Coming to Prince of Wales Island means leaving the crowds behind. Fly by float plane over dramatic southeast Alaska. The DeHavilland float planes give the feeling that you’ve stepped back in time as the engines roar, you gain speed and lift off the water to gain altitude. Below are tiny fishing boats, mountain tops and miles of coastline. Behind you are the cruise ships & crowded tourist shops and ahead of you lies Prince of Wales Island. Untouched, quiet streams await your arrival. We like the fact that the island is remote, yet only 30 minutes from the nearest airport.
Upon arrival you will notice the steep, forested mountains (2,000-3,000 feet high) carved by glacial ice which left deep valleys with streams, lakes, saltwater straits and bays. The forest is made up of Sitka spruce and western hemlock with some western red and yellow cedar, alder, and shore pine. At 60 miles wide by 120 miles long you will have plenty of exploring to do. The extensive road system winds through the evergreens and along the famous inside passage. With more roads then the rest of the Southeast Alaska region you will enjoy the endless river, lake and stream access.
Sitka black tailed deer and black bear are the primary game animals, and the island supports many packs of wolves. During the month of June mother deer and their tiny, spotted fawns can be seen along the roads as they take their first steps on wobbly legs! Eagles are a common sight and waterfowl abound. Bear are often spotted along the shores and on the riverbanks fishing for salmon. Abundant supplies of salmon, trout, and steelhead can be found in the streams. Many people fish the salt water for the five species of salmon, or for halibut, yellow eye, ling cod and other bottom fish. Humpback and killer whales are spotted during migration and feeding in the summer. Although we have lived here for many years, we never tire of watching them as they dive and feed.
For a list of other activities on the island, click here.
Weather in Thorne Bay
Adventure Alaska Southeast, LLC is located 40 miles northwest of Ketchikan on the Prince of Wales Island. A cool, moist climate prevails in southeast Alaska. During the summers, average temperatures may vary from 46 to 70 degrees! Precipitation is always possible during your stay on the island regardless of the time of year. Rainfall averages from 60 to 160 inches per year. Good rain gear and waterproof boots are recommended as well as clothing that can handle the temperature ranges described. To see a full list of recommended things to bring CLICK HERE
How to Get Here
Leave the crowds behind, fly by floatplane over dramatic southeast Alaska. The DeHaviland floatplanes give the feeling that you’ve stepped back in time as the engines roar, you gain speed and lift off the water to gain altitude. Below are tiny fishing boats, mountain tops and miles of coastline. Behind you are the crowded tourist shops and ahead of you lies Prince of Wales Island. Untouched, quiet streams await your arrival in the small town of Thorne Bay in less than 40 minutes.
How to get here:
You must reach Ketchikan via Alaska Airlines. Seattle is the jumping-off point for getting to Ketchikan for most USA flights. Some international flights will route to Ketchikan through Anchorage. No matter where in the world you call home, you will have to connect with Ketchikan before taking a floatplane or ferry to Prince of Wales Island, the final leg of your trip. We recommend the floatplane as it is the fastest way to complete your journey. Many of our guests arrive with enough time to get hours of fishing in on their first day. If you have your own plane (as some of our guests do) you can also utilize the airport in Klawock and we can pick you up there.
Our small town of Thorne Bay holds the historic title of the World’s Largest Logging Camp.
What began as a logging camp back in the early 1960’s is now one of the newest cities in Alaska, incorporated in 1982. The timber industry kept the small town booming with a whopping population of around 600 until the final timber sale was completed in 2001. Now the population hovers around 500 residents. The school enrolls about 75 students Kindergarten through 12th grade.
Today Thorne Bay is home to the local school district, a large Forest Service complex, some small fishing lodges, the barge terminal that services the entire island, small owner-operated saw mills and other small businesses.
Local services include Thorne Bay Market (we think it’s the best grocery store on the island), liquor store and hardware store; general merchandise, boat fuel, convenience store, gas, diesel and post office at The Port. Thorne Bay Cafe is a delicious stop for lunch or dinner.
From Seattle you can expect a 90-minute flight to Ketchikan, Alaska. Once you’re in Ketchikan the airport is small and all you have to do is pick-up your luggage at baggage carousel #1 –the only baggage carousel! Next, look behind you to see Pacific Airways floatplane service counter. Keep your camera out for the scenic 30-minute flight to Thorne Bay on Prince of Wales Island, where we will be waiting to meet you at the dock.
Alaska Airlines’ baggage policy:
1 – to 2 Bags: $25.00 each
3 or more: $75.00 Note: Alaska Airlines may change prices at any time. For current and complete details click here
FISH BOXES: On the day of your departure, we will put your fish or game in a wax lined fish box and strap it for airline travel. (It is weighed not to exceed the 50lb limit.) Fish boxes can be checked as regular baggage.
2019 Alaska Airlines prices for fish boxes-
1 Box- $30
3 Boxes and more-$100 each
Alaska Airlines, Horizon, and SkyWest flights have changed their carry-on size limit to 22” x 14” x 9”
Pacific Airways Float Plane Service
If you have stayed with Adventure Alaska Southeast, LLC before, you know that Pacific Airways is our airline of choice. They have superior customer service and have treated our guests well for many years. When you have made your Alaska Airline reservation into Ketchikan you will then need to contact us with your flight number, guest names, weights, and arrival times so we can arrange your flights for you. Please copy this link to go to the form to fill out and email:
****Please note – You must arrive early enough into Ketchikan to catch your floatplane flight to Thorne Bay. The last flight to Thorne Bay departs 5:00PM. On your departure day you MAY OR MAY NOT be able to connect with Alaska Airlines first flight in the morning (Flight 60); the early flight out of Thorne Bay is weather dependent. Remember that you need to allow yourself time to get to Ketchikan. 8:30AM is usually the earliest you can get to the airport. Also good to know is the two Pacific Airways locations: at the Ketchikan Airport and the town location, 1621 Tongass Avenue.
If you are flying directly out to Adventure Alaska, the Pacific Airways check-in counter is located adjacent to baggage claim at the airport. If you stay the night in Ketchikan, you can board your floatplane from their “Waterfront” location, any hotel shuttle can drop you at their check -in counter.
2019 Lodge Rate Seat Fare $161 one way, $322 round trip.
Only in effect if it is bought round trip.
Baggage and Fish Box allowance:
Passengers are allowed FORTY (40) POUNDS of baggage per person, regardless of number of bags. All items are weighed and count toward the allowance, including hand-carry items such as purses, laptops, backpacks, etc. No single item may exceed 50 linear inches (length+width+height); this equates to a standard 10″x16″x24″ carry-on bags permitted on major airlines. Fishing poles over 3′ are $25. Any one piece of baggage weighing 75 lbs or more is $100 plus excess baggage fees (which is $1 per pound).
Any baggage over this weight will be charged at per pound rate stated below. Passengers traveling on seat fares are allowed two fish boxes per person (50 pounds each) on the return flight to Ketchikan. Any fish boxes over this amount will be charged at the per box rate stated below. Coolers are charged at $1.00 a pound and are not considered a part of the allowed fish boxes. Coolers are discouraged by the float plane companies as they do not fit well in cargo compartments.
Excess Baggage Rate: $1.00 lb.
Excess Fish Box Rate: $50.00
Always remember our arrival and departure times when booking your flights! Arrive NO EARLIER than 1:00pm and depart NO LATER than 10:00am
Pacific Airways also offers charter flights that may better fit your schedule. Charter flights are only weight restricted by “gross weight.”(A max of 6 people or 1200 lbs.) Less people equals more baggage, meaning a group of four might want to charter a flight to save on excess baggage rates. Another example would be a group of six, flying with minimum baggage. Some of our guests accomplish this by shipping their stuff via the postal service. Call for more info.
2019 Charter Rate: $835.00
The Inter-Island Ferry Authority offers service between Ketchikan and Hollis. This is about a three hour cruise on the Inside Passage. You will arrive in Hollis on Prince of Wales Island about 50 miles from Thorne Bay. If you choose to come to the island via ferry, you will need transportation to Adventure Alaska. We charge $35.00 each way per person, minimum of four, to shuttle to or from the ferry. Please notify us as soon as you’ve made ferry reservations so that we can make arrangements to pick you up.
The Ferry Schedule
Daily Depart Hollis 8:00 AM – Arrive Ketchikan 11:00 AM
Daily Depart Ketchikan 3:30 PM – Arrive Hollis 6:30 PM
Departure and arrival times may vary due to weather conditions.
Driver Free from January 1 thru April 30
Adult – $48.75 (12-64 years)
Senior – $32.50 (65 & Older)
Child – $22.50 (2-11 years)
Under 2 years – FREE
First fish box is free. Additional fish boxes are $10 each.
Always check Inter Island Ferry Authority website for the most up-to-date pricing and schedule:
DIRECTIONS TO DRIVE TO OR FROM THE FERRY FROM ADVENTURE ALASKA SOUTHEAST, LLC
Other travel tips
Alaska Airlines allows two carry on bags as well as your checked baggage.. On your return flight fish boxes can be checked as regular baggage.
While booking flights online at times it is difficult to get the round trip flights you want. We sometimes find the exact flights we want by booking two one way flights. The same is true for air miles, also with air miles you will often find two separate one way flights for the minimum miles required whereas the round trip might cost more miles.
The Alaska Airline credit card has great travel benefits. Many of our guests as well as the Adventure Alaska Southeast, LLC team use this card for travel every year. It can significantly reduce travel expenses.
The card has an annual fee of $75.00 and upon approval they will give you 25,000 bonus miles. That is enough for one free ticket to Alaska. Another benefit is the “Travel companion ticket” this coupon allows the purchase of one full fare ticket and your companion only has to pay $121.00 plus taxes. (Usually about $22.00) Travel companion tickets come with a new card and are also given once a year upon renewal of card. This card also accrues miles for every dollar spent. We do not work for Visa but this information is just too good not to share! Many of our repeat guests fly for free every year. To take advantage of this great deal:www.myalaskacard.com
Staying overnight in Ketchikan:
Some guests like to spend an extra night in Ketchikan on the way to or from Adventure Alaska Southeast, LLC. Here are some contact numbers for hotels in Ketchikan. Some of these hotels offer discounts for guests traveling through Ketchikan to Adventure Alaska Southeast, LLC. Mention our name to check for current discounts.
Cape Fox 1-907-225-8001
The Landing 1-800-428-8304
My Place 1-855-200-5685
Edgewater Inn 1-907-247-2600
Our Tackle Shop
Our small on-site tackle store stocks most of the fishing gear and tackle that we recommend for the local waters. Whether you are choosing our self-guided option and consider yourself experienced or if your fishing skills are a little rusty, our aim is to assist you for the best fishing success. We are happy to show you first-hand all you’ll need to hit the streams with confidence!
Fly-casting is fun and rewarding, larger patterns work better as our water tends to be darker, swing fishing is key to catching Steelhead, roll casting will be necessary on some creeks and a fast strip is sure to put a salmon on your line.
Spin-fishing is fun from child to adult, novice to pro. It is a great way to learn and kids pick up on it in a hurry. We recommend different weight spinners depending on water conditions and species that you will be targeting. Salmon prefer an egg simulants such as the “Old Salts Silver Slayers” (available locally) or the vibrax spinners. Our most popular are #3’s and #4’s with silver blade and pink or orange bell. Steelhead prefer a jig & a bobber on a dead drift and trout will suck down anything that resembles eggs, flesh or salmon smolt. Remember everything we recommend is available in our tackle store.
Saltwater bottom fishing is usually done on a slow drift with a 5 to 6 foot rod, we use 16oz jigs with glow skirts. Many variations are available. For saltwater trolling you want to use a longer more limber rod with a small flasher, good swivels and a trolling or mooching rig with octopus hooks. Once again many variations are available.
DIY Fly Tying
Here is the Egg-Sucking Leach fly.
What to Bring
RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT FOR FISHING IN SOUTHEAST ALASKA
A cool, moist climate prevails in southeast Alaska. During the summers, average temperatures may vary from 46 to 70 degrees! Precipitation is always likely during your stay on the island regardless of the time of year. Rainfall averages nearly 160 inches per year. More detail about weather can be found here on our Weather.
The following list of recommended gear for fishing in Southeast Alaska was compiled for the purpose of allowing individuals not experienced in this area to be aware of the minimum equipment required to be safe and comfortable fishing in Southeast Alaska. This list has been compiled by fisherman experienced in this area and should not be considered as one hundred percent complete, but as a guideline for the equipment required. Individual requirements should be utilized to supplement this list.
There is a vast range of gear available for what is quite a simple task, that is, the delivery of your hook to a position where a fish might strike it~
FISHING LICENSES & SHRIMP PERMITS – If your planning on fishing or hunting while you stay with us you will need to secure your licenses and or tags from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game website.
If you are planning on harvesting shrimp you will also need a free shellfish permit available on the same Alaska Department of Fish & Game website. (This will save you valuable fishing time once you arrive but it is difficult to locate on their website. Below are step by step directions for the free permit.)
From the Alaska Department of Fish & Game website:
Select “Licenses & Permit”
In the drop-down menu select “Buy a License Online”
Select “Southeast Shrimp Sport Permit”
RODS AND REELS – Fully Guided Trips – If you are going on a fully guided trip, we provide rods and reels (spin, deep water) as well as tackle and flies. If you have your own favorite freshwater rods, bring them. Fish filleting is provided with this package.
Self guided trips – Most of our guests bring their own. We recommend a 6/7 weight for Salmon or Steel-head and 4/5 weight for Trout. We do have a selection of spin / salt water rods available at no extra charge. (No fly gear) We also have an on-site tackle store with fresh and saltwater tackle and bait available. If you have your favorite rods, bring them. Fish filleting is provided with this package.
FILLET KNIFE – Fillet knives are available at our fish packing station, however they are not to take in the field. A good fillet knife will help you with various fishing needs as well as filleting salmon on the bank so you only have to bring usable meat back to the cabins.
PACK – A pack that fits you well and can support any anticipated loads you need to carry. For most of our guests a lightweight day-pack is sufficient.
SALTWATER TACKLE – Flashers for down-riggers, herring aids, mooching rigs, salmon flies, cod jigs, twin tail worms, banana lead sinkers, swivel chain, hook file and good snap swivels. Remember, we do have an on-site tackle store and we carry everything we recommend!
FRESHWATER TACKLE – Blue Fox Vibrax spinners (size #3-#6) are a local favorite (silver spinner, pink, red or silver bell) as well as Old Salt Silver Slayer lures. Old Salt lures are hand crafted and can only be purchased locally. Bolos, and Krocodiles are also effective as well as a multitude of flies. We stock all of our recommended tackle in our on-site tackle store.
BOOTS – An absolute must for Prince of Wales Island!! A good pair of “broken-in” waterproof hiking boots are good for the days you might not want to wear waders or the days in the boat. You will encounter muddy trails and riverbanks while stream fishing. XtraTuff boots are the boot of choice for locals and can be purchased locally. Remember to bring rain pants for the times you won’t be wearing waders.
WADERS – Lightweight, breathable waders are recommended. With insulated layers underneath.
CLOTHES – All clothing should be synthetic, or wool-synthetic blends. Cotton is to be avoided, since it has little value when wet. Comfortable warm socks are a must. Three changes of clothing should be sufficient for anyone. (We have an on-site laundry) Bring what you need, but don’t over pack. Please see weight restrictions on float plane flights.
RAIN GEAR – Good rain gear is essential. Helly Hansen or equivalent is best. Remember that Southeast Alaska is a rain forest and there is always a chance of rain. A Gore-Tex jacket over a pair of breathable waders is the combination that we recommend. Having good gear to keep you warm and dry can make all the difference in the comfort and enjoyment of your trip!
WATERPROOF DRYBAGS- These bags are lightweight and great for keeping your devices safe and dry while out in the boat or along the riverbank. A dry bag that fits into your pack works great to transport fillets out of the field. While some fishing holes are close to the truck others are farther away and you will want to fillet and pack your fish out. Any other items that you want to guarantee to stay dry should be in a dry bag as well. To see the drybags we recommend click this link. https://seatosummitusa.com/collections/waterproof-dry-bags
BUG SPRAY – Mosquito nets are not necessary, however bug spray with Deet is handy if the bugs are lousy.
RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT FOR HUNTING IN SOUTHEAST ALASKA
The following list of recommended gear for hunting in Southeast Alaska was compiled for the purpose of allowing individuals who not experienced in this area to be aware of the minimum equipment required to be safe and comfortable on a hunt in Southeast Alaska. This list has been compiled by hunters experienced in this area and should not be considered as one hundred percent complete, but as a guideline for the equipment required. Individual requirements should be utilized to supplement this list. Remember, this trip is self-guided, use your good judgment.
OPTICS – A good pair of comfortable binoculars with good light-gathering capabilities are recommended. Good ranges are between 7x30 and 10x50. Your may want a spotting scope but it is not essential.
PACK – A pack that fits you well and can support any anticipated loads you need to carry. For most bear hunts, you only need a day-pack. For high country hunts such as alpine deer hunts, we suggest an internal frame pack with at least 4,500 cubic inches of storage.
BOOTS – A good pair of “broken-in” waterproof hiking boots are required for alpine deer hunts. We use the Danner Elk Hunters. Chest waders are great for hiking the streams on fall hunts. We recommend the breathable style not the neoprene.
CLOTHES – All clothing should be synthetic, or wool-synthetic blends. Cotton is to be avoided, since it has little value when wet. Comfortable, warm socks are a must. Three changes of clothing should be sufficient for anyone. (We have an onsite laundry) Bring what you need, but don’t over pack. Please see weight restrictions on float plane flights.
JACKETS – Jackets that shed the rain and are quiet in the woods are best. Pants should be quiet in the woods, warm and if not waterproof, dry out quickly when wet. Levi’s and other cotton fabrics are not recommended. Uninsulated saddlecloth, fleece, MT050, or wool – parkas, jacket and pants that have been laminated with a waterproof liner such as Dry-Plus or Gore-Tex can make hunting a lot more enjoyable in Alaska.
RAIN GEAR – Good rain gear is essential. Helly Hansen or equivalent is best. Remember that Southeast Alaska is a rain-forest!
KNIFE/COMPASS/LIGHT/SURVIVAL GEAR/FIRST AID KIT/HANDHELD GPS – Each hunter should carry these items on each day’s hunt. The Petzl Tikka Headlamp is an ideal light for most of our hunts. If you get an animal down in the evening a headlight will come in handy. It lasts a long time on 3 AAA batteries and can be purchased at Cabela’s. Common batteries can be purchased locally. Please remember this gear is for safety, if you have a GPS but don’t know how to use it it wont help. Don’t assume you will figure it out in the field.
RIFLE – .30 caliber or larger recommended, .338 cal. or larger magnum optimum. Due to some of the brushy terrain you will want to put your animal down in the shortest distance possible. The main requirement for a rifle is that you are comfortable with it and can hit where you aim at a reasonable distance (75-250 yards!) Due the the nature of our rough and brushy terrain it is not only necessary to make a clean and humane shot. It is also necessary to put the animal down immediately. A few yards could mean the difference of salvaging your game or loosing it.
MEAT & HIDE BAGS – If you bone your meat out on the mountain or a muskeg you will want some game bags to preserve and protect your meat and hide. A dry bag will also come in handy to pack out meat and keep your pack clean. To see the drybags we recommend click this link. https://seatosummitusa.com/collections/waterproof-dry-bags
BUG SPRAY – Mosquito nets are not necessary, however bug spray with Deet is handy if the bugs are lousy.