TRIP DATES & COST:
AUGUST 19 - 26, 2023 (TRIP FULL)
SEPTEMBER 9 - 16, 2023 ( 1 SPOT OPEN)
Rates are per person, based on double occupancy.
Please inquire about single bookings.
From its headwaters on the southern flanks of the Brooks Range the Kobuk River winds over 280 miles along the the Brooks’ southern foothills before mixing with the brackish waters of Hotham Inlet, and the Chukchi Sea beyond. This is big country, dominated by jagged mountain peaks, vast tracks of spruce and birch filled boreal forest, and pristine, untamed Arctic rivers. It is home to Alaska’s largest herd of caribou, huge flocks of migratory birds, and untold numbers of bears, wolves and other wildlife. And Sheefish.
Our trip explores the upper reaches of the Kobuk, the most remote section of the river and the spawning destination of one of Alaska’s most unique freshwater fish. Sheefish are found in Interior Alaska’s largest river systems, including the Kuskokwim and Yukon Rivers. But the sheefish of the Kobuk are the largest and most prolific of any run found in the state. The largest member of the freshwater whitefish subfamily (Coregoninae), these anadromous giants average 10-20 lbs, and can reach weights of 50 lbs. Growing big in the brackish waters of Hotham Inlet on a predatory diet of fish, they journey up the Kobuk through the summer months to upriver spawning grounds.
Long, streamlined bodies, big bucket mouths and dime sized scales are reminiscent of a saltwater predator of the tropical flats. Strikes don’t always translate into hookups due to the hard, bony mouth, no to mention the tendency of anglers to set prematurely upon seeing a giant silver flash engulf their fly only yards away. Single hand rods equipped with a sink tip and an aerodynamic, quick sinking fly are effective from the boat and in the narrower channels. Two-handed rods open up even more water from the bank with their ability to reach far and deep in skilled hands. The river also offers excellent fishing for grayling to 20″ or more, and exciting opportunities to take northern pike on a fly rod.
Floating the upper Kobuk offers a fantastic wilderness experience. As late summer transitions into fall, the changing leaves of birch, aspen and poplar trees carpet the hillsides in gold. Enjoy peaceful days floating quietly through a landscape that sees few human visitors. Wander the gravel bars in search of driftwood sculptures and bear tracks. Stalk tundra swans and beaver for a perfectly framed photo. Catch a glimpse of a traditional fish camp nestled on a bluff overlooking the river. And sit around the evening campfire, waiting for the light to fade, listening to the sounds of the land transitioning from the season of endless sun to icy darkness.
Sheefish in the Kobuk present a unique and exciting opportunity for fly fisherman. Pods of fish numbering from half a dozen to 50 or more hold in deep outside bends and runs, and aggressively pursue large flies on the swing or strip.
ALREADY HAVE PLANS FOR 2023?
It’s not too late to lay the groundwork for your 2024 adventure! Planning well in advance means there is a better chance of finding bush flights that match up perfectly with your schedule. Give us a shout and let us know you’re interested. And remember, we offer fully customized trips too!