Kodiak fishing trips provide a chance to connect with nature while enjoying the thrill of reeling in big catches. Join the team from Fish Alaska as they visit Kodiak Legends Lodge for an unforgettable fishing adventure.

Kodiak fishing trips

Fishing, Friends and Family

The remote village of Larsen Bay on Kodiak Island can satisfy the wanderlust of even the most adventurous angling ace. Marcus, Brian, and I, three seasoned Alaska anglers, know how good we have it when we head to Kodiak Legends Lodge. If you’ve read any of the stories I have written from past trips, you know my favorite features of this lodge. In addition to the people who have become our dear friends, it is the quality of the fishing, the meticulous care they put into their fish processing, and the protected bays that make fishing in the salt water here pretty dang choice. I am also extremely impressed and thankful for their attitude towards conservation. Additionally, their accommodations are superbly comfortable from the next-level mattresses to the thick-and-fluffy towels. I’ve also had some of the finest cuisine in my life at this lodge. There really isn’t anything to not love about it.

The Fish Alaska crew, two Melissas and a Marcus, with the few yelloweye rockfish that were kept.

As noted, this wasn’t our first trip to Kodiak Legends Lodge, but we did get to experience several firsts. For starters we were able to bring along Melissa “Mele” Wong, our amazing graphic designer who has worked with us at the magazine for the last seven years. This was Mele’s first time visiting a full-service fishing lodge and the smile on her face spoke volumes each day we were there. She got to enjoy the best of the best in fishing, dining, scenery, hospitality, and Alaska adventure. If she wasn’t such a naturally grateful and happy soul she might have been ruined for future trips, but not our Mele.

Kodiak Weather Delay

Visiting any remote destination can sometimes bring an unexpected change in travel plans. Chad called us the day prior to the trip to let us know that Kodiak Island’s visibility was not looking conducive for Island Air to fly. We chose to forge ahead into the City of Kodiak on our Alaska Airlines flight from Anchorage. At least we would be closer and ready for the flight service when the weather broke. We called the hotel nearest the airport and fortunately were able to find a place to stay. The next morning a couple calls to Island Air to check status had us staying put at the hotel. The call eventually came, and we hustled over to Island Air, located right across the parking lot at the main Alaska Airlines terminal. We were on our way to Larsen Bay!

A reunion with Chad and the crew at the lodge was a joyful feeling, as always. On the short drive to the lodge, the strategy discussion began for our multi-day adventure. We were set up with Captain Tony Skinner and deckhand Lane Klohn on the Seawolf for the first few days. The weather was looking promising later in the week, hopefully providing the chance to go across Shelikof Strait to hunt up some kings. They had moved in and out of Ugak Bay earlier in the season and were a little scarce by the time we got there the second week of July. Our best chance was to head across the Strait during the best weather. That meant we would focus on halibut and other bottomfish for the first few days, which was fine by us!

Waiting for the weather to break to fly could be part of the adventure, and the adventure is always worth the wait! © Brian Woobank

Wild caught and properly cared for fish

These days I pretty much rely on my trip to Kodiak Legends Lodge each summer as the main source of freezer filling for my pescatarian lifestyle. I harvest a few other fish throughout the summer with several opportunities to do so, but something about the quality of fish and the even greater quality of fish care and processing these guys put forth makes me trust this end product above most others. First, they bleed fish thoroughly, then the fish get added to a mixed ocean-water-and-ice slurry that keeps the flesh really cold throughout the day. At the end of the day their team spends several more hours carefully cleaning, filleting

Kodiak fishing trips

Cameraman extraordinaire Brian Woobank taking a break to land one. © Melissa Norris

and preparing perfect serving-size vacuum-sealed bags for the flash freezer. It’s a big chore and their captains and deckhands, plus lodge manager Chad, spend hours after fishing clients all day to make sure it’s done right.

After 23 years as co-owner of Fish Alaska, 15 of them as a fish-and-seafood-eating pescatarian, I admit I have become a total fish snob. I only eat wild-caught fish, preferably that I caught myself, and which I know was properly processed. Generally, I refuse to eat farm-raised fish, because…ummm, it’s gross…and now I find myself being even more selective. I no longer intend to eat fish caught by the trawl fleet because of the wanton waste of their bycatch program. I haven’t eaten fast food like McDonald’s in decades, but I feel compelled to take it a step further now and pass on sushi restaurants because of the imitation crab and shrimp from Alaska pollock paste—surimi. It is also typically farm-raised salmon used in sushi restaurants. Needless to say, I don’t dine out much and it sends me back to Kodiak Legends Lodge for the good stuff.

The author with deckhand Lane Klohn and a halibut she is already thinking about 20 ways to feature in upcoming meals. © Brian Woobank

Timing Kodiak Fishing Trips

The first day of fishing started with an aim towards halibut. This is good in my book because halibut has always been my preferred white fish. My brother, Marcus, likes lingcod and rockfish best. Lately Pacific cod has ranked high in my book, too. It’s all delicious, but once you have had the good fortune of eating them regularly you tend to have your favorite. Lingcod for Marcus is part of what helped determine the time of year we went. They’re open for harvest after July 1.

We probably would have come earlier in June for the best shot at kings, but we wanted lingcod this time. If halibut, Pacific cod, or rockfish are your preference, then you should come in June next summer. Not only is the king salmon fishing a little more consistent, the lodge is offering an early season special in 2024 that can save you a bit of money. You will still take home plenty of well-prepared fillets of a variety of top-shelf species, and the time in the fresh salt air will be imprinted on your mind.

Day One: Halibut Success!

It took most of the fishing time that first day, but we banged out our limits of halibut in the over/under slot sizes designated by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. We like to keep perfect eating-sized halibut, none too big. Mele was the first to bring in a keeper that morning, taken on a baited circle hook. Marcus got busy on a custom jigging rod our Editor George helped him build from a Rainshadow blank. True to form, Marcus started sticking fish regularly with his zesty jigging moves. Pretty soon we all had fish. Even our trusty cameraman managed to crank the reel a few times.

The halibut action was broken up by black rockfish and Pacific cod hitting the deck. Each fish in the box was appreciated and would be put to good use. We made sure to save enough time to re-bait the crab pots in hope of a Tanner crab feast one night during our stay. Grateful we picked up some Pacific cod, we used one as bait in the trap.

Kodiak fishing trips

Melissa “Mele” Wong is pretty stoked to harvest this north Pacific giant octopus to share with her parents in Hawaii. © Melissa Norris

Day Two: The Octopus

The next day would bring more of the same. The mission was bottomfishing, so Captain Tony directed the vessel to some choice ledges where he dropped anchor. Tony is always fun to fish with. He doesn’t sweat the small stuff and he wears a permanent smile. Be prepared for some whippy jokes and a positive attitude because they suit Tony well. We spent the day hauling in some eater-sized halibut, black rockfish, and a couple other rockfish varieties. Once again, we allowed time to pull crab pots to see if we could enjoy a meal.

As the pot broke the surface what we saw left us all mesmerized. A giant north Pacific octopus was the occupant of this crab trap. We were fascinated by this sea creature as we freed it. Highly intelligent, the octopus reached for the scupper hole with its long arm, eyeballing an escape. Mele asked if she could keep it for her parents who would love to eat this fine delicacy, so we collectively decided to harvest it. I was a little sad by this, but I knew it would be completely consumed and giant north Pacific octopus are actually short lived, grow fast, and are abundant. In hindsight, after squid fishing with my daughter the month after, I wish I requested a bit of that octopus to try!

This is the first visit I have had where the pot was not filled with enough harvestable-sized crab to feed our crew. Dang, those Tanner crab are so good, but we still felt so fortunate to be in this beautiful place in Alaska harvesting quality protein for future meals…and with the way Chef was throwing down the cuisine that week, it was no hardship to have to dine on the preparations by her experienced hand.

Day Three: Bottomfishing with Bruce

On the third day we still focused on bottomfishing, but we wanted to focus on lingcod so our coordinates were chosen accordingly. We felt honored to fish alongside Kodiak Legends Lodge owner, Bruce Kososki for the day.

Bruce has a private home on the lodge property and visits several times a summer to enjoy the beauty, the lifestyle, and the harvest. An avid outdoorsman and successful businessman, you can tell Bruce feels undeniably grateful for the life he worked hard to create. The man has that twinkle in his eye that is an obvious sign of inner peace and joy, and his words mirror those same character qualities. He is overtly humble, but if you sit with him for any length of time you are bound to hear some fascinating stories of international business and his experiences working from the ground up. Bruce is most proud of and receives the most joy from his family relationships and it was lovely to spend time with such a generous soul. There’s a book to be written one day, for sure.

The day was pleasant with halibut and rockfish coming to hand with most of us working jigs. It was great to see some steady lingcod action, great keeper-sized fish in consistent numbers. We kept a few yelloweye rockfish for harvest though we typically let these fish go. They are easy to overfish and take a long time to grow. A big yelloweye is likely to be decades old. We will stop fishing to focus on getting these fish back down to the depth at which they were caught using the proper descender tool to alleviate barotrauma symptoms. While it is not illegal to keep them in this management area, both the lodge staff and the Fish Alaska crew are not into harvesting everything like crazy just because it’s legal. We have the future of the fisheries in mind when we go fishing.

Kodiak fishing trips

Lodge Life

The week was further enhanced by the fellow guests at the lodge who we enjoyed dining with for breakfast and dinner. Jeff and Patrick Becker are a delightful father-and-son duo we appreciated meeting and spending time with. We learned Jeff is a Fish Alaska subscriber and chose Kodiak Legends Lodge as their destination after learning about them through our magazine. We also met a husband-and-wife adventure team, Pat and Teri Alexander, who we got to fish with on the last day.

They know how to throw down at Kodiak Legends Lodge. Their chef prepared all of this food to perfection. One of the best tastes we tried was that magical green onion sauce shown adorning the plate with the rockfish and green beans. Hospitality specialist Jessica was so sweet to give the author a one-bite serving of this incredible looking cheesecake she had to try! © Melissa Norris

Last Day: Trolling for kings

Kodiak fishing trips

Mele caught this big, fat, slab of a chrome-bright king on our day across Shelikof.© Melissa Norris

On our final day, we received a change in captains to mix things up. One of my favorite people, Captain Rafe Oliphant, took the helm of the Seawolf on this semi-bluebird day. We needed to get across Shelikof Strait to Geographic where we hoped to pick up some kings. Our deckhand was Rafe’s brother, Russell, and between the two of them the jokes were flying and the fish-catching mojo was amplified. My buddy Rafe puts a lot of pressure on himself to produce fish. I want him to know that spending time fishing with him and being in this beautiful place is enough for most people, but I will admit that his high self-expectancy gives him a certain fishing edge.

As soon as we hit the fishing grounds the brothers set us up to troll. If you have fished kings, you know the action is either on or off. If it’s on, it can be fast and furious. Well, it was on! Mele reeled in the first one and it was an absolute beast! What a fat, healthy, torpedo of a king. This whole fishing experience set new levels of appreciation for this already fishing-addicted lady. I am so happy she got the full experience on this trip. Mele is not only a trusted coworker, she is a dear friend and it means a lot to me to have shared this time with her. Soon after we each took a turn bringing in kings. It was lit. Everyone got to reel in at least one. The weather was gorgeous, and the scenery was equivalent to Shangri-la. It was the proverbial icing on the cake for the week to end like this.

Kodiak Fishing Trips

The weather delay on the front end ultimately resulted in one less day of fishing, but nobody was disappointed. Our crew and the lodge guests all had the experience they hoped for: great fishing for multiple species, full fish boxes promising many fine meals ahead, and treasured family memories with stories to share for a lifetime. If you want to experience some firsts at Kodiak Legends Lodge next summer, give Chad a call. He can tell you about the early season special or set you up for a time that works for you during the season. It’s all good there.

Melissa Norris is Publisher/Co-Owner of Fish Alaska and Hunt Alaska magazines along with her brother Marcus for the last 23 years since they started our company. She considers every day at this job to be a privilege.

Kodiak fishing trips with Kodiak Legends Lodge are guided by experienced professionals who know the best spots for a successful and rewarding fishing adventure. For more articles like this check out Fish Alaska’s article and blog library.