Category Archives: Fun Things to Do Nearby

Salmon Fishing

King (Chinook) Salmon

King salmon enter the Cook Inlet in late April as the water begins to warm.  The king fishery starts in the salt water out of Homer and continues up the Kenai Peninsula coastline in early May. They swim up the shore line and enter the Kasilof and Kenai rivers to spawn.  Fishing for Kings in the Kenai river is accomplished entirely by boat.  The size and strength of the fish preclude bank fishing.  There have been slot limits for the length of fish taken in the early run, but your guide will know all the regulations.  We know several of the better fishing guides on the Kenai and Kasilof rivers and can make arrangements with them for your fishing trip.  Peak times are always busy so let us know early in order to get a date.

We had a good day on the Kenai in late July 2006 when we caught two Kings (48 and 52 pounds), a Red, a Pink and two Silvers.  The four of us were fishing in our own small river boat without a guide.  It was very crowded- there were approximately fifty other boats in the lower river below Eagle Rock.  We were very lucky to land both Kings with all the boats around us.

Kenai Kings are generally large in the 40 to 80 pound range.  These two Kings weighed 48 and 55 pounds.  The one on the left took 45 minutes to land in the boat and we traveled almost three miles down river before it wore out.

 

The Kasilof river King salmon include both native and hatchery fish.  The first run of Kings in the Kasilof are usually under 30 pounds and can be fished from the bank.  Although sometimes landing a feisty 30 pound King from the bank can require a lengthy run down the bank trying to wear the fish out! In 2008, native Kings could only be kept on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday although hatchery Kings could be kept every day.
Also there was a two fish daily limit on the Kasilof.  Be sure to read the Fish & Game regulations this year.  The Kasilof river is restricted to drift boat fishing only due to the shallow water and many rocks. We will be glad to tell you the best places to fish on the Kasilof river and will contact guides to take you on a trip down the lower river in a drift boat to fish for Kings if you prefer.

Red (Sockeye) Salmon

In mid-June, the first run of Red salmon swim into the Kenai river and quickly head upstream to the confluence of the Russian river. There they will stop and stay in about a three mile stretch of the Kenai until some unknown signal happens telling them to swim up to the Russian lakes to spawn. This is really the first chance to catch the delicious Red salmon of the year and thousands of people from all over the world gather in this out of the way spot on the Kenai river to enjoy ‘COMBAT FISHING’.

This is the river ferry located on the north side of the river. Fishermen gather here to cross to the south side of the river where most of the salmon are laying in wait before swimming up the Russian river.

On the south side of the river, you will have to find a gap in the people fishing in order to catch the wild salmon.  You may be between an Oriental, a German, a Dane, a lower 48-er or another Alaskan.  Whoever is next to you, you can be sure that you will be hung up in their fishing line more than once.  Usually everyone is congenial and having a good time.

It is hard to catch your limit though as most of the fish either break your line or are released in the tangle with other people.  Add to this a few brown bear that think that this place is their fishing ground and they also enjoy what fish you catch.
This fishing frenzy usually lasts for about two weeks before the salmon get that signal that it’s time to swim up the Russian river to spawn.

Mid-July starts the second run of the Reds in the Kenai river.  The thrill of catching a 10+ pound Red salmon from the bank of a swift river is enough to get your heart pounding! The Reds are so strong that many a line and fishing pole have been broken by a fighting fish.

The season on Reds starts out with a limit of three fish a day, but normally when the minimum number of spawning fish up the river is reached, Fish & Game will raise the limit to six fish per day.  Be sure to read the regulations for the limits and locations where you can fish.  A beautiful large Red salmon is a thrill for any fisherman.

The Red salmon start entering the Kasilof river in late June.  Although they are not as large as the second run Kenai fish, they are still fun to catch especially in the swift, shallower water of the Kasilof.  Also the river is not as crowded as the Kenai and there you might also catch a large Rainbow, Cutthroat trout, a Dolly Varden or even a King.  Fishing for Reds on the Kasilof is much different than fishing on the Kenai as the fish are less concentrated at the edge of the river.

Down near the mouth of the Kasilof are primary locations for Alaskans to obtain their annual subsistence salmon both by hand netting and set netting. The Kenai mouth is also a hand netting location.  You can stand at the edge of Scout Park on the bluff in the city of Kenai and watch the locals netting the Reds on the beach below. 

The Silver salmon start entering the Kenai Peninsula rivers and creeks around the first of August.  These fish are usually caught with bait or lures and therefore are generally fished from a boat on the Kasilof and Kenai rivers.  The Silvers normally bite best it the very early morning or late evening as they are very sensitive to light.  The Silver Salmon Derby in Seward is a huge event with prizes amounting up to tens of thousands of dollars.  Generally fishing is done from boats in Resurrection Bay although at certain times the Silvers can be caught from the shore.
Catching my first red salmon was a thrill of a lifetime and hooked me on fishing in Alaska.  Fighting a 10 to 12 pounds salmon with a fly pole in a river that is running 12 knots is to me the ultimate in sport fishing.  Add to that enjoyment of eating a fresh wild native red salmon convinced me that the Kenai Peninsula was going to be my summer home.  It gives us great pleasure to provide our visitors with a beautiful place to stay while they are enjoying our great and wonderful state.

See more on the salmon prime fishing times and places.

Fishing on the Kasilof River
Kasilof King
Kenai Reds
Neal shows off his catch
A good catch of reds
Salmon fishing in the shallows

Combat Fishing
A great catch of reds on the rack
Fishing from the bank
Tom holds up his catch
Reeling one in from the bank
Cary with his catch

Our Drive – Alaska to the Lower 48

It’s the middle of September and this year’s salmon have all entered the river. Crooked Creek is full of red salmon fighting for a place to lay their eggs. The salmon eggs will hatch before the creek freezes and the young will head back down to the deep holes in the Kasilof River to spend the winter. They will stay in the river for a year then head out into Cook Inlet and the Pacific Ocean. In a few years, they will be back again to spawn in the same place they were born, their life cycle complete.

We began to close down the Kasilof RV Park for the winter. The kitchen screens are covered, time to take down the flags, put away the picnic tables and the flower pots for another year. We will turn off the water and blow out the lines. Fill them with RV antifreeze and lock up the buildings until the 2009 summer season. We are taking our 5th Wheel back down to the lower 48 states this year so we can use it during the winter. The birch trees are turning gold and are beautiful against the dark green of the spruce. We will take you on a tour of our trip back from Alaska.

Here is a good example of the colors and we can begin to see the terminal dust (new snow line) lowering from the top of the mountains. These small lakes (Tern Lakes) are at the crossroads of the Sterling Highway (1) which takes you down the Kenai Peninsula and the Seward Highway (3) which leads to the city and port of Seward. The lakes are nesting grounds for ducks and terns during the summer months. We turn onto Highway 3 and take the beautiful drive over the Kenai Mountains to Anchorage.

From Anchorage, we drive to the town of Palmer and then over the Chugash Mountains to Glen Allen and Tok. The Tazalina Glacier is a beautiful sight surrounded by the fall colors. Here again we see the terminal dust making it’s way down from the peaks of the Chugash mountains and soon this area will be covered with snow.

After Glen Allen, we travel just above the famous Copper River Basin to Tok and the Alaska/Canadian Highway (Alcan). It has become cloudy and we are getting a few drops of rain. The low clouds have almost covered Mt. Sandford off in the distance. This road which we snowbirds call the ‘Tok Cutoff’ is a shortcut to the Alcan Highway eliminating the long drive up the Parks Highway to Fairbanks to reach the Alcan.

As we head south of Tok on the Alcan, the sky off in the distance near the Canadian border begins to clear and promises a beautiful day for our trip through the Yukon. We pass by the US border without stopping and several miles on to the Canadian border entrance. The guard is friendly and has a few questions where we are going and if we are carrying guns, animals, liquor and cigarettes. Satisfied with our answers, we are on our way into the Yukon.

Further on we were rewarded with a beautiful view of Swan Lake nestled below the St. Elias Mountains. The Trumpeter Swans fly north to Alaska in the summer to their nesting grounds. In the fall, they again fly south with their young stopping along the way at their favorite lakes. There are several swans on the far side of the lake and can just be seen as tiny white specks.

On toward Watson Lake near the top of British Columbia (BC) where we will leave the Alcan Highway and travel the Cassiar Highway down the western side of BC to the Yellowhead Highway east of Prince Rupert. We had not traveled that route for some time as it was very poor in the past although the fall colors have always been spectacular. We were very pleasantly surprised as the road was in good shape this year and the fall colors were spectacular.

We stopped at Jade City 75 miles south of the Alcan Highway to see all the beautiful jewelry and sculptures made from the local Jade mines. We made arrangements with the owners to carry a few of the Jade items in our store at the Kasilof RV Park. Beyond Jade City, we reach the first stretch of gravel road. In the past, these 20 mile stretches have be almost impassable due to the constant travel by lumber trucks. This year the road had been recently graded and was excellent. We came over a hill and below us was Deese Lake and the town by the same name.

Below Deese Lake, the road continues to wind through the coastal mountains with the gold and green colors. The Cassiar Highway continues to live up to it’s spectacular fall scenery. The road is narrow and the traffic is light. Although not a fast route through BC, it certainly is one worthy of the time taken to drive it.

Further south lies Natadesleen Lake, a long narrow lake beside the Cassiar Highway. Below Iskut, a series of rivers run along side the highway almost all the way to Kitwanga where the Cassiar ends at Highway 16, known as the Yellowhead Highway.

We had decided to visit the beautiful National Parks of Canada, Jasper and Banff on our way back down to the lower 48 states. We traveled the Yellowhead highway across BC through Prince George into the Providence of Alberta and the town of Jasper. The beautiful scene greeted us at the entrance of Jasper National Park.

After a stop over at the beautiful ski village of Jasper, we traveled south on Highway 93, called the Icefield Parkway. The scenery was again spectacular with beautiful mountains, fall colors, a winding river along side and views of glaciers flowing out of the mountain ice-fields.
The parkway travels 135 miles of fabulous scenery between Jasper and Lake Louise. There are many glaciers flowing out of the Columbia Icefield.

 

We stopped at city of Lake Louise and pulled the 5th Wheel up the winding mountain road to the lake (large RV’s were not recommended although buses were traveling it). We were greeted by the huge Fairmont Resort Hotel at the edge of the lake.

The view from the hotel is the reason that Lake Louise is so popular. The glacier nestled in the V of the mountains feeds this beautiful lake. The lake is a dusty green caused by the suspended glacier flour (the finely ground rocks and minerals from the glacier). From Lake Louise, Highway 16 continues to Calgary, Alberta. There we picked up the Interstate 2 which will take us down to the Montana border of Interstate 15.

It was a beautiful and spectacular trip from Alaska to the lower 48 and we highly recommend it for a future trip for you.

Our Drive Up to Alaska

From Great Falls we drove up the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains to the border of Canada.  After answering the border guard’s questions we were on our way to Alaska!

We stayed the night on the outskirts of McLeod, Alberta. The next day was a long one, on the side roads west of the freeways past Calgary (we had decided to visit Banff and Jasper in the fall due to the snowy weather, see our Trip from Alaska) and on to Whitecort west of Edmonton.

The next afternoon, we reached the start of the Alaska/Canadian Highway (Alcan) in Dawson Creek, British Columbia.

North on the Alcan for 332 miles to reach the top of Steamboat Mountain, we had left the plains of Canada and entered the Canadian Rockies. Steamboat is the highest pass that we encountered and it was the first mountain that we climbed. The Canadian Rockies are not like the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The peaks aren’t as high and they are spread over a longer area. Once you pass over the first mountain, you are up high making your way through the mountains with beautiful, clear, sparkling streams, forests and lots of wild animals.

 

The first animals we encountered up high were the bighorn sheep.  It wasn’t long before we started seeing lots of Caribou. 

They looked pretty scrawny and rough with their winter coats shedding and their horns were just spikes. There were open areas along the road in many places where the new spring grass was growing and the Caribou were concentrating there.

One group of about ten decided to run down the middle of the road ahead of us. We of course just followed along with them waiting for them to move off the road. We probably saw thirty Caribou in different groups through a section of about 50 miles.

As we got down lower in elevation, the grass along the road became more plentiful and we began to see large numbers of buffalo. This is a wild herd that I would see every year when I used to drive to and from Alaska. They are free to roam the area although they seem to stay close to the highway where the grass is always plentiful.

We had seen several moose also on this part of the drive, but hadn’t been able to get photos of them. After a comment that we had seen everything but a bear, a few miles on we saw this black bear standing along the side of the road waiting for his photo opportunity.

 

Nestled in the mountains is this beautiful lake called Muncho Lake. It is a bright green from the copper and iron in the soil.

We filled with gas at a Lodge near the far end of the lake since we still had 177 miles to get to Watson Lake (the nearest town).

We stopped at Laird Hot springs. This is the lower hot spring that is much lower in temperature and used more often. The hot spring is in the lower foreground where the blue ripples are. There is a large number of people in the water at the other end—the further away from the hot spring, the cooler the water. The warmer (about 120 degrees) upper spring is more remote and less popular.
Watson Lake was our stop that evening. Don’t miss the visitor center and their film about the construction of the Alcan Highway.

The Sign Post Forest is in the center of town and was started by one of the American Servicemen building the highway in 1942. He made up a sign identifying his hometown in the lower 48 and hung it on a post in the town park. It caught on and other visitors added their signs to it. There are now over 54,000 signs in the park. Jan found a sign that says, ‘Jan Lake 4 km’ right in the front of the park sign at the end of the boardwalk.

 

Back on the road again, our next stop was across the Nisutlin River from the small village of Tinglit Indians called, ‘Teslin’. There is a neat little museum there that highlights the life of the local celebrity, George Johnson. He was Tinglit Indian that became a very well known photographer who used his proceeds to provide a taxi service for the town.

We left our camper outside of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, to make a side trip to Skagway. We took the White Pass & Yukon Route railroad. On the way one of the stops was at Emerald Lake. The minerals in the water cause the unique colors in the lake water.

White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad

 

Fraser, BC hosts the Canadian Customs and is the first train stop from Alaska.  The inside of the parlor cars had been restored to their vintage condition except the seats had been upgraded and the restrooms were modern. The train is used strictly for sightseeing now. It was fabulous trip and we highly recommend it to any traveling the Inside Passage or driving down from Whitehorse.

The train route from Skagway climbs 3,000 feet from sea level to the summit of White Pass in just 20 miles, a grade of almost 3.9 percent. Thirty-five thousand men constructed the roadbed and tracks starting in May 1889. During World War II, the railroad was instrumental in carrying supplies and men to build the Alaska/Canadian Highway.

The scenery was absolutely magnificent, with breathtaking views occurring over and over again.

 

Sawtooth Mountain was one of the more beautiful and interesting of the mountaintops seen from the train as we proceeded through the range to White Pass summit.

 

Further down the mountain, just beyond the Skagway river delta, we got our first view of the Skagway Harbor. Although they are hard to see in this small photo, there are three cruise ships in the harbor.

Skagway

As we got into Skagway, we were greeted by the Skagway tour bus. Started in the early 1900’s the buses have been renovated and are now again hauling tourists around Skagway to see the city sights.

The downtown area of Skagway has been restored to the era of the gold rush days and is a very popular cruise stop.

The brothels in Skagway had a Can-Can show every day for the gold rush miners. Prior to the shows, the girls would come out on the second floor porch or hang their mesh hose covered leg out the window to attract the men on the street. Now the Eagles Club recreates those shows four times a day with a story about the notorious Soapy Smith who ran a bar/gambling hall/brothel with the intent of scamming the miners.

 

We also enjoyed the old gold rush cemetery outside of town which has a monument to the Hero of Skagway, Frank Reid. Seems like he and the notorious hoodlum Soapy Smith got into a gun fight over Smith stealing a miner’s gold. Reid killed Smith with a shot through the heart but was fatally wounded himself, dying a few days later.

We left Skagway that afternoon, after a very special trip, back to our campground where the truck and camper were parked.

Dawson City

Leaving Whitehorse we traveled off the Alcan to visit the Klondike gold fields in Dawson City. The Yukon River was very pretty as it meandered through the valley. As we proceeded up toward Dawson City, the river increased in size and the road moved away from the river. Soon we began to see smaller spruce trees and more alpine type vegetation. It didn’t seem that the area was getting that much colder, but we were obviously traveling north toward the Arctic Circle. We arrived in Dawson City in mid-afternoon and stayed in the RV Park right in the town.

 

Dawson City has also been restored to the gold rush days, like the Palace Grand Theatre, a restoration of the original Opera house.

Almost all the buildings on Main Street have been beautifully restored. Many of them hadn’t opened for the summer yet when we were there or were closed for the day by the time we were walking around that evening.

The sign to the left of these two buildings indicated that it was typical of what happened in northern climates where the ground freezes and thaws every year. If the buildings don’t have adequate foundations to a depth below the freeze line, they will eventually lean or sink. (Try as I might I couldn’t straighten them back up).

Top of World Highway

The next morning we were first in line to take the free ferry across the Yukon River to the start of the Top of the World Highway. The river was high and running swift.

 

It didn’t take to long to reach the Top of the World Hiway and from up there, I could have sworn that we were in fact there. The road climbed right up to the tops of the mountains and ran along to the tops. The road was in pretty good shape with some broken spots. The snow had mostly melted although there were banks along the road occasionally.

Looking back down into the Yukon valley below you could realize how high we had climbed and in fact, this road was at the top of the local world. There were no guardrails on the side of the road and the shoulders were very narrow. There were some places along the road where it wasn’t wide enough for two vehicles to pass. Fortunately by leaving early there was very little traffic on the road.  It was an interesting drive with beautiful scenery and we were glad we did it.

On to Alaska

We reached the Alaskan border, a very lonely outpost for the custom officers and families that lived there. The closest town, Dawson City is 65 miles away on the Canadian side although you have to travel the Top of the World Highway or you could drive 122 miles to Tok on the American side. However, the roads on the American side were mostly gravel and had not been well maintained.

We then proceeded to Chicken, The story of how chicken got it’s name is pretty funny. The townspeople decided that they would name it after a local game bird called a Ptarmigan. Unfortunately none of them knew how to spell it… so they ended up calling it ‘Chicken.’ (One of our favorite books ‘Tisha, about a school teacher going to teach in Alaska, is set in Chicken- we highly recommend it!)

The people of Chicken are still having fun with their name. The four stall outhouse erected away and down wind of the business district is called ‘Chicken Poop’. There are other buildings in the area that are also decorated with chicks and chickens, but not quite as funny.

On our way out of Chicken, we had to stop in the Post Office where they postmark the cards and add chicken tracks. The Post Office was a neat small log cabin that serviced the local area.

After the trip to Dawson City and Chicken, we came back to the Alcan Highway just 12 miles east of Tok at Tetlin Junction. From there over to Glen Allen was another rough ride with lots of patchy roads. From Glen Allen the next day, it was a short drive to Anchorage and down to the Kenai Penninsula.

We so enjoyed our journey from the lower 48 through Canada and on to Alaska. Our side trips made it truly extraordinary. We hope you have found some inspiration for your own trip here. 
 
 

 

Fishing & Clamming

landing 40 lb. King SalmonThe Kenai Peninsula is considered one of the premier salmon fishing sites of the world.  It boasts two major salmon rivers. One of which, the Kenai, holds the world record for the largest King Salmon (98 pounds) rod caught by a fisherman. It has two runs of the delicious Sockeye (Red) salmon, a Coho (Silver) salmon run and in even years millions of pink salmon. Then there is the Kasilof River with it’s early runs of Kings, both natural and hatchery, followed by a growing Sockeye (Red) salmon run and a big Coho (Silver) salmon run. In addition, King salmon can be caught on Deep Creek, Ninilichik Creek and Anchor River on Memorial weekend and the following two weekends, then Coho (Silver) salmon in the fall.

Early May also starts the entrance of Kings into the Kenai River and the guide boats fill the lower river. Combat fishing at the Russian River starts around the end of June bringing in fishermen and women from all over the world for the annual event (more detail in the fishing section). 

The middle of July brings the second run of Reds into the Kenai with the big males up to 12 pounds.  For two weeks, the river is full of reds and the banks are lined with fishermen.

Starting the 1st of August the Coho (silver) salmon enter all the rivers and creeks on the peninsula and the annual Silver Salmon derby starts in Seward.  Is it any wonder that the Kenai Peninsula is considered: ‘THE SALMON FISHING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD’

A large halibut from the Cook InletThe Kenai Peninsula also boasts the ‘HALIBUT FISHING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD’ in Homer, Alaska.   The Cook Inlet is salt water and provides easy access to some of the largest Halibut in the world.  Guides with large boats can take fishermen and women on daily trips to the fishing grounds from Ninilichik to Homer.  Some guides offer both Halibut and King salmon fishing on the same trip.

ClammingThe beaches of the Cook Inlet also offer the fun of digging for the famous and delicious Alaskan Razor Clams.  The beaches at Coho, Ninilichik, Deep Creek, Clam Gulch and Whiskey Creek are always crowded at the low tides with people digging for the elusive clams.  Come and enjoy the fun and then having the pleasure of eating the fresh clam strips, clam fritters and delicious chowder.

Rafting on Johnson LakeAnd don’t let us forget the fun for the entire family of fishing for Rainbow trout in Johnson Lake.  Each year the Alaska Fish and Game stock Johnson Lake with Rainbows.  They are a delight to catch and good to eat.

IT IS EASY TO SEE WHY SUMMERS IN ALASKA ARE A FISHERMAN’S PARADISE

 

Russian River Sockeye Fishing

In early June, the first run of Sockeye (Red) salmon come into the Kenai River to head to the confluence of the Kenai and the Russian Rivers. Thousands of these salmon will congregate in about two miles of the Kenai river waiting for some signal to enter the Russian river and make their way up the river to the Russian Lake where they will spawn and die.

Fishermen and women from all over the world know of this annual event and gather on the banks of the Kenai to participate. So many in fact that they line up elbow to elbow to catch these tasty, elusive salmon and it has become known as ‘Combat Fishing’. The National Parks have built a park and a Ferry at this confluence of the rivers and each year during this event, ferry anxious fishermen across the river to catch these tasty salmon.

Russian Lake
Russian River Falls

Combat Fishing
Russian River
Russian River Ferry
Combat Fishing

Old Russian Orthodox Churches

On the Sterling Highway south of Kasilof RV Park is the small village of old Ninilichik. This was originally a Russian fishing village and today is still predominately associated with fishing. There is a small boat harbor built for the commercial salmon ships.

On the bluff above the village stands the Russian Orthodox Church and cemetery. The church was built in the 1800s and has been in use since. From the top of the bluff you have a beautiful view of the Alaska Range of mountains including Redoubt and Ilimana, both dormant volcanoes. Cook Inlet with it’s huge salmon runs and Halibut populations extend both directions.
Russian Orthodox Cemetary

In the city of Kenai is another old Russian Orthodox Church. It was originally built in the 1800s and rebuilt again after a fire destroyed it. The church is also still in use and unlike the church in Ninilichik, the Kenai church has certain times that the priest will open the church to the public and give lectures on it’s history and function. There are still several Russian communities on the Kenai Peninsula including a large one east of Homer.

Ninilichik Villiage
Ninilichik Beach

 

Ninilichik Russian Church
Russian Orthodox Church
>
Russian Orthodox Church interior
Kenai Russian Priest

Homer Spit

Seventy miles south of the Kasilof RV Park lies the town of Homer, the self-proclaimed ‘Halibut Fishing Capital of the World’. As you arrive at the Homer Overlook, be sure to stop and see the beautiful views of the Kachemak Bay, the Kenai Mountains with the many glaciers and down in the distance is the famous Homer Spit sticking out into the bay.

At the end of the Spit is the Lands End Hotel which states it is the ‘Roads End’ of the most westerly continuous road in North America. From there you can drive on a continuous highway all the way to the tip of Key West Florida.

The Spit has a large boat harbor for the local commercial fishing fleet, the Halibut fishing fleet, the Coast Guard, Cruise Boats and the Alaska Ferry terminal. There was a large cannery at the end of the boat harbor until it burned. Now it is a processing plant for shipping fish to other Peninsula canneries. The Spit has many shops and restaurants including several Alaska Native Art and Crafts outlets.

One of the highlights of the Spit is the Salty Dawg Saloon. Originally it was the lighthouse on the Spit, but when the lighthouse was moved to the bluff, the log cabin was added to the base and was turned into a local watering hole (bar) for the fishermen. Over time it has become a must stop for all tourist that visit the Spit to place a dollar bill with their name on it plus other unmentionables on the walls and ceilings.

Overlooking Homer boat harbor
Inside the Salty Dog
Husbands while wives shop
Lunch on the boardwalk

Seward Sea Life Center and Exit Glacier

On the other side of the Kenai Peninsula, 110 miles from the Kasilof RV Park, is the town of Seward. It is a beautiful seaside town nestled in the Kenai Mountains with a year round open harbor. It is the terminus of the Alaska Railroad and many cruise ship lines. One of it’s main attractions is the Alaska Sea Life Center which was built with some of the funds recovered from the Exxon Valdez disaster.

At the time of the oil spill, the center was primarily a sea life research center for the Alaska Fish and Game. When the disaster occurred, many of the water fowl, and sea animals that were coated with oil were rescued and brought to the center for cleaning and recovery.

In addition to educational displays the sea life in the Resurrection Bay, it has aquariums of the local Alaskan sea inhabitants, birds and animals.

 

Also just outside the city of Seward, the Harding Ice Field has a glacier outlet which is accessable by automobile. The glacier got it’s name from the early explorers of the ice field. It was the only accessable exit from the Harding Ice Field close to a town so it became known as ‘Exit Glacier’. It is unique in that you can walk right up to the edge of the glacier and down to the face where the melted water is released.

Every 4th of July, Seward holds an annual race to the 3,000 foot top of Mt. Marathon which rises from sea level on the edge of town.  Starting downtown, the foot race is a climb and descent on Mt. Marathon, complete with cliffs, scree fields, waterfalls, and a spectacular view.  This annual event draws runners from around the world.

 

Alaska Sea Life Center
Exit Glacier
Runner Ending Mt. Marathon Race
Runners climbing to the top

Kenai Fjords Boat Cruises

There are several Seward companies offering day long and half day boat cruises to the Kenai Fjords National Park. These include visits to the glaciers flowing out of the Harding Ice Field into Resurrection Bay. The boats commonly go up to the face of the glaciers such as this one at Holgate Glacier although they stay far enough away from the face to assure that ice calving from the face of the glacier doesn’t hit the boat.
The tours include watching the many animal and bird nesting areas in the bay. There is always an interest in whale watching and the bay hosts many species of whale in the summer months. Shown on the right is a male Orca whale that was spotted on one of the tours feeding with it’s pod of female and young whales. Many sperm whales are also normally seen. The boats also tour the sea lion and various bird rookeries.

Kasilof V Park can make reservations with many different tour companies to visit the Kenai Fjords National Park. We can explain the differences in the tours for you.

 

 

Girls at the “Gate”
Sealions relax in the sun
Eagle Pair
Puffin Rookery

Clamming Tides

Currently, Clamming on the Kenai Peninsula may be a little poor due to over harvesting of the clams. Fish and Game have closed down several of the most popular clamming sites, be sure to check with F&G to find out which ones may be open.

When available the quality of razor clams on the beaches of the Kenai Peninsula brings a special treat and great food to our visitors and our Alaskan residents. Each summer there are two low tides each month which offer the opportunity to harvest these wonderful treats. The waters of the Cook Inlet provide plenty of food to build plump, juicy clams and the cold temperatures of the waters assure that they remain tender.

The tide charts on the above indicate the dates, times and the low tide level that will be obtained on the beach of Ninilchik in 2016. Alaska razor clams are available on the eastern shore of the Cook Inlet from the mouth of the Kasilof River to Anchor Point. The low tide times are earlier the further south you go.

In order to get out to the sand beds where the clams are abundant, it is necessary to have negative tide levels below -2.0 feet and the lower the better.

It should still provide many opportunities for gathering your limit of clams (check your State Fishing Guide for the 2015 limit) from 4 to 6 inches in length. Note that the limits of clams taken change from year to year.

2018 Clamming Low Tides

Date
Time
HEIGHT,
feet
Thursday, May 3111:32 AM-2.4
Tuesday, Jun 129:14 AM-3.18
Wednesday, Jun 139:57 AM-4.58
Thursday, Jun 1410:40 AM-5.38
Friday, Jun 1511:25 AM-5.47
Saturday, Jun 1612:12 PM-4.85
Sunday, Jun 171:01 PM-3.62
Wednesday, Jun 2710:04 AM-2.33
Thursday, Jun 2810:40 AM-2.44
Friday, Jun 2911:15 AM-2.25
Wednesday, Jul 118:53 AM-2.99
Thursday, Jul 129:40 AM-4.52
Friday, Jul 1310:26 AM-5.45
Saturday, Jul 1411:12 AM-5.66
Sunday, Jul 1511:58 AM-5.1
Monday, Jul 1612:45 PM-3.84
Tuesday, Jul 171:33 PM-2.04
Saturday, Jul 2810:56 AM-2.04
Thursday, Aug 098:37 AM-2.39
Friday, Aug 109:26 AM-3.98
Saturday, Aug 1110:12 AM-4.96
Sunday, Aug 1210:56 AM-5.17
Monday, Aug 1311:39 AM-4.56
Tuesday, Aug 1412:22 PM-3.2

Also you must take and count any clam you dig regardless of the size or condition. Do not hesitate to go clamming during those periods where the negative tides are not as great (-2 to -4 feet) as some sand beds are still available. Clams are there also, but may be more scarce and may be deeper below the surface.

You can normally dig for clams up to a couple of hours before the low tide and an hour or so after the low tide. However, be very careful as the tide changes and begins to return. It comes in very quickly and can leave you stranded if you are too far away from the beach. There is a free handout guide available for you at the Kasilof RV Park which will identify the major locations for clamming and methods for cleaning them. We also rent all the gear for clamming, including clam shovels, clam tubes, rubber boots and buckets. If you need help cleaning them, we will give you lessons and advice. 

 

Raking the surface sand for steamer clams

Digging clams

Clamming at Cook Inlet
Reaching for a clam
Starting the clam search
Clamming at low tide
Cleaning the large clam batch
Shelling clams