Perched deep inside Uyak Bay, a narrow fjord 60 miles southwest of the city of Kodiak, Larsen Bay boasts a scenic location next to some of the best fishing grounds in the Kodiak Archipeligo.
About Larsen Bay (Sugpiaq: Uyaqsaq)
Named for Peter Larsen, an Unga Island furrier, hunter and guide, the community is called Uyak by the Aleut people who have resided here for 2,000 years. The village drew national attention in 1991 when the Smithsonian Institution returned the remains of 756 Alutiiq Natives. Interred in a mass grave, the burial marked the largest repatriation of Native remains ever conducted by the Smithsonian. Like many Kodiak Island communities, the Russian influence of fur traders in the late 1700s and early 1800s can also be seen throughout Larsen Bay in Russian Orthodox churches and cemeteries.
Things to do
Larsen Bay is surrounded by Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, the 2,812-square-mile preserve that covers two-thirds of Kodiak Island. The refuge's diverse habitat ranges from rugged mountains and alpine meadows to wetlands, spruce forest and grassland. Wildlife viewing is excellent in the refuge, and its most famous resident is the giant Kodiak brown bear. Lesser known but equally interesting is the birding – the refuge is home to more than 200 different species and 600 breeding pairs of bald eagles. Marine life is also plentiful, including seals, sea lions, porpoises, sea otters, whales and puffins. No roads enter the refuge, and no maintained trails lie within it, so the best way to view wildlife within the refuge is by chartered boat or plane.
Wildlife viewing aside, fishing is the main interest of most visitors to Larsen Bay. Excellent fishing lodges maintain a charter fleet that provides saltwater fishing opportunities within the protected bays and inlets near the village or on the open ocean for salmon, halibut, lingcod and rockfish. Rafts or even floatplanes are utilized for stream fishing for salmon, steelhead and Dolly Varden. Among the nearby stream fisheries is the Karluk River, world famous for its sockeye salmon and king salmon runs.
The bear viewing is excellent in and around Larsen Bay. Although visitors frequently spot a brown bears strolling the beach in front of the small village in early summer, a more popular viewing site is Frazer Lake, reached by a 25-minute flight in a float plane. Once on the lake visitors are guided to Frazer River, where from a bear watching platform they observe and photograph bears fishing for salmon.
Larsen Bay is home to a handful of fishing lodges that offer fly-in packages that include lodging, meals and charter fishing adventures or other activities such as bear viewing.
Uyak Bay's calm, sheltered waters offer pristine scenery in a protective environment, making it ideal for kayakers. Paddlers not only experience the shoreline scenery but often enjoy views of marine wildlife from the seat of their boat, ranging from whales and sea otters to puffins and other seabirds. Most lodges in Larsen Bay either have kayaks for guests to use or available for rent.
Uyak Bay is the center for most anglers in Larsen Bay. The long fjord that almost bisects Kodiak Island is home to all five species of Pacific salmon as well as halibut and ling-cod. The silver salmon run is one of the best in Alaska with the fish first appearing in August and peaking in September.
Stream anglers also gather at Larsen Bay for an opportunity to fish nearby Karluk River. The 22-mile river is famous for its salmon and steelhead runs, especially among fly anglers. The Karluk's shallow depths make it easy to sight-cast a fly to salmon and steelhead in knee-deep water.