Alaska 2023: The Rest of the Story

By Gary Turner

We finished fishing and checking out places at Whittier and then drove the 50 miles over to Hope to see what was going on there. When we arrived at Hope, it was like a ghost town. We went first to our favorite restaurant there, only to find it closed up and for sale. We asked around and found out the owner had retired. Sad face…but good for her! Luckily the Salt of Hope Food Company was open and ready for our order, Gourmet Tacos – delicious! While we were eating, a car full of people asked us where was a good place to fish? We told them just to go to the parking lot at the end and get in the river! After eating, we went down to Resurrection Creek and found the people had found the river and the fish! They were having a blast.

We went on down to our usual spot, closer to the mouth, and saw salmon everywhere. We caught and released fish for a few hours before deciding we should eat again! I am diabetic, so that’s my excuse for eating every few hours, lol. We went to Creekbend Café, and a guy that had waited on us last year at the Seaview was working there. We ordered burgers and onion rings, and it was also delicious! After eating, we loaded up and headed out for Soldotna two hours away to where our cabin at Fish For Health Lodge was at.

The next morning, we hooked up our 14-foot Smoker Craft and headed to Skilak Lake. Just as we were backing in the boat, two black bears came running out of the woods into the water, grabbed a salmon, and headed back into the woods – Wow! We boated across the 500 plus foot deep Skilak Lake to the north end where Hidden Creek feeds in. We landed the boat on the gravel shore and waded across the swampy area to get to the fish! We caught lots of silvers, reds and even a trout. We didn’t see any people out there, but we did see another black bear and some geese. It got to be evening, so around 10:30 p.m. we headed back across the lake to the boat ramp, loaded up and headed back to base camp in Soldotna.

The next day we fished on the Kenai River with my friend Robert and his dad. We caught several silver and red salmon. Robert’s dad caught a big Dolly Varden trout. We even saw some eagles in the trees on the river banks. It was a blast fishing on the beautiful Kenai River. That evening we went into the city of Kenai to shop and on the way back saw several moose and their calves. They are such amazing animals.

The next morning found us back on the road to Skilak. We boated to our favorite fishing hole and proceeded to catch fish. On this day we met some nice people from Minnesota that had hiked in to fish, and some rafters came by too. That’s a lot more people than we usually see here, though sometimes seaplanes come with people too.

The next day we went to Seward and fished several spots. At 4th of July Park, we went to the left and there were fish stacked in the creeks coming in. We fished this awhile, then moved to another spot nearby where a steep creek fed in. There we could see the fish stacked in the waves waiting for high tide before running up this creek. We caught a bunch of the fresh fish from the salt.

The next day we picked up my good friend, Marc Zimmerman, who talked me into coming to Alaska 20 years ago, and the four of us headed to Homer to do a little surf fishing for cod, halibut and flounder. At Lands End we ran into our hiking friends from Minnesota and chatted for a bit. We fished low tide and cast for the shelf, and we caught a ton of Pacific cod in less than two hours. There we met a couple from Minnesota on the beach, the husband said he is a walleye guide at home. We told them about Seward and where to go fishing there and gave them some fish.

The next morning, we did some work on the van and, long story short, people thought we had a 454 in it! We got it fixed, then we changed the oil and tuned up the 25 hp Mercury on the boat. When I say we, I mean Dewayne – I was the tool carrier and video guy. With all the repair work done, we headed to the Russian River. It was our last day fishing, so we weren’t gonna waste it.

We got to the Russian and there were people fishing everywhere. reds and silvers were running. We waded in and grabbed a spot. Blake caught the first fish, then Dewayne and I found some too. We went down river looking for more fish and found a grizzly bear! Well, you know I take lots of pics and videos, so I checked out the bear, giving him plenty of room. When I walked back up river he followed along. I went past Blake and Dewayne who were in the river fishing. When I turned around, I saw the bear had actually headed out in the water toward them to see what they were doing! He finally went back down river, so we moved back up river closer to the parking area. An hour later we saw him coming up the bank toward a lot of us fishing. I stood with several other people as he walked close to us. So close in fact that when he picked up a fish and started eating it, you can hear the bones crunching in my video! That was an exciting day!

The next day we headed to the airport and flew home. That’s how Alaska 2023 went. I can’t wait for the 2024 trip. We have several more friends coming up with us next year!

I’m not sure what next month’s article will be on but remember, if you have an empty seat on your boat that needs filling, shoot me an email and maybe it will be about fishing with you! You can reach me at My YouTube is @TakeMeFishingGary if you want to see some of the videos.
Please remember, if you are not going to eat it, don’t kill it.

“Tight Lines and Squeelin’ Reels put a smile on my face every time.” Gary Turner

You can reach Gary Turner at