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“Great Fly-out Fishing Trip”
Review of Talon Air Service

Talon Air Service
Ranked #9 of 32 Tours in Soldotna
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed June 23, 2014

We left around 7 am and were fishing by 8 am. Our guide took us next to a waterfall to fish but the wind was pretty strong that day so we moved onto another area. In the second area within 3 hours we had our limit of sockeye. It was amazing. We then went over to Wolverine Creek for some bear watching. Wolverine Creek is where a lot of the boats like to fish. The fish there were 2-3 pounds smaller then the sockeye we caught, and we didn't have to wait for our turn. Thanks to our Guide. We did see a mom and 2 cubs which was cool. On the flight back we flew over a couple of glaciers which was pretty cool. Talon air wasn't that great but their fishing guide was the best we had out of all of our excursions, he was a teacher from Ohio is all I can remember.

Thank adams00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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68 - 72 of 100 reviews

Reviewed April 9, 2014

Having safely arrived at Talon Air after a hard run up the coast from Homer for a 12:30pm departure for bear watching, we checked in at the office, packed up our gear and headed down to the float planes. This was to be our second bear viewing adventure of the trip, and a little different from the one two days before to Katmai. Whereas we took a small (tiny) wheeled Cessna and landed on a beach after 90 minute or so flight to Katmai, this was going to be a 30 minute or so flight in a much larger float plane across the Cook Inlet to a place called Wolverine Creek. Our plane - the famous de Havilland Otter!

Once there, we would transfer from the float plane into a small john boat/skiff for a short (less than 10 minute) run to the little bay Wolverine Creek empties into. Before that happened, however, we had a beautiful flight across the Cook Inlet. Once across the Inlet itself, there was a large coastal plain area, even more broad than the similar area along the Katmai coast, leading up to the base of the mountains, our final destination. Again it provided wonderfully lush green landscapes, coupled with the amazing colors of the glacial fed rivers and streams, which took on a surreal milky grey color!

Once we landed, we were able to see the little makeshift marina that was set up on the marsh bog. The other 4 of the 5 people that flew across with us were going fishing, so they exited first before we got out of the plane and into our own boat. Then it was our turn, and we were off to hopefully see some bears! Hopping into our boat, with our guide Rusty and a fellow bear watcher/photographer Steve, we motored our way across the lake towards Wolverine Cove/Creek. The weather was absolutely fabulous - probably the best day we had the whole trip. Snow & glacier capped mountains, lush green forests, and bright blue skies and cotton candy clouds - just perfect!

While we were there to see the bears, the vast majority of people were there to "fish" for Sockeye salmon. I say "fish", because Sockeyes won't feed when heading to spawn, so the means of fishing for them involves bare hooks, colorful floats and some split shot weights, which were used in combination to snag the fish - legally - hopefully. Foul hooked fish are released, with a limit of 3 fish per person. There were 10 or so boats on site, with 3-8 people in each boat. The boats were lined up in two rows, with the ones on the right side of the cove in the best fishing spot, with the unlucky anglers and the bear watchers in the left line/lane.

The fishing was fast and furious and very entertaining in its own right, so the good thing was in between bears, we wouldn't get bored. That said, we hadn't settled in but 5 minutes or so when we had our first bear appear! A Black bear, small in comparison to the Browns we were hoping to see as well, came into view from the thick brush on the left side of the creek, making its way down to the waterfront. He spent a lot of time sniffing along the water's edge. Rusty explained that while the back bears would catch live fish on occasion, there spent much more time scavenging rather than hunting.

In between bear visits, the fishing was fast, furious and highly entertaining. Watching someone hook one of the explosive sockeyes and seeing it, and them, do a 360 around the boat in a matter of seconds was fantastic fun. The best fishing moment of the day was the boat where 3 people all hooked up at the same time - talk about a three ring circus! Since we were just watching for bears and not fishing ourselves, Rusty spent the afternoon fishing off and on while we held cameras at the ready, maneuvering the boat closer whenever we got a chance to move up in the line. After a bit of time, we spotted what our first little bear was so worried about - a beautiful Brown sliding out of the shadows to sneak attach the salmon stacked up at the creek mouth, hoping to catch a tasty morsel! While not successful this time, our intrepid bear was to return and try again repeatedly during the afternoon...

After a bit of a break watching the fishing action, we had another Brown bear appear - a female, but bigger than the young male that had visited earlier. Like the male, she made her way to the water pretty quickly, and pounced on the pool of fish in a flurry of splashing white water...

Bears 0, Salmon 2...

Back to the woods went the bear, to rest and regroup for her next attack...

After another break of 30 minutes or so, our pretty female came back out for another shot, determined to not give up!

Missed again...

Bears 0, Salmon 3!

So, despite the lack of success, our bear had a particular sense of determination that was obvious. What could possibly keep our bear making trip after trip to try and get one of those wily salmon???

Baby bears!!! Our female had a pair of twins that followed her out for this trip, waiting patiently while she make her attack run, and then following along beside her afterwards as she weighed her options. So...while the bears hadn't been that successful so far, the humans continued to put a dent in fish waiting to head upstream. Since there were so many fish, of course it wasn't long before we had another ursine visitor, our young male, who was 0-2 on the day so far...but…

Here comes Momma bear and her cubs!!!

"I can feel it, comin' in the air today...Uh-OH!!!" (Our young male is about 100 feet to the right of momma and the cubs - he smells her and knows he's in BIG trouble!) So, our young risk taker decides discretion is the better part of valor, and hightails it up the hill to the right...

Momma bear finally caught the scent of the youngster and in fine bear fashion decided she was going to lay down the law and, with kids in tow, started off in pursuit along the bank and up the hillside...Rusty explained that the bears spend a huge amount of time fighting over territory and establishing a very distinct hierarchy - even more than fishing on many days. With twins trailing behind, not showing a care in the world, Mom followed the trail up the hillside, apparently determined not just to run the male bear off, but communicate in a more up close and personal manner. It took 10-15 minutes or so before we saw any more bear activity. The trail the bears took to the right up the hillside twisted and turned until it disappeared in the thick brush. The bluff overlooking the cove was probably 200 feet high or so. We finally spotted movement along the top, which led to the fantastically funny scene where the bigger female scared the smaller male down the very steep hillside until he got stuck on a single small tree growing at an impossible angle out of the hill/cliff side. After a few minutes cowering in/on/along the tree, the young male finally got up the courage to climb up to the top of the hillside, disappearing from view...

The bear chase was very cool, but it also kept us from seeing another fishing attempt to two, and it led to a long period during which there were ...no bears! So, we turned our attention back to the fishing. As a result of the fishing techniques used to try and catch the Sockeyes, a lot of hook/float/weight rigs get caught in the rocks that cover the bottom of the cove. As we looked in the water at the swarming schools of fish, we could see the little colorful floats strewn along the bottom in different spots. Rusty decided to get out of the boat and try and clean up as many as he could. He said that he had seen both bears and eagles with the rigs caught on them as they often had several feet of line still attached. He said to watch for bears so he could clamber back into the boat ASAP! Believe it or not, that was actually a MUCH more pulse racing moment than any time during the Katmai bear adventure we’d had 2 days before. As he sorted through the rigs, he showed us the different styles of setups that people used, explaining the advantages of each.
Watching the fish school up and move through the cove was a very cool experience. It was even better seeing them, while folks in the other boats were fishing for them! Some of the fish had bucktail jigs and float rigs stuck on them. One fish even had a vicious wound on its back, likely the result of a nibble by a seal before the fish made it into the relative safety of freshwater.

We went a long time with no bears, and it was getting late - about 4:40pm. Rusty told us about a pretty waterfall earlier, and he brought it up again. He said if we wanted to head to the falls we would have to leave in a few minutes. If not, we could stay until 5:10pm or so waiting to see if more bears came out. Well, my boat mates refused - refused! - to vote, leaving it all up to me!!!

Now, waterfalls are one of my favorite things to photograph. There was no guarantee that we would see any more bears with the time we had left. However, bears are a rare event in our lives, and since NO ONE would help make the decision, I cast my lone vote to stay and wait for the possibility of one last chance to see the bears up close.




5:00pm - Rusty says we have to get ready to go...

5:03pm - our young male reappears!!!!!!!

With a quick look to the right and a sniff of the air, the youngster turned left and headed towards the fishing hole. In a matter of a few seconds he closed the gap to the water and entered with a massive splash, water going everywhere...would this finally be the moment of success?!?!?!?!?!!?

Victory!!! Success!!! Winner winner, salmon dinner!!!

Having finally caught a tasty snack, our young man had no time to stop and enjoy it there. So, he headed ashore, climbed up on the embankment, and hightailed it up the trail and up the hill, but not before I grabbed a few more shots. The boat was ready to go with only minutes until our plane was due to arrive, but Rusty decided we had just enough time for a quick run to the falls before hightailing it to the rally point, so off we went! With trusty Rusty at the helm, we made quick time across the water to the falls. A bit of a breeze had come up, so I pretty much had to shoot backwards to keep the camera dry. In a flash, we were back at the plane...where everyone was already buckled in and waiting on us! Oh well...at least they didn't leave without us! All buckled in, we headed back to Soldotna.

I'm not always a big fan of flying. After we took off, the plane didn't head straight back the way we came. Instead, the pilots flew us a few miles south, over a beautiful, massive glacier. Unfortunately, as they weaved in, out and over the mountain passes, it was...a little bumpy. My seat was between windows so that I had to really strain to look out and down, and it just wasn't happening at that point in time. I've never really felt sick on a flight, but I came close for those 10 minutes (and it wasn't that bad in terms of turbulence - it was me). I hated it because the views were breathtaking - which I think was part of the problem! Fortunately I did at least get a couple of shots. The rest of the flight was uneventful, and 30 minutes or so later we landed back in Soldotna.

4  Thank WalleyeLJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2013

The Talon Air folks have been in business here for a long time. They provide a great service at a good price. Whether hunting, fishing, or sight seeing They would be my first choice in this area.

Thank Jerry G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2013

If you enjoy the outdoors and understand that the weather is unpredictable, then you have the right mindset for enjoying a true Alaskan Outdoor Experience fishing and or bear watching! The views on the flight over and back were great. Seeing Cooks Inlet from that vantage point was outstanding. Coming back we flew near the (what I believe was) the "Big River Lobe" of Double Glacier. Jason our guide worked very hard to get us on the fish and catch our limits. The fishing was very good until the rain started making it a true Alaskan fishing trip for Silvers! 3 out of 4 filled out and one (me) caught 2. The bad part is those who filled out quickly had to wait for everyone to fill out before leaving. Again, Jason worked had to make everyone comfortable and enjoy their time while the others fished. Plan ahead and know that there are no "facilities" in the wild. This is how it is anywhere you fish. We didn't see any bears, but we also booked a fishing trip. Overall this was a great experience!

1  Thank BellaBugQH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 5, 2013

Our particular trip was very enjoyable. The weather was great ,we saw plenty of bears and our guide (Mark) was excellent. Ours was a bear viewing flight with no fishing.

However the concept is problematic. The flight to the lake is spectacular and not too long. You get to the lake and board a boat, that takes you to the creek where you will stay for about 6 hours .
If the weather is bad, if it rains, if the bears are uncooperative and do not show up , it might be very frustrating and uncomfortable.

Another point worth noting is the lack of proper toilets at the base. If you pay 300+ per person and spend about 7 hours outdoors you would expect a proper W.C. when you come back

3  Thank edgarsz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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