Ketchikan is Alaska’s Gateway City and is perhaps most famous for its reputation as the Salmon Fishing Capital of the World. It is also home to a large population of Alaska’s Native people. The surrounding wilderness is blessed with lush rainforest, dramatic fjords, abundant salmon and equally abundant bears and eagles which dine on the salmon feast. Select from our unique Ketchikan shore excursions, or let us customize a Ketchikan experience just for you.
Bears at Anan Remote Observatory (4-hours)
Seeing bears in their natural habitat is a highlight of any trip to Alaska, but the opportunities are limited for cruising visitors—so we designed this private and exclusive adventure for you. Anan Creek is an ancient Tlingit native fishing site that has the largest pink salmon run in Southeast Alaska, attracting significant numbers of black and brown bears to feast on the bounty—it’s one of only a few places in the world where you can view both. Flying by private floatplane deep into Tongass National Forest, you’ll land on serene Anan Bay. From there, your naturalist guide will escort you on a half-mile hike along a boardwalk to a secure bear observatory overlooking a waterfall. From the viewing platform, you can look down on the fast flowing creek as it cascades towards the sea and large numbers of salmon head upstream to spawn. It’s no surprise that bears congregate here! Restricted access to the area, combined with interpretation by your bush pilot and guide, enhance this truly intimate experience.
Your tour begins at a private downtown marina, where you are outfitted head to toe. You’ll board an open-air boat and glide into a breathtaking landscape. Head out past the busy charter fishing areas and into secluded locations for wildlife viewing and remote fishing. With custom light tackle, you’ll experience the thrill of angling for numerous Alaskan bottom fish species and whichever of the five species of Pacific salmon are in season. Depending on what salmon are running, and what technique has been working best lately, salmon fishing options are trolling, jigging, and mooching. Most folks catch fish – this excursion is renowned for the highest catch rate of any Alaska fishing experience.
Your skiff then heads to a wilderness campsite where a crackling fire awaits. You’ll settle into the stillness of the rainforest, rest on a beach log and breathe deeply among centuries-old spruce trees and fragrant cedars. You’ll experience this outdoor culinary adventure as the camp cook blends homemade fish broth and delicately seasoned potatoes. You’ll dine on your freshly caught bottom fish served atop a saffron-infused bouillabaisse, and savor fire-warmed sourdough rolls, signature rhubarb-blueberry bread pudding and steaming mugs of coffee or hot chocolate. It’s no wonder Food & Wine magazine rated this “The world’s best camp meal ever.” If salmon are in season and your group managed to land a couple, our cooks will grill it fresh over the fire for a true Southeast Alaskan experience.
Kayaks were invented by Alaska’s native people, and there is still no better way to explore than by means of these sleek and maneuverable crafts! This tour starts with a 20-minute powerboat ride from town to a remote location in the offshore islands. There, you meet your guides and kayaks in a protected cove and, after an orientation, paddle through a chain of islands—stopping whenever you are inspired to enjoy the spectacular scenery and wildlife. Mountains rise out of the ocean and the rainforest presses down to the shoreline, while the water is inhabited by seals, sea lions, Dall’s porpoise, orcas, humpbacks, and the occasional minke whale. You’ll pass several bald eagle nesting sites, and may see river otters, bear and Sitka Black Tail Deer along the shore. Sea birds are numerous, and the intertidal marine life visible underneath the kayaks offers a colorful display of starfish, sun stars, and sea cucumbers. At the end of the trip, you will enjoy a smoked salmon snack before the return to town.
Misty Fjords National Monument Adventure (1.5-hours)
The Misty Fjords National Monument has been carved to impressive perfection by millions of years of glacial activity. On this popular flightseeing tour, it will take you only a blink of an eye to appreciate nature’s handiwork. In fact, floatplane is really the only way to take in the majesty of this 2.3-million acre patch of pristine wilderness. You’ll soar above cliffs, sawtooth ridges blanketed in mist, sky-blue lakes, endless waterfalls, icy saltwater fjords, and miles of glacier-carved gorges. While you take in the enormity of the Misty Fjords National Monument from above, your bush pilot will be busy checking for wildlife below; creatures big and small are visible, and you may see anything from brown bears to agile mountain goats, harbor seals to humpback whales.
Today you will have the unique opportunity to meet local guide and Tlingit elder, Mr. Joe Williams, the former Mayor of Ketchikan and the Tlingit settlement of Saxman Village. Through his stories, you will learn about the Tlingit people and their traditions. To start, Mr. Williams will lead a one-hour walking tour of Ketchikan, including the main sights and with a focus on historic Creek Street and the importance of the creek to the early Native and white settlers. From there, you’ll travel by tram to the Cape Fox Lodge, a rustic hotel owned by the Tlingit where your guide will discuss Tlingit customs and traditions you’ll enjoy a delicious Tlingit-style snack of Indian fried bread, smoked salmon, reindeer sausage, and blueberry jam. Next, you will travel by car to Saxman Village, three miles from Ketchikan. Your guide will show you around the village, including Totem Row, the carving shed, and the Tribal House. Saxman’s world-famous carvers include Nathan Jackson, whose totems grace the entrances of the Bundestag in Germany and the Field Museum in Chicago.
This is the ultimate Ketchikan adventure—this trip combines paddling Orcas Cove with flightseeing over the Misty Fjords National Monument. The first part of your excursion will see you kayaking among spectacular wilderness scenery and wildlife. Stop where you are inspired, and listen to the hiss of water as your kayak glides past rainforest and bald eagle nesting sites. Hear the blow of a humpback whale and look up in wonder as porpoises leap by. When you’ve had your fill of kayaking, board the M/V Sea Spree for a smoked salmon picnic—then watch as a seaplane lands, taxis, and takes you on a flightseeing tour of Misty Fjord’s most dramatic scenery. Pristine wilderness views make way, closer to town, for the totem poles of Saxman Native Village, the town perched along the shore line, and the cruise ships waiting at the dock. As you make your way back to Ketchikan, your experienced bush pilot will land in Misty Fjords and allow you to step out onto the floats to take photos—an unforgettable experience.
Anyone can put a line in the water, but it takes special skill to catch Alaskan salmon, halibut, and bottom fish. After spending most of their lives unraveling the mysteries of Alaska fishing, your experienced fishing guide has all the skills you need to catch fish. What’s more, they’re ready to spend the day teaching you what they know. As fishing conditions change with the seasons and the weather, an Alaskan fishing expedition allows you to head out during any of the summer months with confidence that you will see good action. Your captain will only fish for those species that have been producing the most in recent weeks. During the peak of the summer season from June 15th to August 15th, you will have the best chance at catching multiple species.
The combination of salmon and halibut fishing destinations and techniques have been selected by Ketchikan’s top guides. This comprehensive fishing experience is intended for the avid fisherman who wants to learn the finer points of Alaskan fishing. The private marina is just a short block away from downtown Ketchikan, so you’ll have a full day to learn the tricks of the salmon and halibut fishing trade. Every fisherman has a pole with this custom experience limited to six guests at a time in a cabin cruiser.
After a day of trolling, jigging, and mooching, you’ll know the difference between a spoon and a hoochie, as well as the best way to catch a king, coho, or pink salmon, or a halibut. Best of all, whatever you catch is yours to keep (along with some of the best seafood recipes).
Welcome to the most exclusive tour of Ketchikan’s world-renowned waters. Head out from a private downtown marina into the breathtaking landscape of southeast Alaska.
Your fishing adventure begins at Bostwick Bay, which is home to thousands of Dungeness crab. Learn how to bait and set crab pots with your experienced Ketchikan guide. While your pot “soaks”, head out on an adventure of your choosing. Your cabin cruiser is outfitted for salmon fishing, halibut fishing, or pulling up to the beach for beachcombing and exploring. With just you and your family on board, you can truly customize the day to fit your needs. Whether your bucket list contains fishing for Pacific halibut, or your kids want to explore tide pools and beach crabs, this is a trip of a lifetime!
After retrieving your crab pots, return to the marina and enjoy a meal with your catch of the day at the local Fish House. The Fish House is famous for creating spectacular meals with all Alaskan seafood!
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24/7 Support: We’re behind the scenes, monitoring every leg of your trip. You will have one dedicated point of contact throughout your journey, available for everything from dinner reservations to last-minute itinerary changes.
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