A Glacier Bay Alaska is a great destination for any family wanting more than a fishing vacation. Glaciers, whales, bears, kayaking, hiking, air tours, even golf await. Family members may not all want to fish and Glacier Bay and the Icy Strait provide many other activities that are unique. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is one of the most unique places in the world. There are so many bait fish there to feed whales, bald eagles, seals and of course other fish that this area is bursting full of wildlife. Glacier Bay Alaska is home to many tidewater and alpine glaciers and mountain ranges and the valleys that feed the glaciers. The Fairweather Range is the highest coastal mountain range in the world with many peaks over 10,000 feet. The highest point in Glacier Bay National Park is Mt. Fairweather at 15,320 feet.
One of the most exciting and memorable times I have ever had was kayaking in Glacier Bay Alaska near humpback whales. Whales are the most magnificent creatures I have ever seen. They are just as curious about us as we are about them – truly gentle giants. We went with another couple and a guide in two person kayaks and were within a couple hundred feet of humpbacks sounding and blowing mist. The whales “trumpet” in Glacier Bay and according to our guide this is unique to only Glacier Bay Alaska and you won’t hear it anywhere else in the world. The trumpeting was recorded and enhanced to become the roar of the tyrannosaurus rex in Jurassic Park. It was quite the experience to be kayaking in misty conditions and hearing a T-Rex calling…eerie! Click below and listen to a recording made by the National Park Service.
Fishing in Glacier Bay Alaska
Why is Glacier Bay Alaska a great place to fish? The maps below tell the story. Cross Sound is the passage from the Gulf of Alaska to the Icy Strait and the Inside Passage. The Icy Strait and Inside Passage coastal waters is the migration path for salmon that spawn in the local rivers and streams. Halibut spawn during the winter months in the Gulf of Alaska and then migrate back to coastal water feeding grounds. These waters are teaming with herring and other bait fish.
On this second map below, you can see that Glacier Bay Alaska is at the most northwest part of the Inside Passage. You can also see that Juneau, the capital of Alaska, offers easy access to Glacier Bay Alaska through a short plane ride to Gustavus.
You fish primarily inside waters in the Glacier Bay and the Icy Strait which makes for smooth water and short trips to fishing grounds. The Inside Passage offers protection to the smaller fish which then bring bigger fish and also bring whales to these rich feeding grounds. Cross Sound and the Icy Strait is the migration route into the northern Inside Passage. There is salt water fishing for halibut, salmon and other bottom fish. Fresh water fishing in local streams hold three variety of salmon, cutthroat, dolly varden and rainbow trout. This is all catch and release.
Glacier Bay Alaska and Gustavus—Why We Go There
We first discovered the Icy Strait and Glacier Bay Alaska like many people when we went on an Alaska cruise trip. One of our best excursions was a float plane from Juneau to Admiralty Island to watch bears catching salmon. Our float plane pilot and guide Butch, flew us over the water where we saw hump backs in the Strait. As we flew over Admiralty Island, just before we landed we saw a huge bear running down a stream and then he dived into the water and came up with a big salmon. I will never forget that sight. We landed and spent a couple of hours on a deserted shoreline with no one else around. The weather sprinkled, then became sunny, then sprinkled again as we watched several bears fishing and fussing with each other. As we stood watching the bears feast it sounded like raindrops all around us. That was the sound of salmon jumping and moving up the streams. Just before we got back on the float plane, a magnificent eagle flew over the water and landed in a nearby tree. You truly must experience this to understand the feeling of the wilderness and Alaska.
A few years later, we returned to Glacier Bay Alaska. We had met the proprietor of Bear Track Inn in Gustavus and wanted to stay there and sample all of the activities in this spectacular setting. We took the Glacier Bay Alaska tour on the National Park Service boat that is the only tour allowed in the Park. The weather was perfect and we had a great view of Mt. Fairweather. The guide said the discoverers of Glacier Bay named the mountain fair weather to entice people to settle the area (just like Greenland). On another day, we went on a guided kayaking tour in the Icy strait with another couple (five of us total). We kayaked for several hours and were within a few hundred feet of many humpback whales. We were so close at one point, we actually joined all three kayaks together to make sure the whales would recognize us as a vessel and not as kelp and have them surface under us. That is why guides are essential to getting the very best out of your experience as well as keeping you safe.
Glacier Bay Alaska Is Fun For The Entire Family–What Are You Waiting For?
Glacier Bay Alaska has it all for a fantastic family vacation. World class fishing, kayaking, hiking, the National Park and Preserve and even a golf course. Getting there is easy with commercial jet service to Juneau and a short flight to Gustavus. Can you imagine experiencing all of this? Call your luxury travel expert Lisa Montgomery at 1-855-711-7773 or complete a request on our contact page.
Other Information About Glacier Bay Alaska
- Find out more about the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
- Admiralty Island is a remote bear viewing area accessible only by float plane.
- Click the link for more information about Glacier Bay history and geography