GPS Coordinates: 60° 02’03″N 151° 41’45″W
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On Your Way To Alaska!
Anglers headed to The Alaska Steelhead Company to fly fish will find the gear and techniques similar to that used for steelhead anywhere else in the Pacific rim. If you have fished steelhead extensively, likely you are already prepared. As always, there is no substitute for quality equipment, the value of which is immediately apparent upon hooking into your first smoking-hot, fresh-from-the-salt chromer!
Remember also that The Alaska Steelhead Company does have a limited number of loaner rods and reels and tackle. They can provide gear for the week, but we always prefer to bring all of our own gear. Be prepared for everything.
The steelhead rivers of the Kenai Peninsula harbor fantastic runs of fresh steelhead in the fall months, providing a wonderful Alaskan steelhead experience. These rivers are gorgeous and extremely diverse, from small little coastal creeks, to big water that we float… and all are extremely productive fisheries. Add to that the uniqueness that these are likely the furthest north latitudes that you can honestly target wild steelhead. We fish the fall, when chromers begin to enter their natal streams in September, and continue to pour in and move upstream until late October.
*Fishing for wild steelhead in AK is strictly catch-and-release*
As with all steelhead angling, if you’re looking to catch obscene numbers of fish, this trip probably isn’t for you! Alaska Steelhead Company has a high probability for success and clients generally average 1 – 3 hook ups per angler per day, but keep in mind this is not always the case! There are many days that accomplished anglers and good students will grossly exceed these numbers, and other days when even the best effort won’t come close to putting a fish up. Steelhead fishing is not a numbers game; it is about catching the most prized freshwater game fish that swims. Anglers willing to fish hard, cover a lot of water, listen to their guides, and put in a long day, will have the best potential of hooking into the fish you came to chase.
The first fish arrive in late August, and by the second week of September top quality fly fishing is in full swing. You can count on quality fishing straight through to November when the lodge closes. Steelhead on these AK rivers average 8 – 12 lbs. There are definitely some bigger fish around as well to take you for a ride. Specimens up to and exceeding 20lbs have been caught, but are extremely rare. They just do not get as big as Skeena River fish up here, but they make up for it in abundance… and the Skeena fish are 300 miles upstream! These fish are 300 yards! THEY ARE BRIGHT, THEY ARE HOT!
Alaska State Fishing License & King Stamp:
The lodge does not sell fishing licenses – please purchase your license in advance of your arrival to the lodge, online, at: http://www.admin.adfg.state.ak.us/license/purchasing.html
Alaska Steelhead Company accommodates both methods of fly fishing for steelhead, swinging flies as well as nymphing. Spey rods are the game up North when swinging for steelhead, while single handed rods are ideal for indicators.
- For spey rods from 12.5ft to 13.5ft are the go to, in line weights 7 or 8.
- Single Handers in 9ft 8wt are perfect.
- Switch rods can be used in many situations on the rivers of the Kenai Peninsula as well.
The lodge recommends that you trip your guide daily at $75 per person, per day. We recommend staff gratuities of approximately 10%-15% of the package price, per angler, to be divided amongst the staff. Tips are pooled and can be left in an envelope provided to you. If you find service by any individual to be exceptional, feel free to give them additional direct compensation. US dollars only. All tips must be paid in cash.
Being both on the ocean and in the mountains, in the fall, the weather can fluctuate greatly, especially at this latitude. Live by the layering system so you can be prepared for everything. It can be warm, especially early season, skating dries in a T-shirt. Later in the season it will get predictably colder but not miserable most years. Storms can come through anytime during this period, so be prepared for all conditions all season long. Be prepared for anything Mother Nature could throw at you!
Power and Communications:
Alaska Steelhead Company has wireless broadband internet access, land line phones and reasonable cellular reception. Power outlets in every room will allow you to charge all of your devices every night.
The lodge has full electricity 24/7. Feel free to bring and use your CPAP breathing/sleeping machines.
ASC does offer limited laundry service at the lodge, for if you fall in but do not plan on having regular laundry service. The lodge can arrange for massages, and they have two hot tubs to soak in, bring your bathing suit.
Alcohol is not included, but there is a stocked bar to order drinks from in the lodge. If you want something special and specific, we will make a stop at the store when you arrive to pick up your favorite steelhead trip cocktails and beer. If you have a specific brand of alcohol that you prefer, you might consider bringing it with you as the selection in town is somewhat limited. You will pay your bar tab at the end of the week.
The Chef at Alaska Steelhead Company takes extraordinary pride in preparing some of the finest meals you will ever see at a fishing lodge. Top quality ingredients and an excellent presentation are paired to serve you hearty meals with ridiculous proportions.
If you have any food allergies or medical conditions we need to know about email us at email@example.com.
The Lodge has rods and reels you may borrow and use during the week, although we recommend bringing your own equipment that you are familiar with. Spey rods are the go to tool up here. Due to the nature of these rivers, Spey casters will certainly have an advantage with distance and efficiency. If you have not already joined the two handed revolution now is the time to start! Spey casters can simply cover more water more effectively and the BBC team of expert instructors have all the tools to work with novice and veterans alike! The most popular choice of Spey rods for the are in the #7 and #8 weight category between 12.5 and 14 feet long. Your choice of rod for the trip is a matter of personal preference, though we have found that the lighter, relatively shorter rods are about perfect for every situation in the runs of the all of these rivers. If you are having trouble deciding which rods are the most suitable for you, we would be more than happy to give you some expert advice, based on our experience there.
This is probably the most important part of your tackle system! A Reel of mediocre quality will not withstand the brute force of a fresh sea run trophy. Any high quality single action reel with 150 + yards of backing capacity with a good drag system will work fine. You hard-core guys know your classic Hardy’s and other noise makers will sing regardless of the drag system.
Below are some examples of what we feel are the most suitable Spey lines for fishing the Bulkley and other surrounding rivers. This will serve as a general guideline that anyone with any questions about equipment should follow. If you are uncertain which line you should select to properly match your rod, do not hesitate to contact us. We are experts in this field and we are happy to assist you in preparing the correct rod/line combinations:
Skagit style lines are basically shortened, condensed shooting heads developed in the Pacific North West by a hard core group of anglers that were looking for a way to cast sinking tip and large weighted flies long distances, with a very short compact casting stroke, and small D-Loop. These lines have become very popular with steelheaders due to the fact that they are easy for both the expert and novice to cast, not to mention extremely useful in situations where room for a back cast is limited. These lines also work very well for people who prefer to fish shorter 12’-13’6 foot rods.
The Airflo Skagit Compact heads can be very efficient tools. These lines should be paired with the MOW sink tips in Heavy(T-14) or Medium(T-11) for these rivers. Many Skagit casters prefer to prepare their own sink tips using varied lengths of T-14. We prefer these custom tips in 2.5ft increasing length increments. Give us a call if you have questions on these interchangeable sink tips.
Scandi lines are the full floating version of the Skagit. Also short belly shooting heads, they are amazing at very efficiently loading the rod with a compact stroke and little effort, even in tight conditions. Long leaders are required to anchor these Scandi lines during the casting stroke. This is hat you want to use early season when the fish are grabbing flies off of the surface.
Tippet for fishing sink tips in steelhead fly fishing are very simple…15lbs Maxima. You can also bring Fluorocarbon if you like, 12 – 18 pound. You may want to bring a larger selection simply to insure that you will be prepared for any and every situation.
For the Scandi Lines, you will want long leaders, between 12 and 16 feet long, to provide the line stick of the anchor point. Rio’s nylon mono Steelhead Leaders are great and inexpensive, Airflo’s Poly Leaders are the best casting, but cost more.
Chest high breathable waders are recommended when fishing any cold water these days and these rivers are no exception. Durability and comfort are key elements to consider when selecting a wader, there are many different manufactures that make quality products.
We recommend that you bring a waterproof dry bag, back pack, fanny pack or boat bag to keep your kit dry.
These rivers are primarily cobble and small to moderate gravel, with a few obvious boulders. Some stretches do have larger rocks, and can be more difficult to wade in. If you’re used to using a wading staff at home we do recommend you bring it with you. Felt soles are not allowed in Alaska! “Sticky” Vibram rubber-soled wading boots are mandatory. Korker wadiging boots with interchangeable soles are a great option. We highly recommend studs on your rubber soled wading boots, you will wade better and feel safer and fish more effectively.
This is extremley important in BC when steelhead are present. The Bulkley and Morice are in the mountains, in the Fall, at very high latitudes. You do not want to get caught with less than excellent rain gear and layering. Be prepared for what Mother Nature has in store and you will fish much longer hours… and catch more fish! Your choice of garment must allow freedom of movement and keep you dry, even in a downpour. We would be happy to suggest ideas for a raincoat
The “layering” system works best with today’s top quality synthetic and wool garments. The idea is that by adding or removing multiple layers of clothing, in varying thickness and insulation, you will be able to obtain ideal body temperature and comfort, instead of just one big layer that you are either hot or cold in. If you have any questions we would be pleased to offer advice on the many options of the layering system. Do not use COTTON layers in these conditions
If unsure of what gear you need to fully enjoy a week at the Alaska Steelhead Company we would be pleased to recommend equipment options. Although we do not seek to endorse specific brand names, our extensive experience has shown certain products to be superior.
The usual steelhead menu, in the full spectrum of colors commonly used, will work great on the Bulkley and all of the other rivers of the Skeena system. Some are dark and somber, others are vibrant and bright, due to the diversity of water conditions. Even the same river can display different moods and may go from low and clear to high and muddy in a matter of hours. Have dries, or skaters in the early season as well as a large assortment of wet flies in varying sizes, colors, and weights for the entire Fall. Flies that would spook fish in one condition may be barely visible in another. Rember to have flies also in varying weights and sizes as well as a variety of colors. It pays to carry a variety of patterns and be prepared for whatever nature and her fish can throw at you. Steelhead will always be deliciously unpredictable. Tube Flies are the newest fly design concept to hit steelhead fly fishing and the possibilities are endless. Tubes allow steelhead fishermen versatility when it comes to meeting changing conditions by changing the type of tube they use, allowing more control over the depth and action of the fly. They also have the advantage of having a larger fly with a shorter shank hook, exactly what is called for to drag out large steelhead. The stinger style flies will also allow this and the Intruder Style flies are a favorite.
Ask us here at The Fly Shop® to put a package together for you that willl work in all of the fishing scenarios you may enconter, we will have you prepared before you get there. There is also a wide variety of flies for sale at the lodge for you to fill in any gaps you find when you arrive.
Kenai Hotel Options
Aspen Extended Stay Suites:
Quality Inn Kenai:
Kenai Airport Hotel:
As with most Alaska lodges, The Alaska Steelhead Company has WiFi available for clients who would like to bring their own WiFi-enabled electronic devices. It is satellite-based and not completely predictable – some days it works better than others – but generally speaking it is more than adequate to send and receive emails. There is not adequate bandwidth to support sending images or for streaming videos.
If you have any problems during your trip with missed connections, or want to leave an emergency number for family members or office:
The Alaska Steelhead Company, Ninilchick AK
- ASC Lodge Owner: Matt Sprecher (970) 471-6742
- ASC Lodge Owner/Host: Rosie Sprecher (970) 471-0937
The Fly Shop®
(530) 222-3555 | (800) 669-3474 | firstname.lastname@example.org