0 Comments Trevor Reid
When it comes to Alaska fishing, there are quiet the plethora of lodges to choose from. With high end elegant experiences, to rugged backcountry tent camps, the list is almost endless. As an Alaskan fishing guide I’ve had the privilege of working and visiting a number of different lodges, all offering different experiences.
The majority sell themselves to be the ideal getaway, detailing the trip of a lifetime with rivers teaming with fish. What really makes for the ideal getaway however? For the average angler trying to decide on which lodge to choose, can seem almost daunting. In the years I’ve worked here, there are a number of tips I would consider when choosing an Alaska fishing lodge.
- Understand where and what you’re aiming to fish for – A number of anglers fail to do some necessary homework. There are lodges who boast an opportunity at targeting 30” rainbows fishing on bigger rivers for lake run fish involving long days hucking meaty streamers from a boat. Others simply don’t have that big of fish in their system. Some lodges offer multiple fish in their rivers ranging from all species of salmon, to Dolly Varden, and grayling, while some target a specific species. There is a vast list of things to consider when choosing the ideal Alaska fishing destination. A few pointers to consider when making a choice:
- Decide whether you want to target quality or quantity?
- Determine if catching Salmon is important or whether you want to focus on catching trout?
- What type of fishing does the lodge offer… fly fishing and/or spin fishing?
- What type of fish are caught on a regular basis at the lodge?
- Do you get the opportunity to fish different water, or are you stuck on the same stretch during your entire visit?
- Have an idea of how long the staff has been around
A couple quick questions to either the lodge owner or head guide regarding how long people have been employed can paint a pretty vivid picture. This especially stands true for guides. I have always found a tell tale sign of how healthy a lodge experience is going to be by longevity of guides. Lodges and owners who have tight knit crews, and are used to working together as a team can be a notable indicator for how well a trip experience the lodge can provide. There are few things that ruin an experience quite like that of a disgruntled staff. The longer the tenor of employees at a lodge, the likelier everybody is going to be well spirited and dedicated toward making your trip the memory of a lifetime. Additionally, a notable point is the longer guides have been on a specific drainage, the more in depth their knowledge is of their water and where the biggest baddest lunkers are typically holding.
- What does the lodge provide and what do you have to bring?
A lot of lodges have stipulations on what you need to bring. Some provide anglers with a bare minimum of a guide, boat, and sack lunch for out on the water, where you’re otherwise expected to bring all of the necessary gear. If you don’t have what the fish are hitting, well tough luck. Your guide might have some lodge flies to offer, but might sell them at a steep price. Some provide flies as part of their package, or have their guides provide flies, but you’re still expected to bring your own waders, rods, gear, etc.. Ideally some lodges include everything in the overall trip, providing all necessary gear alleviating a significant headache when it comes to packing. These may seem small, but the little details can have a significant impact of your productivity on the water. It pays to check what your intended lodge offers and what amenities are provided.
- Location, Location, Location
Two significant factors in the decision making process include, surrounding area, and amount of traffic you’re likely to encounter. Thousands of anglers each year choose Alaska as their next fishing destination, and frankly that means a lot of people competing to catch fish in similar waters. Some lodges offer beautiful destinations but the rivers they fish are like zoos, with multiple lodges on a short stretch of river. Guides scramble awakening early in an effort to get the best fishing spots first. The days are spent jockeying for best holes on a river, hoping the guides and anglers who fished there 15 minutes prior weren’t presenting the fly right or the right fly altogether.Others provide an altogether more exclusive experience boasting remote getaways and backcountry fisheries, where you and your party are the only souls on the river. Although these places are few and far between, they tend to make the visit much more personal. Although it doesn’t necessarily effect the fishing, it’s always nice to be surrounded by a beautiful backdrop when posing for a grinning gripper.
- What is it you’re paying for
A lot of lodges are expensive, but don’t necessarily offer a better experience. It’s important to understand what you’re paying for when choosing a lodge, what you’re going to get out of YOUR Alaska fishing experience. The details matter. Such as what the cabin or room conditions are like, whether you are fishing the same stretch of water everyday, whether you have it to yourself or are combat fishing, what kind of meals are going to be prepared, the fishing experience, etc… Ultimately you want the place to fulfill all of your wildest dreams when you think of what Alaska means and what you want out of YOUR trip.
At Talahiem Lodge, we like to consider ourselves an elegant adventure outside the norm. We’re more similar to a New Zealand fishing experience, albeit our fish aren’t nearly as easily spooked.
We take great pride in providing exquisite service to our guests and anglers alike. Although we don’t have your 30” fish meandering our river bottoms we do get the occasional 25” trout throughout the year and have plenty of fish to keep our anglers more than busy reeling in fish throughout the day. The difference between our trout is the type. Instead of big lake trout on large rivers, our rivers are smaller tighter quarters teeming with fabled leopard rainbows. We also boast an excellent Dolly Varden and Grayling fishery with some MONSTERS of each (check out our instagram to get an idea of just how big).
Our guides have ALL been here for a minimum of 3 years, and our staff operates as a family dynamic. We provide our anglers with top notch gear including waders and boots, rods and reels, and all the flies you could possibly need throughout your week stay. We aim to alleviate the stresses of baggage and bulky carry on’s to make your trip here as hassle free as possible.
As we are a helicopter fly out lodge, we rarely take our anglers to the same stretch of water twice during their visit. Instead we explore a vast number of remote fisheries at our disposal. We are located just West of Denali, the tallest mountain in the U.S., and smack dab between the Alaska and Talkeetna mountain ranges.
We’re an experience like none other throughout the state, and have been the anglers destination of choice for over 30 years. Join us for a week and see for yourself!!