Having a set of fishing gear and tackle makes the trip more efficient. For fishing gear on an Alaska river, kits should include an assortment of sized 4 through 8 barbed hooks. This range lets you go for smaller sport fish such as arctic grayling and dolly varden, along with the larger king and silver salmon. A cooler to store the catch is not just necessary for the proper storage of the fish, but also for safety, as you need to store the cooler and packed fish away from your tent site or raft for bear safety. Bring along rods for spin casting and trolling. Look for rods at least six feet in length. Fly fishermen should bring 9-foot rods rated to a minimum of six pounds.
Due to the extreme weather changes, abundant precipitation and icy water of the rivers, it is crucial you bring along layers of non-cotton clothing. Cotton has no thermal retention when wet and is a poor choice for Alaska backcountry pursuits. Have wool or synthetic underwear, fleece or softshell jackets or vest, wind and rain shells, calf high rubber boots, extra socks, gloves and hat. Bring along a hat with a brim in addition to thermal caps. Sunglasses are needed to prevent eye fatigue or glare blindness off the river water. Fingerless gloves are handy for anglers as they retain heat while allowing the dexterity to tie flies, or change lures with the fishing gear.
Bush and River Safety
It is necessary to have a map, compass and GPS unit along with the knowledge of how to use them. An ePirb, or locater beacon, or satellite phone is a needed tool for remote backcountry trips. Food storage should be done in bear resistant canisters, which can be purchased in sporting goods stores in Alaska. A minimum of one canister of bear spray per two rafters should be brought along. Waterproof matches, firestarter, space blankets, flashlights or headlights, signaling mirrors, multi-tool and repair kit, pocket knife and at least a 12-foot length of 5 mm cord needs to be included in any rafting and fishing trip in Alaska.
Article Written By Eric Cedric
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.