FAQS (FREQUENTLY ASKED
What is the catch limit
for halibut this year (2012)?
We are NOT limited
to one halibut per day like almost all
other lodges in SE Alaska (All Sitka, Ketchikan, Juneau,
Petersburg, etc., lodges are located where they are
restricted to one halibut per day). We have permits to fish
in Area 3A, where you may keep TWO halibut per day of ANY
size. We also have the option to fish in area 2C with it's
restrictions if weather prevents us from fishing in area
3A. Our fishermen have limited out on halibut almost every
single day this past 2012 season! In fact, we have caught
100 halibut over 100 pounds this past year… 20 halibut over
200 pounds… and 3 over 300 pounds… and that is for about
only 225 guests! That is a halibut over 100 pounds caught
for more than half of our guests!
We still fish in area 2C. Where we fish In area 2C, the
fishing is still very good and can catch fish all day long,
but we can keep only one halibut under 45 inches or over
68inches, per guest, per day. Most guests catch and keep a
halibut and a king salmon, some cohos and rock fish every
day at the Highliner Lodge. At the end of a 4 or 5 day
trip, most of our guests go home with 100-150 pounds of
fillets. That is a lot of fish! While you may go to other
destinations Like Homer & Seward and keep 2 halibut per
day...usually they are smaller and you will not be catching
any salmon on the same day. I have ADF&G statistics to
prove this. See below.
To clarify, we can fish in either area 2C or area 3A (but
not both in the same day). If you want to keep halibut over
45 inches and keep 2 halibut per day, you must fish in area
3A. This entails an additional 30-90 minutes of travel time
per day. Some days the weather prevents us from fishing in
this area. If the weather is unsettled, we will fish in the
more protected waters of area 2C. You might say that we
have the best of both worlds (areas)!
Why does your area have
the highest average weight of landed halibut in Alaska?
We are located
next to an area that is 400 miles long and 50 miles wide
that has almost zero sport fishing effort. That is 20,000
square miles of halibut and salmon habitat! As the halibut
and salmon migrate to the southeast we are first in line to
catch them. We are not overwhelmed by tens of thousands of
fishermen. We are not located, like most lodges in
southeast Alaska, a hundred miles away from the Gulf of
Alaska… where the fish are! Other areas in Alaska are too
far away from the ocean to have anything but little halibut
How does ADF&G
define the different areas when they present these
The map below shows the statistical areas that ADF&G
use to track the catch per rod hour for salmon &
halibut and the average weight of halibut. Elfin Cove,
Gustavus, Glacier (and Pelican) are all in the same
statistical area. Pelican has so few fishermen that it
isn't even shown on the map! Pelican, and the Highliner
lodge are located about 20 miles south of Elfin Cove.
The table below (from Alaska Department of Fish & Game)
shows that the “Glacier Bay” area has a mean weight of 45.3
pounds, in comparison Homer “The Halibut capital of the
World” has an average weight of 15.4, the reason our
average halibut weight is three times the average in Homer
is simply because we don't have the intense fishing
pressure that Homer, Seward, Sitka , etc., have. Homer had
58,222 angler days in 2006, Sitka had 42,681 angler days
and if you combine Pelican-569 angler days, Elfin Cove-5471
angler days, and Gustavus-4420 angler days (the Glacier Bay
area) we had only 10,460 angler days. When you have too
many fishermen catching too many halibut the average size
has to go down.
Catch Rates! Page for a complete
discourse on this important subject!
Why can’t I catch a
halibut and king salmon on the same day if I go to Seward
or Homer (“the Halibut Capital of the
It’s legal, but not likely:
In 2006 there were 2,162 king salmon landed in Homer, but
it took 58,222 “Angler days” to catch those fish.
out to one king salmon for every 27 days of fishing
effort. (58,222 /
2,162 = 26.9)
In 2006 there were 1,057 king salmon landed in Seward; it
took 42,681 “Angler days” to catch those fish.
out to one king salmon for every 40 days of fishing
In 2006 there were 367 king salmon landed in Pelican; it
took 569 “Angler days” to catch those fish.
out to one king salmon for every 1.5 days of fishing
Obviously, Seward and Homer are not on the migratory path
of king salmon!
Where do you get your
information? How do I know that it is reliable?
All of my data
is taken from the Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game
the National Marine Fisheries Service
This is where you can find current fishing reports and
current Harvest/Effort Statistics (click on the links below
to see the Harvest/Effort Stats for the individual areas)
for the years 2007 - 2012
Yakutat, Haines/Skagway, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg/Wrangell,
Ketchikan, Prince of Wales
This is where
you can find current fishing reports and current
Harvest/Effort Statistics (click on the links below to see
the Harvest/Effort Stats for the individual areas) for the
years 2004 - 2009
Yakutat, Haines/Skagway, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg/Wrangell, Ketchikan, Prince of Wales
ADF&G Charter and
Non-Charter Halibut Harvest Data:
These reports are for all of the locations in Alaska where
charter fishing log books recorded landings:
ADF&G 2006-2008 Saltwater
Will you guarantee me a one-hundred pound
No, but I can refer you to a someone at a competing lodge
who will tell you anything you want to hear. His guarantee
works like this:
1. He tells you anything to get you to book a trip.
2. You fall for his bison excrement
3. You don't catch the one hundred pounder
4. Either you forget the guarantee, or he says "Sorry" if
5. You will probably be disappointed even If you do catch a
one hundred pound halibut...I suspect that wasn't the only
"guarantee" he made, and that you will probably still be
disappointed because he misrepresented many things to go to
Please don't choose based on empty promises. I don't expect
anyone to take my word for anything. I will back up my
statements with evidence from the Alaska Department of Fish
& Game (ADF&G) and I can put you in touch with
satisfied guests who will vouch for my veracity.
Please see charts and tables on our “Catch Rates” web-page.
Where do we fly into
from the “Lower 48”?
You will fly into Juneau on Alaska Airlines. They have a
Why are your prices so
Our costs are much higher than a Lodge doing business out
of Sitka, Homer, Seward , etc.
are 3-4 times higher ($.60/kWh) in Pelican than Sitka…
$1.25 more per gallon
We must transport you and to fish to and from Juneau on a
All other things being
location. “Closest to
the Fish” means farthest from the customer, Costco, Home
Depot and a reliable supply of labor. That means that we
have to transport you and your fish (ore additional expense
~$400) and all of our food on a seaplane (add $.60 - 1.00
for every pound).
“invested over $300,000 to purchase charter halibut permits
that allow our guests to fish in an area where they can
keep two halibut of any size!
When comparing prices, please make sure you are comparing
"apples to apples"...what is included and what is NOT
included? Are you being transported by a float plane to
your destination? Is the price included in the package?How
many fishermen per boat? It would be a lot cheaper for us
if we put 5, 6 or more fishermen on a boat. To give you the
best opportunity to catch fish we limit our boats to 4.
Compare boats too. Our boats are 30 plus feet in length and
are relatively new costing ~ $250,000 each...compared to
much smaller and older boats that cost less than $75,000.
Some “Lodges” do not really own a lodge, but house you in a
hotel, give you a voucher for a meal at a restaurant, and
many times don’t even own the boat you are fishing
on...they subcontract virtually every part of their
”service” to a third party. When you don’t have the cost of
owning anything you can price your trips rather cheaply.
More often than not, a “bargain” price means a vastly
inferior experience all the way around.
Be very careful that in order to save $50-100 a day for
your trip of a lifetime, or your annual Alaskan fishing
trip... that you don’t end up very disappointed.
Why are your prices so
low? What aren't your prices
as high as the other "high-end" lodges?
make the mistake of thinking that because our package price
is sometimes hundreds of dollars less than other “High-End”
lodges, that we are in any way inferior. (Well, we don’t
have Calvin Klein bedroom furniture and we don’t have
gourmet cooking lessons, or water color painting lessons by
nearly famous chefs and artists). I suppose some lodges
want to appeal to some clients who judge a service by its
price and not its performance. If it costs more it MUST be
better! Right? This is a marketing strategy for them. Our
business grew 80% in 2010, 22% in 2011, and 98% in 2012;
this was during the “Great Recession” when most fishing
lodges in Alaska were down 30-50% in each of those years
(and they were discounting very heavily to fill their
Hmmmm...maybe I just don’t charge enough? I know my
accountant is wondering what the heck I am doing (update:
Now my accountant says we "must be doing something right!"
he has other clients in the Alaska Lodge business who have
lost a lot of business these past few years).
I think we are simply the best service, at the best price.
We are striving to be Highliners!
What is a
Simply put, a “Highliner” is the very best fisherman. The
term is used in the charter and commercial fishing industry
widely, but is not so well know in the sports fishing
industry. Bill Poole, of San Diego, was a Highliner in the
southern California sports fishing industry.
Do you ever give
We very rarely give discounts beyond our group discount
rates. If other companies deeply discount, it is because
their price is too high in the first place, or they are
desperate to fill in their schedule. Sometimes you do get
what you pay for. Please see our Rates & Policies
When is the best time
Unlike many other destinations, our “window of
opportunity” to catch king salmon is 4 MONTHS long. Most
other fishing lodges have a window of 2-3 weeks
because they are fishing only
on local stocks of fish returning to their native stream
near that particular lodge, while we fish on mixed stocks
returning to every stream from the Taku River in Northern
South East Alaska and the Sacramento River in California.
Unlike many other destinations, our “window of
opportunity” to catch halibut is 4 MONTHS long. Most other
fishing lodges face diminishing returns as the season
there are too many fisherman taking fish out of their local
waters. That is why the average weight of halibut is so low
at some of those destinations. That is why you must endure
a sometimes grueling boat ride far off-shore to fish in 400
to 600 feet of water using up to 6-7 pounds of lead to
reach the bottom. Please Google: “Local Depletion Halibut”.
Also see: “What is the catch limit for halibut this year?”
How many people on a
We don’t put more than 4 guests on a boat unless you have a
group of 5 or 6 and you’d like to fish together.
Do you troll or mooch
whatever you like! We make recommendations so you have the
most productive fishing, but we don’t dictate to you how
you are going to fish.
Do you drift or anchor for bottom fish?
anchor... but drift when the conditions are
Do you jig or use bait for halibut?
Mostly we use
bait but sometimes we jig. It is a matter of personal
preference, and we like to let you do what you like to to
What happens if I can't
make my trip to the lodge?
the deposit is refundable if we are able to re-book your
time at the lodge. If for some reason you must cancel, we
will credit the full amount less $500, towards a future
Why does it always have
to be about you?
Because, it’s my lodge... and I built the website! When you
are at the Highliner Lodge it will be all about you, I