Since its beginning toward the end of the 19th century, Ketchikan has evolved economically over a wide range of industries. With commercial fishing an ever-present lifeblood of the town, it has been overshadowed at times by mining, logging or tourism.
Half-Century of Logging Prosperity
Ketchikan’s proximity to abundant timber reserves prompted the U.S. Forest Service to award a 50-year supply contract to the Ketchikan Pulp Company. A successful economic development program for Southeast Alaska, Ketchikan prospered with the increased job opportunities. The mill’s closing in 1997 forced many residents to either relocate, change careers, or both. Downtown Ketchikan underwent a similar change at the time, as community-oriented stores found it more profitable to focus on tourism. Local seaplane operators, no longer transporting loggers, switched focus and began customizing their fleets to offer sightseeing tours.
Through it all, commercial and sport fishing has remained a constant. With runs of all five species of Alaska salmon, as well as excellent bottom fishing, anglers have always enjoyed the abundance of our local fisheries. Tourism now represents the majority of Ketchikan’s economy, with over one million visitors passing through town every year.
Ketchikan & Yes Bay Lodge
The Hack family has owned and operated Yes Bay Lodge since 1976 as a wilderness retreat for anglers looking to fish the protected waters north of Ketchikan. As such, the lodge depends on Ketchikan for every aspect of its existence. Whether it’s the airport our guests arrive at, the barge lines that ship our supplies, or the community itself that affords our employees a place to raise their family, Yes Bay Lodge depends on Ketchikan. We are very proud of our town, and we enjoy encouraging our clients’ Alaskan experience to include the unique offerings Ketchikan provides.
Below you’ll find several of our favorite recommendations. The following companies share our commitment to providing an authentic, quality Southeast Alaskan experience.
Pirate Airworks – Misty Fjords National Monument and Glacier Flightseeing
Pirate Airworks is the same seaplane company we use for our lake trip charters, transportation to and from town, as well as our grocery shipments. When their busy schedule allows, they provide Misty Fjords National Monument and Glacier flightseeing tours. Whether departing straight from the lodge, or dedicating time for a flight while in town, the Misty Fjords are a must-see for any visitors.
Baranof Fishing Excursions – Sportfishing, wildlife viewing, private charters
Baranof Fishing Excursions has been offering Alaska Fishing and Wilderness Dining tours in Ketchikan since 2001. With a fleet of custom-designed, Southeast Alaska sportfishing vessels, our friends at Baranof Fishing Excursions provide a level of service that we are happy to recommend. Splitting a week-long fishing vacation between Yes Bay Lodge and Ketchikan is an excellent mix of fishing opportunities, which also provides the chance to enjoy the culture and history of Alaska’s “First City.”
The Alaska Fish House – Ketchikan seafood
Guests are always wanting to know our favorite restaurant for fish & chips — this is it! The Alaska Fish House provides an excellent view of the Thomas Basin harbor and fishing fleet. Enjoy fresh, local seafood and an Alaskan craft beer in the heart of downtown Ketchikan.