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Alaska Fishing, Alaska Hunting & Fishing, Affordable, Flexible, Trophy Moose Hunting, Caribou, Grizzly Bear, Brown Bear, Black Bear, Caribu, Alaskan Salmon Fishing, Big Alaska Kings, Red Salmon, Silvers, Coho, Record Northern Pike, Sheefish, Char, Grayling, Pro Alaskan Guides or Unguided Hunting, Pristine Alaska River Lodge, Fly-Outs, Drop Camps, Spike Camps, Fish & Hunt from our Hunting Lodge, or float a raft and see the Real Alaska on the Spectacular Holitna River. Fish with an Authentic Alaska Fishing Guide!  Alaska Sportfishing paradise. You can easily create ya dream Guided / Unguided Alaska Fishing / Hunting Trip!

Hidden Costs About that Alaskan Trip!
Please read all the following before you make your final decision no matter who you book your fishing or hunting "trip of a lifetime" with. Important. Most of this data was gathered prior to the increase in gas prices. I would advise that you double or triple any travel costs that involve fuel. In fact all other prices were compiled in 2006, so the true costs will be higher today.

Unfortunately, most clients who are looking to make that dream hunting or fishing trip to Alaska are not aware of the many hidden costs. After much thought and research we have decided to give you a better understanding of what may happen to you and has happened to thousands of excited hunters and fishermen who have come to the great State of Alaska. They probably still had a great trip but much of it may have been spoiled by some of the hidden costs that often occur. Many lodges and Air Taxis are not able to stage in areas that are as remote and wild as we can where Alaskan-Adventures is located. Unlike us, these lodges are situated in hunted and fished out locations. You may be doing little more than booking a sight seeing trip when you book with them. And that sight seeing trip may not include much of Alaska's awesome wildlife. This is especially true of the many Kenai River fishing packages. On heavy fish days it is estimated that there are are as many as 8,000 fishermen or more fishing the main fishing spots on this river and due to the glacial silt, only certain spots on this river where is meets fresh water streams are productive and naturally it is elbow to elbow. This river is easily accessible by highway and everyone from Anchorage to Seward to Homer fishes the entire Kenai River system. It is difficult to catch fish and the cheap packages offered invariably wind up costing a lot more than you planned and often without seeing wild game or catching many fish!  You will frequently be steered to in-house guides, pay extra for better lodging or food, and the Kenai River is green, full of silt, and you can't see into it more than a couple of feet! Rocky knows what he is talking about. He used to live on this river as a child. If you are going to Alaska, why not see awesome wildlife, beautiful scenery, clear remote rivers, yep the Real Alaska!

Flying costs are astronomical in the bush of Alaska and get worse each year with the continual exorbitant soaring energy expenses. If you have been quoted a low bid price on that "special hunt", remember, you usually get what you pay for. The operator simply cannot make money on your trip unless he finds other ways to charge you. You may discover to your chagrin that your meat haul, any emergencies, excess weight (Most allow only 40 pounds baggage including gear), is charged at $1.00 or more a pound, and you may be charged both ways, or moving your camp to a productive area may result in hidden costs that carry a high price tag. These and other similar scenarios happen quite frequently.

Any extra flights, fly bys, unscheduled site landings, etc. may result in extra charges, often at the rate of $300 to $400 dollars an hour.  This hour starts when the plane engine is turned on, in addition to all flying time, and includes the trip out and back, whether you go one way or not.  For instance, if your operator, or air taxi is two hours away and he moves your camp you will pay for the 1/2 hour he warms up at his airfield, the two hour trip it takes him to get to your camp (and he may be flying to other camps in the process and charging them-doubling up charges is common and he won't reduce your rate either). To this he will add the time it takes to break down and load your camp, the number of trips and time it takes to transfer your camp and personnel, and the time it takes the operator to fly back to his base camp or staging area. All of this will be charged at the above rate. In addition you will often be charged a landing fee of $100 each time the plane had to land during this move. Six to nine hours of this type of flying and landing fees could result in hidden charges exceeding the original quote of your trip!! Of course, not moving the camp may well leave you in a area with little chance of getting an animal or a camp with little natural views.

Hauling of meat, horns, and cape is often charged at the same rate and higher. You might be charged for game bags, wax boxes, dressing, stripping, cleaning, packing, preparation, and storage of this meat. Frequently the guide will have "someone he can recommend" that will do special packaging and wax box preparation for you, and this will involve new charges. The meat may or may not be kept fresh and in good condition. Other hidden costs may include meat processing and shipment to your home. Trust me, there is nothing better than eating wild game that you have harvested, but you need to be prepared for the actual costs involved so that you will not be upset when this occurs. Being surprised by hidden costs however is wrong and causes resentment. At Alaskan-Adventures we know this. We will endeavor to get your meat from the field to the butcher in Anchorage in good condition for less than $1.75 a pound. Often we do much better than that and sometimes it is higher. We do not profit on the transportation of meat for our clients. This includes loading and unloading of meat, peppering meat, hanging meat in our meat house, packing meat in a wax box with liner, and scheduling and loading meat in a plane for ultimate transportation to Anchorage. Our average price last year was about $1.50 per pound from the field to a meat processing shop in Anchorage. You will rarely be charged extra fees in the field beyond this, except for specific requests, and this normally involves special handling of capes, horns, etc.

All guides expect a tip and if they work hard to give you a good trip they should be tipped appropriately, however you should never be pressured about the tip or the size of it.

Low priced trips usually involve a situation where you are flown to a well used location that may have many other hunters nearby or that just left. Caribou especially are migrant animals and may only be in a particular area for a short time. There may be little effort to fly you to where the animals actually are. You will be dropped off and simply picked up a week later. You may be charged extra for food, equipment, water, or almost anything. You will have no options once you book this trip.  Consider this. You kill an animal the second day, (You cannot shoot the day you are dropped off.) You may have to keep that meat from spoiling for up to 5 days, and be fighting off predators that want your meat. You will not have the use of a lodge, hot water, or anything resembling comfort.  Alaskan-Adventures has hot showers, laundry facilities, home cooked hot meals, bathrooms with flush toilets, and cabins for your use even by the unguided hunters when they are not at their drop camps. Our drop camps are strategically placed where we feel you have an excellent chance of success and they are well equipped. We scout constantly to find good locations and look for where the animals actually are. Each year they seem to use different routes. Once you return to the lodge fishing is available for very reasonable fees for unguided hunters, and is included in the package when you book a guided hunt. A hot shower, comfortable beds, and a warm lodge are priceless to the weary hunter. We even have satellite phones available. We may have more repeat business than anyone in Alaska because of what we offer and the amount of service we provide.

That low priced trip in our estimation will often in the final analysis cost you more than our reasonably priced packages and will not offer you nearly the service, comfort, or options that we do. You will pay the same or more and get much less and frankly no one can show you as good of a time as we can! Each year we try to find ways to continually be up front about what your trip may actually cost even though that is very difficult to do because for hunters, there are so many variables that affect price.  We also try to provide you more information and resources than anyone through our web site so you will be prepared for this special trip. Alaska is awesome and we want you to have an awesome time.

We are the only lodge we know of that will modify your hunting or fishing package after you arrive at the lodge. Sometimes people get to our lodge and want to expand their trip when they see all the opportunities. We will endeavor to do this for fees that often don't cover the additional expenses and the extra work and scheduling it creates for us.

We are possibly the only lodge or certainly one of a select few that will work with clients that are unable to come on a scheduled trip. Once lodges reserve slots that are paid for, then a cancellation often leaves them unable to make up that revenue and on top of that the costs incurred to the lodge remain almost the same. Guides, pilots, and staff are hired based on projected numbers of guests and they remain on payroll. Rooms, equipment, food, etc. are reserved and purchased in anticipation as well. Alaskan-Adventures does not refund in this situation and I don't know of any lodges that will, but the difference is that Alaskan-Adventures will reserve a comparable fishing or hunting trip for either the same client(s) or  designated friend(s) for the following year at no additional charge even if rates have gone up! This is a generous policy and protects our client(s) investment, even though in the long run it results in a loss for us. Think of it this way. If you bought an expensive seat to a basketball game and couldn't make it would you expect to be offered a similar seat at another game for free! Won't happen! Alaskan-Adventures goes the extra mile to be fair and it is because we are committed to satisfying our clients.

Sometimes though, even with the best laid plan things just don't work out and the fish or animals don't cooperate or the weather doesn't oblige.  We will still do our best to show you a great time but refunds aren't given on the basis of that rare trip that didn't turn out the way a client may have envisioned it.  In all cases, refunds or credits toward another trip is at the sole discretion of Alaskan Adventures.  I will make this promise however.  I will do my best to give you a great rate and work twice as hard on your next trip to get you that big fish or trophy animal you wanted! And we advise anyone that travels to Alaska on these types of trips where weather can greatly impact the ability to complete a trip or enjoy it to purchase trip insurance.  Check out www.travelprotect.com for info.

So bottom line, most lodges don't offer refunds once a trip is booked or taken.  It is just not the type of business that can operate on that basis, however we will do our very best to give you the full value and the trip of a lifetime to our great state of Alaska. And remember this, if you can't make it, what a great treat it would be for you to give your spot to a friend or another family member!  What a nice Christmas present!!

Okay, here is a good way to get a handle on the cost of your trip. No matter which lodge you book you will pay most of these costs, and the same principles apply no matter which area of Alaska you travel to.  If your lodge is in Anchorage, or on the Kenai River, then the only way for you to truly hunt and to experience real Alaska top notch fishing is to fly somewhere else!! This will usually involve an intermediate staging area and will always involve hidden costs. Our remote lodge is on the Holitna River in the middle of big game country! No staging area required! I get asked often about the total costs of a trip and that is hard to answer but if you work through the following you should have a very good idea. I must add that Alaskans have long ago accepted high prices and the hunting and fishing season is short so they have to make their money quickly to survive the full year. They have come to honestly believe that the extra charges are appropriate and fair and that tourists simply don't understand the complexities involved.

You will need to pay roundtrip airfare all the way from your home to the operator's lodge. A good rule of thumb is that if you can drive to or fly commercially to an operator's lodge from Anchorage, then it is a sure bet that there will not be first class fishing or hunting available at the lodge. Good areas for fishing/hunting that can be driven to or reached easily by common commercial means are packed! Therefore, for you to experience first class Alaskan fishing expensive fly-outs will be necessary. Please understand that if you can drive there or fly there cheaply, so can everyone else in Alaska. These are tourist traps, and they are crowded, and over fished. This is not the "Alaskan Experience" you deserve. Anyway figure the R/T from your home to Anchorage and then add on the following:

For the Alaskan-Adventures Lodge on the Holitna you may need to route through Aniak:  R/T from Anchorage International to Aniak is at least 400.00 on up. R/T from Aniak to the Holitna Lodge is similar, however for some guided packages Alaskan-Adventures will pay the R/T fare from Aniak to the Holitna Lodge for our clients. Excess weight and any meat and fish transported will be charged a dollar or more per pound between Aniak and the Holitna. For other lodges the operators will certainly charge you this and usually much more whether they use Aniak or other staging areas like Lake Clark, Red Devil, Sleetmute, etc. Top notch operators stationed in Anchorage know that the really good spots are across the Cook Inlet and are accessible only by plane. Again, you will need to prepare for these extra costs. We try to let you know about them up front.

Alaskan-Adventures will transport your meat and fish or excess weight from the field to Aniak. Average cost is about $150.00 for a caribou and $400.00 for a moose.  Horns/cape/hides run about $50.00 extra each.  Those at the Holitna that want to bring some delicious fish home can expect to pay about $40.00 for a 40 pound wax box of salmon, northern pike, or sheefish fillets to Aniak. Average costs with other  operators will range from 25% to 200% higher than this to move your meat back to their staging area and who knows how much more to get it to Anchorage.

Now that you have gotten the meat flown from the field back to Aniak or to whatever staging area your operator works out of, what is your next step? If your meat, etc. is at Aniak, commercial airlines charge a dollar plus per pound to fly it to Anchorage. They also have a large freezer in case your meat needs to be stored. That is an excellent price.  We have no control over commercial prices from these staging areas back to Anchorage. We have gotten a lot of complaints about extra fees charged out of Lake Clark in particular. Buyer beware!  Everything is weighed, including you because the planes are necessarily light to fly in the bush and weight is critical for safety. You will be charged for the weight of the cape and for any excess baggage. They typically charge about $100.00 for a set of Moose horns and $50.00 for a set of Caribou horns to get them from the staging area back to Anchorage. No commercial airlines will fly these items stateside anymore.  You must expedite them or have a taxidermist or expeditor do it for you.  Remember all operators will charge you. We are simply trying to let you know what the charges are and why. Because of our ownership of several planes and ability to charter flights out of Anchorage, sometimes we can find additional ways to cut some of these costs for you!

You may want to stay overnight in Anchorage going and coming. If so go to the resources page and check out The Puffin Inn. The cost is from $120-$200 plus per night. They will store extra baggage and have a freezer available. They have free airport service going and coming.  This allows you to get your license or any extra equipment in Anchorage and check out the city. On the way back you can get your fish or meat frozen overnight if you stay with them again and then take it straight back w/ you to your home and process it yourself, or have it taken to a local butcher. We recommend Alaska Meat and Sausage.  If you share a room w/ a buddy then this cost is more reasonable.

You will very likely be required to fly to Aniak from Anchorage or to a similar staging area used by your operator, in which case you will fly commercially and these flight originate from Anchorage International Airport or from a local airfield. So having transportation to the airports is very convenient and saves cab fare. It also allows you to make closer connections time wise coming and going, and commercial flights are less affected by bad weather.  Commercial flights from Anchorage International Airport may allow you to fly your weapons in soft cases, if not then you must use hard cases.  If so these may be stored at Aniak, or probably also at whatever staging area your operator is using. Bringing these hard cases to the field is costly and wieldy, and will be discouraged by your guide. Don't forget to figure in the extra weight!! Pack lightly.  Separate the ammo from the guns.

You may want to figure in extra food or meals eaten before you arrive at the Holitna Lodge or after you leave. There are some outstanding restaurants in Anchorage. I highly recommend Gwenies for breakfast. Their Reindeer Sausage is delicious. For dinner I recommend the New Millennium Restaurant. I particularly like their Halibut Beer Batter Chips and they also serve a wonderful Caesar Salad. Both places offer a taste of the local cuisine.

A fishing license is approximately $55.00 for 14 days. A hunting license is approx. $85.00. Tags for each animal vary and are in addition to the licenses. Non-resident tags are approx. $225 for Black Bear, $325 for Caribou, $400 for Moose, $425 for Dahl Sheep, and $500.00 for Grizzly/Brown Bear. Any tag can be used for a lower priced animal tag. None can be used singly or in combo for a higher priced animal tag.  A very common practice is to buy a Caribou tag for approx. $325 and then either a Caribou or Black Bear can be harvested with it but not both. Each Caribou harvested requires a separate tag. Tags cannot be sold or traded or used by someone else. The numbers match up with your license number. Wolf tags are not required in our area. Many people make the mistake of buying one. The State of Alaska will not refund money spent on a tag.

Once you are at the Lodge you can relax and enjoy yourself but extra expenses can occur. If you decide to expand your trip to do more things than originally planned Rocky will work hard to accommodate you but there will necessarily be extra fees. For example, if you book a River Hunt Fish trip and then want to fly out in a bush plane to a drop camp this will be an additional $750 per person/two person minimum charge for any distance less than 30 miles from the lodge. It is $950.00 per person/two person minimum for any distance from 30 to 50 miles from the lodge. These drop offs normally require at least three round trips to setup, a couple of round trips to monitor and 4 or 5 round trips to gather up the animals, people, and equipment to get back to the lodge. Please understand that each round trip costs Alaskan-Adventures a minimum of $200 and usually more especially when maintenance costs associated with the bush plane landings are figured in. Ten round trips means that  flying costs alone can exceed several thousand dollars for us and yet we only charge  an additional $1,500 to $2,000 to you to expand your trip for you. This type of cooperation and honesty is unheard of in our industry! If you do an unguided drop off package and decide to come back to the lodge early and do some fishing, then extra charges will apply, but they are very reasonable. See our fishing page for more info.  So, if you think you might want to fish and hunt then check out our hunting and fishing combo packages to avoid extra charges.  Also make sure you purchase a fishing license prior if this is a possibility. We do not sell them at the Holitna and most operators will not have them available.

Once you have gotten that beautiful big game animal then as stated above, you will need to add in the costs of getting the meat, horns, and cape (cape is optional) to Anchorage. These prices are already listed above. If you want to process the meat in Anchorage and have it mailed to your home then figure 3 to 5 dollars a pound. The steaks and sausage do cost a bundle to get to your table, but the taste, memories, and satisfaction when you are eating them is priceless! Processing the cape and horns is separate. Taxidermy costs range from about $350 for just a horn mount to $900 or more for a shoulder mount. Full mounts and moose capes costs extra and also add to shipping costs.

This is a service industry and tipping is expected, although no one from Alaskan-Adventures will ever ask or suggest a tip or an amount. You can certainly ask your guide what his standard or average tip is if you want to be sure you are not over or under tipping. If you are getting poor service then certainly your tip should reflect that as well as if you are getting really good service.  And don't forget the cook.  He works hard and makes delicious gourmet meals and desserts. We even grow our own Alaskan vegetables for your eating pleasure!

Game Bags: Unguided hunters will need to purchase official Alaska game bags and have them shipped to the lodge they will be staging from. Please do not personally bring your own bags:  For Alaskan-Adventures they can be shipped to the Holitna Lodge:  Alaskan-Adventures PO Box 90 Mile 36 Sleetmute, Alaska. Go to the Alaska Game Bag online web site and we suggest you purchase the AMP7 Alaska Pack - 7 bag package which includes bags, tags, and gloves. This will handle 2 Caribou or 1 moose. The MEC460 4 pack will handle one animal and the ATB3648 is great for cape/hide transportation.

Of course you will need to figure in gifts, clothing, extra equipment, pictures, and mementos, etc., but that is very individualized process and I will leave that up to you.

So! If you can't come up with a good idea on the possible expenses for your Alaska trip, I give up! I hope this will benefit you and leave no doubt about our honesty. It certainly demonstrates that we will go to great lengths to show you an awesome time!

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