This sample five-day excursion to Southwest Alaska’s Kodiak Island and Katmai National Park offers unparalleled fly-fishing in lush, remote surroundings, away from the crowds that often form around popular fishing spots on the mainland.
Day 1 Anchorage to Kodiak Island
If you’re short on time, take a commercial flight straight from Anchorage to Kodiak. But if you have an extra day to burn, take a regional flight from Anchorage to the beloved Southcentral town of Homer. There, you can explore the beautiful gift shops and galleries lining the Homer Spit, a 4-mile finger of land jutting into Kachemak Bay, while you wait for the Alaska Marine Highway ferry to arrive. The ferry trip from Homer to Kodiak takes about 11 hours—long enough for a glorious sightseeing cruise by day, or a good night’s sleep by night if you book a cabin berth.
Day 2 Kodiak Island
Spend the day at the island’s best freshwater fishing holes. Hiring a guide is the easiest way to fish here, as local operators can take you straight to the best spots and provide all the gear you need. They’ll also help you stay “bear aware,” because where there are salmon, there are sure to be bears—and Kodiak’s massive brown bears are the largest in the world. If you’re fishing without a guide, you’ll need to rent gear from outfitters in town, as well as a rental car to reach the rich estuaries and beaches where salmon are most abundant during June, July and August.
Day 3 Katmai National Park
You can actually see Katmai National Park from Kodiak Island; it takes only a short flight by small plane to get there. The hub of activity in Katmai is Brooks Camp, where you can cast your fly within sight of gigantic brown bears doing their own fishing. Just remember that bears have the right of way here. You can purchase some fishing essentials in Brooks Camp, but if you’re not booking an all-inclusive package, consider bringing your own fishing gear or renting in Kodiak or Anchorage. Spend the night in a lodge, cabin or campground.
Day 4 Katmai National Park
Spend another day enjoying the adrenaline rush of sharing a river with massive brown bears, or push deeper into Katmai for a more remote fishing experience. Besides salmon, you can fly fish for abundant rainbow trout, grayling, Arctic char, Dolly Varden, and hungry northern pike in the park’s many large lakes and streams. Spend your final evening in Katmai warming yourself by the fireplace in a remote lodge, swapping fish tales with other travelers.
Day 5 Katmai to Anchorage
You can several options for getting back to Anchorage: catch a chartered flight directly from Brooks Camp to Anchorage, fly back to Kodiak and from there to Anchorage, or catch a small plane flight to the Southwest Alaska community of King Salmon, which also offers a daily jet flight to Anchorage. If you have some time before starting your journey home, consider casting a fly in Ship Creek, a salmon stream that runs straight through downtown Anchorage. Just watch out for the muddy banks, which have bogged down more than one unwary angler. Other Anchorage attractions include the Alaska Native Heritage Center, the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, plus the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center south of town.
A fishing license is required for visitors 16 years of age or older. Licenses can be purchased online or at most sporting goods or grocery stores in Alaska. Prices vary according to length of stay and species fished.