By George C. Stek
No other area of Alaska offers more fishing and recreational activities than the Kenai Peninsula. The heart and soul of the Kenai Peninsula is the Kenai River which has produced the current world record king salmon of over 97 pounds and 8 of the top 10 world record king salmon. In addition to the large runs of king salmon (80000+) fish, the Kenai River usually has a run of a million red salmon, 300000 silver salmon, and, in even number years, millions of pink salmon. Trophy trout and Dolly Varden also swim the river in great numbers particularly in the fall (September). On the Kenai Peninsula the fishing season is long - running from early May until late October. The serious angler can easily take advantage of lower airfares during off peak summer airfares and still have an excellent fishing vacation.
The Alaska Budget Vacations Funny Moose Lodge is located in a quiet area on the Kenai River about 15 minutes drive from the central Kenai Peninsula town of Soldotna. What is even better is that the rest of the Kenai Peninsula is only minutes away by auto.
Traveling from the lodge south in the direction of Homer you have the Kasilof River, Ninilchik River, Deep Creek, and Anchor River which flow directly into Cook Inlet. All these rivers/streams are easily accessible and fish able from the bank and also support healthy runs of king and silver salmon, steel head, and in the case of the Kasilof River a significant run of red salmon so you are fishing from May to October. In an hour you arrive in Homer, the "Halibut Capital of the World". In Homer you have the opportunity to fish for these Alaska saltwater fish monsters and other species like ling cod and red snapper, as well as troll the waters of Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet for ocean swimming king salmon and silver salmon. Homer also has the world famous Homer Halibut Derby. The 2000 season winner won more than $30000 with a with a 330 pound halibut.
For those who want more fun, only minutes away from the lodge is our float plane base. For those who want to experience even more of Alaska a float plane fishing and/or sightseeing charter is a must. Days trips to Katmai/Brooks Falls to watch and fish with the bears for red salmon is one of the most popular trips. In addition to the Katmai many rivers on the west side of Cook Inlet and in the Lake Clark preserve offer great opportunities for fishing, sightseeing and watching the great Alaska brown and black bears. Two or three day float trips on the Mulchatna, Alegnak, Chilicodrotna, Nushagak, and Cresent Rivers are easy to arrange. Guides are available to assist the beginners.
For those who would like to enjoy some fine lake fishing and canoeing or kayaking, the Kenai National Moose Range is the place. Within this vast preserve there of approximately 1.3 million acres set aside is one of only 2 wilderness canoe systems in the USA, the Kenai Canoe Trails consisting of the Swanson River and Swan Lake Canoe Trails. Only 10 minutes from the lodge there are scores of lakes connected by streams and easy portages that can be canoed with ease. Trout, grayling, dolly varden are very plentiful. In addition to the excellent lake fishing, there are many opportunities to view birds, moose and other Alaska wildlife right where they live.
For those who like to hike there are more established trail systems on the Kenai Peninsula than any other area of Alaska. The Kenai Peninsula is made up of the Chugach National Forest and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, an area of several million acres. Within these huge parks there are numerous well marked trails where the opportunities to see Alaska's wildlife and nature are many. Along the way you will see areas where gold is still available for those who want to try their hand at gold panning. In addition there are many fishing opportunities in the mountain lakes and streams.
Driving in the direction of Seward you can stop and walk in to Exit Glacier. This is one of the few areas you may actually walk to and touch a glacier. When you come to the port of Seward it is suggested to take a day cruise and see the famous Kenai Fjords National Park. On this trip you will see gray whales, orcas, sea otters, seals, and many thousands of sea birds. You will also see huge glaciers and walls of ice breaking off into the sea. Experienced guides on the boats will point out all the wildlife of interest. In 1998 a world class marine wildlife center opened in the village of Seward. This will be a world famous place. From the lakes, streams and shores of Resurrection Bay near Seward the famous Seward Silver Salmon Derby brings anglers from around the world to get the $50000 prize money for the largest silver salmon.
There are many advantages to an Alaska fishing or sightseeing adventure on the Kenai Peninsula. In comparison to spending you vacation at one of the remote lodges in Alaska, the Kenai Peninsula has so much more to offer and very often over a long period of time. From early May - October there is always salmon and other fish in areas less than one hour from the lodge. When outside anglers think of the Kenai Peninsula they only think about the Russian River and combat fishing for red salmon. In fact this is only a very small fishing place along the Kenai River 50 miles up the river. The famous combat fishing only lasts for about two weeks while the red salmon wait in the Kenai River before moving to the Russian River to spawn. There are many places at the remote lodges in Alaska where the fishing is no different than at the Russian River and there you have no other place to go.
The fact is that the Kenai Peninsula offers the visitor to Alaska much more than the finest fishing in Alaska. On the Kenai Peninsula the angler is able to use virtually any fishing system with success. You can fly fish, spin fish, troll, drift, bottom fish or any other system. There is the opportunity to see the real Alaska while you are fishing and in an area of less than 1 person per square mile there is plenty of opportunity to be one with nature, wilderness, and wildlife spend time and visit with real Alaskans and experience Alaska without spending a fortune.
By George C. Stek 2000
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