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2012 Alaska salmon fishing trip


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This year marked my 3rd year getting up to Alaska in June for both king and sockeye salmon fishing. We flew into Anchorage on Saturday June 16th and picked up our motorhome (which would be our lodging for the next 8 days) and headed south towards the Soldotna/Kenai area where we would be flying out the following day for reds (sockeyes). On Sunday morning we arrived at Alaska West Air with a destination of Wolverine Creek/Big River Lake in hopes of snagging a few sockeyes.


The weather was perfect; sunny with few clouds and no winds which made for ideal conditions for seeing pods of sockeyes. For those of you that don't know, sockeyes won't bite a lure like a king salmon will because once they make their way to the fresh water rivers en route to spawning grounds, they stop eating. So in order to catch a sockeye, you literally have to snag it. Methods vary depending on locations/rivers and current, among many other factors. Flossing is one way which I did later on in the trip. However at Wolverine Creek/Big River Lake, anglers cast single hooks with the combination of a couple splitshots or a pencil weight thru schools of sockeyes and snag them which leads to lots of foul hooked fish (only fish snagged in the mouth can be legally kept). When you are reeling in a 10-12lb sockeye foul hooked, it fights like a 20lb king. Here are some pics from the first day sockeye fishing at Wolverine Creek.






After we were done fishing on Sunday, we hopped in the RV and drove north a few hours to Willow Creek Campground which is about 30 miles outside of Wasilla. Monday morning we were fishing the Deshka River for kings. On a side note; the king salmon fishery was in very poor condition all across south-central Alaska this season with emergency orders reigning down one after another, closing nearly all of the rivers to king salmon fishing. The Deshka River was also having below forecasted numbers hitting the weir everyday, but the river was still open to fishing as well as being open to using bait. However, the Alaska Fish and Game put out an EO for the Deshka limiting the annual limit to 2 kings for the season. We hit the landing at a brisk 4:45AM on Monday morning and took the ride from the Susitna to the mouth of the Deshka and up-river. Here is the video for our 2 days and getting our 2 kings for the season from the Deshka River.

More videos at HSOshow.com

Here are couple pics of the kings from those 2 days on the river....

The first day I got about a 30 lb king. While we were getting the hook out of my fish, Rein hooked into and eventually landed a fish that was a couple lbs fatter than mine. While that fish was getting landed, his dad Bill hooked into a smaller jack. Nonetheless, 3 fish in a row makes for some good footage with the newly acquired [and still getting used to using] GroPo.


To be continued on the next post....

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After we got our 2 king salmon in 2 days from the Deshka River, we decided to make the treck and try to floss some reds in the Klutina River which is just outside of Copper Center Alaska which is a HECK of a drive thru some amazing mountains with some incredible views. It is about 4 hrs or so north of Wasilla and is quite the drive with a 30+ ft motorhome as there are very many tight twists and turns with VERY steep droppoffs, literally a cliff on a mountain side which makes for a very white-knuckled drive.





The few days prior to us fishing the Klutina, there were some very hot temps which caused a lot of snow melt in the mountains causing water levels go up significantly the day prior to us getting to the Klutina. The reds were running but the current was ripping like you wouldnt believe (huge tree after huge tree we would see raging down river in the middle about 20 yards away). Nonetheless, we hooked into about a dozen fish but only managed land 2. An awesome and beautiful day on the water.

After getting a burger at a time little Ma and Pa type place in Copper Center, we made the extremely long, but beautiful 8 hr drive with the RV to the town of Seward where we would be out on the ocean fishing for halibut the next day. We were welcomed by glass water all day but extremely slow halibut fishing... We did managed to get our limit, but the biggest fish was only about 20 lbs. Not as good of luck as 2 years ago when we were fish the same boat and captain (Hill Norvell) and got 2 fish over 100 lbs along with a few other big ones. Nonetheless, another beautiful day on the water where we managed a plethora of cod (surprising bonus fish at a halibut spot), our limit of halibut and black sea bass as well as a couple yelloweye and we managed a couple lingcod that we had to toss back before the season on those doesnt start until July. We also managed to get a couple silver salmon while jigging a salmon rod about 70 ft down. Fun stuff!



Captain Hill's boat, "One Day"


On the way out of the port of Seward



To be continued....

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After a long day out on the ocean, we stopped for a bite to eat and this was our view for dinner:


We heard from our deckhand and several locals there was a good push of reds coming in the Resurrection River, just on the other side of town, the past couple days. We thru the waders on and made a few casts but I mostly just sat back and took in the view




We didn't hook into any reds in the hour we were casting but we did see a few people around us land some fish. After our day in Seward, we did a day of drift fishing on the Kasilof for kings. Unfortunately, it was extremely slow and we did a 6 hr drift and only hooked into one king and it was a hatchery fish, about 15lbs and came off boatside. I did managed to hook into about a 25" steelhead and landed it. I have video of it and will hopefully get that up soon.

For our final day of fishing, we went back to where it all started, to Wolverine Creek with Alaska West Air. I have some great footage of it and I will let the video speak for itself... It will be up soon. Stay tuned for two more videos to follow for my 2 fly-in trips to Wolverine Creek for sockeyes!

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Awesome!! Looks like you had a blast as expected. I hope you got some of that yelloweye for yourself. The one time I tried it was right next to some halibut and I thought it was a little better tasting. And I love halibut. I noticed there was a ton of snow still up in the mountains. Not too surprising I guess, as AK got absolutely dumped on this last winter.

Here is a pic from a few summers ago from late July. It's the same mountains in Seward as the first pic in your third post. Way less snow in my pic.


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Sherpa, Anchorage set an all-time record for total snowfall for a winter.. I think it was over 11'.

My parents kept saying "there is no where else for our guy to plow the snow out of the driveway anymore, there is just no place to put it all!"

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Sherpa, Anchorage set an all-time record for total snowfall for a winter.. I think it was over 11'.

My parents kept saying "there is no where else for our guy to plow the snow out of the driveway anymore, there is just no place to put it all!"

Yeah that's what I've heard from all of my family up there. I have some pics of the crazy amounts of snow but I don't want to jack JW's thread. My dad had his little plane in a hangar that collapsed because of all the weight of the snow. No insurance on it either. Bad situation.

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You guys are right, crazy amounts of snow up there this year! You can really tell the difference by the amount of snow on the mountains in the background of my pics from this year compared to Sherpas pic of the same mountains. Crazy stuff!

Here is the video from the first day of sockeye fishing on Wolverine Creek... Day 2's video is being uploaded as we speak.

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Trust me, you simply MUST make time to go to Alaska with your grandfather. I know you think you are too busy and "don't have the time" but you are wrong. The next time your grandfather says he is going to Alaska you start packing your bags. You will never forget the trip and you will never forget Alaska.

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I bypassed AK this year in favor of a saltwater trip to the Pacific. The Pacific was a great opportunity, but it did not equal fishing in AK with its diversity of fish both in fresh and salt water. Headed back to AK in 2013.

Something my dad always told me is "You make time for what you really want to do".

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