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Common Wildlife Sightings to Expect on an Alaskan Fishing Vacation

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Alaskan vacations are one of the best places to see some of the world’s most magnificent creatures. It’s a vast, wild, and beautiful landscape that includes some frightening and majestic animals. If you are thinking about booking a trip for an Alaskan fishing vacation, you can expect to see a lot more than just the fish. Here are a few of the most common species of wildlife you will see when you visit the waters of the Inside Passage and the surrounding land of the Tongass National Forest.

About the Tongass National Forest

The Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in the United States, stretching for 17 million acres along the southeast region of Alaska. In fact, the park covers about 80% of the region and surrounds the famed “Inside Passage” of islands, fjords, and glaciers between the Gulf of Alaska and Puget Sound in Washington state.

It was created more than 100 years ago in 1907 when Theodore Roosevelt wanted to protect it from logging that could have eventually decimated the beautiful landscape. Today it is home to more than 70,000 people, including many Alaska Natives whose ancestors go back 10,000 years in the area.

Black Bears & Brown Bears

Inside the Tongass National Forest you will find the highest density of black bears in the world, and a very high number of brown bears as well. Local Alaskan Natives (the Tlingit people) refer to Admiralty Island where Pybus Point Lodge is located as “Kootznoowoo,” a word that means “Fortress of the Bears.”

On the island you will find more than 1,600 brown bears, more than you can find in the lower 48 states of the U.S. combined. On the 100-mile-long island there are four times more grizzly bears than Yellowstone National Park because of the abundance of fish in the area. The ecosystem is a delicate balance of trees that grow because of nitrogen-rich fish carcasses deposited by bears after they catch them from the nearby waters. These trees provide the perfect habitat for the bears, who can then go and fish for more salmon in the surrounding bay.

Black bears also abound in the national forest, but not on Admiralty Island. You can head out on one of the day trips from Pybus Point Lodge with an experienced guide to catch a glimpse of them on shore from the safe viewing distance of a boat.


Whales love to feast in the waters of the Inside Passage. These pristine surroundings have some of the highest concentrations of delicious meals for all types of whales. While many migrate in the winter months down to warmer water to mate, they return to Alaska around mid-May to find abundant meals and raise their calves.

Some of the most common whales that you will see around the area are humpback whales. These massive creatures can grow up to 60 feet long and weigh as much as 80,000 pounds (40 tons). Humpback whales got their name from the “hump” that appears when they breach and get ready for a deep dive below the ocean surface. They are acrobatic and always fun to watch from a boat, and sometimes you’ll get lucky enough to see them perform some amazing tricks so close to a Pybus Point fishing or tour boat that you can practically reach out and touch them.

They travel down to Hawaii in the winter and then make the 3,000-mile trek back to Alaska every year, swimming for six to eight weeks to get there. Southeast Alaska around the Inside Passage is one of the best places to see large pods of these whales every year.

Other more rare sightings may include:

  • Orcas
  • Gray whales
  • Beluga whales
  • Blue whales

Your ability to see these species often depends on the time of year you plan a trip.

Seals, Sea Lions, & Otters

Alaska is also home to a wide variety of species of seals, sea lions, and otters. On excursions from Pybus Point Lodge you can catch them basking in the sun along the edge of the water.

Seals you might expect to see include:

  • Harbor seals
  • Bearded seals
  • Ribbon seals
  • Ringed seals
  • Spotted seals

Sea lions are also a favorite, reaching their full-grown size around age eight and weighing in as much as 1,300 pounds, they scoot on land on giant flippers. They hang out on exposed rock outcroppings along the shore and can put on a good show for boats passing by.

Finally you might expect to catch a glimpse of some sea otters on your trip. Alaska is home to about 90% of the world’s sea otter population, all along the coastline from the southeast to the southwest. They’re great swimmers and spend most of their time in the water. They are also very social and playful, but shy, so you have to keep your eyes peeled.

Book Your Alaskan Vacation Today

To see these amazing creatures—and get in a little fishing while you’re at it—book a trip to Pybus Point Lodge today. Our 2022 season is now open for bookings.

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!


Chartered Floatplane Service

Pybus Point Lodge is located on an extremely remote island far away from the distractions of the city. This makes for incredible sightseeing, fishing, and an all around great opportunity to connect with friends, family, and m

Wide Selection of Fish Species

Alaska is one of the top dream destinations for anglers around the world, and it’s no surprise why! Our waters are home to a wide variety of fish species that are good to eat and a blast to catch.




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.


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