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Getting Ready for Alaska West

Posted on June 12 2013

Alaska Chum Salmon
Headed this way?

Today we present to you the email that goes from our head guide to our guests a month before their trip to Alaska West.  We’re running it today for two reasons – to toot our own horn, and to give you some more useful information about getting ready for a trip to Alaska.

Tooting Our Own Horn

We take a lot of pride in running a tight ship, and that starts well before a trip.  Separate from our actual booking process, our guests hear from the crew at the lodge 30 days, and then again 7 days before the trip.  We want to make sure your travel plans are set, that you’re bringing the right gear, and that we’ve answered any questions we can for you.

The inspiration for today’s post came from an email we received yesterday from a booking agent who’s working with us for the first time.  When he got the email we’ve attached below, he sent us this…

“Deneki runs like a Swiss clock. Truly amazing experience for me – others we have worked so far (in Alaska, BC) are not even close.”

Cool, we’ll take it.

Getting Ready for a Trip to Alaska

There’s lots of information on our web site about how to get ready for your trip to Alaska, but that’s such a big topic that we find it’s helpful to get different perspectives on it.

Our head guide at Alaska West is J.E.B. Hall.  You may have heard that name before – he’s a long time guide with us, and he’s also our operations manager at Andros South.

Without further ado, here’s what our guests receive from our J.E.B. a month before their trip!

Our Head Guide’s Letter

Hi Anglers,

My name is J.E.B. Hall and I am the head guide at Alaska West. We are looking forward to having you up to fish with us this season, and I am writing to start a conversation that will help both me and you plan for your trip to Alaska. Included in this email are links to our Guest Registration Form and our trip planner. If you have already filled out the Guest Registration Form, then we most likely have it on file. If you have’t filled it out, please do so as soon as possible. It only takes a few minutes, and the information that we gather from the form goes along way in helping us prepare for your arrival.

[link removed – it’s for guests only!]

Southwest Alaska is a remote, and often cold, place. I want you to be properly prepared for whatever weather and water conditions you may encounter while you are there. Below is a list of clothing items that I think are helpful in staying comfortable while fishing at Alaska West.

  1. Heavy Duty Rain Jacket (waterproof-breathable)- We prefer Gore-tex for this, but other fabrics work too. Make sure that your jacket is an earthy color. Bright yellow or bright orange jackets can spook fish such Rainbows when fishing smaller side channels.
  2. Heavy Duty Waders (waterproof-breathable)- Again, we prefer Gore-tex, other fabrics work too. If you are purchasing waders for this trip make sure to buy them baggy to accommodate multiple layers of clothing and provide mobility. If you are planning on using some of ours, make sure to indicate that on our Guest Registration Form.
  3. Don’t forget your wading belt! We want you to wear it.
  4. Wading Boots with rubber soles- It is against the law in Alaska to wear felt soled wading boots. Please plan accordingly. If you need to borrow a pair, please let us know as soon as possible.
  5. Synthetic Base Layers- Merino Wool or Poly-pro base layers are great under wear. Cotton can make you cold and does not dry fast. Make sure that your under layers are synthetic.
  6. Synthetic Insulating Layers- Fleece pants are a must for under wader wear and a fleece shirt or hoody works well under your rain jacket.
  7. Down Jackets- Down jackets are great on those really cold days on the water and to wear around camp. I like to keep one in my dry bag just in case I get too cold.
  8. Wool Socks- Cotton socks will make for cold clammy feet. I find Merino Wool socks to be just right. And……you can recycle them later in the week.
  9. Gloves- I like fingerless fleece gloves that convert to mittens. We don’t always need them, but they are nice to have.
  10. Warm Hat. Beanies, toboggans, touks, balaclavas, etc…. Wool or synthetic. You pick the style.
  11. Baseball or Wide Brimmed Hat. The long bill helps you spot fish and keeps the sun off your face.

In addition to the right clothing, you will also need the right gear. The next list is of “on the water” essentials for Alaska West. If you have any questions about the right fishing tackle such as rods, reels, lines, spey heads, sink tip, flies, tippet, you name it…..PLEASE feel free to email me with any questions you have before you travel. I am more than happy to help you select the proper gear for your trip. I want you to be properly prepared to be successful on the water.

Below is a list of non-fishing items to bring along each day in the boat:

  1. Polarized Sun Glasses- Light brown, copper, amber, or yellow lenses. Gray lenses do not work well in Alaska. Light brown is best for sunny days, while light copper or yellow are best for cloudy days. Polarized glasses help you see the fish and we ask that you wear them while you fish to protect your eyes from improperly placed casts.
  2. Insect Repellent- You pick the brand. I am a “DEET Free” person myself, but most people like a little DEET in their day. DEET or no DEET, you will want to bring something along for the insects.
  3. Pliers- Your guide will have pliers on them at all times. However, there are times when you may want to fish on your own and will need pliers to remove hooks and crimp barbs.
  4. Water bottles- The guides do have some water carrying capacity at Alaska West, but it is limited. I strongly encourage you to bring along at least one, if not two, 1Liter capacity water bottles.
  5. Dry Bag- A good size dry bag capable of holding a spare jacket, camera, gloves, fishing license, etc….
  6. Sunscreen- Yes, the sun does shine in Alaska, and when it does, it is intense. SPF 50 is perfect.

Here’s a printable packing list.

Again, do not hesitate to email me if you have any questions about your trip.

We are looking forward to seeing you at Alaska West.

More on Alaska Trip Preparations

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