It is always an exciting treat for us to find and work with a new young outfitter who looks to have a potentially wonderful operation. And when that operation is also on Kodiak Island in Alaska, that is even more enticing. And oh boy, when the costs turn out to be very moderate and very do-able for most folks, we get downright excited! And if all that is not exciting enough, he offers both fishing and hunting. We have very high hopes and expectations for this operation.
One of the most famed fishing rivers on Kodiak, and in Alaska, is the well-known Karluk River. The Karluk River is famous for its heavy runs of salmon, although King salmon have recently been slower. It has runs of Kings, sockeyes and silver salmon, plus Hunt Nation founder Butch Manasse’s favorite fish, the magnificent steelhead. The King salmon run the river for the entire month of June. The sockeye run in May and even into mid-September. The gem of this river, however, is the silver salmon run, which starts in late August and peaks in September. These silvers run 8 to 20 pounds in the river, and good anglers can bag 10 to as many as 30 of these bright and feisty beauties in a day. And many of the silvers reach trophy sizes! The Kings are also good sized, ranging from 20 to 40 pounds and some up to 55 pounds. The smaller sockeye are in the 4 to 12 pound range. And Kodiak has some of the most liberal fish limits in Alaska (no Kings can be retained from the river, so clients fill their “take home” boxes out in the saltwater first). Steelhead can be over 25 pounds and are best later on, late September thru November.
This operation can access three more streams from the lodge by boat and ATV, so plenty of different opportunities exist for the adventurous, and he will transport you to wherever fishing is hottest. Heck, you can walk to a good silver and pink stream just a few minutes from the lodge. He has saltwater gear, and freshwater spinning outfits, but you must have your own waders (felt soles are not allowed!). A 7-day fishing license is under $50.
In the saltwater on his charter boat, catch halibut, silver salmon, King salmon and other salmon species, plus lingcod, and multiple varieties of rockfish. You are likely to see whales and also otters, eagles, mountains and more. You normally are allowed to bring home 50 pounds of fresh fish per person, so a couple can bring back 100 pounds of halibut and salmon and other fish! At current fish market prices, you are looking at a savings of $1,500 or more in fresh fish. And if weather interferes, just hit the streams! Here’s what a previous client had to say:
“Spent a week with him on Kodiak. Caught a ton of coho trolling in his new boat. We also had him guide us on mountain hikes to lakes where we caught trout, and then of course we got a lot of halibut and cod off the bottom. He is a great host and always asked us what we wanted to do and then helped us do it. Loved spending time on Kodiak in Larson Bay.”
HUNTING – SITKA BLACKTAILS AND DUCKS
For hunting, you can literally hunt Sitka blacktails by walking out the back door, or he can boat you to some hot spots. He tells us he has been virtually 100% on deer for these DIY trips. You can cruise along in his skiff, glassing for a likely target, then plan a stalk and have at it. Or if you are fit enough, tackle climbing the mountains and you may find the largest trophies there. He will equip you with radios, and he will remain in the boat nearby while you hunt. He is not a licensed hunting guide, so he cannot actually guide you or handle your game, but he can put you where they are. Best time for deer is October and November, and coincidentally those are good months for big fresh-run steelhead and maybe some late silvers. How about just walking out the back door to hunt, while dinner is being prepared?!
If you love duck hunting, this place will offer many unique species. He has Harlequins, eiders, goldeneyes and also puddle ducks. Most duck hunting is done by walking to a nearby pond or out on a point where you can employ decoys. And he will have a Zodiac to chase down the ducks as needed. If budget minded, consider his DIY hunting cabins – no boats, but you can hunt right out the back door! Some of us at Hunt Nation really want to try this!
TOURING AND SIGHTSEEING
For those who just want to kick back, he will do boat trips, ATV trips, whatever you would like to do or see. Great photo opportunities abound, along with awesome scenery and wildlife. Expect to see deer, bears, seals, otters, sea lions, eagles, puffins and ducks of many kinds. A kayak or two and the ATVs are also available to use. Here’s some more from previous clients:
“I’ve spent a week at this lodge for each of the last 4 years. It is the true Alaskan experience. Accommodations are comfortable, fishing & hunting opportunities are abundant, and the owner is an expert on the area. What he has been able to accomplish building his lodge on a remote piece of oceanfront property is nothing short of amazing. Showing others the experience of a lifetime comes easy to him. With Larsen Bay’s rugged beauty and the lodge’s serene setting, it’s easy to see why its his passion. I’ve spent time at a number of lodges around Alaska, and fully recommend his operation.” – T. Johnson
“This lodge is totally off the grid. The Captain/owner is happy to help visitors catch their limit of fish, deer, etc. But this lodge is also a great respite for a group or family who wants to get off the grid and into nature. You can see whales from the deck of the guest cabin. And there is excellent hiking (bring tall rubber boots!) right out the door. You can head up a mountain or down to the beach, which is rocky not sandy like most Alaskan beaches.
“I’ve been there several times, and have gotten some of the best wilderness and wildlife photos/videos I’ve ever taken. I saw an eaglet leave the nest and learn to fly from the guest cabin. The views from the lodge are mesmerizing.” – Lynn N.
Here is a list of some opportunities for you to enjoy:
• Fish the famed Karluk River. They have ATVs for clients to use to access the portage at the head of Larsen Bay. Or charter fish the incredibly prolific salt waters of Larsen Bay!
• Walk to another salmon stream right out of the lodge. Great for silver salmon and pink salmon.
• Unguided Sitka blacktail deer hunting. Success is 100% to date. They have A LOT of deer and can do transports to various areas as part of your full hunting package. They have a 26’ Wool Ridge Landing Craft for hunters, plus use of the ATVs.
• This is very remote and they cater to DIY hunters by supplying an inexpensive basic cabin that sleeps 4, with a kitchen and room to hang out. You can hunt deer & ducks. There is an electric fence to keep bears away from clients and meat.
• Full service option includes lodging, meals, guided fishing or transport-only for hunting, plus processing of meat and fish.
• Hiking, kayaking, whale watching, bear viewing, photography and more.
In terms of timing your stay, here is a general outline of typically best times:
• KING SALMON – May thru July
• SILVER SALMON – August thru October
• PINK SALMON – July and August
• STEELHEAD – October thru December
• HALIBUT AND LINGCOD – July thru September
• ROCKFISH – Year-round
• DEER – August thru September
• WATERFOWL – October thru December
LIMITS: Expect daily limits in the saltwater of 5 salmon, 2 halibut, 5 rockfish and 4 tanner crabs. Lots to take home!
Several options exist: the unique off-grid lodge; the on-grid lodge; and remote cabins for DIY.
The Off-Grid Lodge
The off-grid lodge is truly a wonder; hand-built remotely, using wood salvaged from the sea and milled on the actual site! The build was an odyssey to construct, under difficult situations. It is rustic but clean and very comfortable. No luxury, but everything you need and more. Recently completed, it features dramatic views of the ocean, the mountains and the bay, with an eagle nest next door. It is 1,500 square feet, with an open sleeping loft, new memory foam mattresses, bunk beds, an outdoor hot shower, an outhouse, and access to the main lodge and its dining area right next door. With the full-service plan they prepare 3 wholesome meals daily, including your catch or kill if you so desire. For DIY folks, if you wish they can stock it with food at reasonable cost for your own cooking in the guest cabin. No liquor out there, so bring it with you if desired; or ask them to order it in advance for your group.
ON THE GRID LODGING: If your group wants a bit more upscale amenities, they also have a newly renovated 6-bedroom home for guests to stay in on the grid in Larsen Bay. Internet, full baths, showers and toilets. Not quite as close to the fishing, but they pick you up anyway.
DIY CABINS: They also have some cabins that are remote as well. So do inquire of us about where is best for your group.
They have an almost-new, big (31’) boat built with this sort of fishing and hunting in mind. It can handle large groups and keep it safe and fun. It is used to bottom fish for halibut, lingcod, rockfish, or to troll for Kings, silvers and pinks and others.
Most clients will get to Kodiak via Anchorage and Alaskan Airlines, so probably plan on a night in Anchorage. Ideally you arrive IN Anchorage in afternoon, then catch the 2:30PM flight to Kodiak, arriving about 3:30PM. There are also flights from Seattle to Kodiak on Alaska Air, with travel times of 5-11 hours. After landing in Kodiak, guests collect their luggage and walk across the parking lot to the Island Air terminal, where they have 3 scheduled flights a day to Larsen Bay. Alternatively, you catch a chartered bush plane to Larsen Bay on your day of arrival, usually Island Air or Andrews Air (you make your own reservations). Cost per person is around $125. It will fly you to Larsen Bay where the outfitter meets you. Larsen Bay is tiny and it is hard to get supplies there, so bring what you need.
Note: there is a 50-pound limit on bush planes – above that, you pay extra. The outfitter provides all fishing equipment and bait for saltwater fishing. He only provides spinning gear for the rivers; he does not furnish fly gear as of yet. We recommend guests bring their own waders, especially if they want to river fish effectively.
If guests want to overnight in Kodiak, the outfitter recommends the Comfort Inn (which is right near the airport) or the Kodiak Best Western. If those are booked up, the Shelikof Inn is your next best bet.
2021 PRICES (subject to change without notice until deposit received)
ALL TRIPS ARE 5 DAYS/6 NIGHT IN CAMP, PLUS A DAY TO ARRIVE AND A DAY TO DEPART, SO 7 DAYS IN TOTAL.
• CAST & BLAST (deer, ducks, fish) – $2,475 per person (guiding for fishing; transport only for hunting)
• GUIDED SALTWATER FISHING (salmon, halibut, lingcod, rockfish) – $2,475 per person
• GUIDED FRESHWATER FISHING (salmon in summer, steelhead in fall) – $2,475 per person
• SELF-GUIDED SITKA BLACKTAIL DEER HUNTING – $2,475 per person (included transport, meals, freezing/sealing of meat)
• SELF-GUIDED DUCK HUNTING (puddle ducks and sea ducks) – $2,475 per person
• DIY DEER AND DUCK HUNTING – $1,475 per person (includes lodging, but no transport or meals)
• DIY FISHING – not available here
• ALL CHILDREN UNDER 15 ARE ½ PRICE
Guided trips include guiding, 3 prepared meals daily, and freezing and vacuuming sealing of meat/fish. Since freezing, sealing and packing often costs $1 to $2 per pound, this is a big savings!
OTHER COSTS: For stream fishing, you need an Indian land use permit for $50, plus a fishing license and maybe the King Salmon Stamp if you want to keep Kings. The bush plane fight from Kodiak and back is $250 roundtrip per person.
1. I have my own fishing gear, but I assume you also have both fresh and saltwater gear to use?
They have freshwater spinning and saltwater gear for you to use.
2. I like both river and saltwater fishing. When we do river fishing, are you right there with us?
The guided is right there with you, releasing fish gently when need be with pliers, or helping you land them.
3. I noted the Karluk requires ATV travel? Do you lead us or what?
Your guided will be leading you the whole time.
4. I noted there is a stream you can walk to? How far and what types of fish?
There is a stream 50 yards away from the lodge that is full of pinks and Dolly Varden.
5. Should we buy bear spray in Kodiak or will you have a gun?
Your guided will have a large caliber pistol.