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Volume 14 Number 01  -  January 6, 2003
  Making arrangements to visit Alaska requires careful preparation and thought. When I first decided to go, I visited the libraries, searched the Internet, spoke to friends, and conversed with Alaskan anglers through various websites. One factor that played a major role was weather. I didn’t want to visit a location that did not offer alternatives to heavy seas due to high winds. The reality is that there are certain fishing ports in Alaska which are very dependent on weather for success, unless, of course, you enjoy 10 – 15 foot roller coaster seas. I wanted a place that offered productive leeward shores in which to fish. When I heard from one of the Cove’s lodge owners, that they had not been blown out in over five years, I knew that Elfin Cove was the place for me.
Another factor was accommodations. Since my military days in the field were a distant bad memory, I wished to visit a locale I could feel comfortable in after a long day on the water. There are places that offer camping that are fine, but not for this non-camper. I wanted “The Plaza” of fishing lodges. After two visits, Tanaku Lodge met all of my expectations, and the food was unforgettably good. Tuesday nights offer mounds of dungenous crab legs for appetizers, followed by a rack of lamb or prime rib main course.
Air travel cannot be overlooked. The easiest way to plan is through a travel agent. A cheaper alternative is to book your flight through an Internet site, such as Travelocity or Orbitz. I have done both and have found that the Internet sites are very user friendly and can provide clear-cut choices. I liked the autonomy they provided, as well as the cheaper fares. The usual itinerary requires a flight to Seattle and then an Alaskan Airlines trip to Juneau. Since Elfin Cove is reachable only by boat or floatplane, arrangements must be made with a Juneau-based air company. Usually, the lodges will provide you with the necessary floatplane information and even make the reservations for you.
Most lodges will provide everything you will need for a successful fishing venture. No matter what species you choose, you do not need to worry about bringing the right gear. At Tanaku, throughout the week we used high quality tackle such as Penn GTI 345’s, spooled with 80 lb. T.U.F. line. These were mounted on stout stand up type rods. G. Loomis 8 ½ -foot graphite rod outfits were also readily available for the salmon fishing. A wide selection of raingear and boots were available for the Alaskan climate, which at times can be like Long Island weather in March.
For those of you who wonder about a fishing license, yes, one is issued by the State of Alaska through the lodge officials. The 2002 fee for our week was $60. This permits you to capture and keep two halibut per day, one king salmon daily (the limit is three per year) and six coho salmon per day. Most or all of the lodges will vacuum pack and freeze your fillets for the plane ride home. The airlines count the packed standard 60 lb. fish cartons as extra sets of luggage, and as long as you do not exceed the three bag limit, there is no extra shipping fee. However, that three bag limit can vary depending on the airline company.
The fishing season in the northern Alaska Panhandle is a relatively brief one extending from mid-May to early September. The king salmon prevail during late May and the month of June. Halibut are available during the entire season, although July and August are favored by many barndoor seekers. Coho salmon are plentiful throughout mid-July and all of August. River and stream fishing is popular during the later part of the season in August and September. In order to insure that you have a choice of select dates, it is best to make arrangements with lodge owners during the winter and early spring months. Below is a listing of some of the Elfin Cove lodges:
Cove Lodge 907 - 239 - 2221 Contact: Gordy Wrobel
Cross Sound Lodge 800 - 323 - 5346 Contact: Don or Becky Nash
Eagle Charters & Lodge 888 - 828 - 1970 Contact: Joe or Marilyn Kulavik
Elfin Cove Lodge 800 - 422 - 2824 Contact: Dan Baxter
Fishmasters Inn 888 - 922 - 3474 Contact: Jerry Shelden
Tanaku Lodge 800 - 482 - 6258 Contact: Dennis Meier
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