Nov 21st, 2019
Alaska Steelhead Company
For anglers interested in a unique new fall steelhead venue, consider the Alaska Steelhead Company. Located on an impressive perch overlooking the Cook Inlet, guests can fish as many as four steelhead systems. These rivers offer both walk and wade fishing as well as full-day floats where guests can target wild steelhead in the 6 to 12-pound range with both swung-fly and indicator techniques. Additionally, this easy-to-reach, high value and high catch-rate venue features some of the nicest accommodations in the state as well as skilled, hard-working guides.
For more information please contact David at 800.552.2729
Expert Q & A with Fly Water Travel’s Alaska destination manager, David Kalinowski
Top reasons to go
1. Stable river conditions eliminate lost fishing days as the main river cannot blow out.
2. Consistent runs of steelhead produce multiple opportunities in a normal day.
3. The fishing is diverse with four rivers and multiple tactics available.
4. Food and lodging are of the highest quality.
5. This trip is for all ages, skill levels and a good value.
Where is the lodge?
The lodge is located in the small community of Ninilchik. It’s perched on a bluff overlooking Cook Inlet with fantastic views of the Aleutian range and four active volcanoes. The mouth of one of the steelhead rivers sits just below the lodge property.
How do I get there?
To get to Alaska Steelhead Co. you will need to fly to Anchorage then connect to Kenai. The flight to Kenai is only 20 minutes and operated by Ravn Alaska, a small interstate airline. You are met at the Kenai airport by a lodge representative and transferred one hour to the lodge and cabins. Most flights to Anchorage arrive in the afternoon so most guests are able to travel in one day to the lodge. If guests would like to schedule a half day of guided fishing upon arrival, guests need to fly into Anchorage a day prior, overnight and catch an AM Ravn flight to Kenai. A lodge representative is always available to transport guests to the lodge. Departure flights from Kenai to Anchorage should be either in the morning before 11am if guests choose not to fish the departure day. If guests would like schedule a half day of fishing on the departure day its best to book a 3pm flight out of Kenai and a late flight out of Anchorage, after 6pm.
When should I go?
On odd number years, 9/14 – 11/1. On even number years, 9/8 – 11/1.
Where do they fish?
The guides access four main steelhead rivers and one trout river on the Kenai peninsula.
Where do we stay?
Each two guests stay in spacious double occupancy cabins with private baths, gas fireplace, mini bar, satellite TV and sliding glass doors that lead to a deck with scenic views of Cook Inlet and the Aleutian Range.
Who is best suited to this destination?
This is an excellent trip for anglers of all skill levels or age. This is a great venue to introduce someone to steelhead angling, as the the catch rates are high and the guides are great instructors. Guests that prefer to swing spey rods will enjoy the main river which is large, easily waded and productive. Three smaller rivers can be great for swinging with switch or single hand rods. Indicator tactics can also be employed if guests prefer. The main river is a float trip, so a mix of fishing out of the boat and wading can be accommodated. The three small rivers require some hiking and fished while wading. Do expect to see some other anglers, but overall the angling pressure here is light and the guides prefer not fish near others. The public here is very respectful and the outfitter does have access that other anglers do not.
What are the meals like?
Meals here are of high quality and made with fresh, never frozen local ingredients. The chefs are professionally trained and shop every single day. Breakfast is made to order with eggs, pancakes, bacon or sausage most mornings. Yogurt, granola, fruits and cereal are also available to those that want a lighter start. Lunch consists of a sandwich with fruit and snacks that are meant to keep you fueled throughout the day. Appetizers are set out as guests return from fishing, followed by a three course dinner service. For dinner seafood is frequently the main course, but beef, chicken or pork dishes may be served depending on what is fresh and available to the chef that day. All dietary restrictions are accommodated.
How would you describe the general vibe and atmosphere?
Very down to earth and fun. Most guests end a trip with new friends as the outfitter hosts a group of 12 each week.
Is there an on-site manager, owner or point person at the lodge?
Yes, Matt is your outfitter and point man during the stay. There is always another member of the staff on site and the property owner is frequently available.
Is there internet and cell service?
Yes, as well as satellite TV
How do they fish?
Swinging with a switch or spey rods. Indicator fishing with a switch or single handed rod.
How many fish should I expect to I catch?
Anglers should hook multiple fish a day, 3 to 5 is about average. Of course preferred tactics and skill level can have numbers fluctuating but overall the catch rates for steelhead here are higher than we see in other regions.
What are the guides like?
The guides are experienced and show a high level of professionalism. They are fun, down to earth and a pleasure to spend the day with. All have eight or more years guiding and many more years fishing for steelhead and Atlantic salmon. All are good spey instructors, boat handlers and familiar with indicator tactics.
Will we see other anglers?
On the main river a busy day would have three to four other boats angling the waters the outfitter drifts. Early in the season and with nice weather you may see other wade anglers on the smaller rivers. The last few weeks of October offer the most solitude. The outfitter prefers to provide a quality experience void of competition with other anglers. They have nearly a decade of experience on these systems and know where to be and when.
Is there wade fishing?
Yes, most of the fishing can be done while wading, but mixing some angling out of the boat on the main river can be productive as well. Days can be adjusted based of angler ability and preference.
How far is it to the fishing grounds?
From five minutes to about a half hour depending on the river. The lodge is centrally located and ideally suited to access these rivers.
Does the lodge provide flies?
All flies, tackle, and fishing equipment is included. I would suggest bringing your own waders and rubber soled boots if possible.
What is your favorite rod(s) for the trip?
An 11ft 7wt switch rod, 13ft 7wt spey and 10ft 7wt single handed rod will cover the bases.
What are the top flies?
Intruders, Mini-Intruders, Hoh Bo Spey, Popsicle, Prom Dress, Pick Your Pocket, Leeches and some sculpin patterns. The guides tie a lot of their own flies that have proven to be productive and are willing to share.
Are there other activities?
Day trips to the quaint town of Homer. Guests can also arrange flight seeing, boat tours and whale watching. If interested on some DIY activities, clam digging, hiking and beach walks or just stay on the luxurious ocean front property and relax.
What is the cost?
$4,495 plus tax for a 6 night / 5 day package. Half days of guiding can be arranged on arrival and departure days for $195 per person.
Are there hidden expenses?
Fishing licenses are $70 for 7 days for non-resident anglers.
What is the Cancellation Policy?
A 50% deposit is required at the time of booking to confirm your reservation. The remainder is due 90 days prior to your arrival. All deposits and final payments are nonrefundable unless a suitable replacement if found.
Do I Need Trip Insurance?
Trip insurance is always a good idea but this destination would be low risk for US citizens. If traveling from overseas, I would highly consider trip insurance.
Does this trip combine well with other trips?
Yes, this is a great way to continue and diversify your Alaska adventure adding this to an existing trout focused or silver salmon trip in September.
Are there special skills required?
What are the physical demands?
Hiking longer distances and paddling inflatable kayaks, both of which are optional.
Dangers and annoyances?
While in Alaska guests need to be aware that brown bears may be around. Moose are also in the area and should be respected, the guides and staff are well versed in how to fish around these furry friends.
The luxurious main lodge is well appointed and each duplex cabin spacious and incredibly comfortable.
A warm and comfortable space to relax and enjoy appetizers and cocktails after the day of fishing.
The fishing is done on four main rivers, small to large, offering diversity in scenery and tactics.
Bright native fish arrive throughout their season and catch rates are typically high when compared to other regions.
The largest river does not blow out, is a great day float and offers great swing water and easy wading.