When it comes to choosing your Alaska Fishing Vacation there are so many options available. Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice, so your Alaska fishing vacation is everything you dreamed about!
#1 Research NOW!
Start your research now and book early! Tourism to the best Alaska fishing places with the best Alaska fishing opportunities is in high demand so be sure to book as early as possible. Researching several months in advance offers you the best opportunity to secure your spot at a reputable all-inclusive Alaska fishing Lodge of your choice with the best Alaska fishing opportunities.
#2 How much time do you have available for your Alaska fishing vacation?
Know the length of time you and your party have available for your Alaska fishing vacation. Most lodges operate three-to-five-day Alaska fishing trips. You will want to allow a day for travel on each side of that. The area you choose for your Alaska fishing vacation will dictate how many travel days you should allow to get there depending on the remoteness of the lodge. If your Alaska fishing trip is to SE Alaska, then most of your travel can be made in one day from the lower 48 states. If you are flying into a super remote location in Alaska, be sure to ask the Lodge owner what a realistic travel time from Seattle is, which is the main hub to Alaska. Once you know that answer then add on your flights to Seattle from your hometown. Knowing the travel time is key to help you maximize your Alaska fishing vacation.
#3 Define your Target species on your Alaska fishing trip?
If you’re looking to catch the ultimate trophy of all salmon species, the Alaska King Salmon or want experience the amazing fast silver Salmon bite and catch the most delicious Alaska halibut and rockfish, then SE Alaska is the destination of choice by many who have travelled Alaska. SE Alaska offers multi-species fishing daily and is an easy travel with a short flight from Seattle, WA and offers the most productive Alaska saltwater fishing in most all of Alaska. SE Alaska is its’ own special ecosystem and is one of the most scenic places to fish in the world! The abundance of wildlife like Sitka Black tail deer, black bears, Humpback Wales, Sea Otters, Bald and Golden Eagles are only a few things you will see daily while fishing.
Fresh Water Rivers/Streams
If freshwater fishing is what you are looking to experience in Alaska there are many places to go that offer several fish species to target. You can target SE Alaska’s Steelhead, and Salmon or target Rainbow trout from one of the Bristol Bay area streams or Alaska’s famous Kenai Peninsula. There are many more areas for Alaska being so vast and diverse. Alaska has thousands of streams and Rivers available, but knowing the time to be in a certain area is essential to your trip and targeted species success! When speaking to the Lodge Owner be sure to let them know what species you are specifically after then trust their knowledge of timing. That will help you set your vacation date to give you the best opportunity at that specific targeted species. Not all areas in Alaska have the same migration run timing or water levels in each ecosystem so make sure to ask.
#4 Select your fishing area!
Once you have determined the amount of time you can dedicate for your Alaska fishing vacation and the experience you’re looking for, Saltwater or freshwater along with the target species this will help you define the area that would suit you and your family or friends on your amazing Alaska fishing trip.
Choosing the area can be a challenge for sure but stay true to your core on the species you want to target and the time you have available for your Alaska fishing vacation. Dive in on the internet and spend some time each morning while having coffee. Read some blogs or articles and try and learn about the area that will fit your needs. Look for facts on the area, how scenic is it, is it located in the best salmon migration path for the Salmon species you want to target? How popular or crowded is that area or river? Do the cruise ships frequent that area which can take away that solitude feeling and quiet Alaska experience that many are looking for in their Alaska fishing vacation?
#5 Choose your top lodge choices!
Once you decide on the area that will give you that Authentic Alaska fishing vacation of a lifetime, choose three or four Lodges you like and want to learn more about. Websites are a great resource to learn about the different lodges and packages they offer along with displaying their lodge accommodations, cuisine and meals served, information about the staff, the quality of equipment and boats that you will be using, the fish you will catch each day and the extra attention to details they do to ultimately give you the best Alaska fishing experience! Sometimes it’s the little things that will make the difference on your trip of a lifetime! If their website is up to date and has quality imagery and tells a story of a quality Alaska fishing experience with attention to detail that is an Alaska fishing lodge you will want to key in on and put on your list as a top choice! Once you find three or four that you feel will offer that trip of a lifetime and are within your budget range then spend some serious time viewing each website. Look for the little things that they do to make your Alaska fishing experience that memorable trip of a lifetime!
#6 Details that separate the best Alaska Lodges from the rest and make the difference on your Alaska fishing experience!
Size of the Alaska fishing Lodge operation – Are you looking for a smaller operation like 2-4 boats that allows the owners to sit and visit with you over a glass of wine by the fire overlooking the beautiful waterfront scenery talking about your day on the water and learning about you and your family? If the Lodge has several boats the operation can have more of a resort feel and can be less of a personal experience.
Staff to customer ratio – How many staff members do they have on their team to number of guests? Depending on the size of operation this will vary but can give a hint on what level of service the Alaska fishing lodge provides. It’s true their package price might be slightly higher, but the level of your experience will be elevated to meet most all expectations and generally the staff can be more friendly due to the culture set by the owners and their jobs being well defined. Again, attention to the details lends a great experience!
Cuisine – Does the Lodge have its own professional experienced chef who will serve delicious and filling meals and appetizers after that amazing full day on the water and raising your Lodge experience up yet another level? Do you make your own lunch each day or does the captain make it tailored to our liking with the toppings you like while on the boat, so it is fresh and crisp? Nothing like having a fresh crisp sandwich while reeling in a huge Alaska halibut!
Boats – How large are the boats for the area they fish in? If saltwater fishing, are the boats full 360-degree walk-arounds allowing you and your party to fish forward, aft and alongside of the cabin spreading everyone out in your party allowing ample room so you are not all crowded on one back deck with the captain and fish tote. Do the boats have twin outboard power offering safety, dependability, with no diesel fumes to smell while on your full 8–10-hour Alaska fishing days. Are the boat cabins scrubbed and cleaned daily with soap and water, windows cleaned daily so they are as pristine as the day they were new offering you a nice clean and no smell ride to the fishing grounds each morning while you enjoy a cup of coffee and a hot freshly made breakfast sandwich provided by the Lodge’s chef.
Fishing Equipment – Are the fishing rods and reels top brands like G-Loomis and Shimano and the best in the industry or are they a middle of the road standard brand? Your hands-on fishing experience should be done with top shelf equipment in good working condition making for a pleasurable and productive fishing experience.
Deckhands – Does the lodge provide quality and fully trained deckhands to help where needed on the boat or do you have to wait for new bait during a fast silver salmon bite while the captain is busy netting a fish? A deckhand helps keep the baits in the water and net multiple fish during that hot bite ultimately helping in your fishing experience. They also keep the boat clean and organized while fishing to help ensure your Alaska fishing experience is at its highest level.
Fish Processing – Does the lodge consider your fish processing to start while on the boat to bleed, fully gut and gill your salmon and pack separately from other species in a clean shaved ice bath while you are still fishing to ensure the best quality seafood you will ever get to take home and experience with friends and family; or is it the lodges standard practice to only cut the gills of the salmon and place in the same tote as your halibut, sea bass, lingcod and other species caught earlier creating a bloody salt water icy slurry? Does the Lodge cut your fish to a portion size you prefer and tailored to your family size?
#7 Call and speak with the top two or three Lodges to learn more!
When calling the lodge hopefully you can speak to one of the owners directly to learn who they are and more about their operation that you did not see on their website. If you find them easy to speak with and feel they are patient, genuine and have good command of the questions you ask, you’re off to a great start! Remember, no question is a dumb question so ask away! This is your hard-earned money you’re spending, and you should feel comfortable and know you will be taken care of on your Alaska fishing trip of a lifetime!
If your date you have in mind is not available listen and trust what they have to offer as a good alternative and make your decision after you learn more. Often, if the Lodge of your choice is dialed up and everything else is in the best of the best category, trust what the lodge owner offers as an option if that specific target species you want to fish for is there during that timeframe. Trusting someone whom you have just met is a hard thing to do but if you have done your research, you should have a good idea of the quality person on the other end of the line. Once you feel comfortable and feel it’s a good fit don’t hesitate to choose the date and get it booked. Many times, a person goes through the process to find the Alaska fishing Lodge they want to vacation with and gets the dates available then doesn’t get in touch with the members in their party soon enough only to find out later they waited too long to reserve the date given and they have been sold to another lucky party. Most all the Alaska lodges are on a first come first serve basis due to the high demand and short season.
I hope this helps you in your search for that Alaska fishing vacation of a lifetime!
Screamin’ Reels Lodge- Craig Alaska located on Prince of Wales Island