1. What are my options for a guided fishing trip in Alaska?
In remote parts of Alaska, such as Bristol Bay, Northwest Alaska, and the Arctic, most anglers stay at a lodge. This is generally a week long trip although a few lodges offer shorter stays. Given the amount of time and money it takes to access these areas, it is usually preferable to stay a week. The difference in price has to do with how each lodge accesses the fishing. A lodge that exclusively uses jet boats will be less expensive than one that flies you out in a float plane every day. A lodge that does a mix of the two will fall in between.
In more populated parts of the state, such as the Kenai Peninsula and Southeast Alaska, shorter excursions are possible. These areas tend to be easier to get to and many outfitters offer single day trips. Many of these outfitters do not have lodges per se but there are lots of options for accommodations.
2. Why are some lodges so expensive?
See above. We often hear anglers state "I'll pass on the fancy food and just go for the fishing." The food is a miniscule part of the price of a week's fishing. It has much more to do with how remote the lodge is and whether they are using jet boats, float planes, or both.
A couple of other things to keep in mind. Alaska is an enormous state. Remote takes on a whole new meaning compared to the Lower 48. Just about everything a lodge needs to operate has to come in by small plane or once a year on a barge after the rivers ice out. Large amounts of fuel are needed to run boats, planes, generators, etc. In 2008, fuel in remote villages was often over $8 per gallon. It is just flat out an expensive place to live and do business.
3. I want to bring my wife and kids. Would they have fun at a fishing lodge?
Some places are great for the whole family. These lodges usually have other activities besides fishing. If the rest of your family isn't keen on fishing seven days in a row, you need to pick your lodge carefully. If a family trip is what you want, contact us and we can come up with some suggestions.
4. What about a "Do It Yourself" trip?
You can definitely do a trip on your own. But first let's go over the pluses and minuses. On the plus side, you save money by not going to a lodge, get the satisfaction of putting your own trip together, most likely find some darn good fishing, and probably have some grand adventures. On the minus side, one person's grand adventure is another person's disaster. Realizing that the river you plan to float is actually a mile and half away over soggy tundra is not everyone's idea of a fun time. Renting a Forest Service Cabin only to find out there really isn't enough fishing to you keep you happy for a week is a bummer. Lodges and outfitters are paid to anticipate and avoid as many disasters as possible. Your tolerance for challenging situations is a good indicator if a DIY trip is the best thing for you.
5. Would I save money if I booked the trip directly with the lodge?
6. Why should I book with Alaska Fly Fishing Goods?
Our goal is make you happy. We want you to have a great trip and come back year after year. Everyone wins.
It is in our best interest to help find the best fit for your fishing trip. We don't have any particular lodge or outfitter we are trying to push you towards. We just want to find the one that you will be happiest with.
That being said, it is no accident that we don't book for every lodge out there. We are looking to offer you a variety of fishing experiences with the best outfitter in each area. We have fished with these lodges, guided at these lodges, and feel very confident recommending them.
7. When is the best time of year to come to Alaska to fish?
If I had to pick a time I would say July 17 at 3:42 in the afternoon. Just kidding. It is hard to pick a "best time" since it all depends upon what you want to fish for. Are you interested in catching salmon? Trout? Both? Or do want to target a specific species such as king salmon or rainbow trout? To understand Alaskan fishing, it is crucial to know that Alaska does not have resident fish that stay in a stream for an entire season. Trout and char move large distances throughout the season, and some even venture into the saltwater, in search of food. Salmon live a large part of their lives out at sea and return to spawn for a short window of opportunity. In other words timing is everything.
Here is a "Super-Basic" answer. In general, there is some kind of fishing going on from early May through early October. If you are interested in salmon fishing in the streams, July, August, and September are the best months. Most (but not all) streams have no salmon in them during May and June. Trout and char fishing is fairly good in May, quite good in June, and usually peaks in July, August, and September. For a first trip to Alaska, July 15 - August 15 will please most people.
For more specific guide lines, check out our run timing charts on each of the Alaska Region Pages. We have a specific chart for each region since a single species of fish may be present at very different times in different parts of the state. As well, some species only reside in certain parts of the state.