Grayling occur in two settings in Alaska: clear,
clean, cold rivers & streams and high mountain lakes
(very similar to lakes that have been stocked in the lower
48 states). The grayling in these lakes were stocked, but
are now naturally self-sustaining. This week, I'll take you
to some of those mountain lakes on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula.
There's no closed season there, but remember that
the lake is a couple thousand feet up
and will be covered with ice later than some of the
lower lakes. We went in July.
These are trips that are easy to go on and you don't
need a guide. The fishing can be
fantastic at times, even though they're not big!
And, you will truly enjoy "the Alaska
experience". While everyone else is chasing salmon
on the Russian or the Kenai, you can
have the place to yourself.
In 1952, 240 grayling were planted in Crescent Lake.
Since that time, the population has flourished. The
fish from Crescent Lake have grown to trophy size and
have been used to stock other lakes in the area,
including Paradise Lakes and Lower Fuller Lake.
These lakes now all offer great grayling fishing,
but three different experiences. Fuller is a day hike:
about 2 miles up hill. Crescent Lake requires more of
a commitment: 6 1/2 mile hike or bike or can be accessed
by float plane.
Paradise Lake - Note: Fish rising right in front of Margaret!
You don't have to cast that far!
Paradise Lake is a fly-in trip, although
relatively inexpensive (as Alaska fly-in's go). The other
thing they all have in common is me! I've fished them
all and loved it.
Looking down at Skilak Lake from Fuller Lake campsite.
I first visited (Lower) Fuller Lake about 20 years
ago. I've averaged about a trip a year since then. Fuller
Lake can be reached from the trailhead at mile 57.2 of
the Sterling Highway; just a mile or so beyond the
confluence of the Russian & Kenai Rivers. While
people are shoulder to shoulder chasing salmon, Fuller
offers solitude and often a lot of action. Along with the
fish at Fuller, you can expect to see sheep on the hillside
just above the lake, beavers, moose and eagles.