Text LinkText LinkText LinkText LinkText LinkText LinkText LinkText LinkText LinkText Link

Pro Tips! We Asked A Professional Fishing Guide Everything You Want To Know About Alaska Fishing!

Pybus Point Lodge Logo

Pro Tips! We Asked A Professional Fishing Guide Everything You Want To Know About Alaska Fishing!

Captain Ryan Otis

Our guests travel from all across the world to spend some time immersed in Alaska’s pristine natural beauty, see some spectacular wild creatures, and of course to catch some fish. 

And when it comes to catching fish, the guides at Pybus Point Lodge have you covered. We’ve spent years scouring the country for the best guides in the business, and we’re immensely proud of the team that we have. Some of our guides have been with the lodge for over a decade, and over the years they’ve shared that hard earned experience with the rest of the team. You won’t find a group of more knowledgeable, passionate, and all around good natured guides in the whole state of Alaska. Don’t believe us? Check out our reviews on TripAdvisor! Our guides, and our staff in general are one of the biggest reasons why so many people make Pybus Point Lodge a part of their summer each year. 

But enough about that! It’s time to get into the nitty gritty details about Alaska sport fishing and guiding. For this post, we asked Captain Ryan Otis to answer a few questions about how they broke into the guiding business, some tips they have for all the fishing newbies out there, and more! 

First things first. There are a lot of folks out there who dream of getting paid to fish in Alaska. How did you get into guiding in general, and how did you make it up to Alaska?

Captain Ryan Otis in the beautiful Pybus Bay

Captain Ryan: 

Well, that's a long story. I grew up in Minnesota, and hunting and fishing is a way of life for a lot of people there. Growing up just outside of the Twin Cities, good fishing was sporadic and hard to find–even in the land of 10,000 lakes. Every year my grandfather and grandmother would travel to the Canadian border of MN and fish with a guide on Saganaga Lake, and they’d show me photos of their fishing success with Mike Berg, their guide. I thought that sounded like an absolute unattainable dream job. To make a very long story short, years went by, I finished school and started trying to use my degree. Each job I found was more soul sucking and unsatisfying than the last. One day I went to the Sportsmans Expo in Minneapolis to buy some new fishing gear, and I just started talking to lodge owners about what it takes to be a guide, both legally and what they look for in a guide/staff. Then searching through contacts I was lucky enough to have a friend who helped me get in the Door at Ballard's Resort on Lake of the Woods in Northern MN. There Nick and Jessie helped me obtain my captain's license and they were brave enough to hand me the keys to a 27 ft Sportcraft. Skipping ahead a few years, I had a coworker leave to go guide in Alaska, and it got me thinking about halibut. I had caught a few fishing out of Homer in my early 20s, and had never been able to shake that itch to get out and do it again. Thinking about guiding for Halibut I started to search job listings in Alaska, with mixed results. In some areas my smaller inland license was not sufficient, and others were not interested in hiring a greenhorn from MN. A few weeks after starting my search I had a guest while guiding who told me about Pybus Point lodge, and it seemed like an amazing place. Later that night I hit refresh on the job search page on my computer and low and behold there was an ad from Pybus, and well, here I am with 4 seasons under my belt. 

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to make it in the fishing industry?

Captain Ryan after helping his guest catch a wild salmon!

Captain Ryan: 

Working in the sportfishing Industry is amazing. Catching big fish with amazing people is what I'm wired for. That being said, it's not all halibut and roses. You must be willing to start your day early, work hard, catch fish, entertain guests, clean fish, clean your boat, everyday no matter the weather, and do it with a smile and enthusiasm. The skills that will help you go far in this industry are people skills, and fishing skills. People skills are probably the most important tool you have to ensure your guests have a good time. The fishing in southeast Alaska is legendary and usually makes our job finding fish pretty simple. Some days, however, fishing or weather can be tough and your guests look at you and your attitude to gauge if they are having a fun, or frustrating experience. As a Captain/Guide your attitude will shape the day for these guests. work on your communication and people skills. A good fisherman can make a bad guide if you struggle with customer interaction.

Why is sportfishing in Alaska so famous? What makes Alaska different from other places?

A group of guests after a successful day of Alaska fishing!

Captain Ryan: ​​

Alaska and fishing are usually said in the same sentence. Alaska is probably the last place in the US a person can legally fill a freezer with fish in a week. limits are liberal and the fishing is great. On top of that, when you fish with us at Pybus, you rarely see other boats that aren't ours giving us unlimited access to amazing private fishing.

Over the course of a summer, you guide people of all different experience levels and abilities. Are there any tricks or traits that successful fishermen all have in common?

Captain Ryan: 

Listen to your captain. I have 10000% confidence in my coworkers abilities to put you on fish everyday. Your success depends on how well you listen to their advice, tips and tricks. They fish 120 days straight, and know the area you're fishing. Be open, and try everything they say, find what works for you and do it till that cooler's full!

In your experience, can beginners be just as successful as the experienced fishermen that you guide?

Captain Ryan after helping his entire group catch a wild halibut!

Captain Ryan: 

Yes! Absolutely yes! Success is all about having reasonable expectations, or no expectations at all. Just go out with the goal of having fun. People who are stress free catch more fish! Don't worry about your fish boxes. Don't stress about finding a halibut 1 inch closer to the slot. Have fun, and that fish box will be nice and full by the end of your stay.

What advice do you give to the first time fishermen that you take out?

Captain Ryan holding up his guests's monster halibut!

Captain Ryan: 

Enjoy yourself, try to take it all in. Don't worry about the small stuff we're here to help, that's my job, and it's what I love to do.

What are the most common mistakes that fishing newbies make?

A group of smiling fishermen with their freshly caught halibut.

Captain Ryan: Hook sets are important!!!! Swing for the fences!! you gotta drive that hook home and keep the line tight to keep that hook buried.  

This might be a bit of a hot topic, but what are some common mistakes or bad habits that you see from experienced fishermen?

Professional Guide Ryan Otis.

Captain Ryan: 

This is a good one. Experienced fishermen are an asset in the boat. Being quick with your hookset, and being able to feel the bottom in rough weather are HUGE. We get a lot of experienced folks here, and most are incredibly successful. Some however, struggle. It's not because of their ability to fish, but their inability to take advice and listen to their captain. As we get older, us guys can get set in our ways. Many times I have heard, "Son, I've been fishing since you were in diapers!" or something similar by an older man who's wife is out fishing them because they listened to their captain. Other times I have learned a TON from guests who have had different experiences than me. 

What are your top tips/tricks for catching halibut?

A group of successful fishermen.

Captain Ryan: 

KEEP JIGGING!!! Don't drag on the bottom. Every few minutes reel up like that jigs making a run for the surface.

Over the years you’ve seen a lot of big halibut on your boat. What’s the biggest halibut you’ve seen while guiding? What’s the biggest halibut you’ve ever caught?

A young angler with a gigantic Alaskan halibut!

Captain Ryan: 

My personal best halibut is 180lbs. Biggest on my boat is 72 1/4" at 200lbs

What species of fish do you personally like to target when you go out fishing in Alaska?

Captain Ryan and his guest posed with a fresh lingcod!

Captain Ryan: 

I LOVE Lingcod!!! All day everyday!!!

What does your perfect day of Alaskan fishing look like?

One of our custom-built boats on the calm waters of Alaska.

Captain Ryan: 

Multi species limits. Start halibut, then rockfish, onto lingcod or salmon!

You’ve caught a whole lotta fish in your lives, and not just in Alaska. What fish are still on your bucket lists? What’s your holy grail?

Captain Ryan showing a young family the basics of halibut fishing.

Captain Ryan: 

Paddlefish, salmon shark, mahi mahi, and white sturgeon are still on the list!

Book Your Next Fishing Adventure With Pybus Point Lodge!

A group of fishermen with the day's bounty!

Captain Ryan Otis has been guiding fishermen with us since 2019. When you add that up, that’s about 500 full days on the water helping visitors of all ages and skill levels catch a variety of halibut, rockfish, lingcod, pacific cod, salmon and more

Want to come catch some fish for yourself? Book your all-inclusive Alaska fishing trip today! At Pybus Point Lodge, you can fish for a variety of species with your full-time guide each day, plus a whole lot more! Glacier tours, whale watching, kayaking, hiking, and so many more activities are all waiting for you to enjoy!

So enough reading about having fun! Book your vacation and get lost in Alaska with us!  

Alaska Packing List PDF


Download, share, or print out our PDF Packaging list to make sure you bring all the gear you need for your Alaska vacation!


Take A Walk On the Wild Side: Hiking Tours At Pybus Point Lodge

Southeast Alaska is truly one of the most stunning geographical regions in the entire United States. Just about everywhere you look you’ll find a view that could easily be featured in National Geographic. When you factor in a

Bald Eagles of Admiralty Island Alaska: A Majestic Bird of Prey at Pybus Point Lodge

One of the most exciting animals that you can observe during your vacation is the majestic bald eagle, and Admiralty Island happens to boast one of the highest bald eagle densities on planet earth. If you want to see one of t




Discover why people like you can’t stop talking about Pybus Point Lodge. More than 30 years ago, the lodge opened as a simple fishing camp, drawing a devoted following in spite of basic accommodations. With new owners and experienced captains and crew, our corner of Alaska has become an unbeatable fishing and eco-tourism resort.

Andrea Tate

Incredible Experience!

Pybus Point Lodge has some of the most stunning scenery I’ve ever seen. I mean absolutely breathtaking! In addition to the amazing fishing, I hiked to a beautiful secluded lake, soaked in some hot pots, saw several waterfalls, went whale watching, saw bears and all kinds of wildlife and marine life. As a photographer, photographing a wedding under a waterfall will remain a highlight of my life.

Shirley Johnson

Pybus Point Lodge - WOW!

We had the best time! This was our first visit to Pybus, but it definitely will not be our last. The stunning scenery, amazing fishing experience, and the joy of meeting new friends – all outstanding! We did not want to leave!!! If you are thinking about this trip – don’t think any more, just book it. You will not regret it!!!

Sharon Hedding

Trip of a Lifetime!

We had such an amazing time the staff was so wonderful and the lodge was fantastic! capt Joe was so helpful and always doing what ever he could do to make each day special. a special thank you to both Scott and Jody for taking the time to make us feel like family. can't wait to go back next year

Jason Nielsen

Wonderful and Magical Place

We had an amazing business retreat to Pybus Point Lodge.  Everything was top notch... the fishing, the staff, the boat captains, the food, the accommodations, and especially the scenery. I really liked that Pybus took care of everything from start to finish. Chef John is an amazing cook. We had delicious hot meals the entire trip.  The cabins were amazing and very comfortable.  The fishing was awesome and that’s coming from a guy that doesn’t fish that much.

Brandon Foote

We brought home 100lbs of fish!

My wife and I spent a week at Pybus Point this Summer. We had a beautiful, private room overlooking the bay and our own new, ensuite, private bathroom. What an amazing place for couples to get away together. We set our own breakfast time, met our boat captain after, fished the day along, and returned to clean up and enjoy a nice dinner at the restaurant. Next time Alaska is on the trip list, Sherrie and I will go together, and it will be to Pybus Point!

Kent Danjanovich

Fun in Alaska

This was my first trip to Pybus Point. I stayed in one of their new cabins. The accommodations were incredible, the view onto the bay in the mornings was stunning. I loved the staff and the food was really very good. All of this and they have new boats to take you out onto fairly calm waters to fish. The fishing guides were great. Overall a great experience. Definitely going back.


Feel free to email us, smoke-signal us, carrier-pigeon us, or visit us!
Fill out our nifty contact form below and get started today!
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.