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Insta-Q&A: Hooking a Fishing Guide

Christina Talcott

Not being a fisherperson, it's hard for me to appreciate the lure of salmon fishing in Alaska -- but I can definitely appreciate the results. Salmon's not only delicious, it's one of the most healthful foods you can eat. And since the fish is also apparently a lot of fun to catch, it's spawned a whole tourism industry up in Alaska. The fish can be caught year-round, but the best time is during the summer, when, according to the state's tourism office, "they can literally choke streams and rivers with their vast numbers."

Sounds tempting. But how to choose an outfitter? That's the topic of this week's Insta-Q, which comes from Stephanie Sefcik of Vienna. She writes:

My husband and some friends would like to go salmon fishing in Alaska this summer. Can you recommend some places to go? Looking on the Internet, there are so many areas and choices.

This kodiak probably knows where the fish are biting. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife/Alaska Division)

Stephanie, one place to start is Travel Alaska, the state's tourism office, which has a detailed list of companies offering salmon fishing trips, so you can compare itineraries and prices. Of course, there's nothing like a personal recommendation.

So how about it, readers?
Anyone out there been there, done that, and can recommend a location and/or outfitter?

By Christina Talcott |  February 13, 2009; 7:36 AM ET  | Category:  Insta-Q&A , K.C. Summers
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One good trick is to find guides that are licensed in the National Wildlife Refuges: The various refuges have limited the number of guides authorized to take clients since some time in the 80's (it varies by refuge) and they have not been afraid to pull permits where guides are performing poorly. This gets you started with companies that have a history, and that can take you places that not everyone can.
Here is a short Guide Selection Checklist
* Are you properly insured and licensed and registered with the State?
* How long has the guide who will be taking me out been fishing in this area? (Note that this is different than how long the company has been around.)
* Can you supply any references who live in my area?
* What is the season for the various species I want to catch?
* What is the best time of the season for improving my chances of success?
* How long are your fishing trips? What time do you depart and return?
* How many fish can I expect to catch and what is their size?
* What is the limit for the species we will catch?
* What kind of fishing will we be doing? (fly, spin... boat, wade?
* How do I get a fishing license? Do you sell them?
* Does your rate include fish cleaning and/or filleting of the catch?
* How will I get my catch home?
* Do you provide packaging and freezing or can you direct me to the appropriate services for this?
* What should I bring with me?
* What do you supply for the fishing trip?
* How big is your boat and how many other fishermen will be present?
* How much deposit do you require?
* What is your policy if I decide to cancel?
* What is your policy if you cancel due to weather or other reasons?
* What is your policy if Fish & Game closes the fishery or changes it to catch-and-release before I go out?
* Do you accept credit cards?
* What is your rate? Do you have discounts for multiple trips or large groups?

Posted by: AKFishGuide | February 13, 2009 8:35 PM

from your lead in, you should just limit your experience to watching fishing shows on tv, or opening a can of salmon.

Posted by: rong56345 | February 14, 2009 10:12 AM

You might also check with Orvis as they have approved guides. You can do this locally or with them @ HQ for advanced planning. Tight Lines!

Posted by: Timonabike | February 15, 2009 12:26 PM

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