Fishing Charters

All Photos  John Schnell

A Genuine Alaskan Experience!

Alaska Wilderness Charters, Alaska Photography Workshop, Alaska Paddleboard
Salmon and Halibut Fishing

Join us on one of our exciting Alaskan fishing excursions. We'll experience life "Alaskan-style" on this adventure. We'll take you sport 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.

Crabbing

Toss out the crab traps in one of our many productive locations, and (fingers crossed) 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!

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!

Sport Fishing

Drop a line from the Vitamin Sea 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.

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.

However, if your primary interest is in taking home maximum poundage, we are probably not the right fishing charter for you.

Adventure Fishing

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Fly Fishing and Spin Fishing

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.

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Respect for The Resource

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.

Our fishing guide will do his best to give you a good day on the stream. This does not mean filling a cooler with the legal bag limit of fish. We will be fishing with barbless hooks, and trying to minimize mortality on fish released. Bringing a couple of fish back to Glacier Bear for supper is fine. We are equally comfortable with bringing out a few late season "bright" Silvers.

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.

However, if your primary interest is in taking home maximum poundage, we are probably not the right fishing charter for you.

What We Provide

We will help you maximize your experience on the rivers we fish. We'll provide boat transportation, either by the 27’ Vitamin Sea or our 14’ 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.

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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 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 often see bears, eagles, and other wildlife.

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.

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.

Our Stream Fishing Guide

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Master fishing guide Doug Ogilvy currently resides in Durango, Colorado. Doug lived in Gustavus, Alaska for more than thirty years, and after spending twenty years as a full-time commercial salmon fisherman and bottom fish long-liner, he is now "semi-retired." With over forty years of commercial fishing, 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.

Stream Fishing Schedule

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

Days 2-4: Nearby outlet streams offer narrow, fast-moving water that cannot be paddled. Conditions permitting, we will hike up a stream to a small lake. The lake 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 are in 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.

Sitka to Juneau Itinerary

Alaska Wilderness Charters, Alaska Photography Workshop, Alaska Paddleboard

[ For our Juneau to Sitka Alaska Adventure trips, we will follow the reverse order of this itinerary. Participants should plan to arrive on a regularly scheduled Alaska Airlines flight in Juneau, Alaska on the day prior to our trip departure. You will have the afternoon and evening free to explore the sights in Juneau! We will provide you with a list of lodges, including the Westmark Baranof. ]

While we have a carefully planned schedule, each trip may differ slightly, depending upon wind and tides, weather conditions, wildlife viewing opportunities, and the goals of participants. Plan to arrive in Sitka, Alaska on a regularly scheduled Alaska Airlines flight on the day prior to our trip departure. You will have the afternoon and evening free to explore the sights in Sitka! We will provide you with a list of lodges, including the Westmark Sitka.

Day 1: A long and exciting day awaits us. After an early breakfast (on your own), passengers are invited to come aboard Glacier Bear at 8:00 am. The crew will familiarize you with your quarters, and show you where to stow your gear.

Soon we're underway, cruising north through the protected waters of Olga and Neva Straits. By late morning we arrive at Kalinin Bay, on Kruzof Island. As we navigate the narrow entrance to the bay, playful sea otters often paddle slowly past us. Today we'll explore pristine Alaskan wilderness on Kruzof Island. Our skiff provides access to the bay, and can also ferry us to shore. Harbor Seals will keep a close eye on us as we quietly paddle by. From our protected anchorage at Kalinin Bay, we'll explore Kruzof Island for the entire day.

The rugged trail to Sealion Cove is a six-mile hike through forest and muskeg, past an alpine lake, to a lovely white sand beach. The cove is on the Pacific Ocean, and big waves are always breaking. Locals come to here to ride the extreme surf of the outer coast. But it's also a wonderful for beach coming, hiking, photography, relaxing in the sand, or just simply taking in the views. Our first stop will be at the Iris Meadows estuary, full of beautiful wild flowers, and a great place to see brown bears and Sitka black-tail deer. Experienced kayakers and paddlers can pack in their boats, and explore the area on the water. We'll explore the alpine lake, ringed with waterfalls.

We'll leave Kalinin Bay in the late afternoon after our exciting day at Kruzof Island, and cruise through Salisbury Sound and Hayward Strait, arriving at our evening anchorage at Appleton Cove, and an opportunity for an optional evening paddle.

Day 2: Glacier Bear is underway early. On our journey this morning, we'll encounter the Sergius Narrows. Here the shore seems close enough to touch, and a strong current flows through the channel markers. The forest is hushed, except for the occasional call of an Arctic tern. As we enter the Narrows, we'll power Glacier Bear through the strong current. A mere hundred feet away, the forest passes by, ever so slowly. Next we pass Deadman's Beach, a location that lives up to it name. In the 1800's, Russian fur traders frequently visited Southeast Alaska to hunt for sea otters. They captured many Aleuts, enslaving them to help with the hunt. Their attempt to enslave the Tlingits, however, ended in disaster. A group of Russian trappers captured several Tlingits, and insisted that they prepare dinner. The Tlingits went out on the tidal flats and collected clams and mussels – and the Russians ate their fill. Unfortunately the shellfish were toxic with paralytic shell poisoning. The Russians perished along this stretch of beach, and ever since since it has been called Deadman's Beach.

In early afternoon, we arrive at Baranof Warm Springs Bay, where a natural hot spring is situated next to a rushing waterfall. Baranof Warm Springs is the outlet of Baranof Lake and the Baranof River. There are natural outdoor hot pools, and a public bath house which features three separate tubs and communal hot springs pools. A boardwalk takes us through the flora and fauna to picturesque Baranof Lake.

After our short stop, we'll continue south down Chatham Strait. We'll cruise east into Frederick Sound, across the top of Kuiu Island. Humpback whales surround us along the way, showing us their tail flukes, and slapping the water with their pectoral flippers. We can smell their fishy breath as they surface, and spout through their blowholes. As we exit Chatham Strait, we'll begin looking for larger pods of humpback whales, this time exhibiting a number of varied feeding behaviors. Some practice bubble-net feeding, swimming in circles while blowing bubbles to form a curtain to corral in a mass of tiny fish. Others practice lunge feeding, breaking the surface at a 45-degree angle, mouth fully open, and throat cavities expanded like an accordion to collect all the fish scooped up by the lunging maneuver.

Our anchorage this evening is in Security Bay, located on the north side of Kuiu Island. It provides safe haven for Glacier Bear, in an area of open water facing Frederick Sound and Chatham Strait. Another opportunity for an optional evening paddle?

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Days 3: After breakfast this morning, we'll continue our journey. We'll cruise east through Frederick Sound, across the top of Kupreanof Island. Small pods of transient orcas are often seen along the way, showing us their large dorsal fins as they pass us. We smell their fishy breath as they surface, spouting through their blowholes.

As we reach the southern edge of Admiralty Island, we'll start looking for larger pods of humpback whales, this time exhibiting a number of varied feeding behaviors. Some practice bubble-net feeding, swimming in circles while blowing bubbles to form a curtain to corral in a mass of tiny fish. Others practice lunge feeding, breaking the surface at a 45-degree angle, mouth fully open, and throat cavities expanded like an accordion to collect all the fish scooped up by the lunging maneuver.

We'll anchor in an idyllic setting known as Scenery Cove, inside of Pybus Bay,. The sounds of nature drift in across the evening calm. Beautiful, remote and protected from outer waters, Scenery Cove is pristine wilderness — and the perfect place for a hike or paddle. We often catch a glimpse of brown bears fishing in nearby salmon-filled streams and rivers. With the largest concentration of nesting bald eagles in the world, Admiralty Island offers many chances to also see Canadian geese, trumpeter swans, cormorants and blue herons found in the fringe habitats between the forest, muskegs, meadows, and along the shore.

If conditions permit, we may hike up a newly-formed valley on the north side of the fjord, just recently uncovered by the receding North Dawes Glacier. The icy glacial outwash river divides a meadow and scree slope, and features a big waterfall. Black bears commonly come down to the meadow to graze. We'll take in the magnificent vistas, and listen for the mournful howls of wolves. In mid-afternoon, we'll reverse directions. Our destination this evening is another small cove nestled safely inside of Holkham Bay. The evening light is beautiful, as we dodge icebergs and wind our way back down Endicott Arm and into the bay.

Day 4: After a relaxed breakfast, Glacier Bear is underway once again. Today our destination is Endicott Arm, and a small cove, nestled safely inside of Holkham Bay. Throughout the day, we'll watch for whales, sea lions, Dall porpoises, orcas, and sea birds. Arriving at The Brothers, we anchor in an idyllic cove between two small islands, where the sounds of breathing whales, grunting Stellar sea lions, and screeching eagles drift in. During an extra-low tide at The Brothers, various anemones gleam brilliantly. Eventually we have to depart, but first we'll pause for a close-up look at another colony of Stellar sea lions, crowded on the rocks of one of the outer islands that comprise The Brothers. We'll pass by Five Finger Islands Light, and pause to view a colony of Stellar sea lions, crowded on the rocks of tiny Sail Island. The males vie noisily for dominance over their harems. As we continue cruising, we'll watch for breaching whales, fast-moving pods of orcas, and Dall's porpoises.

We'll head north through Stephens Passage, and watch for Dall's porpoises, orcas, and sea birds. Our destination this evening is a small cove, nestled safely inside of Holkham Bay. Wildlife abounds throughout the area. Our evening anchorage provides a great opportunity for a quiet paddle, and a beautiful sunset.

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Day 5: Glacier Bear is underway in the early morning hours. We have planned our day to make the slack tide across Wood Spit and into Endicott Arm. Along the way we'll be alert for drifting icebergs, as well as humpback whales and orcas. We are bound for Sanford Cove, near the Sumdum Islands. Sanford Cove is the abandoned site of the mining community of Sumdum. Not much is left of the town, other than a few pilings. This is prime salmon-spawning habitat, which lures brown bears to the creeks and rivers in the area. We hike along the banks of tiny Sanford Creek, through an old growth Sitka spruce and Douglas fir forest, to a stunning waterfall, illuminated by the morning light in a remarkable grotto of ferns and mosses.

It's only a short run to Fords Terror, one of the most spectacular anchorages in Alaska. There are many places to explore by kayak or skiff. Surrounded by 3,500-foot granite faces, we marvel at the mist clinging to the precipices. We'll make our way through the tidal rapids (at slack water, of course) into the majestic and stunning inner fjord. Rushing tidal currents and whirlpools prevent us from entering (and exiting) when the current is at full strength. We cautiously cruise through Ford's Terror into a T-shaped terminus, as we slowly wind our way into the fjord. We are in a vertical world of granite cliffs and glacier-carved cirques. Dozens of waterfalls cascade down their slopes, emptying into the turquoise waters of the fjord. Our evening anchorage is near a delightful waterfall. Black bears often visit the area, grazing on the abundance of berries in the meadows, and fishing for salmon in the stream.

Days 6: After an early breakfast, we depart for our day-long cruise into the Endicott Arm, a narrow fjord that twists and turns through towering mountains. Massive glaciers carved their way through these coastal mountains, over the course of thousands of years. Waterfalls drop thousands of feet off the granite mountains, and sapphire blue icebergs serenely float by in the emerald green water. We'll continue to Dawes Glacier, at the ice-choked end of the fjord. Extraordinarily blue and beautiful, this glacier is quite famous for its active calving, and we’ll likely witness gigantic chunks of ice breaking away from the face of the glacier.

We'll linger at the face of the glacier, and witness the calving and booming of the icebergs. We'll also paddle through iceberg-laden waters, and we'll observe the antics of the many harbor seals hauled out for a rest on the ice. We'll hear the glacier rumbling and thundering, and we'll safely watch as waves surge down the shoreline of the fjord. Like the explorers here before us, the majesty and awe of this ice-carved land has etched itself into our memories.

If conditions permit, we may hike up a newly-formed valley on the north side of the fjord, just recently uncovered by the receding North Dawes Glacier. The icy glacial outwash river divides a meadow and scree slope, and features a big waterfall. Black bears commonly come down to the meadow to graze. We'll take in the magnificent vistas, and listen for the mournful howls of wolves. In mid-afternoon, we'll reverse directions. Our destination this evening is No Name Cove, nestled safely inside of Holkham Bay. The evening light is beautiful, as we dodge icebergs and wind our way back down Endicott Arm and into the bay.

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Day 7: Our journey concludes today. This morning we cruise through the heart of the Inside Passage. We'll head north through Stephens Passage, arriving in the early afternoon at Taku Harbor. Taku Harbor is a natural, bowl-shaped harbor that was once home to a major salmon cannery. The 700-acre marine park is located on the eastern shore of Stephens Passage, about 22 miles southeast of Juneau. Taku Harbor is frequently used as a night anchorage by commercial fishing boats and small tour ships. Taku Harbor offers lots of fishing and crabbing opportunities.

In late afternoon, we'll arrive at Auke Bay Harbor in Juneau, the state capital of Alaska. With views of island-studded waters, and stately spruce forests reaching to the water's edge, bustling Juneau is considered one of Alaska's most idyllic seaside towns. The scenic community is nestled between forested mountains and the waters of Alaska's Inside Passage.

There's plenty to see and do around Juneau, especially in the thriving downtown district. The population estimate in 2014 was 32,406, making it the third most populous city in Alaska, after Anchorage and Fairbanks. Juneau's daily population can increase by roughly 6,000 people from visiting cruise ships between the months of May and September. The city is named after gold prospector Joe Juneau.

In the early evening, join us in the lobby of the Westmark Baranof. You'll be able to catch an Alaska Airlines flight tomorrow from Juneau, with connections to Seattle.

Alaska Adventure Gallery
Bears
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Kayaking
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Paddleboard
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Sport Fishing
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Stream Fishing
Alaska Wilderness Charters, Alaska Photography Workshop, Alaska Paddleboard
Whale Watching
Alaska Wilderness Charters, Alaska Photography Workshop, Alaska Paddleboard
Our Fishing Guests Speak Highly Of Us!
Alaska Wilderness Charters, Alaska Photography Workshop, Alaska Paddleboard

  I just wanted to send a note of thanks for giving me such a great day on the river. The place and the fishing were outstanding, and it was a day I will treasure and long remember. I especially appreciated your help and patience with me — considering that I am such a novice fishermen. With a little help, I actually caught several fish, which I never expected! Thanks!  

— Linda Miller, Colorado

  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.  

— Scot Barker, California

Alaska Wilderness Charters, Alaska Photography Workshop, Alaska Paddleboard

Trip Route

Alaska Wilderness Charters, Alaska Photography Workshop, Alaska Paddleboard

On this amazing Alaskan Experience expedition, we'll experience Alaska's Inside Passage and the spectacular Outer Coast. On our journey we'll see charming fishing villages, an incredible array of wildlife, and breathtaking scenery.

Trip Route Map

NOAA Nautical Charts
Alaska Wilderness Charters Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing Alaska Wilderness Charters Sport Fishing and Stream Fishing

Trip Review

  I just wanted to send a note of thanks for giving me such a great day on the river. The place and the fishing were outstanding, and it was a day I will treasure and long remember. I especially appreciated your help and patience with me — considering that I am such a novice fishermen. With a little help, I actually caught several fish, which I never expected! Thanks!  
— Linda Miller, Colorado

Commercial Fishing

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Commercial Fishing

Hiking

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Hiking

Stream Fishing

Alaska Wilderness Charters: Stream Fishing