When you think of a sport-fishing vacation in Alaska many images come to mind. I prefer luxury service in a rustic setting, where the focus is not on the lodge but on nature. At the all-inclusive Waterfall Resort Alaska, luxury is in the service and the natural surroundings are superb. The resort isn’t about high thread count, spa services or room service, instead, the focus is on the fishing. It’s also about the jaw-dropping beauty that surrounds the resort on Prince of Wales Island near the Inside Passage in southeast Alaska.
While guests may expect first class boats, guides and gear, it’s the service that sets Waterfall Resort Alaska apart. Did I mention the lodge offers a one-to-one staff-to-guest ratio? You’ll experience a 45-minute scenic floatplane ride from Ketchikan International Airport to the 52 acre resort. The bush plane transports guests from civilization (Ketchikan is only 90 minutes from Seattle, Washington) to a peaceful setting in a protected bay in Alaska. Once a former salmon cannery, Waterfall Resort Alaska is now a full-service sport fishing lodge with an emphasis on the guest and the guest catching fish! We experienced the resort as a husband and wife fishing trip, but it’s a great place for fishing buddies to reconnect or families to create lasting memories. Truly, I wish our son and daughter could have experienced this once-in-a-lifetime trip simply for the wildlife.
We saw bald eagles, Orca and humpback whales, sea lions, sea otters, huge jelly fish, black bears, Sitka black-tail deer and other wild creatures. All these bird and animal sightings in a matter of days.
I’ve stayed at other fishing lodges and I’m pleased to say that Waterfall Resort gets guests on the water and fishing right away. You’ll check into the lodge, confirm your hotel options; there are 4 suites, 4 split level townhouses and 26 oceanfront cabins – all with water views. Grab your Helly Hansen fishing apparel and waterproof boots from the Mud Room, along with your fishing license and King salmon stamp (available for purchase at the General Store) and off you go with your guide.
We stayed in one of four Egg House suites, over-looking Ulloa Channel. With two queen beds, a sofa, table, mini fridge and coffee maker, the rooms are large and comfortable. It was a plus that the generators offer power 24/7 (I’ve been to many remote lodges where the power shuts off at night.) If you didn’t pack a hair dryer, they are available for loan from the General Store. The spacious bathroom, with walk in shower and separate bath tub, includes shampoo and conditioner.
The four Tongass Townhouses (in the Tongass National Forest) are two-story and feature two upstairs bedrooms. Downstairs is the full kitchen, washer and dryer, half bath and sitting area with fireplace. This would be an ideal set up for families or couples traveling together. Lodge rooms, located above the general store, and historic boardwalk cabins are great for fishing partners or couples.
The all-inclusive resort includes buffet breakfast with eggs cooked to order, lunch on the boat (ordered the day prior with your choice of sandwich, fried chicken, yogurt and fresh fruit and fresh baked cookies.) Non-alcoholic beverages are provided, byob purchased from the General Store. Dinners include a wide array of options from certified Angus beef to fresh Dungeness crab (so good!) clams, Kahali oysters and local shrimp, in addition to perfectly prepared duck or elk. Pacific coast wines and beer, as well as soft drinks are included in the price of your sport fishing package.
Guests with special diets may be accommodated with 30 days advance notice. The Lagoon Saloon is the place to be after a day of fishing or for an after dinner drink. There’s also a ping pong table, reading area and card room for swapping fish tales after hours.
The fishing season for remote Alaskan lodges are relatively short. Waterfall Resort Alaska is open from June through August. Rates for 2018 start at $3,010. for a two night, three day stay. We experienced a three night, four day fishing package. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend anything less than three nights at the resort.
For those who can’t go anywhere without WiFi, the lodge does offer complimentary WiFi with the best coverage by the Alaska Airlines room. You read that right; Waterfall Resort has an Alaska Airlines agent on site! Your fish will be processed and sealed right after it’s caught and flash frozen. Your fish comes home with you as luggage on Alaska Airlines flights. Waterfall Resort offers a seamless fishing experience, with whale watching included as a bonus. We also picked up cell coverage while out on the water (our carrier was AT&T, your experience may vary!)
Review by avid fisherman and Bay Area Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Waterfall Resort Alaska, but all opinions are my own. All photos courtesy of Nancy D. Brown.