First Alaska Trip

mattyoc20

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New member here with a couple questions I'm hoping you guys can help me with. My dad and I are heading to Alaska next August to the Goodnews River Lodge. I have been fly fishing for about 8 years but mostly for trout in Pennsylvania. I'm not quite sure what I am going to need set up wise for this trip to Alaska. What rod should I get, what real, etc. what should I be looking for in a set up? The primary fish we are going for are Silvers. We both need a decent set up but also not one that will break the bank. Any help you guys can provide would be very much beneficial. I read all the reviews all line but in my experience forums like this are the best places for finding out the best insight. Thanks for the help.
 

100954

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I have used 8 and 9 weight rids for the salmon up there and 5 and 6 weights for trout. Salmon are very powerful fish. You'll also want to fish for what I think are the most fun fish in Alaska, grayling.
 

ia_trouter

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Welcome to the forum Matty. As JP said others with more experience will be along eventually. I have only fished a couple weeks in AK. I used an 8WT and it seemed about right for multi-species fishing. I'm sure a guy could fish with a 6WT but no need to be under gunned just in case you get lucky enough to hook a large salmon. The size of the flies and the water you intend to fish matters. A reel with a decent drag, while not required, makes it easier if a salmon gets into the current.
 

Frank Whiton

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Hi Marty,

You are going to have a heck of a time on your trip. I am familiar with the lodge but have never been there or fished the Goodnews River. I looked at their site and they seem to have good older boats with outboard jets. It is good that you will have one guide to you and your dad. I don't like that they rotate guides but that is how they do it. They are the only lodge on the river but there will be other people floating the river. It is a popular river to float. The lodge is above tidal influence unless they fish below the lodge towards the bay.

Your best source for gear is the lodge. They know what you need. Normally I would say to take a spare rod in case one gets broken but they have spare equipment if it is not being used. I started fishing Alaska with a 6wt rod but moved to an 8wt and used it for everything. The smallest fish you will be fishing for will be Grayling but they will be good sized. If you decide to take a backup rod you might take a 6wt and use it for Grayling. Talk to the lodge for their recommendation. In August an 8wt is what you need.

I looked at their recommended gear and was surprised not to see polaroid sun glasses on their list. I would want some for sure. Don't skimp on your rain gear. I would want Gore-Tex. Good rain gear can make or break your trip. Take plenty of socks so you can start with dry clean socks every morning. If you have a treat that you like on the water like candy, take some with you. Don't take anything that might melt. The lodge has a weight limit so make sure your bags/gear don't weigh more than 50lbs plus a carry on. Make sure you know the rules for Alaska. You will need single hook flies and there may be a gap restriction on the hook. No trebles. The lodge is catch and release except for Salmon. I think they provide the flies and you won't need to take any. You can't use felt soled wading boots in Alaska.

I said it before but keep in mind that the lodge is your best source of information about what to take.

Frank
 

mattyoc20

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Thanks for all the help guys. A lot of good information. The next thing I need do is to put together a set up. I was looking at this 9' 8w one from Cabelas.

Cabela's LSi/Lamson Liquid Fly Combo : Cabela's

Anyone have any input? Do I need to spend $1000 on a set up or can get away with this. Throughout the years I've used several Cabelas set ups and have always been pleased with how they casted/fished but was for mainly PA trout.
 

ia_trouter

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No need to spend $1000 for a week long trip if the big rod won't see much use back home. That LSI rod gets pretty good reviews and has been around for years. I use a lot of house brand Cabela's gear but generally not my rods. It's inexpensive and offshore built. Build quality suffers from time to time so buy it well in advance of your trip so you can check it out. They'll exchange it if needed.

Another good option is Echo branded gear. Very reputable company and they have many affordable offerings. Check them out on youtube for rod reviews. Lamson reels are good. Echo Ion reel is an excellent value in affordable big game reels. Drag won't work perfectly forever but they are plenty strong for several years of use and worth the price. I have owned a ton of Cabela's brand reels and use them for spare lines I don;t use often. Work well enough for the price but I would never take one on an important trip where I needed a reliable drag. Their better reels are made by others but might as well by a name brand if you are going to buy an expensive Cabela's reel IMO. Last bit of advice, never pay full price for Cabela's rods and reels. They will have a bunch of deep discounting towards Christmas. They have great sales in NOV-DEC. Literally sell things for 50% off so watch their site if you go that route..
 

mattyoc20

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No need to spend $1000 for a week long trip if the big rod won't see much use back home. That LSI rod gets pretty good reviews and has been around for years. I use a lot of house brand Cabela's gear but generally not my rods. It's inexpensive and offshore built. Build quality suffers from time to time so buy it well in advance of your trip so you can check it out. They'll exchange it if needed.

Another good option is Echo branded gear. Very reputable company and they have many affordable offerings. Check them out on youtube for rod reviews. Lamson reels are good. Echo Ion reel is an excellent value in affordable big game reels. Drag won't work perfectly forever but they are plenty strong for several years of use and worth the price. I have owned a ton of Cabela's brand reels and use them for spare lines I don;t use often. Work well enough for the price but I would never take one on an important trip where I needed a reliable drag. Their better reels are made by others but might as well by a name brand if you are going to buy an expensive Cabela's reel IMO. Last bit of advice, never pay full price for Cabela's rods and reels. They will have a bunch of deep discounting towards Christmas. They have great sales in NOV-DEC. Literally sell things for 50% off so watch their site if you go that route..
Awesome advice. Thanks for the quick response. I don't mind spending the money on a good set up. But it just seems like the extra dollars you pay are for the name, Sage Orvis etc. at the same point though. For me this a once in a lifetime trip and I don't want to be second guessing my gear or find out it's not up to par once I get here
 

ia_trouter

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Awesome advice. Thanks for the quick response. I don't mind spending the money on a good set up. But it just seems like the extra dollars you pay are for the name, Sage Orvis etc. at the same point though. For me this a once in a lifetime trip and I don't want to be second guessing my gear or find out it's not up to par once I get here
There is a middleground between Cabela's and Sage. If you don't mid spending more money than a Cabela's combo, Echo, St Croix and TFO are a good place to start. You have countless options depending on the budget. I'll stick with my Echo Ion or Lamson reel suggestion but there are other options there too. Spend more money on the rod than the reel. And I'd rather have a good flyline appropriate for the flies you intend to throw than a reel that costs more than those I mentioned.
 

fredaevans

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Awesome advice. Thanks for the quick response. I don't mind spending the money on a good set up. But it just seems like the extra dollars you pay are for the name, Sage Orvis etc. at the same point though. For me this a once in a lifetime trip and I don't want to be second guessing my gear or find out it's not up to par once I get here

Well a 'yes and no' here. Save for a breakage (only happened once in 60+ years) you've got 'the rod.' Plastic rods have evolved ... Boo's are for ever.

My House Keeper lady was fondling my stick ... NO NOT THAT STICK!!... and 'Will you take me and my kids fishing? She/kids due here tomorrow to match up with rods .... and 'You will tie your own flies as I shooed them into the DEN, THE MAN CAVE ... flicking eyes ... Why is the door LOCKED?? (Its not)

'Child ... heathen beasties live within ... are you up for them???' TEATH, FEARSOMIE TEeTH ... squeels of anticippption.

Fast, but long drive, to the Motor Home to get the second vise.
 

ptarmigan

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That LSI or even their TLR will be enough rod. I'd bring a minimum of two, if not three rods up here. The ECHO ION reel is a great budget reel as well. Whatever you get make sure to spend some time with it before leaving. That way you'll know how it casts and can shake out any potential demons left over from manufacturing. Take care to match your line properly also. Sometimes those combos come with low quality fly line which can make casting for a week a bit miserable.
 

ia_trouter

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That LSI or even their TLR will be enough rod. I'd bring a minimum of two, if not three rods up here. The ECHO ION reel is a great budget reel as well. Whatever you get make sure to spend some time with it before leaving. That way you'll know how it casts and can shake out any potential demons left over from manufacturing. Take care to match your line properly also. Sometimes those combos come with low quality fly line which can make casting for a week a bit miserable.
He meant to say the line is almost always junk within a few hours. :) They don't put good stuff on lower priced combos because they know beginners are price shopping.
 

akfred

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Welcome to the forum. You have already received much good advice. I have lived, worked in fisheries and fished in Alaska for the past 46 years. The Goodnews is a great coho river. You will very likely fish for rainbow trout, Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden in addition to chow and maybe chum salmon. You will probably catch more DV than anything else. DV in the Goodnews will average around three pounds but may range up to six or eight pounds. A six wt rod will be perfect for them and any rainbows or grayling you may catch. For coho I would second the recommendations of an eight weight rod. You should be able to get by with floating lines but may want a sink tip for some coho situations. I would go with lodge recommendations for lines and flies since they know the requirements of the places they fish. Have a great trip.
 

mattyoc20

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This is the fly rod I am thinking about going with? 9' 8w. Thoughts?

BVK Series


Also. I have 9'6" 5W that I use for trout. Can I get away with this for grayling and the leapord trout up there? I would like to not have to buy 2 new rods
 

Ard

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I've used 9 foot eight weights for silvers and had no issues and your five weight should be fine. The thing to remember is leader strength. I never go under a 12 pound tippet but it should be noted that I fish with streamers and tubes and am swinging the flies. I've caught some monster fish while trout fishing with my 7'9" far & Fine and it's all about the leader. With a 15 pound leader you can land a 15 pound fish on a #5 rod.
 

ptarmigan

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I bought a BVK (and sold it) and while it was a nice rod, it didn't have as much power for pulling big fish out of the current. The tip section seemed quite fragile as well. If it was me I would buy this one Lefty Kreh TiCr X Series as it has more lifting power and can withstand more abuse. Nothing worse than your rod breaking on the first day when your fly whacks the tip.
 

Ard

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Good info Matt :)

Merry Christmas from the Valley.

It's been so long since I've bought a 9 foot rod I don't know what to tell a guy to get. Although I still have those Quarrow rods I got in 2006 for 48 bucks a piece and they are great. You can't break one if you try and seem to cast well.

Actually going to a lodge, they generally have fly rods ready to go so it's not necessary to buy anything for a one time 5 day trip. I've only worked for a few of them and not at Goodnews but the three I have all had tackle galore for clients.

Seriously I would direct all questions to the lodge and guides to get the real skinny on what is needed.
 
J

james w 3 3

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Here's what I'd do, given your 6wt rod is not going to be a long-term partnership.
[I just deleted the rest of this train of thought]

Alternatively, you've got lots and lots of time . . . scouring eBay every few days should eventually yield a near new or gently used rod perfect for your trip. And the next ones if you fall in love with Alaska.

Set a price limit of 50-60% of new retail and stick to it. This opens up a huge selection of rods. Be patient. If it doesn't work out by July 1, you can still buy a rod retail.
 

Red Owl

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IMHO too much focus on the rod. A lot of salmon- not that far off and you often cast to fish in pools. I've seen them come right up and hit the fly, so.....never say never but having to cast a long distance- may or may not be necessary.
Far more important is the reel. If you have only fished for trout you might have never put your reel to the test, having a big salmon tear line off the reel, a cheap reel can literally rattle apart. You don't have to spend a lot but you need something servicable.
If you are not used to getting a fish on the reel (A lot of trout only folks just strip in line), go out and fish for bream or anything you can easily catch a lot of and get some practice getting that fish on the reel.
The other issue is when a salmon strips off a lot of line, the current starts pulling on all that line and that becomes an issue, so be prepared to follow the fish and get as much line back on the reel as possible- without breaking off.
Salmon are not as leader shy as trout, I use an 8 lb fluorocarbon and have beached 20 lb salmon with it.
Then I have best luck beaching a fish so keep an eye out for such an area as the fight wears down.
I like egg sucking leach, Babine special, egg patterns. A lot of these you can tie yourself. :cool::cool:
 
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