FAQs about your trip to Yakutat

Getting to Yakutat | Why Yakutat | Fishing in Yakutat |
Vehicle Rental | Packing for your trip |
Dining in Yakutat | Your catch/seafood | Shipping your catch | Bringing the family | When not fishing |
What to bring when you're on the ocean | Seasickness |
Types of lodging | Storage available | Smoked Salmon |
Hunting Yakutat | Paying for your trip | Coolers |
Buying seafood in Yakutat | Weather of Yakutat | Borrowing/renting gear | Gear available in town

Getting To Yakutat

Yakutat is the smallest community in the world to have daily jet service. There is an Alaska Airlines jet out of Seattle in the morning, departing about 8:00, then a jet out of Anchorage, departing about 4:00 p.m. These are flights 61 and 66 respectively. There are really no other quick ways of getting to and from Yakutat, unless you can fly yourself. From Seattle and Anchorage as your hub, you will most always be able to find a more direct flight to major airports throughout the United States.

Travelers need to give consideration to baggage limitations with the airlines these days. If you will be fishing with us, it could quite likely be the case that you end up with more than one box of fish. If you can, we suggest you travel as light as possible in order to minimize the cost of getting all your gear and catch home.

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Why Yakutat

With a business based in Yakutat, it is reasonable to think you would see me spout about how great it is here. However, it may very well be great in other destinations throughout the state. So, let's give some reasons why we think you should visit here as opposed to some other location.

First and foremost, it's the isolation of the place. Yakutat is basically land locked. That means there is much less development due to super high costs related to transportation and the logistics. Less development is sort of what we are all looking for in an outdoor experience.

Next, Yakutat has some really great fishing. Getting to where the fish are is relatively easy once you have landed in Yakutat, and if sport fishing is what you are coming here for, you can spend more time doing it here, easier, than in most other settings. The boat ride out to the mouth of Yakutat Bay, where most of the saltwater fishing takes place, can be as little as 15 minutes, at most one hour. The drive out to the river is about 20 minutes. The local river, the Situk, is one that can be easily navigated, and has all the major salmon runs during the year.

These are the main things to consider if you are in search of a great fishing trip. But if you are not coming to fish, consider the amazing Hubbard glacier, the long unspoiled beaches, the bear, moose, and duck hunting. Consider the Wrangell-St. Elias Mountain range. Consider the kayaking and bird watching opportunities. So many people get off of cruise ships in places like Juneau, Ketchikan, and then get on a plane to go explore other parts of the state, most often in search of a more remote and old world Alaskan experience. So many of those same people fly right over Yakutat... i suggewst you stop by and check us out!

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Fishing in Yakutat

Yakutat is a fishing community. Many of those who call it home, as well commercial fishermen from outside of the area, fish in the rivers and the sea surrounding Yakutat. The geography of the area plays a large role in the strong fish runs of the area.

Located at the northern most part of southeast Alaska, Yakutat Bay opens up to the Gulf of Alaska, and where the two meet there is a terminal moraine left from the glaciers from eons past. This moraine, basically a rocky/reef line stretching across the mouth of Yakutat Bay, serves as habitat for a large and diverse cross section of sea life. The significance of being perched on the edge of the Gulf of Alaska is that this moraine as well the inner bay, is influenced by the "Japanese Current," a deep water currant rich in nutrients, that flows right up and into the Yakutat area. When this currant rides up to the shallower waters along the glacial moraine and then finds sunlight at the surface, photosynthesis happens, life happens. With the waters being rich in zoa and phyto plankton fed from those nutrients, the larger sea creatures are fed, as well, fish like herring, rockfish, lingcod, halibut and salmon, have a healthy place to congregate, hang out, and feed. Yakutat has been recognized by scientists as one of the most prolific areas in the world.

In short, Yakutat is constantly be replenished by clean nutrient rich waters, has the protective habitat for fish to find food and shelter, and is in a location along the coast which is in the migratory paths of many different species of fish. With these factors in mind, fishermen, both sport and commercial, have a better chance of having great catches when fishing Yakutat.

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Vehicle Rental

Renting a van, truck or SUV is just about a must when doing the Yakutat adventure. The town and the surrounding features are just far apart enough that a vehicle becomes a must as part of your trip. There are a few choices for this service. If the lodge you're staying at does not have this service, there are a few rental agencies available, and they can be found online.

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What to pack for your trip

First and foremost... Pack light. As the airlines make baggage polices more restrictive, coupled with the fact that it is very possible to be bringing back home well over 50 pounds of amazing seafood, we have found that the less you can bring the more you can easily take home. Also, we have found that once you visit Yakutat, you usually want to come back. With that in mind, consider using your cardboard-waxed fish boxes for future years. They are lightweight yet meet the requirements to ship perishables. Conventional coolers are a bit too heavy and bulky; restricting the amount of fish you are able to pack per checked item to meet weight restrictions. Do understand that you can always ship your fish or luggage via Alaska Air as airfreight, but that often amounts to multiple trips to the airport to pick up your freight.

Some things you do want to consider:

  • Lightweight waders and wading shoes (Not just for the river fishing, but are great out on your ocean fishing trips as well). Please, no cleated wader shoes on the charter boat.
  • Polarized sunglasses, great for looking into the water and seeing the FISH.
  • Seasick remedy of choice. If you think you are susceptible to this issue, take precautions. Otherwise, it could be that 5 of your closest friends will be pissed at you for not doing so.
  • Groceries, if you are cooking for yourself. However, there are a couple of grocery stores in town.
  • Fishing tackle. Not so if you are going on a charter, but if you are fishing in the rivers, give this area some thought. Rods and reels, fishing vest, hip boots or neoprene waders, good quality rain gear, gloves, insect repellent, polarized glasses, waterproof bag, hook sharpener, needle-nose pliers or hemostat, leader clippers, knife, appropriate assortment swivels, weights, hooks, new line, extra spools and reel oil or WD-40 are some items that you quite likely will need and want.

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Dining in Yakutat

There are limited dining opportunities in Yakutat, but there are a couple of well-stocked grocery stores. When making lodging arrangements, be sure to ask about this and the facilities available. Many of the smaller B & B's not only do breakfast, but often provide other meals as well.

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Your catch

One of the great benefits that Yakutat has to offer in a fishing trip is that one often is able to take fish back home. Throughout much of the season, our guests are able to take an average of about 40-50 pounds of fish home from their trip, and often more. Taking good care of that catch, keeping an eye to the future, and being prepared back home will make the whole experience more successful. Our suggestion is that you plan on having us filet, vacuum pack, and freeze your catch, that you use the wax/lined fish boxes we have available (coolers are a less desirable way to ship home because the cooler itself takes up a significant amount of your checked baggage weight.). Before going to the airport prior to your journey, make sure you have freezer space available. Also, be sure to save those fish boxes for your next trip. You will most likely want to come back real soon.

It may also be the case that you will want to purchase some of the local seafood directly from the commercial fishers. If that be the case, again, taking care of that bounty should be done in order to maintain long term freshness, and your investment. Give us a call and we will help however we can. Fish cutting, packaging, freezing and shipping is part of what we do.

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Shipping your catch home

In many most cases, travelers from Yakutat take their seafood back home as checked baggage; however we are seeing a trend towards using Alaska Air-Air Freight. This is due to a multiple of reasons. In some cases, travelers are either spending the night somewhere before getting home, are traveling further on their vacation, or are just getting unexpectedly stuck somewhere and with hindsight, don't want to have to deal with the fish boxes under those circumstances. Additionally, the restrictions on the number and cost of extra checked items can be more than the costs of using the air freight option. However, to utilize this option you need to work with a "Known Shipper", one who has been checked out by the airlines/TSA and is credentialed to be a shipper on the airline. We offer this service. Give us a call if need be.

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Bringing the family

In most cases, the dads and the granddads are the ones going on a fishing trip to Yakutat. And while the family back home will certainly enjoy the great seafood brought back, eventually the notion of bringing the rest of the family will come up. Here's the thing... Yakutat is a spectacular place. Gorgeous scenery, natural as well as human history, and it's wild and untamed side are what keep us coming back and staying in love with this place. However, it can be a rugged and challenging place. If you have your eye to fishing on the river, the days can be long, and that can be a challenge for the kids. When going on a charter, understand that the children, mostly those under 15, seem to be more susceptible to seasickness. With regards to the older crowd, it seems the seniors have no problem with dealing with the rigorous environment. When it comes to the ladies, if she needs to go to a show and visit a shopping Mecca, we suggest she get her own vacation. But if she loves the out of doors, has an appreciation for the raw and untamed, by all means she needs to come along. And gentlemen, if you are fortunate enough to have your lady on the trip, prepare to be out fished. Women are downright vigilant about listening to the guide, and studies have shown that this can actually make a difference in your catch.

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When not fishing

On most trips, our guests are totally focused on fishing: Arrival day, get on the boat; next day, the full-day charter; day three, perhaps a river day; day four, another day on the ocean; and so on. In the evenings, if the gang is not on the river, they are either eating or sleeping. You say, "What else is there"?

The beach. There are lots of old roads along the coast, leftovers from WW2, which wind through some really beautiful forest and along the coast. One of the most mind-blowing things this writer can think about is how so many fishermen, lovers of the great outdoors, spend so much time and money to get to Yakutat to do some world class fishing, and then they don't book a trip up to the glacier in the evening, on their first day in town, or on the day of departure. The Hubbard Glacier is one of this world's most incredible natural beauties, and so few people have seen it.

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What to bring when you're on the ocean

Although the boats are geared up with most all the fishing gear you are going to need, unless of course you hook the bottom with one of my favorite lures.

Here is a list of items you might find helpful on your trip on the water:

  • A good start is to bring a smile
  • A camera
  • Waterproof footwear
  • Waders or some other form of raingear. (You probably will want to check a weather forecast to see if we might get some rain.)
  • Layered clothing, temperatures can vary throughout the day
  • Lunch and snackables
  • Soft drinks, or not so soft if need be
  • Sunglasses
  • Waterproof gloves if it might be cold out
  • A smile

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Seasickness

The study results are in and have been tallied... SEASICKNESS HAPPENS. The study concludes that approximately one out of five persons will be seasick, and this can happen even on the calmest of days. Most of our guests have a pretty good idea if they are susceptible to this dreadful malady. If you are not certain, we suggest that you take at least some minimal precautions.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • A good nights sleep the night before, as fatigue seems to contribute greatly
  • Minimize the use of alcohol
  • The night before, consider an over the counter remedy. (We like Bonine over Dramamine.) Take another as soon as possible in the morning
  • Have a sensible breakfast. Good ole oatmeal is a good one. Also, minimize acidy foods like oranges and coffee
  • Try to stay comfortable, dress appropriately, if you need some air then go out on deck
  • Bring an apple. It may sound weird but an apple seems to be a better fix then a seasick tablet
  • If it becomes apparent that you might get sick.... OVER THE SIDE PLEASE! If possible throughout the day, take a nap. Again, fatigue seems to be a big contributor to seasickness
  • Enough said on this topic

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Types of lodging

In Yakutat, there are no Holiday Inns. Every lodge, B&B, guest house etc., is unique and in most cases operated or perhaps overseen by the owners. From listening closely to our passengers, we have come to the conclusion that the smaller Mom & Pop operations available to the client are the most memorable experiences. Perhaps it's the quaintness of the smaller operation. Perhaps it's the more personable service, or perhaps it is having in so many cases the equivalent of a travel guide, cook, and social secretary right at your fingertips. It just seems that most of our guests have enjoyed the family like atmosphere that the smaller operations make possible.

Most all the lodging operations in Yakutat have websites. One can easily find them just by going online and "Googling" something like "Yakutat Bed and Breakfast."

As you check into what is available, consider these issues; dining, vehicles, drift boats if you are going down the river, airport pickup and drop-off, ease of getting in touch and making reservations, overall size of the outfit (bigger not always better). We do offer multiuple lodging options ourselves, so please check out that tab on our website if you want more information and call for more details.

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Storage available

Ask about it and we will see what we can do for you. You may find that leaving some of your gear for next year is a great value to you, and we understand this and want to be as helpful as possible. Something that you should keep in mind is that covered and dry space in Yakutat is sparse. The weather in the area is so dynamic as well can be quite destructive, even to gear that is under cover. So if you do choose to leave some of your stuff, do so with this understanding, and pack away your gear accordingly. Call for a quote.

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Smoked salmon

A great many of our guests inquire about smoked salmon. We suggest that you give us a call either before your trip or while you are in town to see what is available. If we know in advance we should be able to make arrangements for your requests. The same goes for other seafoods... If we can be of help with this we would be happy to do so.

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Hunting Yakutat

Big game hunting does take place in the area. Moose, bear, waterfowl are the most sought after species. There are hunting guides in the area.

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Paying for your trip/booking a trip

Our normal way of doing things is that you give us a call and make a reservation; we send you a reservation form reflecting those dates and our policies. You will then have about 30 days to get us a 50% deposit, which can be paid with a check, or credit card. The balance can be paid at the end of your stay, as there are most often vacuum packing, fish boxes, gratuities, shipping charges, etc., to be factored in.

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Coolers

Many people have found that the use of the waxed fish boxes end up being of greater benefit for shipping your fish home than coolers. The coolers are bulky and heavy, up to 20 pounds in some cases. The boxes we have available are about 4 pounds. With the average retail costs of halibut fillets being from $12-$20/lb., it is easy to see that you don't want to waste your checked baggage weight on anything other than fish. If you need additional insulation we do offer insulated liners to go inside the boxes. These add about another day of travel time.

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Buying seafood in Yakutat

There are a couple of venues available in Yakutat for one to purchase seafood. One can work directly with a commercial fisher, or you can go to the seafood processing plant. If you have further questions or need other help give us a call.

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Borrowing/renting gear

Rental gear is not generally available. As far as borrowing, just remember, if you find a kind soul who is gracious with their gear, understand that they quite likely use that gear to make their living, so be sure to return it in the condition, or better, than when you first received it. Living in Yakutat has its challenges, and one of those is getting the gear needed and keeping it in good repair. The time most residents have to earn their yearly income and do the necessary maintenance is very limited due to the seasonal weather.

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Gear available in town

In most cases you will want to bring what you need to get the job done while in Yakutat. We do have a Tru-Value hardware store in town; the store does what it can to meet the needs of those who come to visit. Weather you are coming to town to do some fishing or will be dealing with some construction issues, the local hardware store is well set up even though in such a remote location. Do keep in mind however that you will not have available to purchase as much or as great a variety of items in Yakutat as you will in the lower 48 states, so be prepared as best as possible.

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