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Thread: Ketchikan vs Sitka

  1. #1
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    Default Ketchikan vs Sitka

    Looking for some advice on Ketchikan vs Sitka for salmon and halibut fishing in mid-July.

    While not the ideal "first trip" to Alaska, I'm going to be on a cruise with the in-laws celebrating their 50th Anniversary. The father in-law wants to do some fishing. We'll have about 8 hours in Sitka and about 11 hours in Ketchikan and I was wondering if one of the two was better?

    The odd charter recommendation for either place would be welcome as well.

    Thx
    -K2

  2. #2
    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    Default

    Whenever I have a few free days and I'm not stuck fishing in Juneau, I always head for Sitka. Mid-July will likely see a Ling Cod closure, but the salmon and halibut fishing is awesome.

    I don't get down to Ketchikan too often, but I've heard great reviews of Ken at Northern Lights Charters.

    -Case
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
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  3. #3
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Default Charters

    Two excellent charter operators in Ketchikan are Ken Tuene from Northern Lights Charters (907) 247-8488 and Bill Kacenas from Magnum Charters (907)247-0177. Tell them Dean sent you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CanCanCase View Post
    I don't get down to Ketchikan too often, but I've heard great reviews of Ken at Northern Lights Charters.

    -Case
    Quote Originally Posted by kingfisherktn View Post
    Two excellent charter operators in Ketchikan are Ken Tuene from Northern Lights Charters (907) 247-8488 and Bill Kacenas from Magnum Charters (907)247-0177. Tell them Dean sent you.
    Two recommendations for Northern Lights. I'll have to see if they're available if I end up fishing in Ketchikan.

    Thanks
    -K2

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    Default fishin

    I would second Ken "Toonee." I think sitka fishing is great though.
    My brother keeps his charter boat by Ken's and I know Ken's a great guy.
    So is my bro but that would be one more name.....

  6. #6
    Member Bent fin's Avatar
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    ketchikan can be good but sitka is much more consistant.

  7. #7
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    fish both! I've heard great things about both, if I had to chose one to saltwater fish I'd pick sitka for the big water experiance, theres just something about being on the vast pacific...
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Default Sitka or Ketchikan?

    KTwo,

    You will have fun at either location, but Sitka may may be a better location for catching a halibut due to the shorter run time of getting to the halibut grounds. I think Ketchikan would provide a higher quality salmon fishery for you and the water is more protected in case you or your family members are sensitive to sea sickness. Save up your money and please spend lots of tourist dollars on your trip .

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    Default Sitka vs Juneau, NOT Sitka vs Ketchikan

    So, I'm almost ashamed to even post this. I'm such a knucklehead. I'm looking for advice on Sitka vs Juneau, not Sitka vs Ketchikan. Guess I should learn to read the itinerary.

    Any recommendations on Sitka vs Juneau for salt water fishing (which is best?) or charter companies in Sitka or Juneau?

    Thx
    -K2

  10. #10
    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KTwo View Post
    So, I'm almost ashamed to even post this. I'm such a knucklehead. I'm looking for advice on Sitka vs Juneau, not Sitka vs Ketchikan. Guess I should learn to read the itinerary.

    Any recommendations on Sitka vs Juneau for salt water fishing (which is best?) or charter companies in Sitka or Juneau?

    Thx
    -K2
    That actually makes the decision even easier. Keep in mind, everything I say is a bit biased (check my signature) but if I personally had to choose between the two, I would fish in Sitka.

    Depending on the time of year, there can be great fishing in Juneau. Our silvers are bigger at their peak because they're closer to spawning streams in Juneau vs. Sitka. In good years, Juneau has a couple of nice terminal areas where bag limits on Kings are increased and annual limits are lifted completely too.

    The two areas are really so different (amazingly different for only being 60 miles or so apart!) that if fishing is your passion, I'd really suggest both. Since you asked for specific operators, I'll let my bias show a bit...
    Alaskan Marine Adventures, Alaska Trophy Fishing, Harv & Marv's Outback Alaska, Hi-Time Charters and the c/v Bumble Bee are some of my favorites. You should also check the services directory here (http://outdoorsdirectory.com/directory/charsaltse.htm)

    Remember, all boats in SE are limited to 6 anglers. This really becomes a factor to consider when you're deciding whether to book single seats or keep all the fun for yourself and charter privately.

    Have fun!
    -Case
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
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  11. #11
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Talking KTwo

    you're a real knucklehead--you'll fit in great in the forums with the rest of us. lol

  12. #12

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    If your coming on a cruise ship the cruise line will make all the arrangements for a 1/2 day "cruise ship charter" for you, they kind of herd everyone on tour buses and send you to the charter docks, funnel everyone down the docks to their pre-assigned boat and off you go. These are usually 4 hour trips and from what I've seen, its more about giving you the "experience" of fishing Ak. whether you catch anything or not. If catching fish is important then I would suggest arranging your own charter if thats possible ( may not be with cruise ship itinerary). Anyways, good luck and if I had to choose between Juneau and Sitka, definitely Sitka.

  13. #13
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    Default pre-book

    You don't have to 'pre-book' through the cruise ship. You can arrange a charter ahead of time with a reputable Captain.

  14. #14
    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    I don't know how Sitka is running their show these days, but in Juneau, the "Cruise ship trips" are all handled by a broker who simply takes x-number of guests from the cruise ships and assigns them to one of the local boats that they've agreed to work with. The big downer is the HUGE commissions that are paid... Let's say you pay $200 on the ship. Right off the bat, the cruise line will take 25 - 35%, the broker will get a commission and transportation fee, and leave the captain/guide, deckhand and boat with $85. Out of that $85, the captain/boat is expected to provide all the sodas and coffee you can drink, lunch, bait, etc...What? You were on a Celebrity ship and paid $250 for the same trip? Captain/guide still only gets paid $85. It's a good way for a new guide to break into the business, but it just doesn't pay.

    A great guide will still show you a wonderful time, no matter the pay, but if you had a choice, would you want the same guide making $85 or $150-$200?

    These "cruise ship trips" are also under a HUGE amount of pressure to get you out on the water and make you THINK you're fishing. I've seen those trips go out in gale warnings, set their bow into the wind in the only island lee available, set gear, and stay in one spot (captain says, "okay...we're trolling!") for the whole 3-4 hours. I've seen bayliners with non-functional i/o drives putting out of the harbor on their kicker, drop lines just outside the breakwater, and "fish" even when there were no fish there.

    Oh, don't fall for the line about "don't book independantly. If they're late you'll miss the ship! Ship sponsored trips are guaranteed to get you on board in time." Most local businesses know the ship schedule better than you know your itinerary. Any guide/captain worth his herring would be STUPID no to plan for the worst possible scenario and be SURE you were back where you needed to be. Besides, (as I joke with my clients), I can get you from Juneau to Skagway faster than the ship can... I don't have a casino on my boat that I need to keep open all night!

    -Case

    Disclaimer: Sorry if this post came off "gruff" or "cynical" or "blunt." I haven't had my morning coffee yet to adjust my attitude. I'll re-read in a few hours and re-post or edit if I said anything too out of line! ;-)
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
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    Case -

    Great info! And you didn't come off gruff or any of the other things. I've pretty much been of the same mind as your anyways.

    I've been looking for independent charters. My only quandry right now is whether to book in Sitka or Juneau. I've found captains in both places that I'm comfortable with so that's not an issue. I'm just really looking to see if either place is better than the other.

    I'm just about to make a reservation out of Sitka. I'm thinking that being closer to the open ocean than Juneau should make for better fishing.

    -K2

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by CanCanCase View Post
    Remember, all boats in SE are limited to 6 anglers. This really becomes a factor to consider when you're deciding whether to book single seats or keep all the fun for yourself and charter privately.
    I'm not familiar with this rule, although it may be true.

    If your referring to the 6 person limit when operating under an 'Operator of Uninspected Vessel' License, or OUPV/six pack license, then you right. But a vessel may be inspected by the USCG and given a 'certificate of inspection' (COI) allowing moire than 6 people to be carried on board. At that point, the captain needs a Masters license, but even most 'six pack' guys have a Masters license for 25 -100 tons.

    What's really funny, are the ads which stress they only take out 6 people 'for your comfort and enjoyment.'

  17. #17

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    S.E. Ak. only allow a maximum 6 passengers on charter boats, reason I was told was to keep the "Westport" type party boats out. Doesn't matter what license the capt. holds.

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    Default Cruise Ship Charters

    Case explained it very well in his previous post concerning the way most cruise ship charters work in Juneau. The system works the same in Ketchikan. The tourist gets shuttled around like a sheep.

    Since we are on the subject, if I was recommending an "Alaska Cruise" to any of my friends, it wouldn't be on any of the Princess type mega boats. I think operations like Alaska Sightseeing/Cruise West are the best option for a passenger-friendly Alaska exerience. They run good equipment, their crews consist of American citizens who know Alaska very well. The boats are smaller, but not too small, so you get to know the crew and your fellow passengers better. In addition, the passengers get to stay in local lodging, town to town, and experience the true flavor of the different communitys and mingle with locals.

    I don't think those mega ships are very healthy either. Every year it seems like a bug goes around on the mega boats making many of the passengers sick. My job has taken me on board most of the cruise ships in S.E Alaska, so I have a unique inside perspective, but of course it's just my opinion.

    I'm sure your trip will be great. Most people say it's an awesome experience.

  19. #19
    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianW View Post
    ...What's really funny, are the ads which stress they only take out 6 people 'for your comfort and enjoyment.'
    And then there are a few rare gems who actually DO limit vessel capacity for comfort and enjoyment (and to not have a PITA trip while single-handing a charter.)

    The ADF&G rule refers to fishing 6 LINES. There are a few boats in Juneau who will book 8 - 12 for a halibut charter, then just rotate anglers through 4 - lines. Yuck! Just as an example (and there are several in town who do this) My boat can easily and legally accommodate 12 or more, but I end up with a big tangled mess if I fish more than 4 - 6 lines. My policy has always been "one license, one line", so even without the ADF&G restriction I limit to 6 guests.

    Then there are boats who really should be limited to 4 guests that fish 6 because more clients = more money, even if the experience is diminished.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coaldust
    I don't think those mega ships are very healthy either. Every year it seems like a bug goes around on the mega boats making many of the passengers sick. My job has taken me on board most of the cruise ships in S.E Alaska, so I have a unique inside perspective, but of course it's just my opinion.
    I don't think they're any more un-healthy than any other closed living system. I got a nasty head cold and stomach bug just last week from breathing the re-circulated air on an Alaska Airlines jet. DO be sure to use the hand sanitizer they give you, and DON'T go around coughing in someone's face, but otherwise it's like the rest of life... eat healthy, stay healthy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Coaldust
    Since we are on the subject, if I was recommending an "Alaska Cruise" to any of my friends, it wouldn't be on any of the Princess type mega boats. I think operations like Alaska Sightseeing/Cruise West are the best option for a passenger-friendly Alaska exerience. They run good equipment, their crews consist of American citizens who know Alaska very well. The boats are smaller, but not too small, so you get to know the crew and your fellow passengers better. In addition, the passengers get to stay in local lodging, town to town, and experience the true flavor of the different communitys and mingle with locals.
    I've recommended Cruise West tours for years. If nothing else, they'll get you into places and ports that the big ships never see. Everyone knows there's more to SE Alaska than Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway, right? Lately I've been putting friends and family on some of the private yacht charters (Wild Alaska, etc.) that are running around. For the money spent on a cruise, it's a great way to see SE, and you get to do the things I remember doing while growing up so many moons ago.

    -Case
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  20. #20
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    I'd recomend sitka, of course I've never been out on the water here but the numbers from ADFG and the comm troll fleet seem to favor sitka.
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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