If you’re looking to book an Alaskan fishing trip but don’t know where to start, or you’re already exhausted by looking at all the options, here are 6 tips to help you narrow down the perfect fishing adventure for you:
1. Pole versus Rod
There are lodges that cater to spin fishermen and lodges that focus solely on fly-fishing, and some that offer good waters for both methods.
If you’re a spin fisherman interested in trying out fly-fishing, then choose a lodge that offers one-on-one expert guided trips. Don’t pick a lodge that has a guide for every five fishermen because they’ll be able to tell you where to fish, but likely not how to fish. There’s a big difference between a fishing guide and a fishing teacher.
If you’re an expert fly-fisherman, make sure to inquire about the type of waters you’ll be getting into. Fishing small streams that you can wade into is a lot more fun for the expert angler than being planted on a shore all day where you’re tangling line with ten other people.
If you’re more of a novice fly-fishermen, then don’t choose waters where fish are going to spook easily. Or streams where you can’t practice your back cast without hooking the tree behind you.
2. Water Hog versus Social Butterfly
Only 20% of Alaska is accessible by road, so the bulk of fishing lodges need to be accessed by boat or aircraft. But how remote do you want to go? There are some lodges so remote that you won’t see another angler the entire week. These lodges tend to cater to the fly-fishermen and are often more expensive. There are also lower cost fly-in fishing lodges that are easily assessible by float plane, or jet boat, but the downside is that their waters tend to get crowded during peak season.
3. One Day versus One Week
If you’re wanting a one-day fishing excursion, don’t go with a remote fly-out fishing lodge because flying in Alaska is dependent on weather. You don’t want your one-day Alaskan fishing trip to accidentally turn into three days due to crappy weather. If you’re looking for a one-day trip, I suggest choosing a lodge accessible by river boat or car. The downside to easily assessible waters is that you’ll be fishing with a lot of other anglers, so be sure to pack your patience.
If you want a week-long fishing trip, choose a lodge that has access to a variety of waters. You don’t want to be fishing the same stream every day, nor do you want to fish the same place the lodge across the river went fishing at the day before. Choose a lodge that doesn’t have a lot of nearby competition that can get you by aircraft to a different stream every day.
4. July versus September
If you’re gunning for a huge steelhead or rainbow trout, or want to focus on landing a massive king salmon, you’re in luck when it comes to fishing in Alaska. One day you may catch a rainbow on a mouse, or a grayling on a dry-fly, and the next day you’ll hook a silver salmon on an egg sucking leach. Most lodges offer this kind of variety, but if it’s a specific species of salmon you’re looking to catch, make sure you inquire about timing. Each lodge sees the salmon run at different times throughout the summer. Figuring out what species of fish you’re interested in is a great way to narrow your search down.
5. 30 Anglers versus 6 Anglers
There are fishing lodges that take 30 guests per week, and some that are more intimate and only take 6 to 8. There are fishing lodges that are set up for bigger parties, and partying in general, and there are family run operations perfect for an older couple celebrating their anniversary. Some lodges offer a variety of outdoor activities, which can be great for families with younger kids, and some lodges cater to anglers who would be tickled pink to fish seven days straight. What type of wilderness adventure is right for you?
6. Meat Fishing versus Catch & Release
If you’re interested in taking a box of fresh-frozen salmon home with you, then don’t pick a lodge that specializes in catch-and-release. Instead I suggest you choose a lodge that is set up with deep freezers and salmon packers specific for their guests use. Lodges in Alaska’s Southeast are great for meat fishing, as are one-day salt water excursions. But before you get your hopes set too high, be sure to check out Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s website to know how many fish each angler is allowed because it changes each summer.
Talaheim Lodge versus The Others
If you’re an angler interested in a week-long remote fly-fishing adventure with one-on-one expert guides to help you access a variety of small waters then Talaheim Lodge might be your place. With over 40 years of experience, Talaheim is one of the only lodges in Alaska that has two helicopters available for their guests use. This means you’ll be heli-fishing at least five times during your trip and have access to rivers and streams not accessible to fixed wing aircraft's or boats. The only other fisherman you’ll see all week is your fishing buddy– so choose your traveling companion wisely!
Talaheim also offers access to a variety of fish including rainbow trout, char, grayling, and five species of salmon. We cater to both the novice fly-fisherman and the expert, and have guides suited to your specific needs. To preserve the wilderness environment and personal attention, Talaheim Lodge only takes 8 guests per week, from June 20th to Sept 7th, so be sure to book your trip at least six months in advance as we do fill up.
We are booking for 2020 Alaskan fishing trips right now. Here is more information about our season and fishing schedule and our rates for an Alaskan fishing trip. You can also see what past anglers have said about their Talaheim experience.
Photo Cred: Thanks to our fishing guide, Trevor Reid for his great eye! You can find more pics from Trevor @ruggedphotography and @talaheimguides