have been there but on such occasions have witnessed more crowding, snagging, rudeness, and general bad behavior among a huge number of men (most of whom are either wearing side arms or have shotguns slung over their backs) than anywhere on the North American continent I have ever been.

I have said this before and will write it again. I spend as much or more time in Bush country than some guides and I do not live in fear of bears. The conditions that will invite a bear to a stream are pretty easy to spot and when you realize that you are trying to fish in a brown bears pantry there is a choice you must make. By staying you are crossing a line and taking a chance that may end up badly. I have been fortunate in my number of bear encounters but it is not the product of luck. It is the result of being careful. I may be killed by a bear this season because something totally uncontrollable happens but I would not bet on it. Although firearms are an important consideration when camping in some of the very remote places I fish my awareness of surroundings is more important than my reliance on ordinance and fire control.

It would be a wonderful thing if we could discuss the rods most applicable for fishing Alaska and not spend too much time worrying which gun to bring with.
 

darwin

Well-known member
Messages
870
Reaction score
12
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Ard,
Thanks for the information on Rods. I was hoping to make it up to your area this summer but the bottom fell out on my plans, maybe next year.
I am going to save your original post as it is the most relevant I have been able to find.
many thanks :thumbsupu
 

mrfzx

Well-known member
Messages
586
Reaction score
14
Location
Berlin, PA
Bottom line: If the salmon are there (especially true of Sockeye), the bears are there. The salmon are their primary food source, and they need the fish to pack on fat for the long Ak winters. Next summer will be my 14th year travelling up to what I think of as heaven. I've "seen" bears every year, some close, some not so close. Only ever felt threatened twice, and only one incident in which pepper spray was used by a Russian River Ferry ranger. As far as the Blacks are concerned, I actually had one come out of the brush behind me, grab my stringer of Sockeye which was about a foot from my feet, and run back into the brush. I never heard the bear coming, and only when it was actually grabbing the fish did I see it. Talk about leaving a brown streak! I think I actually blew out my waders. I learned my lesson.....

Be prepared, be alert, and know how to properly retreat when in doubt. Ain't no fish worth a bear on your back!

I guess, what I'm saying is if the thought of potentially sharing the fishing grounds with four legged carnivours terrifies you don't go!
 

Ard

Administrator
Staff member
Messages
21,419
Reaction score
4,025
Location
Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
I don't fish on the Russian River and it's not because of bears but that's another story. This is a favorite destination for me, darn near as many fish and the crowd, well........

[/IMG]

Remember, this was about rods, I use the one in the picture for darn near everything these days.
 

mcnerney

Administrator
Messages
20,771
Reaction score
241
Location
Pinedale, WY
I don't fish on the Russian River and it's not because of bears but that's another story. This is a favorite destination for me, darn near as many fish and the crowd, well........

[/IMG]

Remember, this was about rods, I use the one in the picture for darn near everything these days.
Ard: Can't blame you for not wanting to fish with the crowds on the Russian River, that isn't my idea of a fun fishing outing either. That stream above sure looks nice!

Larry
 

caseywise

Well-known member
Messages
4,586
Reaction score
58
Location
sycamore, illinois
my ak rod selection usually is this-

7'9" 4 weight for smaller stream char and bows
9' 5 weight for char and bows on bigger water and for grayling
9' 8 weight for all salmon except chinook
9' 9 weight for chinook

and, as ard mentioned, i would go 9' 10 or 11 weight for kenai river chinook
and bear spray.

my dad used to work for fish and game in alaska back in the 70's and one of his jobs was to hike up remote streams and count the population of different salmon species that were in there. back then him and his partner both carried 12 gauge shot guns over there shoulder as well as a steel bell on there belt. the bell let the natives know of there presence, and, according to him, saved them from having to use the gun countless times.


casey
 

Ard

Administrator
Staff member
Messages
21,419
Reaction score
4,025
Location
Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
Ard: Can't blame you for not wanting to fish with the crowds on the Russian River, that isn't my idea of a fun fishing outing either. That stream above sure looks nice!

Larry
It makes me tired at the end of the day (getting there & back) Larry. With the water dropping and the fact that I am trout & grayling fishing (with a few char here & there) I am not using the boat, I'm walking. Nancy is going to go along Sunday I think and that'll be cool she's my photographer and always makes sure we have a good lunch ;) The photos will become less & less colorful because things are about done this far inland. Next week we may be going late run silver fishing down the peninsula and there may be some leaves up out there still.

[Casey] That's a good rod selection for sure, next year if you get in touch sooner I'll have you casting the two hand rod, you'll like that...........
 

pikehunter948

Member
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
my ak rod selection usually is this-

7'9" 4 weight for smaller stream char and bows
9' 5 weight for char and bows on bigger water and for grayling
9' 8 weight for all salmon except chinook
9' 9 weight for chinook

and, as ard mentioned, i would go 9' 10 or 11 weight for kenai river chinook
and bear spray. casey
That's bit light for everything except the grayling. I use heavier rods primarily, b/c you never know what you'll hook.

4-5 wt is fine for grayling and dolly varden
6-7 wt for bows and char
9 wt for silvers and sockeyes
11-12 wt for Togiak kings and a 14-16 wt for Kenai monsters

Pack rods are my fav, only b/c I've mashed too many in screen doors and trunk lids. Most I've designed and built myself from Lamiglass (up to 7wt) and Fisher (8-16) blanks. I still prefer my Wes Jordan 8-wt bamboo for just about any big-water trout or steelhead, coupled with a Hardy Husky silent drag.
 

Ard

Administrator
Staff member
Messages
21,419
Reaction score
4,025
Location
Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
I don't like to be taking sides but Casey's rods will do just fine. Since he grew up here I trust his judgment when it comes to rods.

Me, I'm a transplant but have landed more kings on a 9 weight that many folks would imagine. I have every bit of confidence that I could land a 60 pound king on my #9 rod.............................
 

stanbiker

Well-known member
Messages
195
Reaction score
10
Location
Eagle River, AK
That is a fact Allen. They seemed to be especially prolific this weekend. You would think they would at least leave us alone till the snow melts from the parking lot!
 

browell7

Member
Messages
17
Reaction score
0
Location
Palmer, AK
I've been fishing Alaska for 10 years, mostly south-central Alaska. Here are my rods.

St. Croix Imperial 8'6" 5 wt. - Small stream trout, grayling, and dollies
Orivis Hydros 9'6" 6 wt. - Kenai rainbows and dollies
St. Croix Imperial 10' 8 wt. - Pinks, Chum, Sockeye, Silver, Steelhead

My advice for folks coming to AK to fish the road system is to have a rod/line combo that you can roll cast pretty well and most importantly have a reel with a good drag.

I've fished the Russian many times but have had way to many close calls on that river. The water is loud, the banks are brushy, and it's way to easy to have bears walk right up on you from behind without seeing them until it's too late. Combine that with the large crowds and it makes for a not so relaxing day of fishing. Because of the easy access and loads of fish, this will always be a popular spot.

I carry a 44. magnum. It seems like a pea shooter when a Russian River brownie is 10 feet away. The best thing to do is to make lots of noise and fish with other people.

With all that being said, just be smart. Don't let bearanoia ruin you day on the river.
 
Last edited:

Ard

Administrator
Staff member
Messages
21,419
Reaction score
4,025
Location
Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
Hey there,

We're not too far apart, I'm just outside Wasilla right now waiting for the ice to go out. When the rivers clear I'll be headed back to the cabin but I'm around these days. I don't go down where you mention but do fish the upper Kenai at least once a year.

Ard
 

jtb1957

New member
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Good luck landing most of our rainbows with a 4-weight. I live in Anchorage, fish Southcentral and Bristol Bay drainages a lot, usually fish a 6-weight for trout, but a 7-weight for late-season fish on the Kenai.
 

browell7

Member
Messages
17
Reaction score
0
Location
Palmer, AK
Hey there,

We're not too far apart, I'm just outside Wasilla right now waiting for the ice to go out. When the rivers clear I'll be headed back to the cabin but I'm around these days. I don't go down where you mention but do fish the upper Kenai at least once a year.

Ard
Hi Ard,

I spend most of my time on the Parks streams but do get to the KP a few times a year. I can't wait till this ice goes out. Could be any day now.
 
L

Liphookedau

Guest
Honestly I'd be more worried about mosquito's than bears, mosquito's are the true Alaskan predator! :grin:
Even though there are heaps of Bears they are mainly use to people in most Places.
When you visit Brook's The Bears have Right of Way there is even an over River Bridge & when there's a Bear around The Gates are Closed.
Also there's Bear Proof Gates everywhere ???
I Really enjoyed Fishing & Having a look around as Katmai is a Wonderful Place.
As for The Mozzies ours over here would eat The Ones In Alaska For Breakfast I still have The marks to prove it as we were just about eaten alive.
Brian
 

Ard

Administrator
Staff member
Messages
21,419
Reaction score
4,025
Location
Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
Brian,

I consider this a direct challenge!

"As for The Mozzies ours over here would eat The Ones In Alaska For Breakfast"

I will put our Hewitt Lakers up against anything you've got down there :D
 
Top