Family Adventure

Alaska Wilderness Charters Paddleboard Photography Fishing

On a family charter, you'll have the opportunity to do it all — fishing, hiking, paddling, photography and wildlife viewing.

Fishing. Hiking. Whales!

Alaska Wilderness Charters, Alaska Photography Workshop, Alaska PaddleboardAuke Bay Harbor

The rugged Alaska coast offers limitless opportunities for uncrowded, pristine adventure. On our Family/Group Charters, you'll experience hiking, kayaking, surfing and paddleboard adventures in the astonishing blue-green waters of calm coves and bays, and among haunting icebergs adrift in mystical fjords.

Family Charters

Join us on one of our scheduled eight-day family charters. You'll enjoy observing the amazing wildlife and breathtaking scenery of Southeast Alaska, home to eagles, black and brown bears, humpback whales, orcas, stellar sea lions, sea otters, porpoises and harbor seals. The 95' Glacier Bear is an outstanding platform from which to launch your adventure, and a nice warm place to relax after daily sessions. The Crew will pamper you, while the Captain maneuvers Glacier Bear to place you in the perfect location.

Schedule Your Trip

  • Trip Dates: Custom Charter
  • Starts: Juneau or Sitka
  • Ends: Sitka or Juneau
Crabbing

Toss out the crab traps in one of our many productive locations, and (with a bit of luck) we'll haul in a bounty of delectable Dungeness crab. All-you-can eat crab dinners simply do not come any fresher or more delicious!

Alaska Wilderness Charters, Alaska Photography Workshop, Alaska PaddleboardBald Eagle
Hiking

People throughout the world enjoy hiking in the wilderness, usually on established trails. Hiking in Southeast Alaska is best suited for those who are in good physical condition, as it may require walking on unimproved trails, often for several miles. Sometimes it is necessary to climb steep paths on mountainsides, and cross small streams. The reward for this effort can be a serene mountain lake, a beautiful view of the surrounding wilderness, and photos of wildlife seen along the way.

Kayaking

The Inuit invented the kayak, a light, narrow, and maneuverable boat with an enclosed cockpit, propelled by a double-bladed paddle. Kayaks were crafted by stretching oiled hides from sea mammals over wooden or whale rib frameworks. Most were designed for a single person, but some had an additional seat for a passenger.

Paddleboard

The rugged Alaska coast offers limitless opportunities for uncrowded, pristine paddling adventures. Stand up paddle surfing and stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is an offshoot of surfing that originated in Hawaii. Unlike traditional surfing where the rider sits until a wave comes, stand up paddleboarders stand on their boards and use a paddle to propel themselves through the water.

Shrimping

We've got a secret we'll be happy to share with you. We know where the Spot Prawns and Striped Prawns are! We'll set out shrimp traps on our way to a secluded anchorage for the evening. Then we'll haul up our catch in the morning. Prepared simply and elegantly by our chef, Alaska's large and tender Spot and Striped Prawns are the best of the best!

Alaska Wilderness Charters, Alaska Photography Workshop, Alaska PaddleboardSanford Cove
Sport Fishing

Drop a line from the For Reel with one of our four our professional-quality fishing rods and reels, and test your luck and skill at bringing in Halibut, King Salmon or Rockfish. Your "catch of the day" will be fileted by our fishing guide and can be fresh-frozen or prepared by our chef that evening, for an unmatched culinary delight.

Whale-Watching

Whale-watching is a popular activity on Alaska charters. Unfortunately, these interactions of whales with humans can negatively affect whale populations. Occasionally boaters cruise too close to whales, preventing the animals from hunting for food, or inadvertently separating mothers from their calves. Alaska Wilderness Charters has a deep commitment to protecting the natural resources we share with our guests.

Wildlife

Marine mammals thrive in this area, and the opportunities to see these majestic animals are many. On a typical trip we usually see humpback whales, orcas, harbor seals, sea lions, sea otters, and Alaska brown bears. Alaska Wilderness Charters helps to maintain the wildness of the beaches, forests, rivers and waterways we visit. It's our commitment to the wildlife and the land itself.

Alaska Wilderness Charters Paddleboard Photography Fishing

an experienced guide will lead you to great locations for photography.

Alaska Fishing — A Wilderness Adventure!

Alaska Wilderness Charters, Alaska Photography Workshop, Alaska PaddleboardCORY ATTACHES ANOTHER FLY

Six clients are the maximum permissable on our fishing boat, the 28' For Reel. On most days, we'll see very few other people fishing in the locations we've selected. If we do encounter another group, we can quickly move to a different location. “Combat fishing” is not in the works!

Novice or experienced — we'll make each day work for you. We often cruise directly to get to the perfect location, but we have great flexibility to choose from several alternative fishing spots, if conditions are not right.

Many of our guests spend multiple days fishing on our charters. Generally, a couple of days of successful fishing for salmon and halibut provides all the frozen fish you'll need for home use. We’ll be happy to clean and freeze your fish for you. When you arrive at your destination in Juneau or Sitka, there are excellent fish processors that can pack and ship your catch.

The area is a photographer's dream, with humpback whales and orcas, sea otters and river otters, sea lions and seals, brown bears and black bears, and hundreds of bald eagles and other shorebirds populating the rugged coastline and inland meadows and forest.

What We Provide

We'll help you maximize your experience in the areas we fish. We provide an experienced fishing guide and boat transportation, using either our 28’ For Reel or our 16’ Lund skiff. If you have your own fishing gear (including fly fishing and spin fishing gear, boots, fishing vests, jackets and waders), by all means bring what you trust. Alaska Wilderness Charters has a limited supply of waders, plus some basic fly fishing and spin fishing gear. We also carry a small first aid kit.

Alaska Wilderness Charters, Alaska Photography Workshop, Alaska PaddleboardFISHING GUIDE JODY

What You Need to Bring

Between the sunny days in Alaska, it can be cool and damp. You'll need to bring rain gear, rubber boots, and some warm clothing — see Recommended Gear. The stream waters are always chilly. We will be wearing waders when fishing, but long pants or long underwear bottoms beneath them can be a nice thing — especially if you choose to stand in water much of the day. A small day pack is handy for your binoculars, camera (be sure to store it in a zip-lock bag) and some extra clothing. Anyone over the age of 12 will need an Alaska fishing license. The same license applies for salt water fishing.

Adventure Fishing

Our fishing destinations are in areas of the Alaska Wilderness that see very few visitors and have no roads. For avid fishermen, the trip offers spin-casting or fly-sighing in streams where steelhead, cutthroat and rainbow trout, Dolly Varden (Arctic Char), and salmon thrive. If you don’t like to fish (but your partner does), be sure to bring your binoculars and camera — the wilderness areas we go to are stunningly beautiful, and we often see bears, eagles, and other wildlife.

Alaska Salmon

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing

King (Chinook). These are the largest Alaskan salmon, and one of the most prized catches. Kings are valued for their rich flavor and firm texture, as well as their massive size. They usually weigh around 20 pounds; the record weight is 97 pounds. Kings are particularly prized because they are rumored to be fattier, thanks to cold temperatures and a long migration. Kings are excellent smoked, but also taste great grilled, baked, poached or any other way you can think to cook them up.

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing

Sockeye (Red). Sockeye salmon (Red) is sometimes called red or blueback salmon, due to its color. Sockeye are blue tinged with silver in color while living in the ocean. Two distinguishing features are their long, serrated gill rakers that range from 30 to 40 in number, and their lack of a spot on their tail or back. Another highly valued Pacific salmon, sockeye are not as large as kings, but they have a rich, deep color and a high oil content. Flavorful and beautiful, sockeye salmon presents well on the plate, and their density makes them a favorite for sushi. This fish also pairs well with other strong flavors.

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing

Coho (Silver). Coho salmon are another favored wild salmon. Aggressive and fast, these smaller fish (averaging 10 pounds) congregate at the mouths of rivers to wait for appropriate weather or high tide. They are popular with sport fishermen, and their meat is also prized. Coho salmon's flesh is more orange than red, and it has a mild flavor, with the firm flesh that is typical of the top three types of Alaska wild salmon. During their ocean phase, Coho salmon (Silver) have silver sides and dark-blue backs. It is a favorite for grilling and canning.

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing

Pink (Humpy). In the ocean, Pink salmon (Humpy) are bright silver fish. After returning to their spawning streams, their coloring changes to pale grey on the back with yellowish-white belly (although some turn an overall dull green color). Pale in color and light in texture, pink salmon have a lower fat content compared to kings, reds and silvers. They are the smallest of the five Pacific salmon, averaging 3 to 5 pounds. They are also the most abundant, and are easily caught and processed. Pinks are usually canned and sold in Europe and the South, and big blocks of the meat are also shipped to China. Alaskans are notoriously snobby about their salmon, and tend to stick to the three more popular varieties. Pinks are an excellent source of protein.

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing

Chum (Dog). The least desirable of the five Pacific salmon, chum have the lowest market value, and are often sold to foreign markets. Though they are not as firm and rich as king, red or silver salmon, chum are an excellent source of protein, and have enough oil to be versatile in cooking. In fact, many believe that chum salmon have a bad rap. At the very least, chum are p[referable to farmed salmon. If caught in the ocean and processed well, chum can make a tasty, lightly-flavored dish. Chum's roe (eggs) are the most valuable of all the Pacific salmon, and they are often caught for the roe alone.

Alaska Sport Fish

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing

Halibut. The Pacific halibut is the world's largest flatfish. In July 2014, 76-year-old Jack McGuire caught a 482-pound Pacific halibut in Glacier Bay, Alaska. Halibut are dark brown on the top side, with an off-white underbelly and have very small scales invisible to the naked eye embedded in their skin. Halibut are symmetrical at birth with one eye on each side of the head. Then, about six months later, during larval metamorphosis one eye migrates to the other side of the head. The eyes are permanently set once the skull is fully ossified. At the same time, the stationary-eyed side darkens to match the top side, while the other side remains white. This color scheme disguises halibut from above (blending with the ocean floor) and from below (blending into the light from the sky) and is known as countershading.

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing

Yelloweye Rockfish. The yelloweye rockfish is one of the biggest members of the genus. Its name derives from its coloration. Known to locals as "red snapper", it is not to be confused with the warm-water species that formally carries the name Red Snapper. The yelloweye is one of the world's longest-lived fish species, and can to live to a maximum of 114 to 120 years. As they grow older, they change in color, from reddish in youth, to bright orange in adulthood, to pale yellow in old age. Yelloweye live in rocky areas, and feed on small fish and other rockfish. They range from Baja California to Dutch Harbor in Alaska. Yelloweye rockfish are prized for their meat, and were declared overfished in 2002. Commercial fishing for yelloweye has been suspended.

Respect for the Resource

Many of our guests spend multiple days fishing on our charters. Generally, a couple of days of successful fishing for salmon and halibut provides all the frozen fish you'll need for home use. We’ll be happy to clean and freeze your fish for you. When you arrive at your destination in Juneau or Sitka, there are excellent fish processors that can pack and ship your catch.

Alaska Freshwater Fish

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing
Artic Char
(Salvelinus alpinus) to 20 lb. (9.1 kg)

The Arctic char is closely related to both salmon and lake trout, and has many characteristics of both. The fish is highly variable in colour, depending on the time of year and the environmental conditions of the lake where it lives. Record-sized fish have been taken by anglers in northern Canada, where it is known as iqaluk or tariungmiutaq in Inuktitut. The flesh colour can range from a bright red to a pale pink.

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing
Cutthroat Trout
(Oncorhynchus clarkii) to 14.8 lb. (6.7 kg)

Throughout their native and introduced ranges, cutthroat trout vary widely in size, coloration and habitat selection. Their coloration can range from golden to gray to green on the back. Cutthroat trout can generally be distinguished from rainbow trout by the presence of basibranchial teeth at the base of tongue and a maxillary that extends beyond the posterior edge of the eye. Depending on subspecies, strain and habitat, most have distinctive red, pink, or orange linear marks along the underside of their mandibles in the lower folds of the gill plates. These markings are responsible for the common name "cutthroat", first given to the trout by outdoor writer Charles Hallock in an 1884 article in The American Angler.

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing
Dolly Varden
(Salvelinus malma) to 13.2 lb. (6 kg)

The back and sides of Dolly Varden are olive green or muddy gray, shading to white on the belly. The body has scattered pale yellow or pinkish-yellow spots. There are no black spots or wavy lines on the body or fins. Small red spots are present on the lower sides. These are frequently indistinct. The fins are plain and unmarked except for a few light spots on the base of the caudal fin rays. S. malma is extremely similar in appearance to the Arctic char (S. alpinus), so much so that they are sometimes referred to as "native char" without a distinction.

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing
Rainbow Trout
(Oncorhynchus mykiss) to 55 lb. (25 kg)

Rainbow and steelhead trout are the most widely known trout in the world, and they are highly prized by anglers because of their strong fighting abilities. Freshwater resident rainbow trout usually inhabit and spawn in small to moderately large, well-oxygenated shallow rivers with gravel bottoms. They are native to the alluvial or freestone streams that are typical tributaries of the Pacific basin, but introduced rainbow trout have established wild, self-sustaining populations in other river types such as bedrock and spring creeks. Lake resident rainbow trout are usually found in moderately deep, cool lakes with adequate shallows and vegetation to support production of sufficient food sources. Lake populations generally require access to gravelly bottomed streams to be self-sustaining.

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing
Steelhead Trout
(Oncorhynchus mykiss) to 55 lb. (25 kg)

In Alaska, the two commonly recognized forms of Tainbow trout are based primarily on where they spend their time feeding and maturing. The most common Rainbow trout in Alaska is the stream-resident form, known as Rainbow trout. The Rainbow trout lives its life entirely in freshwater, with perhaps short periods of time spent in estuarine or near-shore marine waters. The second form is commonly known as the Steelhead trout. These trout leave freshwater as juveniles and migrate long distances in the ocean, where they grow to maturity before migrating back to their original home waters.

Alaska Wilderness Charters Paddleboard Photography Fishing

There's nothing that compares to watching eagles soaring near the water's edge. WE'll get fairly close without disrupting them.

Alaska Wildlife Viewing

Alaska Wilderness Charters Paddleboard Photography FishingAlaska Brown Bear
Black Bears and Brown Bears

There are more than 50,000 black bears and 35,000 brown bears living in Alaska’s untamed wilderness. They're lumbering through berry-covered hillsides, raising their young and slapping at salmon-choked rivers. But unlike moose, you probably won't casually encounter bears along most roads. You really have to go searching.

That’s one reason why bear-viewing tours are some of the pricier excursions you can take in Alaska. Most tour operators gain access to bears’ prime locations by way of a small plane, though some tours will take you on a boat. But it’s completely worth the price—these are just about the best wildlife viewing experiences you can have.

Indeed, many companies actually guarantee sightings. They do so because they know when and where to find the peak locations for the major salmon runs each summer. Those snow-fed rivers are shallow, swift, and clear, and they offer a spectacle in themselves— because, along with the arrival of the bright red schools of fish also come the bears.

When you take a tour, you’ll see bears congregating near the water—playing, sunbathing, and teaching their young fishing technique—and you can get fairly close without disrupting the event (and, of course, stay safe). You’ll likely also see the bears start feeding with a frenzy. It's not unusual to see 15 or 20 of them throughout the course of the day—and literally tens of thousands of spawning red salmon. For an extended experience, choose a bear viewing lodge or boat tour.

Marine Wildlife Viewing
Alaska Wilderness Charters Paddleboard Photography FishingHumpback Whale

Alaskan waters feature a huge array of wildlife. We'll take you into pristine waters and along undeveloped coastlines — a great activity for the whole family, since teveryone loves watching whales, orcas, Stellar sea lions, and harbor seals.

Our Captain and Crew are always on the lookout for wildlife, and will stop the boat to drift along when they’ve spotted something good — such as a whale, porpoises, or even eagles, who like to be near the prime fishing locations. You'll probably see hundreds of harbor seals basking on the icebergs around you, and any number of glaucous-winged gulls, artic terns, sea otters or Dall’s porpoises. You may also see dozens of otters, floating in "rafts" in the open waters, or hundreds of shore birds swirling above their rookeries, with their carefully crafted nests tucked among the rocks.

Day 1: We will explore the waters and island shorelines near our first anchorage. Those interested in stream fishing can try their luck in nearby short outlet streams, or they can fish for saltwater species in the surrounding kelp beds. Keep on the lookout for bears!

Days 2-4: This pristine wilderness is abundant with whales and other marine widlife, seemingly at every turn. The surrounding waters and streams are rich with carcasses of dead fish, plus schools of millions of herring and other small fish. Large predators like brown bears and transient orcas are constantly searching for food.

Days 5-7: Each day of our trip offers an opportunity for wildlife exploration, with good fishing, photography and paddling too. The group may split into fishing, hiking, paddling, photography or wildlife viewing sub-groups, depending upon each individuals' preference. We travel through an area of relatively protected waters, with dozens of islands to explore, several good river systems, and idyllic bays and coves.

Day 8: We will pack up our gear, and arrive at our destination.

Alaska Wilderness Charters Paddleboard Photography Fishing

You'll enjoy seeing the amazing wildlife and breathtaking scenery of Southeast Alaska, and observing commercial fisherman at work!

Our Guests Speak Highly Of Us!

Alaska Wilderness Charters, Alaska Photography Workshop, Alaska PaddleboardWarm Springs Harbor

  The trip of a lifetime. Every moment of the experience was a true blessing. The Captain, Neil Nickerson and the Crew, Jeff Polizzotto and Al Smith, were the best ever. We were fortunate to have John Schnell, an amazing photographer and guide, with us as well. I highly, highly, highly recommend the trip. One month later and I'm still feeling inspired by the beauty and mystique of Alaska.  

— Amy Giertych, Illinois

  Sailing for a week on Glacier Bear with Captain Neil was one of the greatest vacations! We cruised from Sitka to Juneau, and we saw the most amazing wildlife. We were one with the wilderness. The hiking, fishing, kayaking, paddleboard and photo opportunities were "bar none." This is a wonderful and intimate experience. You'll be spoiled by the crew — Al and Jeff were on board with us. And you will eat fresh and excellent food.  

— Carol Soo, Illinois

Alaska Wilderness Charters Paddleboard Photography Fishing

an Alaska charter is a great activity for the whole family, since everyone loves watching whales, orcas, and Stellar sea lions.

Family

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Family Charters

Fishing

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Sport fishing and Stream Fishing

Paddleboard

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Paddleboard

Photo-Video

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Photography

Wildlife

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Bears, Eagles and Whales

Alaska Wilderness Charters Paddleboard Photography Fishing