Kenai Alaska Salmon Fishing
Countless travelers visit Alaska each and every year to see the amazing sites, watch the whales, take a dog sled ride, walk the beaches, and of course: GO FISHING. Whether fishing is the main reason for your vacation, or you are just adding in a half day guided fishing adventure for fun, then keep reading and we’ll help shed light on how best to plan the fishing portion of your Alaskan vacation on the Kenai Peninsula.
Guided Salmon Fishing in Alaska
Even if you are an expert fishermen, hiring a fishing guide for the day is the single best chance you have at catching the lunker of a lifetime. Guides have boats, access, and real time intel on the salmon runs from day to day. It is what they do, and many of them do it very well. Not all guides are created equal, so make sure to check out their reviews online at Trip Advisor and/or Google. Rivers and lakes that have direct access to the road see the most traffic. Examples include the world famous Kenai River, Kasilof River, and the Russian River. Their runs are legendary and will certainly keep you fishing and burning the midnight oil. Access to the remote regions across from the Kenai Peninsula, offer an amazing opportunity to get away from the crowds and see the real Alaska. Adventure Outfitters Alaska offers unique float plane adventures which will certainly be the highlight of your vacation. Fill coolers with fillets and your memory cards with the stunning scenery and incredible bear viewing. And if that’s not enough, book a saltwater combo trip for both salmon and halibut in Homer or Seward.
Self Guided Fishing in Alaska
Self guided fishing in Alaska is totally doable, you just have to know where to go and how to get it done. Salmon aren’t like other freshwater fish. They don’t behave the same, they don’t feed the same, and they don’t react the same as their freshwater cousins. So if you are going to find real success on your own up here in the Last Frontier, make sure to do your homework and get to know your quarry before traveling. I have been guiding salmon fishermen for almost 20 years and there seems to be 3 distinct groups of folks who come up to brave the Alaskan rivers on their own.
The Weekend Warrior
First is the weekend warrior, the folks who like the idea of fishing and catching fish, but don’t spend a lot of time back home doing it. This is not a criticism, just a general stereotype. These folks can find tremendous success when the runs are peaking and fish line up around every bend. Many of them buy a couple of cheap, Walmart specials and then head out with whatever the guy sold to them. The Weekend Warrior can increase their chances of success by doing a few key things. First, do a little research on the species you plan on attacking. Find out where they are running and what’s the best way to catch them. This will no doubt help you when at Walmart or Sportsman’s Warehouse buying gear. Secondly, watch others around you to see what is working. Don’t be afraid to ask those who seem to know what they are doing. It could just be a matter of weight or hook size. The Kenai Peninsula is the perfect place for the Weekend Warriors to come out in force and fill their coolers with fresh salmon fillets.
The Meat Slayers
These folks are a special breed of fishermen. They love to fish…..but more importantly, they love to catch. The sport isn’t just fighting the fish and enjoying the scenery, its about filling as many coolers as possible to bring home and feast upon. Under a bridge like a hungry fishing troll, or in the middle of town, as long as they’re catching fish to bring home, they're happy. The world famous sockeye salmon run on the Kenai Peninsula brings Meat Slayers out by the hundreds. They tend to be a fun group to fish with at the many public fishing spots in Soldotna, Kenai, and Kasilof. Do some homework on the sockeye and how we fish them. Its unlike any other fishing I’ve ever done. The term is called “lining” or “flossing”. Look it up if your new to the game, it could be an article all to itself. At any rate, Meat Slayers can easily book a flyout salmon fishing trip during their stay and enjoy limiting out on a boat load of salmon from across the Cook Inlet too. Start filling your fish boxes today with Adventure Outfitters Alaska.
The Pure fisherman is probably my favorite genre of fisherman, since I too, fall into this category. Most folks have polluted this term (often referred to as Purist) to mean the snobby fly fisherman who would never dilute his great self to fish with bait or any other method for that matter. To me, a pure fisherman, is one who truly loves to just fish. Catching is always the goal, but never the measure of success in the long run. It doesn’t matter if they’re specialty is back yard largemouth, speckled trout in the mangroves, or bluegills off the family dock, because the pure fisherman is content, just to be fishing. I choose to fly fish whenever possible (and only get slightly annoyed when my spin fishing partners double my numbers of fish) but in the end; I just love to fish.
If you are a pure fisherman of any variety, you will fall in love with the Kenai Peninsula. You can hike to mountain lakes and catch grayling, rent a raft and float the mighty upper Kenai, roll cast dry flies to waiting bows, dunk 3 lb weights to 200 feet for a barn door halibut, and a hundred other fishing trips if you want to keep coming back! So start doing your homework and get planning, summer is right around the corner.
Contact Adventure Outfitters Alaska today and book your fishing trip with us! We'd love to rip some lips with you this summer.
Where to Fish for Salmon in Alaska
The state of Alaska is massive. Super-imposed onto the lower 48, it stretches nearly from coast to coast. Alaska has its own time zone for crying out loud. So when your ask yourself, where should I go to fish in Alaska? The answer isn’t always that simple. There are over 3 million lakes and more rivers than there are names. Rest assured, there’s a destination fishing trip in Alaska for every kind of fishing enthusiast.
With the largest salmon runs on earth, the remote and wild Bristol Bay is top on any hard core angler’s list. Huge runs of all five species of Pacific salmon flood into the major river systems of the area. The Nushagak, Naknek, Kvichak, Alagnak, and many others, explode with life come July and August. Remote fishing lodges are the only way to really fish this area. Your week long stay will surely give you unbridled access to some of the greatest salmon fishing in North America. These trips are for the dedicated fishermen who want to wake up early and hit it hard all day, every day. The cost of these trips is usually very high and the logistics, quite a bit more complicated. Expect several extra flights to get there and a lot of fees to get your fish back home.
The famous Inside Passage is one of Alaska’s most prized possessions. Stunning ocean vistas, pods of orcas, humpbacks, and calving glaciers seem to be everywhere. This destination fishing location is great for those who crave ocean fishing. Troll for kings, drop some heavy weight for trophy halibut, and try your luck with the delicious, yellow eye snapper. Vacations based from Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and other small coastal towns can be awesome.
The world famous Kenai Peninsula is without question, the hub of most sport fishing for salmon in the state. Easy road access from Anchorage keeps the costs much lower and allows you to experience almost every aspect of Alaskan life. Enjoy scenic towns like Homer, Seward, and Cooper Landing. Experience incredible fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing, hiking, biking and more. The diversity of things to do makes this a wonderland for travelers. You can access saltwater fishing adventures, salmon fishing, trout fishing, and all with the flexibility of having your own transportation to explore.
The mighty Kenai River has runs of salmon that are counted by the millions. The annual, summer run of sockeye are definitely the highlight, but you can also hunt for the king of a lifetime, or a monster silver at summer’s end. With unbridled access to the outdoors, and countless places to fish, visitors can easily get their fill. There is something for everyone on the Kenai Peninsula.
One of the very best ways to see Alaska, is from above. Bush flights, and guided tours bring you into the remote corners of the state so you can experience a real adventure. Flying into one of the many lakes and rivers across the Cook Inlet by floatplane is a great way to beat the crowds, see amazing wildlife, and experience unbelievable fishing. It will no doubt be the crescendo of your Alaskan vacation. Come see the bears, catch some fish, cruise the glaciers from above, and let Adventure Outfitters be your guide.
We are conveniently located 10 miles north of Kenai, Alaska. Our 6 hour, half day trips are the perfect way to see the real Alaska. Family friendly and affordable, our fishing trips will surely change your desktop! Call and book your trip today.
Owner, Adventure Outfitters Alaska
When is Salmon Season in Alaska?
The long dark winters of Alaska all become worth it once the summer salmon season finally reaches the last frontier. But when is the salmon season exactly? When do all the different species of salmon migrate? And where do you go to fish salmon once you get here? These are all great questions to ask before planning your Alaskan fishing trip. Keep reading and we’ll help to make sense of one of the planet’s most complex and incredible life story: The Pacific Salmon.
Salmon in Alaska
There are 5 species of pacific salmon, and they all live here in Alaska. The Sockeye (Red salmon), the Silver Salmon (Coho), the King Salmon (Chinook), the Pink (humpy salmon), and the Chum (Dog salmon). Even though they all grow up and use Alaskan rivers to spawn, not every river has all 5 species. Some rivers may have only one of the five that swim up it each summer to spawn. Regardless of species, all Pacific salmon live their lives in the ocean and then come into the freshwater rivers of Alaska to spawn and then die.
The migration of salmon during the Alaskan summer, is a masterful symphony of nature. Each species has its own time to leave the ocean’s depths and “run” into our many rivers. Once in freshwater, they spread out and begin to locate the place of their birth. To make this all the more complicated, each river is unique in when this orchestra begins.
Where to Fish Salmon in Alaska
In order to make sense of this complex web of fin and tail, lets focus our efforts on the epicenter of most salmon fishing in Alaska, the famous Kenai Peninsula. Although run times still vary from river to river, we can pin down a few general patterns that will help you maximize your fishing adventures.
Summer’s first full month marks the beginning of the salmon migration. Kings and early sockeye are the first species to enter our rivers. Although run of king salmon have declined in today’s fisheries, there are still a few hidden gems to explore, both on the road system, and from the float plane. The fishing only gets better as the month of June progresses. Each high tide brings fish in and the run counts continue to climb. Expect fewer locations to choose from that have these early runs of fish. Big River Lakes is our go to location for early season sockeye and the world famous Nushagak River is a fan favorite for kings.
With the onset of warmer weather, the Kenai Peninsula’s salmon fishing begins to really heat up. More salmon enter Alaskan rivers in July than any other month. Even the runs of King salmon don’t mature until July on the mighty Kenai River. Huge runs of sockeye build as the month progresses along with Chum and Pink salmon (pink salmon only run on even numbered years). July is magical in Alaska. Wildlife from every valley, descend on salmon streams and take full advantage of the bounty. This is also the busiest tourist month for the Kenai Peninsula so plan on booking your fishing trips and hotels early.
Although August marks the final month of the Alaskan summer, there is still plenty of fishing to be had. By now, the kings have dumped their eggs and given their bodies back to the river, in the exact same stretch of water that they were born in, some 5-7 years ago. With sockeye in full spawning regalia, the rivers seem alive with fish. From the headwaters to the ocean, there are salmon of one species or another in some various stage of their final weeks. Silvers are the last species to enter the rivers, so even though the sockeye are all but too old to eat, there’s fresh fish even in summer’s waning moments.
Even though September sure doesn’t seem like summer in Alaska, it still has some salmon fishing left for the hard core anglers. Late run fish and the final tides of the silver run still can be had throughout the first few weeks of autumn. The cold mornings and yellow birch trees let you know that the cycle of birth and death has come to a close on the Last Frontier’s salmon runs. The salmon fishing season in Alaska is complex and dynamic, so be flexible and enjoy just being a part of an age-old symphony.
Come explore Alaska, and let Adventure Outfitters be your guide. The amazing float planes allow us to fish several different, remote locations. We live and breathe salmon fishing on the Kenai Peninsula and beyond. So if you’re looking for a fishing adventure this summer, rest assured, Adventure Outfitters has a spot that will be the best option for any given week.
Check out our Alaska fishing locations page and feel free to contact us if you are thinking about booking a fishing trip!
Unguided Alaska Bear Hunting "On A Budget"
Hunting in Alaska is a bucket list item for many sportsmen. Unfortunately, the price tags that goes along with the hunt of a lifetime are often too steep to climb. If you want to have a unique and affordable destination hunt, with breathtaking scenery and high success rates; than keep on reading.
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska black bear hunts are often under-rated in many hunting circles. I think it’s because of the style by which most folks hunt black bears. Baiting bears is fine for harvesting game, and boating spring coastlines can be fun. However, Adventure Outfitters Alaska focuses efforts during the peak of the autumn berry season when bears are foraging above the tree line. Most brown bears are still down low eating salmon so the black bears can wander all day long and graze. Crowberries, salmonberries, blueberries, and cranberries keep bears active and out in the open. These alpine meadows, high mountain lakes, and berry covered hill sides, provide hunters with perfect, spot and stalk opportunities from August through September.
What are the best places to hunt black bears in Alaska?
I think most would agree, southeast Alaska has the highest population of trophy black bears. With low populations of coastal brown bears, these apex predators can gorge on salmon and forage without worry of a mauling from their larger and more powerful cousins. With that said, there are also a lot of nice bears on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula as well. Floatplane drop camps from Kenai can quickly get hunters into incredible, high-alpine bear country. Southeast hunts will be double the price of a central Alaskan hunt. Even though Kenai Peninsula black bears have to compete with brown bears, they still have large populations and many units have a 3-bear limit per hunter. Adventure Outfitters Alaska offers affordable, unguided black bear hunts in Alaska, set in some of the most beautiful locations.
What is the success rate for DIY black bear hunts?
These unguided Alaskan black bear hunts have high success rates, with groups often taking multiple bears. Because of this, these DIY Alaskan hunts are great for small or larger groups. There are few places where a group of 4 hunters can tag out in a 7 day hunt. This is one of those places! Average success rate is in the high 80’s.
How do you hunt black bears in Alaska?
Although baiting black bears in the spring is legal, most sportsmen planning a DIY Alaskan hunting adventure, would rather engage in a more dynamic hunt. Most hunters either cruise coastlines from zodiaks in April-May, or hunt above tree line in the Fall (August-September). Hunting bears above tree line is sometimes more work, but the payoff of hunting in such amazing locations, far outweighs the stiff hamstrings. Plan on spending a lot of time glassing hillsides. We hunt with our eyes, a lot more than our legs! Basecamps are set up on mountain lakes so you wont have to climb the entire mountain each day. Once bears are spotted, plan your stalk down wind and enjoy one of the best hunts in Alaska. Long shots of over 300 yards are not uncommon so spend some time at the range before you come!
Call us today and book your hunt of the decade! Group rates are available and can make this the most affordable, DIY hunt in the entire state. Everything is included: float plane transport, full camp, all meals, and a full comms package including an Iridium satellite phone. It’s time for an adventure!
Aim small, miss small.
Salmon Fishing in Alaska
When fishermen dream, it often takes place in Alaska. Huge fish, searing runs, broken drags, and wild fish dance through the night. Unfortunately, you awake and face the same old problems. Where to go? How to make a great fishing trip fit your budget? Where to start? Planning your dream Alaskan fishing trip doesn’t have to be such a chore. Let Adventure Outfitters show you the way!
Where is the best place for salmon fishing in Alaska?
The first question to answer in your planning process is location. There are so many incredible places to fish in Alaska, its hard to know where to begin. Your first choice is whether to stay at a remote lodge or somewhere on the road system. Remote lodges have incredible fishing but also incredibly high rates. You can expect $1000+/pp/per day. The road system offers much more reasonable prices for guided fishing and you can do a lot of different things with the flexibility of having your own transportation. If you’re staying on the road system, the Kenai Peninsula is by far the best choice for all around amazing fishing.
What kind of fishing can I expect?
Many people spend at least 2 days fishing for king or sockeye salmon on the famous Kenai River or the Kasilof River during their stay. These guided and self guided trips are a great way to gain access to local fisheries. The float plane adventure is sure to be a great option for all fishing parties. We offer incredible guided salmon fishing that includes phenomenal flight seeing, wildlife viewing, incredible scenery, and unmatched rod bending action. And don’t forget the halibut fishing. Charters are available in both Seward and Homer. By the time you’ve experienced all that, your coolers should be full, and it will be about time to go home.
How much does guided salmon fishing cost in Alaska?
Most guided adventures on the road system for sockeye, and halibut run about $250-300 pp. The float plane adventures average about $450 pp. Most fishing trips for salmon are half day trips from 5-6 hours. Halibut trips vary from half to full day charters and even over nighters on the boat are available so you can catch a double limit!
What do I need to bring for my trip?
Our trips are fully guided and outfitted. Just bring rain gear, a sack lunch, and a great attitude! We provided easy to use spinning gear for every angler and can even bring flyrods for those who are interested.
Salmon fishing in Alaska is one of the most exciting freshwater fisheries on Earth. Come experience the thrill on one of our many fly out adventures. Give us a call today!
MOOSE HUNTS IN ALASKA: SUCCESS RATE
Inevitably one of the first questions I get asked about unguided hunts for moose in Alaska is: what is the success rate for hunting moose? This is a great question to ask any outfitter, guide, or transporter you plan on using. The answer is usually given as a straight forward percentage or a window of percentages. Just remember one thing, this is hunting, not high fence killing. Percentages can be misleading and quite often change from year to year. So although this is a great question to ask, keep reading so that you can do some of your own independent research on what moose populations are really like in the unit you plan on hunting.
Population numbers: The Tail of the Tape
When planning a DIY moose hunt in Alaska, you should first do some research on overall moose populations in the management unit you plan on hunting. There might be a recent census you can find from ADFG that could give you a great idea of trending populations. Bottom line is often this: if there is a high population of moose in your area, you are more likely to see them while hunting. A census was just done in unit 16 and the number of moose is steadily increasing to superb numbers. Alaska is a huge state with thousands of square miles of hunting territory, large game is often quite spread out. A large population is key.
Predator control: It Works!
Another research point to look into is predator control programs. The state has implemented programs to slow down the high mortality rate of calves and adults. In areas with large wolf and bear populations, up to 65% of all moose calves are killed before autumn. Wolves are very good at what they do, and that’s eat moose. Their populations rarely decline because of anything other than lack of moose. So when populations of wolves are high, moose populations are low. This has been the trend for millennia. With strict management principals at work, Alaska has learned to control predator populations in order to balance the moose herds. Find out if there has been a recent program in the unit you plan to hunt. For example: Unit 16 has been under a predator control program for five years. Strict quotas and baiting regulations have been used to keep both bear and wolf populations in check. Probably a good reason for the increasing moose population mentioned earlier.
Once you have decided on a great unit to hunt for moose, you should access satellite images, topo maps, and even pictures on-line of the actual terrain you’ll be traversing. Not all moose country is created equal, nor does it all hunt the same. You wouldn’t employ the same tactic for whitetails in Montana as you would in Minnesota. Nor would you here in Alaska. Even though you’ll be hunting in the same state, it is so big, that the interior of the state is completely different than the coastal regions. Swamp country is different that high country or tundra. Learn about the type of browse, forage, and cover that is available in that unit. Those answers will very much add to your intel for this hunt. Unit 16 and 17 for instance hunt differently because there is a giant mountain range in between them. The type of hunting that you expect, depends on where you go.
The bottom line may be difficult to pinpoint however a rough estimate can be formulated after transporting many hunters over many years. I have seen outfitters advertise “100% success rate last year”, however, the overall success rate for that company in the past 5 years may be 71%. In 2014, Adventure Outfitters Alaska went 2 for 5. Less than 50%. But the true tail of the tape was that one group passed up a legal bull with 3 brow tines because it was 48 inches. Another group brought only bows. They couldn’t close the distance on a toad bull that hung up at 200 yards on day 6 of the hunt. They never saw him again but said he was dead to rights with a rifle. So, our success rate looked down that year, but could have easily been 4 for 5. A banner year for any company. Make sure the success rate you're looking at makes sense with the research you’ve done. Most hunt rate success is determined by total population of moose in the area, and how hard/effective the hunters hunt. I have asked dozens of outfitters and transporters what their success rate is and the average is somewhere between 60-75%. This is right on par with our overall average since 2013.
Best of luck planning your future hunts!
If you are ready to get planning your unguided moose hunt, check out our moose hunting page or give us a call and we'll take you step by step. If you’re up for the challenge, we can help you get everything dialed in and mission ready for the hunt of a lifetime!
Jake Doth, Owner
Adventure Outfitters Alaska
How Much Does An Alaskan Moose Hunt Cost?
The most common question I get asked about moose hunting in Alaska is “How much does it cost?” It’s a great question, and one that is not so straight forward to answer. This article will focus on the unguided Alaska moose hunts and what a non-resident can expect from a DIY adventure in the last frontier.
HUB OR BUSH?
The location you plan to hunt is the most important question to tackle. Your choice quickly becomes either: hunt near the main airports in the state, or venture further into the bush for a much more complicated and expensive hunt. The number of days planned before and after the hunt will depend on your answer to this most pivotal question. The rule of thumb for most hunters is to be in the field for 7-10 days.
Anchorage, Kenai and Fairbanks are the main hubs for moose hunting and will be the most economical to work from. As soon as you start planning hunts away from those hubs, the cost exponentially increases with each mile. It might seem absurd to the uninitiated, but everything is very costly to run in Alaska. Especially air taxis and boat charters. Seems like a great idea to plan a hunt in the Brooks Range, 400 miles out of Fairbanks; until you add up shipping costs, securing food to eat, and multiple flights in/out……. then you drop a moose. Logistics of meat shipping, and trophy processing simply get considerably more expensive in the bush. If you rent a car, stay in a cheap Anchorage hotel, and do most everything from a large airport, the logistics get much, much easier. Adventure Outfitters Alaska takes all of the guess work out of this hunt. Call for a quote on a turn-key, remote, unguided Alaskan moose hunt.
AIR TAXI or REGISTERED GUIDE
There are pros and cons to each of these scenarios. Registered guides can have camps already set up in the field for you to use. There could be a main camp that is quite luxurious with a cook and everything. You then go out and hunt on your own for moose. These hunts tend to be the most expensive DIY or unguided option. One thing to remember is that whatever guide you choose, probably has 3-7 guided hunts planned, in that very same area near base camp. Many camps have been used in this way for decades. One could assume that most of the intel and scouting was for his big money hunters, not the Do-It-Yourselfer which brings minimal profit.
Air taxis are the most economical way to get remote for your unguided, Alaskan moose hunt. They specialize in a certain area and have the best local knowledge that can be found. They know which ponds are deep enough to land on, which runways can be accessed at varying water levels, and how to access high country above tree line. It is what they do, and they are very good at it. Most air taxis move goods, materials, and people over a huge swath of country. Because they only transport things, they have an unmatched knowledge of the Alaskan bush. The downside is that air taxis cannot have camps set up in the field. They only transport. You must bring your camp with you in the airplane and do everything yourself.
RENT GEAR OR SHIP IT?
We have researched the data, crunched the numbers, and the verdict is in. If you meticulously plan all logistics perfectly, you will save money by doing everything yourself. In fact, you could save up to a few hundred bucks. You can ship up totes of gear and food well before your hunt to someone who can pick it up and store it. You can go bare bones camp and food and rough it for ten days. There are ways to save money. Just get to Alaska a few days early and prep everything for the hunt. The major downside, is all that work and planning, possible lost totes, and most likely, less than outfitter quality gear. Adventure Outfitters Alaska camps are perfectly designed for the bush planes and will be waiting for you on the dock!
Renting gear is an added cost. No doubt. But showing up and knowing that everything is already waiting for your hunt, is more than worth it. A good outfitter will have talked with you about the hunt, what to expect, what gear he will be providing, directions on how to safely use it, and a food plan that would be impossible to do on your own. Do you really want to ship up a 45 pound, 4 -season, outfitter tent? I wouldn’t spend the money to come here on a hunt of a lifetime with anything less than a bomb proof shelter. When you crunch the numbers and look at the logistics, it really is a no-brainer.
So with those major costs added up, its time to run the numbers. Here are some guidelines to get you started on your research. They are average costs including many air taxis and outfitters across the state. These numbers do not include getting to Alaska from the lower 48, nor do they include tags or licenses.
Unguided Alaskan Moose Hunt From Anchorage, Kenai, or Fairbanks
Transportation only: $4,000 - $8,000 per person
Fully outfitted: $5,000 - $10,000 per person
Unguided Alaskan Moose Hunt From a village or bush location outside of a hub
(this usually includes the flight into the village)
Transportation only: $8,000 - 10,000 per person
Fully outfitted: $9,000 - 12,000 per person
Hunting big game in Alaska isn’t cheap. But neither is Arizona elk or Alberta whitetails. Expedition hunting thousands of miles from the nearest American city other than Anchorage, requires a new level of planning. Do your homework and start emailing outfitters and guides. Its not something you’ll get done overnight so start early! Good luck and let us know if we can help.
Aim small, miss small.
Jake Doth, Owner
Adventure Outfitters Alaska
Planning an Unguided Alaskan Moose Hunt
Nothing will raise your heart rate like a massive 50” inch bull moose coming into your calls. It is one of the most fantastic hunts in all of North America. The worlds largest deer is truly a magnificent animal. The problem isn’t in the attraction of a remote, wilderness hunt in the most beautiful country known to man. It’s the cost and the logistics of everything that scares people away. Don’t get me wrong, a DIY or unguided moose hunt in Alaska is not for everyone. But if you’re up for an adventure, a lot of planning, a bunch of logistics, and what could truly be, the hunt of a lifetime; than keep reading and find out how doable this hunt can really be!
How long is a DIY moose hunt?
You cannot do this hunt in 1 week. This drop camp style of hunting requires time in state before the hunt and definitely after the hunt if you are successful. When you add in the danger of weather delays during our foggiest month of the year, you begin to feel the gravity of this hunt. Don’t be scared off just yet, you can do it in as little as 10-11 days. Planning a total of 14 days is much better. Only you can determine how to gamble on your connecting flights with 900 lbs of dead moose and a rack weighing in at 70 lbs, and spanning over 5 feet. Make sure you leave yourself time to make this all possible.
What travel arrangements should be made for an unguided moose hunt?
You first have to get to Alaska. Anchorage or Fairbanks are the go-to spots from the lower 48. These international airports are small, but fully functioning and very capable. Everyone seems to have their own tricks of the trade when it comes to buying tickets, so we’ll save that for another article. Shop early and use airline miles when possible to offset costs. Plan on flying in at least 1 day before your hunt. If you are doing everything yourself, you may want to plan at least 2. Prepping food, shopping, packing, and getting mission ready always takes longer than you think. Your flight home should be scheduled at least 2-3 days after you are planning on getting out of the field. Meat processing, weather delays, trophy sealing and shipping all add to the scramble of getting back home after the hunt. Don’t make this a stressful and difficult time. Just plan your hunt right and give yourself time. If you are not successful on the hunt and cannot change your flights, go explore the amazing state, do some fishing, etc.
Most people use bush planes to get into remote regions for their hunts. The bush plane drop camp is standard operating procedure, however the float hunt is also gaining popularity in some regions. Drop camps are much easier to plan and execute. Bush planes have tight spaces and minimal weight allowances so make sure to contact your transporter or outfitter with weight restrictions. If you are bringing all your own gear, you should have each bag weighed and added up for the air taxi service. Weight is non-negotiable and could be a big damper on your plans if you end up 20 pounds over limit! The easiest way to do this is to rent the necessary gear for the hunt. This adds cost, but is worth it ten times over. Having the right gear for this trip is essential. Plus, you don’t have to pack up wet gear and lug it all over the place, trying to ship it home and get everything squared away. Just give it all back to the outfitter, grab your trophy and meat, and head home!
What happens after the moose hunt if you are successful?
When you get done with your moose hunt, the meat, trophy, and any other logistics are your responsibility. The DIY moose hunt is just that: Do-It-Yourself. If you are renting gear from someone, they can help direct you on what places to use for meat processing and trophy shipping. All of these contacts for after the hunt should be contacted beforehand with any specific questions you might have. Ask about processing time, flash freezing meat, Fish n Game sealing requirements, etc. Airlines will no longer take trophies but they will let you pay for an extra piece of luggage which could be a 50 lb box of meat!
What does a DIY Alaska Moose Hunt cost?
The cost varies greatly on where you hunt and what services you require for your hunt. Long float plane rides to the game management unit are costly and so is flying commercially into a small village. The most economical hunts are out of Anchorage, Kenai, and sometimes Fairbanks. This is a rough estimate to get you planning. All costs are per person estimates.
AOA offers complete camps, perfectly designed for the floatplanes, Full meal packages, satellite phones, all flights in and out of the field, and full logistical help with the “Do-It-Yourself” part of the hunt. We do not provide tags, flights to AK, or lodging. Unit 16B: $5,400 per person, Unit 17B: $7,200 per person because of the long flight in and out of camp. Book the moose hunt of the decade, today!
A self-guided moose hunt in Alaska can be one of the most thrilling hunts in North America. The task of planning it successfully requires commitment and time. Be realistic with your expectations and give yourself the time to do it right. Plan on everything being expensive once you reach Alaska and that inevitably, something will go sideways. Be prepared and flexible. Bring a great attitude and go have the hunt of a lifetime!
Best of Luck!
Jake Doth, Owner
Adventure Outfitters Alaska
Unguided Moose Hunt: What to Expect
Most of my queries about unguided moose hunting in Alaska comes from folks who have years of hunting experience in the Lower 48, but have never been to Alaska hunting. Many have been here to fish or on a cruise, but want to revisit the last frontier on a new adventure with rifle or bow in hand. This article seeks to give you an idea of what to expect when you embark on a DIY moose hunting adventure in the Alaska wilds.
Rule #1: Start your planning and research early. You should be choosing an outfitter close to a year in advance (6 months at least).
This hunt has 4 basic components:
Phase 1: Getting Remote
First order of business in this DIY hunt is to secure a ride into the remote Alaskan bush. Booking a commercial flight to Alaska will be easy in comparison to this decision. Many outfitters book up a year in advance so plan early. Make sure the float plane, boat, or argo is available to transport you during your hunt. Adventure Outfitters Alaska requires a 50% deposit to hold the seats on the float planes which get you in and out of the field. Transporters close to Anchorage, Kenai, or Fairbanks, have much easier logistics. Operating costs are kept to a minimum and our DIY moose hunts become very affordable. They are all inclusive, and could go for as little $5,500 per person.
If you have to take a commuter flight to a village or remote town once you get here, things get much more complicated and expensive.
Phase 2: Travel Planning
Travel to Anchorage, Kenai, or Fairbanks is very straight forward. Its relatively cheap to get here and back home to the lower 48. However, you should expect travel to be somewhat complicated if you plan on flying around the state of Alaska once you get here. Tiny airports away from Anchorage, Kenai, and Fairbanks are costly and often delayed due to weather. These ever-present problems can wreak havoc on your connecting flights. Be realistic about the amount of time needed to get ready for the hunt once you get here. And most importantly; how many days after the hunt you will need to take care of of meat salvage/processing, trophy shipping/sealing, and possibly gear shipping. Take care of all your travel plans early.
Phase 1 and 2 are paramount to the success of the hunt. Getting plane tickets purchased and a transporter booked confirms the commitment for the hunt and then allows for actual planning and intel gathering. Until money is transferred, it's still a pipe dream. Booking early also helps offset the cost for the expedition. Half the major bills will be paid well in advance of the hunt, making it a bit easier on the pocketbook.
Phase 3: Surviving the Hunt, gear and sustenance
Now that you're committed, thoughts should turn to what life will be like on the hunt. The answer to many of these questions is a moot point if you are planning on renting gear from Adventure Outfitters Alaska. We will take out all the guess work. If you are not renting gear, ask yourself some questions. What is the weather going to be like? What should I bring to stay warm and dry? Can my tent survive 40 mph winds and driving rain? This phase of your hunt might take some real thinking and research. Renting gear is much easier and could save the hunt if the weather turns ugly. Adventure Outfitters makes this crucial aspect of your hunt flawless. If you're set on shipping up your 3 season tent to save some money, that's fine, just make sure you look hard into the reality of shipping up gear. It can be costly and cumbersome at the end of a long, wet hunt. As far as everything else you will need to bring for your hunt, well that’s a discussion for another time. When you book with AOA, we take all the guess work out of planning what could be the hunt of a lifetime.
What you plan on eating on your hunt is also very important. Often folks will tell me: “I’m just gonna buy a bunch of mountain house once I get there”. OK, that’s totally doable, but very expensive and will no doubt make your time at camp bland and tasteless. If you plan on doing mountain house, buy it in bulk at a wholesaler and ship it up. Good, single meals can be $10 a piece in Alaska. If each guy is going to eat 3 squares a day, for 10 days; that’ll add up. Buying healthy food and preparing it before the hunt is much better, in every way. In order to do this on your own, you will have to plan well, and be highly motivated once you get here. The best option is to get a complete meal package from an outfitter like us. We can save you time and money. Our menu is diverse and ever changing. Fresh food at moose camp is one of the best parts of the hunt.
Phase 4: Getting Home
The hunt is over and you may or may not have dropped a moose. If you did not, then you will only have to gather your gear, get it squared away, and fly home. If you rent gear from AOA, you can drop it off on the dock and you’re done. If you kill a moose, then you have to deal with the antlers and the meat. Most hunters box up a few 50 lb. boxes of meat to fly home, and donate the rest to the transporter or outfitters. Others spend the big bucks and ship it all to share back home. Regardless, you will need to make sure and have a game-plan for getting home with everything your heart desires!
Although it’s not easy to plan and execute, the unguided Alaska moose hunt can be one of the most rewarding hunts in all of North America. If you have questions, feel free to give us a call. We’ll help you execute the hunt of a lifetime.
Aim small, miss small.
Jake Doth, Owner
Adventure Outfitters Alaska
I have loved the outdoors ever since I can remember. Building AOA has been a great journey for me and my family. Come see the real Alaska and let us be your guide.