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“Pack Creek Fly ‘n’ Fish Bear Tour Simply Superb”
Review of Alaska Fly N Fish Charters - CLOSED

Reviewed September 11, 2011

We thoroughly enjoyed Alaska Fly ‘n’ Fish’s float-plane guided tour to Pack Creek on Admiralty Island. What a well-managed adventure! It was the highlight of our almost-three week Alaska stay.

Butch Laughlin, the owner, pilot and guide, knows his business. It was a rainy, chilly day (Aug. 22) as we departed Juneau’s seaplane “strip” adjoining the airport (what should you expect other than that in Juneau). Another couple and Butch were aboard. Butch was really clear about what to expect at Pack Creek – no salmon leaping into a bear’s mouth and four-plus hours in one location almost 30 yards from the creek where brown bears were to be expected. No food allowed, no restrooms and no shelter from rain.

The bears were there! At one point, we counted 10 including cubs fishing for pink salmon, which were running to spawn in Pack Creek. The bears have grown accustomed to humans so long as the humans behave themselves, Butch told us. To make sure we would be safe, an Alaska park ranger with a high-powered rifle stayed with us and Butch packed a revolver. No need. The bears went about their fishing and dining as if it were just another day in bear paradise.

What made it so great? Butch took care of the required $50-each permits (only 25 a day are issued), Butch supplied us with boots and offered binoculars as we prepared for the flight, and he provided expert commentary and advice. With 20 years of charter experience, Butch knew the bears and bear behavior, including the sow and her two cubs who our guests of honor the entire day. As the four hours advanced, we watched bears repeatedly lunge for fish, wait patiently for fish to all but invite their demise or scavenge for fish, which were there in such abundance. We saw bald eagles, which nest there, and we appreciated the intimacy the bears granted us (at one point the sow and cubs napped in tall grass about 60 feet from us).

As for photography? A long lens is a must, a tripod might help but the bears move swiftly and panning is problematic. Shoot often (continuous) and with a fast shutter. Percentage shooting pays off.

The bears? Admiralty Island is mostly a federally protected wilderness area of about 1,600 square miles with about that number of bears. It was well worth every penny of the $600 for each of us.

3  Thank daisymae112
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviews (9)
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6 - 9 of 9 reviews

Reviewed August 21, 2011

We took a tour with Butch to Pack Creek to observe bears eating salmon. We made sure to book in peak season and we were not disappointed. The trip is very costly, but to us, it was worth it. We had a beautiful float plane ride on a gorgeous sunny day. As soon as we arrived at Pack Creek we spotted a bear and soon after it was three bears. Throughout our four hours there the three bears were there the whole time. A few other bears came and left. It was very exciting to watch the mother and the two cubs. Only one cub was hers; the other had been orphaned. The clubs played, fished and ate berries. The sow fished a lot and kept her eye on her cubs, following them into the field. It was quite an experience. I highly recommend Butch!! He is very professional and knowledgeable.

2  Thank happytraveler49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 15, 2011

My husband and I spent the day with Butch bear watching and fishing. It was the highlight of our 2-week trip to Alaska. We saw a lot of wildlife including a sow with three cubs and a whale blowing through its blowhole. We watched a bear chase a salmon upstream, catch it, and eat it. We fished in the middle of Admiralty Island where we were the only people around. I caught a rare kokonee salmon, which is a landlocked salmon. A sea otter swam up to check us out as we were fishing in a stream full of spawning salmon. Butch is an excellent pilot and gave us smooth flights on his Cessna floatplane. I highly recommend this! My husband is still talking about it.

3  Thank cemckeon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 14, 2011

On a beautiful, sunny Juenau day, Captain Butch took us on a breathtaking flight over the Juneau Icefield. The scenery was nothing short of spectacular. In fact, it was jaw-dropping. Butch's commentary and confidence in handling his float plane made the trip more relaxing and enjoyable. It was a smooth, beautiful ride that we would not hesitate to recommend. Butch is an experienced, respected leader in the region, for good reason. By the way, the booking and scheduling process was also a breeze. Thumbs up!

1  Thank Fishytourist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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