Fall into autumn recreation

From hiking to hunting, still plenty to do outdoors

Posted: Friday, September 16, 2005

Although rain seems to be falling in animal-shelter proportions these days, there are still plenty of ways to get out and enjoy Alaska’s fleeting fall before the snow flies. From hunkering down in a wilderness cabin to rooting around for mushrooms, berries or clams there’s lots of ways to beat the showers and enjoy what time we have left.

The following is a list of events and opportunities availible for fall outdoor recreation in the coming weeks:

Snag a silver

As of Wednesday, the Nick Dudiak lagoon on the Homer Spit is open to snagging. Although not a purist’s pursuit, yanking a treble hook through the water in order to secure a couple slabs of salmon meat is no less unfair that using a dip-net. Plus, it’s fun, and you’ll be guaranteed to catch a fish or two.

For those anglers more interested in fair chase, silvers can be found on the Kenai, Anchor and Kasilof rivers as well as in Seward and Whittier. In addition, fall is the perfect time to tie up some light tackle and chase rainbow trout, Dolly Varden and steelhead around the peninsula.

Also, there’s still a couple weeks left in the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby. The leading fish is still Jim Corliss’ 310-pounder, but anglers have time to top that and claim the $51,000-plus top prize. Contact the Homer Chamber of Commerce at (907) 235-7740 for more information.

Cabin campin’

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge has an extensive network of public-use cabins on the refuge. This year, three new cabins — located on Dolly Varden Lake, Engineer Lake and Big indian Creek — are now availible. Cabins can be reserved for up to a week, but must be reserved in advance. But they’re cheap — fees normally range in the neighborhood of $40 a night — and located in some of the most scenic areas of Alaska.

For a complete listing of cabins on the refuge or to get more information on the cabin reservation program, call the refuge at 262-7021 or visit http://kenai.fws.gov/.

Find a fungus

Now is the perfect time for mushroom hunters to get out and explore. The Kenai Peninsula is home to some of the most tasty and exotic mushrooms around — including the prized king bolete, perhaps the most sought-after gourmet mushroom in the world. Remember, mushrooms can be dangerous, so grab a mushroom identification guide or contact the local fungus expert before you head out into the woods.

Check out the coast

The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies is coordinating the Kach-emak Bay Coastwalk, which will be taking place through Oct. 9.

Coastwalk is a community science and stewardship project with a mission to build awareness of the importance of marine habitats, gather data on biodiversity trends and observe human impacts on the shoreline. The program includes seminars, beach walks and guest speakers on the coastal areas of Alaska. For more information of the program, or to sign up, contact Beth Trowbridge at (907) 235-6667.

Dig into some clams

It’s not too late to get together some friends for a nice pot of clam chowder or plate of fried clams. A series of minus tides began Thursday and will continue through the beginning of next week. Check out Clam Gulch or Ninilchik beaches for the telltale dimples that mean razor clams are lurking just beneath the surface.

Ducks, moose, and bears, oh my!

Hunting season is in full swing, and the Kenai Peninsula is one of the best places in the world to fill a freezer. Moose, ducks, black bear, sheep and small game abound, and now is the perfect time to get out and kill a critter. Consult hunting regulations before going, as rules vary from place to place and animal to animal.

Hike away

Fall colors in Alaska are fleeting, but wonderful while they last.

Hiking trails such as Resurrection, Skyline or even Exit Glacier in Seward can provide enthusiasts with breathtaking views of the peninsula’s fall foliage. When the weather breaks, these trails offer a great way to get out and enjoy what’s left of the brief Alaska Autumn.

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