When looking to take a trip to Alaska to fish, a little research on destinations, outfitters and types of fishing can quickly turn into a daunting task. The state itself is the largest in the union, with thousands of miles of coast line and thousands of rivers and streams. All the different varieties of pacific salmon, rock fish, cod and halibut combined with the different styles of fishing available can leave a person in a daze of confusion when trying to figure out where to go and what to do.
I’ve been traveling to Alaska for over twenty years, making multiple trips a year. This is usually what a person has to do to satisfy their desire of different types of fishing. However, my family and friends trip with Scott McLeod and Alaska Raven Guides aboard his fishing vessel, “Western Profit” proved to be a one stop shop for all types of fishing. This operation would allow us to target all the ocean types of fishing we desired and also allow us to visit the interior of Alaska’s Admiralty, Baranof and Chichagof Island’s river systems.
Scott’s base of operation is out of Sitka, Alaska on the west coast of Baranof Island, but the 65’ Profit is your home for the week when visiting this destination. The benefits of a boat based operation is the ability to get away from the concentration of lodges and day charters leaving from the major tourist areas. It also allows you to enjoy all the comforts of home while on the water, making it a great choice for a family trip.
The boat has three comfortable state rooms which will sleep up to seven guests along with one lavatory. It is equipped with a full galley with 360 degree views of all Alaska has to offer. It has multiple freezers and complete fish processing ability on board to take care of your daily catch and send you home with plenty of fresh table fare. It also holds all of the salt water fishing tackle that you will need during your stay.
I chose this area of Alaska for this late June trip for one specific reason: We wanted to catch a lot of big king salmon out of the ocean and Sitka is known for high densities of fish in the area. The schools of needlefish, sardines and herring which concentrate off the coast of Sitka draw all the species of pacific salmon here in large numbers each and every year.
My twelve-year-old daughter, Sierra would be joining me on this trip and of course she has the attention span of a gnat, so I wanted to make sure she had a lot of excitement to keep her engaged. The great fishing is always a good distraction from the electronics world she lives in. My pops, his girlfriend and my cameraman John Wooge and his wife Lisa rounded out the group.
Within an hour of leaving the port on day one, we were all hooked up on salmon. The fish we were landing were ranging from 15 to 20 pounds and would make for great table fare. I was reluctant to release these silver bullets, but Scott assured us that we would have plenty of fish and we should try keeping the larger ones to fill our daily limit of one. By the end of the first day, we had landed so many kings that I had quit counting. Sierra said her arms hurt and there wasn’t even a mention of her phone, so I knew it was truly the beginning of a great trip. We finished the day with a great meal of fresh seafood in a tranquil bay.
The second and third days were a lot like the first, but with much bigger fish hitting the deck. The ladies all landed good fish and John put one on board that was approaching the fifty pound mark. We were even forced to release some very large fish since our limit had been met. In one day, we landed all species of pacific salmon, but the primary catch was coho and kings which made for extremely full freezers and fish boxes to take home.
With our limits of kings onboard, Scott said it was time to go and seek some adventure and he would know since he has lived in this area his entire life and there aren’t many places he hasn’t been. He also spends the spring and fall guiding bear and deer hunters on these islands out of the boat, so it’s safe to say he knows the area like the back of his hand.
The benefits of the inner passage are extremely calm waters, abundant wildlife, beautiful views and some of the best stream fishing known to man, away from the crowds.
We started off our interior passage trip by setting out crab and shrimp traps in hopes of getting a great seafood feast in the next few days. Scott anchored the Profit and we pulled the skiff off the top deck. Next stop, a small glacial stream loaded with hungry Arctic char and Dolly Varden.
Growing up in Colorado with stream fishing as my primary weekend activity, I look forward to this style of fishing more than anything else for entertainment value. This small stream didn’t disappoint either. I strung up my Reddington five weight and tied on a large silver streamer to simulate a salmon fry. The beautiful deep blue water out of the glacier camouflaged the fish extremely well and even though I couldn’t see a fish, the second cast yielded a vicious strike. The Dolly Varden on the end of my line wanted no part of getting near me and stripped line with veracity. He was an aerobatic master and put on an impressive show for all of us to see. He finally gave in and allowed me to capture a quality photo before returning him back to the stream. Pops and John were fishing with spinning tackle and out fishing me at least two to one.
Even though we saw plenty of bear tracks on the sand bars, I’m sure the bears were a long way away because of all the screaming and hollering going on in the valley. We were all enjoying this Alaska style amusement park and everything within five miles knew it. There appeared to be and endless supply of aggressive dollies in every hole ranging from one to five pounds. We were a little early in the year to have these streams teaming with salmon, but Scott said by August, it’s a different story.
We visited a different bay and stream each and every day. We had all of them to ourselves and seldom saw another boat in the distance. The ladies toured several of the bays on one of the available sea kayaks while the rest of us fished.
Each day we would use the hydraulic winch onboard to pull our shrimp and crab pots from the bottom. We hauled in an abundant amount of dungeness crab and shrimp which we decided to eat on a regular basis while we were there. There is
truly nothing better than catching and then eating fresh seafood you, yourself caught.
The entire trip was six days of jammed packed excitement and world class fishing while enjoying family and friends and the beauty of Alaska. The benefits of this operation and leasing the entire boat allows you to enjoy this experience with just the people you want to go with and at eighteen thousand dollars for the entire week, it is relatively inexpensive. The boat will hold up to seven guests, but six is the ideal number. State fishing regulations allow for a maximum of six lines in the water which makes the cost of the trip $3,000 per person.
Alaska Raven Guides is one of our newest Platinum Approved Outfitters and you can bank on a great trip with Scott and his team whether you are doing one of the fishing adventures or experiencing his brown or black bear hunts. The bear hunts are a great way to experience the fun of bear hunting while still having the ability to come back to the boat and get warm and dry every night. Those fall bear hunters can have the ability of enjoying the best fishing in the area as well while they target a big bruin. This hunting/fishing combo adventure will be an upcoming giveaway through Sportsman’s News, so make sure you subscribe to the digital edition on our home page to be notified of details when this happens.
Alaska Raven Guides, visit them on the web at www.alaskaravenguides.com or by calling 907-747-6405.