Selecting an Outfitter

Planning that dream Alaskan excursion can seem like an undertaking the size of the state.  There are many things to consider, location, package diversity, cost, quality, etc.   For folks looking to fish the Kenai River there are options on top of options.

A quick Google search will yield pages full of options for outfitters of all shapes and sizes.  Obviously they all claim that they are one of the best.  Here are a few things to consider when selecting the right outfitter for your Alaskan adventure.


Credentials

How long has the business been operating, and how long have the guides been guiding the river?  Fishing with guides that have been guiding the river for several years are able to quickly work through problems that mother nature can throw at you and consistently provide you with the best possible outcome for the conditions.  Finding a business that has been in service for years and has seasoned guides under their umbrella is a strong starting point.

When your talking with the booking agent, ask yourself, “does it seem like this person confidently knows what they’re talking about?”  Answers should be given quickly and with confidence.

Jeremy and Nick with angler holding Kenai River Steelhead on a sunny September day

Gear

Looking the part, does your guide/outfitter provide top of the line gear and boats?  Providing the best gear on the market while fishing in a clean and well taken care of boat is proof of pride of ownership.  Your first impression of your guides boat should be wow, your first impression of your guides gear should be wow.  This idea doesn’t mean that there needs to be a price tag freshly attached to the equipment, but the gear should be in solid condition.

Options

What can your outfitter provide?  Many folks that concentrate their excursion on the Kenai Peninsula are seeking a multi species trip.  A few days on the river, a salt water trip, fly out, etc.   Working with an outfitter that can set you up with external trips is key.  Small businesses that work closely with each other have great relationships with one another.  This intimacy works well on your behalf.  It’s imperative that the client is given the best experience possible due to the close business relationship of the different companies, once again pride of ownership comes out.

Charter posing in front of a limit of Halibut

Reviews

Most outfitters have some area reserved for past cliental review.  Definitely read through the reviews, and look for consistencies both bad and good.  Some folks give a bad review because it was raining, while some give a great review because it was sunny.  Both examples are not going to give you the best info about the quality of the trip.  Look for reviews that give details as to why or why not the outfitter is qualified.

Feeling Good

We are all individuals, we all have our own personalities.  On top of the above mentioned, feeling that your personality matches or coincides with the outfitter will only add to the great experience of your trip.  A great way to feel out someone’s personality is to take note of the answers you get to your questions.  There is a ton you can gauge about the personality of your outfitter by the way they answer questions.

If you apply these few basic principals to planning your Alaskan trip, you will find that the selection process will be less stressful and the quality of your trip that much better.  Happy hunting!

Front deck of Gallery Lodge