Getting to the lodge and from the lodge to the fishing areas are the guests responsibility. Renting a car at the airport is a simple way to handle this. I recommend getting reservations early as they do fill up during the busy summer months. Also – at least for Avis – the car rental agency was a local franchisee so you have to call them directly to change anything – the national site can let you do a reservation but can’t change it. I had to call them several times due to airline issues and they were very accommodating.
Yes – you need a fishing license. When you print it out there will be a log at the bottom of the page. Bring the license and the log. Make sure you have it on you when fishing, not left in the boat. They do check! Also buy a king salmon stamp if you are going to be fishing for king’s. Ask the lodge for more information.
It is up to you but the lodge supplies you breakfast (a full breakfast, bread or bagels or a breakfast sandwich to take with you) and lunch to take with you. With lunch are cookies, various kinds of chips and granola bars that you choose. They will be laid out on a table in the lodge for you to select from. You order breakfast sandwiches and lunch at dinner the night before. There will be plenty of food to tide you over and they are very willing to try taking care of special requests – but do make them in advance so they can prepare. Drinks are sodas and water which you can help yourself to. They provide coolers to take the food and drinks with you to fishing. Dinner starts around 6 and goes up to 9pm if needed. Do notify them what time you will be arriving for dinner if later than 6:30 so they can prepare. They also have available soup during the day and appetizers at 5pm. I can truly say that from our party of 5 that everyone thought the food was excellent, including one of the party with allergies that they had to work around and prepare special meals.
Rooms are a standard hotel room size. Different rooms can accommodate different number of guests (2 to 4) so make sure to identify when reserving what you need. Rooms include shower, toilet and separate sink. Basic body wash, shampoo and conditioner are supplied as well as liquid soap for the sink. Rooms have heat but no air conditioning and no TV but each room has a mini-fridge. Beds were comfortable. Check with the lodge on hair dryers. Our room didn’t have one but we also didn’t ask. The room did have a box fan which was nice to get air into the room and provide white noise at night.
The lodge has internet and it worked fine. The wifi had limited range so the rooms closer to the lodge had some service and the further out ones more limited service. AT&T and Verizon had service for calls (1-2 bars) while T-mobile had multiple bars. In town service was strong for all carriers. Surprisingly, service was good while fishing.
It certainly depends on the weather and you will get wet if raining. If it is not raining then river fishing you can leave your stuff in the boat in a place unlikely to get wet other than a drop or two. Ocean fishing you may get sprayed on the back (especially when moving) but there is a fully covered cabin you can leave your stuff in and stay in and not get wet.
The lodge with supply you with a plastic storage bin you grab in the morning to take with you to fishing so you can place the fish in the car without making a mess. The guides will fillet your fish and place it in a plastic trash bag for you take from the fishing location. You will need to take the fish to a fish processor unless you have alternative arrangements. The lodge recommends Custom Seafood in Soldotna which is close by (15 min or so). You can reach them at (907) 931-5990. They will prepare your fish based on your request and can pack it for either checking as luggage on the plane, carrying on if small enough or shipping via overnight delivery. For reference only, in June of 2022 about 20 lbs of fish was $210 to ship and 40 lbs was a bit over $300. That was just for shipping, the box and boxing and preparation (vacuum seal and freezing) was a separate charge also regardless of shipping or not. Be aware of the timing for processing – especially the last day of fishing vs. when you are leaving. They need a certain amount of time to prepare but they can leave it in the freezer for you to pick up if you need to come before or after hours. If you come back from fishing when they are closed there is a freezer outside the store to place your fish in (with a combination lock – the lodge will share the combination with you). You fill out a tag with name, email, phone and any special instructions and place in freezer (tags and sharpie are with the freezer). The freezer was in a bay close to the back and a little hidden so if you miss it walk around the side toward the back. I strongly recommend you contact the processor for the latest information and discuss any special needs. They were very accommodating to how you wanted it packed. For example, we had 5 people splitting 3 different kinds of fish but going to 4 different addresses and they had no problem with that.
It is certainly out in the country and quite but plenty of town nearby. Soldotna (about 15 min drive) has all the stores you need for whatever you want. There is a Fred Meyer (grocery store and more), Walmart, Walgreens, etc. Fast food is available. Plenty of specialty shops, especially clothing, and places to get souvenirs. Alcohol is available in multiple places including the grocery stores (they have separate spaces near or inside the stores). Multiple ATM’s are available and you will need cash to tip the guides and cash is appreciated for tips for the lodge staff.
Not an issue at all. Around the lodge there was very little activity. While fishing there were no bugs where we were. At one of the launch points there were mosquitos around the public restrooms but that was about it.
Check the weather as it can be surprisingly warm during the day but cold in the morning (we got up at 3 and 4am for our fishing). Go with layers. Do expect cold mornings and you especially want a windproof/water resistant outer layer as getting to the fishing location by boat will include some runs with a breeze. Something to cover your head (hat or hood) is good. Gloves are optional but were nice to have in the mornings (I live in florida and bought an inexpensive waterproof glove with touchscreen fingers on Amazon). Bring extra socks as you may end up wading and the water is pretty cold. The lodge will provide the waders if needed and rubber boots for the ocean trips as the deck can get pretty slimy as you catch fish. I wore shorts most of the afternoons and wish I had packed more than one pair.
Bring sunscreen as the sun was surprisingly intense when it was out and a hat with a brim for glare. Bug spray is optional and there is no reason for bear spray. Dramamine for ocean trips if you get seasick. Extra socks as mentioned are useful. Eye mask for blocking out light when you sleep. Snacks if you have particular preferences though I packed energy bars and trail mix and didn’t need any of it. A camera for sure whether separate or on a smart phone. If it is not raining, and you don’t fall in or drop it then it won’t get wet while fishing and you can take some candid shots of people catching their fish! Some type of waterproof bag (even a Ziploc) to put your phone and wallet in is a good idea.