Sitka, Alaska, a small fishing city with a world renowned fine arts camp during the Summer, makes a great place to vacation when not cruising. We did so this Summer and during that time my daughter attended the fine arts camp there, my wife worked remotely, and I both worked and fished with a great lodge who takes day fisher-people along when they can be accommodated. There is a lot to do and one can fill many days with worthwhile activities.
Sitka is not one of the more common cruise ports, however it sees several ships each Summer. It is a hopping on point for some of the smaller ships that visit more unique ports of call and spend more time looking at the natural beauty of the coastline as opposed to stopping at larger more commercial ports. Sitka is located on an island and has only 14-17 miles of roadways depending on the source of information. The town proper is full of fishermen, shops selling souvenirs, and contains several neat houses. North and South along the roads that head out from town one finds many houses and a few smaller commercial establishments.
For those who enjoy looking at nature, hiking, kayaking, fishing, hunting, or spending time just enjoying the great outdoors, Sitka offers all of these activities. Getting to Sitka requires either a trip on the Alaska Marine Highway, an airplane ride on Alaska Airways, or now Delta, or a private plane or boat to get you there. Fishing is one of the major draws taking people to Sitka. During the Summer planes departing are full of sport caught fish heading home to the dinner table of the fishermen and their friends. We brought a bunch home and sent more to various friends around the country.
Most fishing is done from fishing lodges and/or guide services that sell packages inclusive of the fishing and lodging. Most also include great meals while on the package. Some offer day fishing trips for fishermen not staying at the lodge and that is what I sought out. I managed to find a fantastic lodge, and even toured the lodge when there to discuss processing of the fish.
The lodge that we chose to use for our fishing and processing of the fish was Frontier Charters and Lodge in Sitka. They are actually a few miles down the road from town, but it’s a quick and scenic drive. The lodge sits partway up the mountain offering great views out to the Pacific Ocean. This is North up Halibut Point Road. They offer accommodations for guests fishing on their boats and also provide three meals a day between the lodge and the boat. The lunches on the boat were custom made for guests staying at the lodge and customized upon request for those who are day fishermen fishing multiple days.
A typical trip to the lodge is for four nights and three days of fishing. Some come for a day less while others stay longer. Depending on the time of year fishing will yield quite a bit of fish to take home. This lodge does not limit the amount of processing or number of boxes taken home. This coupled with a great crew to take care of guests at the lodge and on the boat make it a nice place to go.
The captains all have several years of experience guiding guests on the waters around Sitka. Each is assigned a specific boat for which they are responsible for the season. The boats constantly share information to ensure all guests are on the best fishing each day. The captains also ensure the fish is gilled and gutted timely and filleted (based on the species) so it’s ready to go to the lodge for processing into neat packages that are easily placed in the fish box to fly home. The packaging team uses great care in preparing the fish to head out.
The chef at the lodge makes good meals for everyone and is quite flexible about modifying the meals to accommodate guest needs. As mentioned previously, lunch is customized to guest needs and desires. Both my wife and I made special requests for how our lunch was prepared and it came out exactly as requested. Most of the food served at lunch was baked fresh that morning or the day before, with the exception of the chips, meat, and cheese. The boats were stocked with a variety of sodas and bottled water.
I’m presently working on making another trip to fish from the lodge before Summer ends. This is subject to a couple of things out of my control so only time will tell if it all works out. I also plan to fish with the lodge, again as a day fisherman since we will rent a house for a month next year to enjoy more of everything in Sitka. Either way I will fish again with the good folks at Frontier Charters and Lodge up in Sitka.
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