Join us on one of our exciting Alaska sport fishing excursions. We'll experience life "Alaskan-style" on this adventure. We'll take you fishing for halibut and salmon on the Outer Coast, in Chatham Strait, and in Frederick Sound. You'll set out crab traps and shrimp traps in small coves and bays, and retrieve them the following day. And if you're interested, bring your fly fishing or spin fishing gear! You'll have an opportunity to enjoy stream fishing for Cutthroat trout, Rainbow trout, Steelhead and Dolly Varden in an amazing wilderness.
We'll watch Alaskan fishermen at work on commercial fishing boats, observe an incredible array of wildlife, and take in the breathtaking scenery of the Inside Passage. You'll see charming harbors and fishing villages, as the captain guides us to unique and tantalizing places that no cruise ship sails to. Adventure travelers of all ages will enjoy a Sport Fishing Charter in the waters of the Inside Passage and the wilderness of Southeast Alaska.
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!
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!
Drop a line from the For Reel with one of our four 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.
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.
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.
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.
Dungeness Crab.The Dungeness crab inhabits bays, estuaries, and the nearshore coast of Alaska. The species is named after one of its representative habitats — a shallow, sandy bay inside of Dungeness Spit on the south shore of the Straits of Juan de Fuca. It is widely distributed, and can be found as far north as the Aleutian Islands and as far south as Magdalena Bay, Mexico. The Dungeness crab is a decapod, related to shrimp, lobster, and other crab. It has a broad, oval body covered by a hard chitinous shell, four pairs of walking legs and a pair of claws. This species can be distinguished from other commercially important crab (King Crab and Tanner crab) because its legs are much smaller and shorter in relation to its body size, and because the dorsal surface of its carapace is smooth and spineless.
Spot Prawns. These Alaska Prawns are a large shrimp found in the North Pacific. They range from the waters off Unalaska Island, Alaska, to San Diego. We catch these wonderful shrimp in small pots in deep, cold water. These are the cleanest, purest shrimp in the world — there's no back vein to remove. Spot Prawns occur in sufficient numbers to support several small commercial and recreational fisheries. The commercial spot prawn industry is considered sustainable.
Many of our guests spend multiple days fishing. 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.
Fly Fishing. The intent of fly fishing is to "trick" a fish on an artificial fly that is made with pieces like feathers and fur. The desire of most fly fisherman is to challenge themselves with a more difficult form of fishing, and to catch as many fish as possible during the experience. This concept is at the core of fly fishing. Arguably it is more peaceful, and it has been branded as a "pure" way to catch a fish. A trout will prefer insect imitations (most of the time), and using lures with spin fishing just doesn't give you as many options to catch fish across trout waters. Today, fly fisherman try to catch anything and everything on a fly rod, and are able to do so in most cases. To say that fly fishing is "trout fishing" is really untrue.
Spin Fishing. The goal of spin fishing is to catch lots of fish. It is a more versatile way to fish, especially if you're going for species other than trout, and it can produce incredible results. Crankbaits and other resistance lures which can only be used with spin rods give spin fishing a consistent edge over fly fishing on most days. Though the skill of the angler often trumps the approach when comparing an equally skilled spin fisherman or fly fisherman, spin fishing is consistently the better approach if the location is not on a river fishing for trout. The true intent of spin fishing is results-driven, and it is arguably easier than fly fishing.
The fishing opportunities change in Alaska’s streams as the spring and summer seasons unfold. From May through mid-June, we often find steelhead trout in the upper stretches of rivers. One of the ultimate freshwater fighting fish in the world, steelhead can be a challenge to hook. Imagine a 20-pound fish leaping 4' out of the water, and streaking away on a powerful run — putting you in hot pursuit to keep your line from being stripped!
Cutthroat trout and Dolly Varden can also provide good fun during this period. During May, most of the Dolly Varden move out of the upper reaches of rivers, into salt water and near the river mouths. There they feed on small ocean fish and invertebrates. We often find concentrations of Dolly Varden in the lower tidal areas of streams, where their main food source is out-migrating salmon fry. If you get onto the right presentation, you may experience some of the best "catching" of your life.
Salmon start moving into the streams on their spawning cycle in early July. By mid-July, Pink salmon offer abundant opportunities to catch 4- to 7-pound fighters. Mix in some Sockeye salmon and Chum salmon, and include a few Dolly Vardens which have followed the salmon up rivers, and the streams can be "alive" with thousands of fish. In late August and early September, Silver salmon move into the rivers. You will get a hit, followed by a 7- to 15-pound Silver clearing the water several times, before settling into strong combat. Keep the drag loose! They will easily break 10-lb line.
Six clients are the maximum on our stream fishing trips. On most days, we won't see any other visitors on the river, other than bears and eagles. 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 hike to get to the perfect location, but we have great flexibility to choose from several streams, which can reduce hiking distances.
There is great stream fishing on Admiralty Island, Baranof Island, Chichagof Island and Kuiu Island, along many of the rivers which feed into Chatham Strait and Frederick Sound. In fact, some of our clients have told us they have had "the best fishing day of their lives" here. We’d like to do our part to keep it that way.
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.
We will help you maximize your experience on the rivers we fish. We'll provide boat transportation, either by the 28’ For Reel or our 16’ Lund skiff, to several different streams. If you have your own equipment (including fly fishing and spin fishing gear, boots, fishing vests, jackets and waders), by all means bring them. 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. With larger groups, we sometimes bring a pack raft up the river, for ease in transporting extra gear in dry bags.
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.
Our stream fishing destinations are in an area of the Tongass National Forest that sees very few visitors and has no roads. For fishermen, the trip includes casting 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 usually see bears, eagles, and whales. The area is a photographer's dream, with orcas, sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, and hundreds of shorebirds populating the rugged coastline.
Artic Char. 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.
Cutthroat Trout. 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.
Dolly Varden. 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.
Rainbow Trout. 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.
Steelhead Trout. In Alaska, the two commonly recognized forms of Rainbow Rrout 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.
Master fishing guide Doug Ogilvy spent over twenty years as a full-time commercial salmon fisherman and bottom-fish long-liner, and is now "semi-retired." With an additional twenty years of sport-fishing and stream-fishing experience on the ocean, streams, and in the wilderness of Alaska, Doug has extensive knowledge of fishing opportunities in this beautiful area.
Doug will give you a good day on one of the many rivers and creeks along our route of travel. He's always happy to give lessons on fly-casting or spin-casting equipment and technique.
One productive fishing area is the Goulding Lakes and Goulding River system, one of the largest drainages on Chichagof Island. An impressive waterfall is accessible by hiking a trail that starts along the remains of an old mule-drawn mining-cart rail line. The trail continues into open muskeg, toward the shore of the first lake. where the waterfall blocks passage of salmon runs into the lake. There is over a mile of challenging stream we can fish below the falls. Steelhead, Cutthroat and Dolly Varden can be found here in May and June.
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.
Days 2-4: Several outlet streams offer narrow, fast-moving water that cannot be paddled. Conditions permitting, we will hike up these streams to small lakes. These lakes holds Cutthroat, Rainbows and Dolly Varden, and we may find Steelhead in the outlet stream, or one of several of the inlet streams. It is a beautiful and calm area, and a wonderful place to spend part of the day fishing. We'll explore a narrow estuarine entrance, and then hike through muskeg to another small lake. This pristine wilderness lake has a waterfall on the outlet which blocks passage of fish from the ocean. The surrounding area is rich salmon bay.
Days 5-7: Each day of our trip will offer an opportunity for exploration, with good fishing and hiking. The group may split into sport fishing or stream fishing sub-groups, depending upon each individuals' preference. We travel through an area of relatively protected waters, with dozens of islands to explore, and several good river systems.
Day 8: We will pack up our fly-casting and spin-casting gear, and arrive at our destination.
I just wanted to send a note of thanks for giving me several great days of fishing. The places were outstanding, and it was an experience I will treasure and long remember. I especially appreciated your help and patience with me — considering that I am such a novice fisherman. With a little help, I actually caught several fish, which I never expected. Thanks!
Doug was very easy to work with. We described what we were interested in seeing and doing, and Doug took our group to some great locations. We thoroughly enjoyed our days on the river, and got some great fish — which we were happy to release.