Icy Bay Lodge off Yakutat, AK

Discussion in 'Alaska & British Columbia Fishing Reports Forum' started by ksong, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. ksong

    ksong I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Scott and myself arrived at Anchorage now and are waiting for a flight to Yakutat, AK.
    We are going to stay at Leonard Landing Lodge in Yakutat tonight and leave for the lodge on a small bush plane tomorrow morning. The lodge is located about 60 miles off Yakutat.

    The is our field testing trip for Black Hole rods for halibut and king salmon.
    We are going to test the rods to the limit using heavy drag.

    I will use JM PE2, PE3 and PE6 reels while Scott will use Avet Raptor reels.

    I kept quiet about this trip because our Yakutat trip last year and Ascension Island trip this year were canceled due to unexpected things after I posted about the trips publicly.

    We are going to fish 6 days.

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  2. ksong

    ksong I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    When you fly 60 miles from Yakutat, AK, you know the lodge is very remote in wilderness.
    The airplane strip is 5 miles away from the lodge and the road to the air strip is just for the lodge.:eek:

    We don't see any other human being and any boat here. We fished 30 plus miles from the lodge for big halibut and we didn't see any other boat. The lodge is completely in wilderness. We saw a big brown bear, but I was afraid to get closer to take pictures this morning.

    I've been in many different fishing lodges over 30 years and I know the Icy Bay Lodge has first class operation. Staff TJ and Wayne are so kind and courteous. Devon and Mike who run the boat are also eager to accommodate us and make sure we get what we want.

    I told Scott that we are very lucky to fish here and catching fish is a bonus. But I had the best halibut fishing ever yesterday.

    Food ? TJ does a marvelous job. It is like to eat at a fine restaurant in Manhattan.

    The best part of the lodge is it is very private and intimate because they host only upto 6 fishermen at a time.

    I am just happy to be here.
     
  3. ksong

    ksong I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    I traveled to British Columbia and Alaska for halibut and salmon for two decades. I had the best ever halibut trip out of Icy Bay Lodge off Yakutat, Ak today.
    Scott got a 200 plus lb halibut using Black Hole Cape Cod Special 150g rod on his first drop. I got 130 lb halibut using Black Hole Cape Cod Special 80g rod and later I got 150 lb halibut using Black Hole Magic Eye 571XXH light rod. I must release half dozen halibut over 100 lb. All caught on jigs.
    Detailed report and pictures will follow.

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  4. ksong

    ksong I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Black Hole Magic Eye 571XXH

    I didn't bring any heavy rod knowing that inshore Black Hole rod can handle big halibut.
    Even so, I had doubt Black Hole Magic Eye 571XXH could handle 150 lb halibut as the rod is basically a fluke rod. See the pictures how much the tiny rod got pressure by big halibut.

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  5. ksong

    ksong I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Black Hole Cape Cod Special 150g rod

    Scott tested the rod and got many halibut upto 234 lb.
    The 150g was the heaviest rod among Black Hole rods we tested for big halibut.

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  6. ksong

    ksong I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Black Hole Cape Cod Special 80g rod

    The 80g is the lightest rod among BH Cape Cod Special jigging rods.
    After fighting 100 - 150 lb halibut with the rod, I feel the rod can handle decent size tuna.
    I will test the rod for tuna soon.

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  7. ksong

    ksong I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    It was calm yesterday and it was time to go offshore again.

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    We decided to drift as it was calm. Our jigs were hit constantly by halibut, ling cod or yelloweye rockfish and huge SKATE.

    Scott used Black Hole Cape Cod Special 80g jigging rod and I used Black Hole Cape Cod Special 150g jigging rod this time.

    I had the best ever halibut jigging trip on the other day and I thought it would be hard to repeat. But actually we did. We got more varieties of fish this time because we opted to drift. There was no dull moment. We had constant hookups while drifting.
    We released many nice ling cod and yelloweye rockfish as well as big halibut upto 150 lb.
    We must released a dozen of halibut in 100 lb - 150 lb range.

    I was looking for 200 plus lb halibut on jigs and finally I got my wish.
    When you are not sure you have bottom or fish, you know you hook up a monster. :)
    Devon asked me whether I got bottom, I replied " bottom is moving." :)

    The monster pulled the line slowly for a while and then it started to run like a tuna.
    I was using Black Hole Cape Cod Special 150g jigging rod/JM PE6 reel filled with 60 lb Jerry Brown Hollow with 200g green Super Sardine jig.
    After a few run, the monster made violent head shakes. Who said halibut don't fight ?
    I had about 18 - 20 lb drag, but I loosened the drag a little bit not to lose this monster as hooking this kind of monster doesn't come often.
    The fighting time was not long, but I felt like forever. :) The length was 80 inches and the weight was 276.5 lb according to the length/weight table.

    Crew Devon and Mike are great guys and work hard to accommodate customers.
    we fished 15 hours. When we got to the lodge past 9:00 pm, they worked past mid night to clean boat and put the cleaned fish in vacuum packs. Thanks Devon and Mike for my life time catch.

    We released all yelloweye rock fish except one for dinner. The sizes of yelloweye rockfish were impressive.
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    Big ling cod were plentiful too. We released them all except one for dinner.
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    If you like to catch big skate, this is the place. :) They are just monster.

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    Black bass hit any jig moving. They are relentless.
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    Scott fighting halibut with Black Hole Cape Cod Special 80g rod.
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    Scott fishing a nice halibut using Back Hole Magic Eye 571XXH rod.
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    my 276.5 lb halibut.

    action of Black Hole Cape Cod Special 150 for the monster.
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    When we arrived at the lodge after 9:00 pm, nice dinner and hot coffee were waiting for us. :)
    Thanks TJ.
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  8. gnehekul

    gnehekul I've posted enough I should edit this section

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  9. rdrrm8e

    rdrrm8e Fucking Stan

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    WOWEEEEEEEEEE....!
     
  10. C Hunt

    C Hunt Newbie

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    Nice trip and photos, I fished Yakutat and it was awesome fishing, would like to get hands a couple of those rods. Sorry you had to stay at Leonard's try Glacier Bear next time
     
  11. ksong

    ksong I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    I don't know about Glacier Bear Lodge, but I like the operation of leonard's landing. Annette picked us up at the airport even we stayed only one night.
    The lodge is not luxurious by any means, but they have everything fishermen need. If I fish out of Yakutat in the future, I definitely stay at Leonard's Landing as long as Annette and his husband work there.
     
  12. ksong

    ksong I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    We fly to Yakutat tomorrow morning and leave for NJ tomorrow afternoon. The unexpected marvelous halibut trip is finally over.
    I usually don't go to the same fishing destination again as there are so many new fishing destinations to be explored.
    But I might come back to the lodge again next year.

    the 276 lb halibut from different angle.
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  13. ksong

    ksong I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    BH Magic Eye 571XXH rod is very soft, light rod (6.5 oz) good for fluke, porgy or seabass.
    However, after landing grouper, 40 - 50 lb GT and 60 lb tuna with the rod, I got confidence with the rod. After landing halibut upto 150 lb with BH Cape Cod Special 80g jigging rod, I decided to try this light Magic Eye rod with a small JM PE2 reel. As you see in the video, it was extremely fun. The rod is just amazing. I landed several nice halibut upto 66 inches ( about 150 lb).

     
  14. 26grumpy

    26grumpy who hooked who

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    Awesome report!!! :appl::appl::appl:
     
  15. karlk1125

    karlk1125 Well-Known "Member"

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    This is as good as a halibut report as I've ever seen! Congrats on the amazing trip!
     
  16. ksong

    ksong I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    While talking about fishing, I rarely talked about the lodge itself.
    I like to give my review of any lodge I visit for other fishermen.

    I tried to fish Yakutat, AK for a long time because they catch big halibut in relatively shallow water as well as salmon in the rivers. There is no road system to Yakutat and you have to fly in from Anchorage or Seattle or take ferries to get there.

    When I contacted Devon in Icy Bay Lodge and found the lodge is off Yakutat. I agreed to visit the lodge just because the lodge is near Yakukat. ( You have to fly to the lodge from Yakuat on a small plane for 60 miles.) not knowing what to expect there.

    I fished bluefin in NC, yellowfin in Pueto Vallarta, tarpon in Costa Rica and wahoo/tuna in Bermuda this year to test Black Hole rods and I wanted to test inshore Black Hole rods for halibut and king salmon in Icy Bay Lodge with Scott.

    There are two flights arriving at Yakutat. One from Anchorage arriving at 5:50 pm and the other from Seattle arriving at 11:00 am.

    arriving at Yakutat from Anchorage.
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    Yakutat Lodge is adjacent to the terminal with a bar/restaurant. It was very convenient for you if we stayed at the Yakutat Lodge as the small airplane to the Icy Bay Lodge leaves from the same airport. But I decided to stay at Leonard's Landing Lodge just to see Annette. I arranged a fishing trip for Korean TV fishing crew with Annette in 2013 and unfortunately they cancelled the trip. So I wanted to say hello to Annette and to see their operations.

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    Annette kindly enough picked us up at the airport.
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    The Leonard's Landing is ocean front lodge. The lodge is basic fishing lodge with group shower and kitchen facility. Rooms are clean. You can rent a fishing boat or canoe at the lodge and they arrange for river fishing. I met a fisherman there who visited the lodge for 25 years. It tells they have sound operations.

    If I fish Yakutat in the future, I wouldn't hesitate to fish at Leonard's Landing just because of Annette and his husband. She is so kind and accommodating. She didn't have to give us a ride to the airport as we just stayed one night. We booked one room, but Annette gave us two rooms without any extra charge.

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    back to the airport next day morning to fly to Icy Bay Lodge.
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    When we arrived at he airplane strip near the Icy Bay Lodge, Wayne and his wife TJ were waiting for us. I thought the lodge is nearby, but it was 4 - 5 miles from the plane strip. :eek:
    I thought some people live there, but I found there is no house except Icy Bay Lodge in the area. We are totally secluded in wild wilderness !
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    continued...
     
  17. ksong

    ksong I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Finally we arrived at the lodge.
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    Our cabin. The lodge is not basic lodge, but upgraded lodge with full services.
    Our cabin had hot shower facility and we got cleaning service every day.
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    main dinning room
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    Whenever I go to a new fishing lodge, I check staff and boat Capt as they can make all the difference.
    The main reason that we had a great time there is staff's kindness and accommodating attitude in addition to fine facilities of the lodge. We felt like good friends of them instead of guests from the start.

    Wayne and his wife TJ who made fabulous food every day.
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    Devon and MIke who run the boat. Hard working guys.
    After 15 hours fishing, they cleaned fish and made vacuum packs until 1:00 am - 2:00 am.
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    I got to mention about food prepared by TJ.
    I didn't expect the first class food in such a remote area. She changed menu every time including dessert and it was like to eat at a fine restaurant. Thanks TJ for gaining weight while I was there. :)
    Here are some samples of the food.
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  18. ksong

    ksong I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    WeI made two offshore trip and both trips were my best ever halibut fishing. We had constant bites on jigs by halibut in 20 lb - 250 lb, lingcod in 20 - 40 lb as well as yelloweye rockfish in 5 - 12 lb range as well we numerous blackbass.
    We jigged over 10 hours each day and it was good opportunities for us to test Black Hole inshore rods.

    Weather can be a big issue in Alaska when you run to offshore.
    There are no sockeye or king salmon run in rivers here in summer. So we stay at the lodge or do some light fishing in the bay if weather is bad. However, I enjoyed non-fishing day working computer as they have wi-fi service though it is very slow sometimes.
    I suggest to stay at the lodge at least 4 days to fish 2 days offshore.
    Unlike other fishing operations in Alaska, they like to fish in reasonably good weather for the safety and comfort of guest here. And it is very hard to back to back fishing after 15 hours fishing anyway.

    There is good king salmon fishing in ocean from May to early July. We just couldn't find time for them because halibut fishing on jigs in shallow water gave us so much fun.



    my working station :)
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    As they have one boat at the lodge, they can take fishermen only upto 6 at the same time.
    The boat is roomy for 6 fishermen.


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    I asked Wayne how they can make money by taking only upto 6 guest at a time.
    He replied that the lodge is very busy during silver salmon run from late Aug to mid Oct.
    The silver salmon run here is a world class with 12 - 18 lb big silver.

    If you like to catch sockeye or king salmon in rivers while visiting Icy Bay Lodge, it is a good idea to stay a few days at Yakutat as Yakutat provides great salmon river fishing opportunity in summer.

    When you got to a remote area by taking a small plane, you have to minimize your tackle and bring only necessary items.
    Here is my famous disposable tackle box for this trip. :)
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    I had a wonderful trip at the wonderful lodge with wonderful staff.
    We stayed 6 days at the lodge, but it went so quickly.

    I already told them I would be back next year.
    See you next year.

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  19. jimm

    jimm Well-Known "Member"

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    Now that is a fishing trip and a fishing report.

    Thanks for sharing!
     
  20. argonna

    argonna Newbie

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    Nice trip
    Thanks for sharing!
     

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