We also trolled for salmon using downriggers and flashers, placed in front of hoochie rigs: a soft plastic skirt with a double-snelled hook setup, or a small silver spoon. We were there late in the season for king salmon and hooked only one, but we had great luck with coho (silver salmon). The flasher rig works well, attracting bites from cruising fish that see the shine of the flasher from afar and come in to investigate.
Miller fishes with Kingfisher Charters and Lodge in Sitka, a top-shelf outfit founded in 1990 by owner Seth Bone. In our three days of fishing, during which we filmed an episode of Sport Fishing Television, we caught more than a dozen species of fish ranging from the smallest rockfish to the huge halibut, all the while surrounded by some of the most breathtaking scenery on Earth.
Alaska is justifiably famous as a fishing destination, one that definitely should be on your list of places to visit and fish. This was my first trip to America’s last remaining wilderness, but it certainly won’t be my last.
SWS Tackle Box
The lodge provides all tackle, but you can certainly bring your own. Tackle requirements vary depending on what you target.
Rods: Light to medium jigging rods for rockfish; medium-action trolling rods for salmon; heavy stand-up gear for larger halibut and lingcod.
Reels: 4000- to 5000-class spinning reels or baitcasters for rockfish; for large lingcod and halibut, 50-pound-class reels; 20- to 30-pound trolling gear for salmon.
Lines: 50- to 80-pound braid for halibut and lingcod; light braid for jigging rockfish; 20- to 30-pound mono for salmon trolling.
Lures: Hoochie rigs and small silver spoons for salmon; lighter metal jigs or soft plastics for jigging rockfish; stout circle hooks and heavy leader for bottomfishing.
Seth Bone’s Kingfisher Charters and lodge offers all-inclusive service to fishermen, everything from hearty family-style meals to a full on-site fish-processing facility, where your catch is cleaned, sealed and packed for you to take home. Guests go home with 75 pounds of fillets on average.
The lodge features comfortable accommodations in cabins arranged on a hillside, and once they pick you up at the airport, they take care of all your needs. They even provide rubber boots for all of their guests to wear while fishing. All you need do is catch fish.
Kingfisher Charters and Lodge
Alaska’s 2013 bag and size limits:
King salmon: One per day (three annually through June 30; July 1 through July 15, two annually; after July 15, one annually)
Silver salmon: Six per day
Black rockfish: Five per day
Halibut: One per day (under 45 inches or over 68 inches)
Lingcod: One per day, two per year (one 30 to 35 inches, one over 55 inches)
Yelloweye rockfish: One per day, one per year