The following story appears in the April issue of Alaska Sporting Journal. Photos courtesy of Paul D. Atkins, the Steve McCutcheon Collection and Wien Collection of the Anchorage Museum, the Boone & Crockett Club, By Paul D. Atkins The phrase “cheating death” is often overused here in Alaska, but to the guides, outfitters and […]
Our cover story for the May Alaska Sporting Journal is a profile of director Mark Titus’ fantastic documentary about wild salmon, The Breach. Titus announced the following stops as his film will screen throughout the Lower 48 over the next month: First stop is the Dubuque International Film Festival this Thursday throughSunday. The Breach is nominated for Best Documentary and […]
Our friends at the Discovery Channel provided us a sneak peek for tonight’s season premiere of Deadliest Catch, which we’ve featured with two cover stories in the last year: Tuesday, April 14 at 9 PM ET/PT on Discovery Channel A Brotherhood Tested: King Crab season arrives along with a new set of challenges, […]
The following story and photos are courtesy of ASJ correspondent Steve Meyer and running in the April issue of Alaska Sporting Journal, on sale now: By Steve Meyer It seems most every hunter/fisherman has thoughts of becoming a game warden. How cool would it be to go to work every day and be outdoors around […]
(Bighorn sheep photo courtesy of the Nevada Department of Wildlife) Lower 48ers in the West who are dreaming of hunting in Alaska – and how would any hunter not want to stalk moose, caribou or bears in the Last Frontier at least one time? – and are looking for an alternative closer to home, […]
The Kvichak Lodge is located approximately 240 miles southwest of Anchorage in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, home to the world's largest sockeye salmon run, trophy class rainbow trout, coho salmon, chums, kings, pinks, arctic char, pike, grayling and dolly varden in addition to experiencing indescribeable beauty in one of the most pristine regions in the state.
The lodge is situated about one half mile from the mouth of Lake Illiamna on 12 acres of Kvichak River waterfront. Our lodge was the first lodge built and in operation on the Kvichak River, giving us one of the best locations for convenience to the community as well as easy access to the best spots on the river.
David G. Duncan, a Michigan resident, got to fulfill a longtime dream of fur trapping in Alaska. Local trapper Brad Parsons had David tag along, and he shared his story with us and will appear in the January issue of Alaska Sporting Journal. Here is a snippet of David's story with some additional photos:
PUTTING TOGETHER THE PLANS for an expedition into a remote wilderness area, where small mistakes in planning could lead to real survival risks, got me to thinking how the great Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton must have felt as he planned his 1,500-mile hike to the South Pole. Well, I do know that most of the Antarctic explorers made it back safely, and they did not have modern snow machines or an experienced Alaskan trapper along on their adventure. So I was sure I had nothing to fear.I had arrived at Brad’s cabin in early October, with two new snow machines and a lot of trapping equipment. Our plan was to use Brad’s 10-man squad tent as our base camp at Kaina Lake. So I thought it might be a good idea for me to live in the tent prior to our mountain trapping adventure, just to make sure there would be no surprises related to its ability to protect us against the 40- and 50-below temperatures. We would be relying on this tent for shelter during our several weeks’ stay at Kaina Lake. So for the next month I would call this tent my home as the temperatures steadily dropped from lows of 20 degrees Fahrenheit, to zero and below.I had experienced several first-time moments already during my first few weeks living with Brad. He’d prepared us meals of delicious grizzly bear roast and steaks from a fresh-killed caribou. Now, with trapping season fast approaching, I was looking forward to adding lynx to my list of wild Alaskan meats I had eaten. Brad told me it tastes just like fine pork. Well, at least that is a switch; he did not say it tastes just like chicken!Brad took me on a 10-mile hike on one of his trap lines near his cabin. I had the distinct feeling that the hike was probably more to check out my stamina and ability to withstand the rigors we would be facing during our upcoming Kaina Lake adventure. I am sure he must have been more than a little apprehensive as to whether a 66-year-old Michigan trapper could handle the extremes of a high-mountain, deep-snow trap line. Brad carried his Marlin .444 just in case we saw a caribou. We did not see any caribou on this hike, but we did see an old grizzly den site. Fortunately, no grizzly bear was at home on this day.
Photos courtesy of David G. Duncan
Katmai, Alaska – December 5, 2013 – Katmai Lodge is excited to announce its 35th season of exceptional fishing on the Alagnak River. Recently, Robert Follman of California acquired Katmai Lodge and under his new direction and leadership, Mr. Follman is committed to continuing Katmai’s great tradition of service, on the best fishing river in Alaska. He has been coming to Katmai Lodge for over 20 years and he and the entire staff look forward to making your fishing trip one of the most amazing experiences of your life. Mr. Robert Follman (left, in photo below) Mr. Tom Haugen –Lodge Manager Katmai Lodge offers personalized fishing adventures for groups of all sizes and experience levels. Accessed through its private airstrip with its own amphibious equipped Turbine Otter, the main lodge rests atop a bluff overlooking the Alagnak River, offering hundreds of miles of fishing in Alaska’s only designated Trophy Fishing Area. Already one of the great fishing ecosystems in Alaska, fishing on the Alagnak River continues to improve. The pristine river is uniquely home to all five Pacific Salmon species along with native stream fish such as Rainbow trout, Artic Grayling and Dolly Varden/Char, with four or five salmon species spawning within two miles below and 45 miles above the lodge. The region is also home to a diverse array of wildlife, which provides amazing photo opportunities.
An experienced guide staff personalizes each guest experience, making use of the lodge’s thirty boats to explore the full range of the Alagnak. Our river-based lodge is only ten minutes away from tidewater. Its diverse fleet of both jet and prop boats allows for both sea fresh salmon and rainbow trout fishing, while the lodge’s floatplane enables easy access to Katmai National Park for viewing the renowned Brooks Falls brown bears and for fishing the area’s many blue ribbon trout streams. When off the water, anglers are encouraged to enjoy the unrivaled amenities of Katmai Lodge, which boasts more square footage per guest than any other lodge in Alaska. World-class chefs prepare hearty breakfasts and gourmet dinners in the central dining room. The main lodge includes a fully stocked fly-tying area complete with expert instruction, central gathering place, a clothing and gift shop as well as internet access. Adjacent guest cabins welcome anglers to rest and relax, offering the privacy of individual common areas. The high season for Alaskan salmon fishing at Katmai’s Lodge runs from late June through September, with trout season opening June 8th. Booking has already begun for 2014. For reservations or to inquire about group packages, anglers should visit the newly launched website at www.katmai.com or call 1-800-330-0326 for more information.
Contact: www.katmai.com; email@example.com; Ph: 800-330-0326; Corporate Office 3207 West Pendleton Ave Santa Ana, CA 92704 ###
Photos courtesy of Dennis Musgraves
Our correspondent Dennis Musgraves spends almost one-third of his year fishing the endless waterways of Alaska. He and his buddies call themselves the Alaska Salmon Slayers. Dennis' latest contribution, for our December issue, is fishing for Arctic grayling on the Delta Clearwater River. Here's a sneak preview:
The motley crew on the boat consists of four anglers, including me. Chris Cox and Paul Ferreira both sit close to the bow of the boat, and Ron Ely takes a seat beside me at the steering console. All of them are accomplished anglers and veterans of the Clearwater. We are armed with fly rods with weight sizes ranging from 4 to 6. Our fly boxes are full of an assortment of dry fly patterns in different sizes, including Adams, midges, and ants. However, it’s been our experience that the dry fly of choice for this watershed is a large 14 or 12 blue dunn. I suggest the bigger the better. They seem to perfectly imitate a mayfly hatch that occurs during this time of the year and are irresistible for the active grayling. Chris and Paul watch with intensity as they survey the clear, blue water out in front of the moving vessel. They are looking for groups of fish sitting deep in the holes as we skim the surface. We only get about a ½-mile away from the boat ramp when Chris yells out “Slow down!” He spotted a large group of fish as we went over the top of them. By the time I throttle down the boat the area he had seen the fish at is already about half a football field behind us. I think about turning around in the narrow river for only a moment, but decide to press on forward. This is the Clearwater, after all, and the river is jammed-packed full of Arctic grayling. It does not take long to get going again and round the next turn to find the water in front of us boiling with active fish. A great stretch of river approximately 200 yards long, perfect for the four of us have room without having to be right on top of each other. Upon all of us seeing the rising hoard I quickly slow down and angle the boat over to a high cut bank and tie off. All of us disembark simultaneously looking for a place to spread out and start casting. The spring-fed river runs very cold, so all of us are wearing a good warm layer under our waders. Not only is the water frigid, but the current is deceptive, thanks to the crystal-clear clarity of the water. The quick rate of flow is noticeable even at knee-deep depths, and it's easy to lose your footing.
By Chris Cocoles
First and foremost, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone gets to enjoy some turkey -or whatever holiday meal you traditionally enjoy- and some football, today.
When I talked to Alaskan adopted native son Tommy Moe, one of the more iconic men's skiers in United States history, I could tell in our 45-minute conversation how much he loves life. What's not to love? If you ski, fish and paddle, which I discovered are all passions of Moe, you have all those bases covered if you're Tommy Moe. He spends most of year living in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and as a part owner of an Alaskan lodge skis and takes guests on fishing trips, all in the same day! My conversation with Moe, who won a gold medal in the downhill and silver in the super G at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, is running in the December issue. Here's part of our conversation, with some photos, courtesy of the Tordrillo Mountain Lodge, which Moe co-owns:
CC Tell me how buying the lodge came about.TM I think it was in 1997; my brother, Michael, my friends, Mike Overcast and Victor Duncan, and I did a hunting trip on this remote river way up in Skwenta in the Central Alaska Range. We did some Dall sheep hunting and some caribou hunting. And we flew to this river and were dropped in the boonies for like 10 days. We floated down the river for about 80 miles. We looked at the mountain ranges and thought ‘Wow, that looks like it would be good skiing.’ We came around the corner and kept looking at these huge glaciers and steep mountains. We told ourselves we needed to come back and ski this. The next year we pulled together some resources. We all pitched in a couple thousand dollars, rented a helicopter and flew out there. We found this lodge we could base out of, we pioneered some of the ski terrain, we flew to the rivers and checked out the fishing. We had an idea to start what we called the “Kings and Corn” program for fishing and skiing. We did some great rafting. We did that at the lodge for six years, and in 2004 we were looking at our own place. We found this Tordrillo Mountain Lodge on Judd Lake. We had to find some investors and ended up buying it in 2005. And now we have a great business in the winter, and our summer business does well. Mike and I are still the founders/owners. And it’s such a beautiful property.CC Talk about your lodge’s “Cast and Carve” heli-skiing and heli-fishing package for guests. I love the idea of what a rush that must be, to combine salmon fishing and skiing on the same summer day.TM We try to ski in the morning when the snow is usually at its best. We’ll try to wear people out. We’ll ski the corn and go out on like three runs, which is perfect. We’ll have a little mountaintop lunch, take some pictures, look at some wildlife and then fly around to do a little sightseeing from the chopper. Then we fly back to the lodge, take off all our ski gear and change sports. We’ll put on our fishing waders, get the fishing gear and then float down the river that’s right there near our lodge. So it’s kind of multi-sport because you really can’t do that anywhere else in the world that easily. We try to mix it up so people can ski and fish and raft, all in one day. Then they can fly back to the lodge, have a nice meal, jump in the hot tub and sauna, pass out and do it again. You don’t get a lot of sleep in the summer because it’s so light. Sometimes we’ll eat dinner a little earlier and then take them out skiing afterward because you get the nice evening light. It’s also kind of a unique experience.CC Is there an epic fishing experience from Alaska that you can share?TM A couple years ago I had a group up from the Midwest, and the fishing was really good; the skiing was really good. We ended up flying down the river, and everybody was catching kings like every 10 minutes. That went on and on; we’d get them in the boat, then we’re taking pictures and letting them go. This one guy hooked into a really big salmon. I thought this was unbelievable that he was going to get this fish in. I didn’t have a net because we were sitting in this raft when we were fishing. The guy got it all the boat and I couldn’t really grab it by the head. And I ended up grabbing it by the tail and I could barely lift it into the raft. From the photos we saw it was over 50 or more pounds. It was like 58 inches on and like 30 inches round. It was just a massive salmon. He ended up letting it go because it was catch-and-release then. I think in fishing up there for over 15 years now I’ve only caught two fish of over 50 pounds. Those were definitely trophies.