Pink Salmon
A pink salmon, or "humpy", makes its way up river to spawn (photo: B. Finestone).

Prince of Wales

It might just be Alaska's best kept fly fishing secret

For a remote Alaskan island being made famous by the latest in reality show kitsch, this place is actually pretty easy to get to, all things considered.

Yes, the funky community of Port Protection—the subject the National Geographic Channel’s newest Alaska-based reality show depicting the challenging nature of daily life in the middle of a watery nowhere—rests at the northern tip of Prince of Wales Island and remains accessible only by boat or float plane, but you might be surprised just how easy life can be on the island’s sophisticated, if a bit rustic, road system.

Photo: Chris Hunt

Downright Jurassic

Exploring a fly fishing paradise in the Alaskan rainforest

The Alaskan rainforest is a primal place. In vast stretches of the Tongass, where the old growth hasn’t met the saw, it’s downright Jurassic.

Big ferns mingle with evil devil’s club and high-bush blueberries, cranberries and huckleberries to create a sweet, yet perilous paradise for everything from bald eagles to brown bears.

And fish. Lots and lots of fish.

Photo: Chris Hunt

Not too many fences

Coastal cutthroat and salmon in Alaska's southeast

Jamie Eddy is the maintenance guy at the retirement home in Petersburg, Alaska. He’s one of about 3,000 souls who live on Mitkof Island, and only one of the few who chase trout and salmon with a fly rod.

“There aren’t too many fences here,” he says as he navigates two visiting anglers up into the Southeast Alaskan rainforest in search of coastal cutthroat trout. “For people who come here, it’s hard for them to grasp that this belongs to them just as much as it does to me. It’s your forest, too.”


Subscribe to Tongass National Forest