Peninsula Fly Fishers

Lost: Three Rods and a Shoe (continued)

The Fish

We had a wonderful time fishing on Silver Salmon Creek, Sergeant River, and Johnson River. I am estimating that Laur� and I caught 250 fish that week. Laur� has fish charisma and caught at least 150 of them but my numbers sound better when I combine them with hers. She also landed the biggest fish of the trip - 15.5 pounds - on her back-up 6wt rod. The fish came in later this year so the guys who were leaving when we arrived had some spotty fishing. We had a great time but the fish were getting more numerous and bigger the last couple of days. The week after we left must have been incredible. The fish averaged 11-12 pounds. Since we were fishing in close proximity, when someone had a fish on, the people next to had to reel in. This could get tedious and we lost a lot of them horsing the fish in. Bob would play his fish a little longer then the rest of us thought really necessary and when this happened, we could cut short the battle by yelling, "Bear!" It was surprising how fast Bob could land a salmon when he thought he had to.

Dolly Varden
Hello Dolly

There were a few Dolly Vardens of good size in the three rivers but we weren't trying for them and didn't catch too many. On the one day that I got to go fishing while everyone else was in class, John and Dawn took me to up to Silver Salmon Creek (where it gets really small) which runs into Silver Salmon Lake and I caught a few smaller (12" - 14") Dollies on egg patterns.

The Lodge also offers halibut fishing for $50 per person/per trip and a grayling fly out for $2,500 for the day for up to 5 people. We didn't go halibut fishing, but those who did brought in several large fish. When we go back, we definitely want to go on the grayling trip. The people that went said that it was the highlight of their stay and worth every penny. Both of these trips are tide and weather dependent.

Bugs and Bears

Mosquitoes weren't too bad. Earlier, in June, they are supposed to be lethal. This is another reason to fish for silvers; they spawn later. No Seeums swarmed periodically (mostly late afternoon) and nothing worked to keep them away.

The Lodge doesn't really advertise in fishing magazines but does advertise in bear watching magazines. There are more brown bears (grizzlies) per square mile at Silver Salmon Creek and surrounding than any other place on earth. And we saw several. The guides do not carry guns and the Lodge hasn't had a single incident in the 16 years they have been in operation. But there are procedures to follow. You carry everything and don't leave anything on the ground. You wear your backpack and/or fishing vest. You don't leave rods anywhere, and you carry all of your garbage with you. Anything that is left on the ground, the bears will get.

Bear in river
Too cute and hungry

You do start to recognize the different bears and we had many visits from "the usual suspects". One female who wasn't aggressive, one female who was aggressive, an older female with two cubs (potentially aggressive) and two large males (always aggressive). The aggressive female would stand on the bank watching for someone to catch a fish so she could jump in and take it away.

One morning, the guides brought us breakfast while we were fishing. A couple of the guys, who should have known better, put their garbage up on the bank by the road to be picked up later. Sure enough, one of the females came for it. John, raced across the mud flats and up towards her. She backed off but lowered her head and was swaying back and forth, which is aggressive behavior. John gave her an emphatic "NO", just like you would if your dog was misbehaving and she backed off enough for him to scoop up the garbage. You don't want to mess with John.

The bears do not see well but listen for the splash of fish and can smell really well. They acted like really big dogs fishing and playing and I can see why some people romanticize them. But that would be a mistake. It isn't that they aren't aggressive, they just didn't care about us and we respected their space. If a bear came down to fish, we would back off of the water and let them make their catch and they would leave. If we had kept fishing, they would have stayed around and taken our fish. It's better to take turns.

As we caught fish we were keeping (only males and in the beginning of the week so they would freeze before we left) (limit: 3 per day up to 7 per week) the guides would stack them by one person who was the "bear bait". That person's job was to kick the fish into the river when the bears came so the bears couldn't smell them as well. Then everyone else was supposed to gather by the bear-bait person. If the bear was focusing on fish, it wouldn't even notice one person standing and would have barreled through to the fish. Supposedly, a group of people is more noticeable and smellier so the bear pays more attention and leaves the fish alone.


Airplane in Anchorage
Flight back to Anchorage and home

They don't put your salmon boxes on the baggage carousels but bring them out on carts. When Laur� landed in Burbank and I landed in San Jose, several guys approached both Laur� and I and wanted to know where we fished as not that many people caught salmon and a lot of coolers came home empty. I am very happy that we went to Silver Salmon Creek Lodge. We had a great time. I used to come home with 4 pictures of my trips, now that I have gone digital, I have lots of pictures if you want to see more, let me know.

More information and Contacts:

Silver Salmon Creek Lodge
P.O. Box 3234
Soldotna, AK 99669
phone: 1.888.8SALMON (May - Sept)
email: (all year)

Lakeshore Motor Inn
3009 Lakeshore Drive
Anchorage, AK 99517
phone: 1.800.770.3000

Great Northern Air
3941 Float Plane Drive
Anchorage, AK 99502
phone: 1.800.243.1968

Snow City Cafe
(Best breakfast and lunch in Anchorage)
1034 W 4th Ave.
phone: 907.272.2489

Gwennies Old Alaska Restaurant
(Walking distance of Lakeshore Motor Inn)
4333 Spenard Road
phone: 907.243.2090

Peninsula Fly Fishers 1976-2016
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