GPS Coordinates: 59°52’50.49”N 160°7’33.75”W
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*FIREARMS ARE NOT ALLOWED; GUIDES CARRY 12 GA SHOTGUNS*
The weather in Western Alaska can be best defined as dynamic, summers can be very sunny and warm and is Alaska’s least rainy period – but one must be prepared for inclement weather that could last the entire trip.
Average summer temps range from 50 – 75 degrees. It is best to have top quality raingear and options for when said gear gets soaked.
Dress in layers, this way you can make adjustments for changing temperatures throughout the day necessary to keep you comfortable. A typical day has at least a 20 degree swing.
The outfitter will provide you with a dry bag prior to your expedition. This is yours to keep after the trip as well – ALL PERSONAL GEAR NEEDS TO FIT IN THIS BAG. It is more than adequate to hold what folks need; we will provide another bag that is accessible in the boat for other gear.
PRE-PACK YOUR SOCKS, UNDERWEAR, LAYERS, ETC. IN FREEZER WEIGHT ZIPLOC BAGS. They also provide a cot and Thermarest® sleeping pad for your sleeping comfort.
Some Personal Notes:
Southwest Alaska is a very dynamic place for weather and elements. It can change daily and typically involves a well thought out comfort management plan. This begins with no cotton. No cotton in the dry bags no cotton on the body. It is such a damp environment that it will soak whatever cotton garments guests bring. I highly suggest synthetic materials for all clothing, all the way to underwear. Yes, thermal underwear, but I’m even talking about boxers and briefs, if they are synthetic, they will not stay damp. Synthetic t shirts, sun hoodies, long sleeves, pants, all of it. Capilene, polypropylene, fleece, etc. should all be a part of the gear list. I usually wear a light pair of polypropylene thermals just as a base layer and then fleece layers for warmth and then some sort of hard shell for wind. Anything that can block the wind from penetrating is recommended, along with insulated hats balaclavas and gloves/mittens. The average temperatures fluctuate quite a bit, usually somewhere between 50-65 degrees, and mix that low temp with rain and wind – you can get the picture. I can’t emphasize enough about synthetic clothing.
If your waders are old and leaky you will be hating it. In the field in SW Alaska is the last place we want to be repairing waders that have needed repairs for some time. I recommend any brand that has 3 or more layers in the knees, seat. If you’re on the fence about buying a new pair, buy a new pair. You will be satisfied. Felt is outlawed in AK so you would need rubber bottom wading boots.
NO CLEATS! Cleats will damage the rubber rafts beyond repair!
Once again, no old leaky jackets. You want as supreme of rainproof/waterproof as you can get. I highly recommend Gore-Tex but nowadays a lot of the competition is using the same technology. I carry 2 Gore-Tex equivalent coats, and one rubber rain coat. I recommend bringing two coats, maybe one that is lighter than the other. With that said if you have a light rain jacket but it is waterproof just make sure to bring the layers for warmth. Wool – it works really well but if it gets wet it will stay wet. Wool socks are pretty much a necessity.
Probably want to default to warmth for this. I carry a 20 degree bag; I wouldn’t go any higher than 35. A very stuff able bag is preferred and once again have a nice quality bag. Not a 25 dollar Costco. Below is a list of things that people typically bring that will be of no use:
- Any fly rod below a 5 wt. or under 9ft.
- Wading boots with studs, as mentioned above we will not allow them in the boats. Period.
- Any tippet that has an X next to it.
- Lots of t-shirts. They will live in your bag soaking up moisture and making everything heavy.
- Jeans, once again the whole living in the bag thing.
- You need pliers – little trout fishing hemostats will not debarb heavy hooks or pull them out of 5+ pound fish. We have pliers handy on every boat.
- No need to bring cups or bowls, we provide personal use coffee cups, etc.
- Firearms are not allowed. The guides are all armed and camp is safer that way.
- Laptop computer or any office work
Recommended Fly Rods and Reels:
- Trout: 5, 6, 7 – We personally recommend 7 weights. We have high quality camp rods if guests need them. All floating lines for trout and Dolly Varden.
- Salmon: 7, 8, 9 – once again a 7 weight kind of bridges the gap. All floating lines, with an aggressive Type III sink tip is recommended. We have high quality camp rod setups if guests need them.
We recommend bringing a primary trout/dolly rod and a primary salmon rod. A backup is nice to bring as well, but as mentioned they do have camp fishing gear that is more than adequate especially for a backup rod. All set ups require at least 100 yards of backing, and short stout leaders 10 – 15 pounds. We stay away from ANY X’s. Maxima or equivalent is recommended, and we fish leaders straight from fly line to fly. 7.5 feet leaders are the longest we would ever fish.
A small assortment of attractor dry flies can be fun for Dollies and Grayling, although the trout typically are not looking for bugs. Humpies, Wulffs, Chubby Chernobyl’s all in big sizes (6-10) are great.
- Single Eggs (at least a dozen) Size 8
- Egg Sucking Leech (Black and Purples – a dozen between the two colors) – Size 4
- Flesh Flies (lots of color options including white, cream, flesh, etc.) Various Sizes (2-even 12’s) articulated is best
- Dali Lama – Olive/White, Black/White, Pink/White, Flesh/Pink size 2’s and 6’s (at least 2 dozen).
- Mr. Hanky – a mouse fly that is easy to throw and very effective (half a dozen each)
They fish a variety of beads – different colors and different sizes. www.troutbeads.com has an Alaska assortment that covers the bases.
Below is a checklist – recommendations in parenthesis This is ever changing so stay in contact!
Float Trip Personal Equipment Check List
- Mandatory Items:
- Waders (At least 3 layers of protection)
- Boots (NO FELT & NO CLEATS)
- Sleeping Bag (15 degree and up – NO DOWN BAGS)
- Wool Socks (6 pair)
- Rain Gear (Newer & high quality is a must)
- Pants (2 pair)
- Stocking Cap (windproof is a good option)
- Sun Protection Hoody (2 is recommended)
- BUFF (great for wind & bugs)
- Thick Synthetic Layer (sweater, hoody, etc.)
- Gloves (warmth for camp)
- Work Gloves (camping)
- Bandana (wiping off glasses in rain & personal hygiene)
- Shorts (1 pair)
- Thermal Underwear (polypropylene or any synthetic)
- Sunglasses (Polarized)
- Hat (Ballcap)
- Toiletries (specific to you)
Highly Suggested Items:
- Spirits (Nalgene bound) We provide 4 cases of beer and 4 boxes of wine
- Portable Charger for phones, camera, etc.
- Bug Repellent (separate Ziploc bag)
- Personal Fishing Gear (tools, tippet, shot, etc.)
- Sunscreen (separate Ziploc bag)
- Headlamp if in August
- Rod Case for rods
- Camp Knife or multitool
- Book and or logbook, pen