AK Peninsula Packraft/Salmon Fishing Gear List
May 11, 2022 at 3:11 pm #3749068
Here’s my current working gear list for a 20 day Packrafting and Chinook Salmon fishing trip this summer on the Alaska Peninsula— https://lighterpack.com/r/k85kmr
A good example of a bunch of “lightweight” gear adding up to not be so light at all. Especially when you add all the food. Type 2+ fun sure to follow.
Notes on a couple of the choices:
MSR Cyclone Stakes – heavy, but hopefully bomber in very soft, marshy soil in a place with the potential for serious wind.
Lightheart Gear Sil Nylon Rain Jacket – Last year’s trip in SE Alaska convinced me to give up on “breathable” in remote AK and just go for permanently waterproof instead.
First Aid Kit – that’s for the group. It’s extensive. I’ve tried to wrap my head around the Skurka style super minimal kit and just can’t for a trip this long and remote. Includes two WFR’s and an EMT in the group to use it effectively.
<b>Phone Charging Capability</b> – Our route relies on some sat-nav capability to try to stay on animal trails to cross extensive swampy ground and minimize crazy bush whacking. For which having a charged phone would be super handy. Trying to figure out how much charging capacity I really need. May cut back. Last spring for a similar 16 day trip I was really successful at using a very light solar charger but I’m not sure we’ll ever see enough sustained sun on the Peninsula to make that viable.
<b>Bear Fence</b> – we’ve really been back and forth (and continue to be) on the fence. We’ll be in super high density Costal Brown Bear country. We’ve discussed only fencing the food (away from camp), only fencing the food close to camp (with lots of “pee perimeter” around camp to maximize ‘negative’ human smells). And fencing both the food and the tents. We will be away from camp fishing for the day on numerous occasions. Still deciding and very interested in more feedback from people with real world experience in costal bear habitat.
<b>Fishing Gear</b> – too much. I know. But it’s kind of the point of the trip.
Thoughts or ideas?May 11, 2022 at 11:42 pm #3749085Luke SchmidtBPL Member
One concern I’ve seen for those silnylon raincoats is that HH may not be enough for a rain coat as opposed to a tent that is stretched taught. If it were to mist through you’d have the same problem as a WPB raincoat.
Some hunters in Alaska do use Helly Hanson rainciats that are completely waterproof. But some still like WPB gear. I’m guessing the lack of concensus means there is no perfect answer. Usually I carry a light fleece to go under the raincoat. It helps a lot. If it’s really rainy sometimes I layer my windshirt under my raincoat.
I’d highly recommend a Goretex hat. I love mine. In a drizzle I wear it and skip the hood. In a downpour I wear the hat over the hood and it really keeps water out there.May 12, 2022 at 10:14 am #3749103Philip TschersichBPL Member
@philip-akLocale: Kodiak Alaska
Hig and Erin (and Eric Parsons) had their main camp destroyed by a bear while they were off at their cook tent at the end of their trek from Seattle to Unimak Island. Bears are curious, so fence everything while you were away from camp. While you are in camp you really don’t need a fence. But if you have one and you are truly concerned, keep the food nearby and just fence everything.May 12, 2022 at 3:01 pm #3749129
That’s a lot of gear. Each sport (pack-rafting, fishing) add its own assortment.
I’d bring an extra smart-water bottlecap. I sometimes bring yet another one that I’ve modified to a bidet or shower head. A lot of functionality for another 2 grams.
Do the shell mitts function as mosquito proof while fishing? Especially while immobilized while fishing, you want to have the option of being completely covered. So far, it’s not shaping up to be a bad year (good and bad years are consistent across surprising large areas of Alaska). The head net will combine nicely with the Seattle Sombrero to keep the netting off your face. If the “fishing shirt” has a collar, then you’ve got solid neck-up coverage. I like a 100% nylon (tough, quick drying) collared, button-down with large pockets fishing shirt for 1) fishing but also 2) most Alaskan hiking trips due to the bush-whacking and the shirt’s ability, unlike most layers, to not get shredded.
Hopefully the over-sized first-aid kit and kitchen set up is spread among group members. How many people?
Pot scrubbers? Be well prepared to thoroughly wash dishes on a 20-day fishing trip in bear country.
I didn’t see an anti-fungal topical lotion. That can be important on a long wet trip. Check creases and between toes carefully and often so you can treat a trouble spot while it’s just a bit itchy but before it becomes raw and open. I’ve got one spot between my toes on one foot (but not the other) that for any trip over 2 days, I treat in advance and thereby avoid a problem instead of having to respond to one.
Clothes washing? I bring real laundry detergent from home and use a pinch in a trash compactor bag, dry sack or bear canister to get clothes far cleaner than soap ever can. Roger and I agree that if you dispose of the detergent wash water in the warmest (south-facing) organic soils you can find decent far from surface waters, it’ll be fine.
Do have any tarp that can be strung between trees/bushes for a place to stand up, out of the rain? Standing up, out of the rain can be a real luxury after a few drizzly days.
Specifically targeting Chinook (king) salmon? That’s an odd pursuit that far from refrigeration or other processing options. They’re too large to eat in one dinner and the next morning. A silver or red is a lot more right-sized for a group, silvers are a lot of fun to have on the line, and reds are the best tasting (IMO, but some do prefer the fatter meat of Kings).
I suggest you be prepared to cook fish in a lot of different ways. I often just splash some soy sauce (someone must make a dehydrated soy sauce) . Or soy and garlic powder. Lots of people haven’t be confident when I use Lavender Gourmet Seasoning (aliikulalavender.com) as it sounds kind of fru-fru, but they all like it as a rub on salmon. I’d bring a titanium grill and get a bed of coals going so you can grill more fish and boil/fry less of of it. The smallest bit of oil applied to the grill prior to use will make clean up much easier. Milk powder plus other ingredients for a fish chowder or bisque?May 12, 2022 at 5:39 pm #3749144
Oh, and be cautious about relying on chemical treatment with our cold northern water. Contact times should be doubled or trebled compared to warmer water. That’s why, for short trips, I’ve gone to UV treatment. And for the reduced pound-miles as I can UV treat and drink water at all the frequent sources and carry no water weight, versus carrying chemically treated water for 40+ minutes before it’s been adequately treated.May 12, 2022 at 5:47 pm #3749145
Thanks for the replys. Here’s some notes–
<p style=”text-align: left;”>I agree with Luke on the utility of Gore Tex rainhats. The Seattle Sombrero is on the list. In fact we named last year’s trip on Prince of Wales “Steel, ‘skeg and Sombreros” (for steelhead, muskeg and Seattle Sombreros).</p>
Phillip- thanks for the bear thoughts, you would know!
David – lots of great thoughts. I was contemplating a second smart water bottle, and will probably bring one. The shell mitts are for fishing in mosquitos or just crappy wet/windy/cold weather. The fishing shirt is exactly as you described (Patagonia Island Hopper).
The FAK will be split between the three of us. I will add the anti fungal lotion, that’s a good idea. Like our trip in SE AK last spring, foot maintainance will be challenging and crucial.
The pot scrubbers are interesting. The last few years I’ve just been using a handful of nearby brush or grass to scrub and then either broadcasting it or floating it off into the river or sea. Do you have a good reason for real pot scrubbers? Seems like they would hold smell.
Clothes washing would be nice, just don’t know that we’d ever get them dry (not that they’ll ever be very dry 😋). But it would make our re-entry to town nicer.
I appreciate the feedback on the group tarp. We’ve been talking about that and one of our group owns a dyneema tarp that might be really nice to have to cook under etc.
We are mainly targeting Chinook, but any kings we catch are getting released. The fish we eat would be sockeye or (mainly) dolly varden which are much more reasonably sized for consumption. I like your ideas about “spicing up” the fish recipies.
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Thanks All!</p>May 13, 2022 at 1:43 pm #3749198Luke SchmidtBPL Member
Didn’t see the hat first time. Yep that Seattle Sombrero is the one.
Not sure about a rain skirt. My leaky rain pants still help. Expect some Alders bushwacking unless you are way out there. Not sure you’ll like a rain skirt for that but maybe you’ve already tried it.
I don’t know what bug spray you are using but I don’t mess around. I use 100% DEET. Normally bugs are only bad part of the time so I’m only using it part of the trip. But when you want it you really want it.
Neoprene socks are great for hiking in wet conditions. Just make sure they fit, are thin and have no seams that rub.
I might put those thigh straps back in, a thin diy set of webbing only straps would only add a few Oz
Post a trip report. I need to get my packraft out more often.May 13, 2022 at 1:44 pm #3749199
I agree that official pot scrubbers can get funky – the ones with sponge attached much more than the just scrubbie ones, though. If you know you can find local sand to scour pots, than, yes, that works well.
“but any kings we catch are getting released” We call that “playing with your food”, but obviously a lot of tourists come here to fish and want to catch more than one fish per day. Locals have so much to do all summer, that it is more of a meat fishery – catch it, kill it, freeze it. In a good year, I put 20 fresh-frozen and 10 smoked sockeyes into the freezer plus 6 halibut and an assortment of clams, shrimp and rockfish.May 13, 2022 at 2:03 pm #3749200
Mmmmm. Fresh sockeye. Looking good! My wife and I do an annual (front country) September trip in SEAK that fills a freezer with Coho, Halibut and Rock Fish. All SO good.May 16, 2022 at 11:16 am #3749494Dan BBPL Member
What shoes are you wearing?May 16, 2022 at 11:26 am #3749496
Multi function as my hiking, paddling and wading boot. Used them to great effect on a Prince Of Wales Wilderness traverse last spring. They’re actually a pretty remarkable boot. The only thing I’d change is that the insole is glued in. It’s not a bad insole per say, but I’d prefer to switch it out with a custom. Otherwise they’re supportive, light, super fast drying and well drained, and the sole is super grippy.
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