Arriving to Sitka
When you arrive to the Sitka airport you will find that it is a pleasantly quaint airport. After retrieving your checked bags from the small belt, you will be greeted by the lodge staff who will drive you to the lodge. This is a few minute scenic ride into the town of Sitka. Once you arrive you will check into your room. If there are enough rooms available, we will limit to two fishermen per room. There are also rooms that can comfortably accommodate larger groups if needed. The rooms have a refrigerator, microwave and coffee pot.
On the night before we begin fishing we will have Gulfstar guests arriving at several different times. If you arrive early, this is a good opportunity to go downtown to do some sightseeing or gift shopping.
Guests can enjoy dinner at the waterfront restaurant and bar located at the lodge or a short walk will take you to the downtown shops and a variety of restaurants all within walking distance. There are excellent views of the harbor in just about any direction you walk.
There is a good marine supply shop a few doors down from the lodge for any last minute items you may need or want. They have a great selection of all kinds of fishing gear so this may be the perfect excuse to grab the new skins you’ve been wanting or to find just the right fishing boots that you would be hard pressed to find in Florida. This is a convenient, well stocked store with reasonable prices.
Breakfast & Lunch on Fishing Days
A breakfast buffet will be available from 5 am to 6 am in the lodge restaurant. There is also a lunch bar set up with a variety of choices for you to prepare your own lunch and snacks for the day of fishing. A thermos of coffee and additional snacks are also provided on the boat. Each fishing morning you will find the same setup located in the lodge restaurant. After you eat breakfast and prepare your lunch, you can make your way down to the boat. If you are using rain gear and boots provided by the lodge, at this time you can get fitted for your rain gear and boots. The boats depart at 6 am. Fishing licenses and stamps are issued at breakfast on the first fishing day. Please be sure to bring your driver’s license or state ID.
When you return from fishing at approx. 3:30 – 4 pm you will have plenty of time to get cleaned up before dinner. The crew unloads your fish and cleans and packages your catch. Your catch will be cut into 1-2 lb. portions and individually vacuum packed, labeled by type of fish and Blast frozen.
Dinner on Fishing Evenings
At approx. 7:30 pm each evening that we fish, there will be a dinner of our catch under the dockside gazebo. Typical dinners include a fish fry with cold salads, grilled salmon with sides and one evening enjoying steamed Dungeness crabs with sides. We will have dinners prepared for 3 out of the 6 nights in Sitka. This allows you to go enjoy the nightlife in town for the remaining dinners or you can simply stay at the lodge and enjoy their restaurant and full service bar. The lodge restaurant excepts major credit cards.
What to Bring
We recommend that you bring your own rain gear for proper fitting and comfort but if you do not want to travel with your gear, there are rain gear tops, bottoms & boots available for use from the lodge. If you want to purchase any miscellaneous items, there is a marine supply store located a few doors down from the lodge.
Comfortable clothing to wear under rain gear. A hat and light gloves are nice to have in the mornings. We recommend that you dress in layers as it is usually chilly in the morning and tends to warm up in the afternoon. It is not unusual to be in a t-shirt by the time you return to the dock this time of year. Sitka is a rainforest so also be prepared for rainy or misty days and the possibility of a nautical day(s) on the water. All fishing rods, tackle and bait are included and provided by the lodge.
While in Sitka / Booking Recommendations
If you have time, we recommend planning your arrival to Sitka a few days prior to fishing if you want time to explore the area. You will have some time each evening after you come in from fishing but we have found that there is a lot to take in and that it is nice if you can devote a couple days to seeing the sights. We also recommend doing this prior to the fishing trip so that you do not need to worry about storing your fish on the tail end of the trip. If you would like to come to Sitka prior to the fishing trip and would like to stay at the fishing lodge for this portion of your trip, please let us know as soon as possible so we can make accommodation arrangements for you.
If you plan to arrive prior to the fishing trip and would like to book your own accommodations, there are several hotels and vacation rentals available in the area. If you are in town prior to the fishing trip and staying at off-site accommodations it is your responsibility to get transportation to the lodge.
If you would like to stay in Sitka after the fishing trip departure date, we ask that you make your own accommodation arrangements and please keep in mind that you will need to make arrangements for your fish storage and airport transportation. We also recommend that you book a morning flight departing Sitka so your fish is not sitting in an area that is not refrigerated while waiting on your departure flight. We highly recommend booking well in advance to ensure availability on the dates you need.
You can comfortably visit Sitka with or without a vehicle depending on what you would like to do on your trip. If you want the freedom to explore on your own, there is an AVIS car rental desk at the airport. You can call in advance or reserve online. AVIS: tel. 907-966-2404 https://www.avis.com/en/locations/us/ak/sitka/sit )
There is also public transportation called RIDE which can take you to several locations in Sitka. http://ridesitka.com/
There are only 14 miles of roadway in Sitka and when staying in town at the lodge, everything you need is located within walking distance. The lodge is within walking distance to restaurants, coffee shops, shopping and sightseeing. If you are interested in activities such as Deer hunting, remote fly fishing, ATV riding, wildlife tours and hiking, we can help with the arrangements for you with a local outfitter. For most of these activities the outfitter can pick you up right from the lodge or your own offsite lodging.
One of best ways to experience Sitka is to hike some of the well maintained and easily accessible trails. Some are easy strolls and others require a bit more effort. If you want the opportunity to see salmon spawning or Blacktail deer feeding on Salmonberries in the mountains there are several trails worth visiting. We can point you in the right direction for some of the hikes that we’ve enjoyed and keep returning to every year.
The Sitka Trailworks website offers descriptions of the trails in the area and outlines the hiking levels, distance, time needed to complete and the type of terrain. https://sitkatrailworks.org/
On the morning that you depart Sitka, the lodge will bring you and your fish to the airport. Your fish will arrive with you, packaged in labeled & sealed insulated wax cartons. The airlines handle fish boxes regularly and the helpful airline staff will help you check in your luggage and fish.
If possible, we have found that booking flights with layovers that are less than 12 hours are advantageous because you will not need to claim and recheck bags for layovers less than 12 hours. This is not always possible depending on where you are flying from and availability of flights. We also recommend that if you are able to get a flight with less than a 12 hour layover on the return flight home, this is especially advantageous because the airline will hold your fish and you will not need to claim in between flights. If you are unable to travel home without a less than 12 hour layover, there is a cold storage facility located behind baggage claim called Baggage Storage by Smarte Cart: tel. 206-433-5333. http://www.seatacshops.com/merchants/baggage-claim/baggage-storage-by-smarte-carte/
When you return to the airport to check in for your connecting flight, you will need to pick your fish up in the cold storage and then recheck your bags and fish for your connecting flight. This is not much of an issue providing that you do not have an extremely early connecting flight. The cold storage facility opens at 5:30am. If your layover is over 12 hours, keep the storage facility hours in mind when you book your connecting flight.
If you need to claim your fish and bring to the cold storage facility, the Seattle Sea-Tac airport offers baggage carts located near the baggage claim belts.
Getting your fish home is very easy but it can also be way less expensive than the prices listed below. As of 2018, American Express cardholders have a free option with Amex that would credit them up to $200 of baggage fees. Please contact Amex to see if your Amex account qualifies. We have saved $250 in the last 2 years and best of all, it is free.
We have used several different airlines in the past and is seems that Alaska Airlines has consistently been the most reasonable.
2018 Alaska Airline baggage fees:
- Bag 1 $25
- Bag 2 $25
- Bag 3 and up $75 each
2018 Delta baggage fees: (Unless you fly first class)
- Bag 1 $25
- Bag 2 $35
- Bag 3 $150
- Bag 4-10 $200 each
Layover in Seattle
There are several hotels in the Seattle/Seatac airport area. Once you retrieve your bags, follow signs to ground transportation. You will see an old school public telephone to dial the shuttle operator for the hotel in which you have reservations. Be careful to choose the correct location as some hotels have multiple locations in the area. We have stayed at the Red Roof Inn located at 16838 International Blvd, Seattle, WA 98188 tel. 206-248-0901 and have been pleased with the location, accommodations & shuttle. If booked online you may find better rates.
Access to laundry facility – available after 4:30 pm.
Courtesy rides – The lodge offers limited courtesy rides to town or the airport if the van is available.