Since its inception as a mining and fishing town toward the end of the 19th century, Ketchikan has evolved economically over a wide range of industries. With commercial salmon fishing an ever present contributor, and historically the lifeblood of the town, it has been overshadowed at times by logging or tourism. Our proximity to abundant timber reserves prompted the U.S. Forest Service to award a 50-year contract for the construction of the pulp mill at Ward Cove, which furthered the towns growth and increase in infrastructure. Upon the mill’s closing in 1997, many residents were forced to either uproot and move, change careers, or both. A similar change was seen in the downtown area, as formerly community-oriented stores found it more profitable to tap into the tourism market. Likewise, local seaplane operators, no longer flying loggers to and from camps or the smaller towns in the area, switched focus and began customizing their fleets to offer sightseeing tours of the Misty Fjords and surrounding area. Through it all, commercial and sport fishing has remained a constant, however. With runs of all five species of Alaska salmon, as well as excellent bottom fishing in both the open ocean south of town and the protected waters of our inter-island waterways, 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.
Yes Bay Lodge has been owned and operated by the Hack family 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 just about every aspect of its existence. Whether it be the airport our guests arrive at, the barge lines that ship up our supplies needed for daily operations, 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 enjoy incorporating our clients’ Alaskan experience to include the unique offerings Ketchikan provides.
Below you’ll find several of our favorite recommended activities made possible by companies that share our commitment to providing an authentic, quality Southeast Alaskan experience.
Pirate Airworks – Misty Fjords National Monument and Glacier flightseeing
The same seaplane company we use for our lake trip charters, transportation to and from town, as well as the bulk of our grocery and fish shipments, Pirate Airworks is happy to 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 to the area.
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 vessels custom designed for Southeast Alaska sportfishing, 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, and the chance to enjoy the culture and history of one of Alaska’s original communities.
The Alaska Fish House – Ketchikan seafood
Our favorite restaurant for fish & chips, 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.