Kodiak’s waters are home to all five salmon species, but it’s the fishing just for the halibut, one might say, that is special. They call the big ones “barndoors,” and fish over 100 pounds are frequently caught (the sports record is a whopping 450 pounds). Spruce Cape and Woody Island are among the favorite hot spots during the peak summer season.
A steep trail near the end of the airport runway leads up through heavy brush on the northeastern ridge of Barometer Mountain, a 2,500-foot climb that, because of the views, is generally considered the island’s most popular hike. Figure about two hours to the top.
In the late 1700s, more than 6,000 Inuits lived on Kodiak, much as they had for perhaps 8,000 years. The arrival of Russian traders lusting for sea otter pelts was the first sad step in the decimation of the local culture. To get a hint of the native past, visit the Alutiiq Museum & Archaeological Repository (established, somewhat ironically, through a grant derived from the Exxon Valdez oil spill funds). Then make your way to the Baranov Museum, housed in a log home built by a Russian fur trader in the early 1800s.