Frequently Asked Questions
(feel free to EMAIL us with any we missed!) 1. Cordova Alaska offers many options for outdoor recreation throughout the year, and the time frame in which you choose to travel to our area will greatly impact what there is to see/do. For example, if you enjoy birding or photography, the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival in early May should not be missed. June, July, and early August offer endless daylight, an abundance of wildflowers, active calving at the Childs Glacier, numerous hiking/kayaking opportunities, and the best variety of fish species to target. Halibut, ling cod, rockfish, and all species of salmon can be caught in the saltwater, while trout, sockeye, pinks, and chums dominate the freshwater action. From mid-August until the end of September the hard fighting and aggressive coho salmon take center stage until the summer season comes to end on October 1st. If skiing or snowboarding is your thing, than our friends at Points North Heli use the Lodge as a home base from the middle of February through April. There are so many things to see and do, it can sometimes be hard to decide when to visit! 2. Our summer runs from May 1st until September 30th each year. During this peak season we offer lodging, meals for our guests, guided fishing trips, remote camps, and any of the adventure activities found on our website. From October 1st until the middle of February, lodging ONLY is available. Feel free to contact us if you will be visiting Cordova in these off peak months for availability. From the middle of February until the end of April, Points North Heli runs their heli-skiing operation from Orca Adventure Lodge. They occupy the main Lodge and the cafe building but we reserve the waterfront suites building for non skiers. Again, let us know if you are in Cordova during these off season time frames and we'd be glad to have you.
3. Cordova is uniquely located in isolation from the Alaska's road system meaning that the only way to get here is by air or by ferry across Prince William Sound. Its really special being in a location that has Prince William Sound to its west, the 5 million acre Chugach National Forest to its north and east, and the Gulf of Alaska to its south. Welcome to the real Alaska! During the summer months there is typically 2 flights to/from Cordova each day. Alaska Airlines includes Cordova on its "milk run" jet from Seattle to Anchorage, or there is a direct flight from Anchorage later in the afternoon. You also have the option of a private or bush plane from various towns in Alaska including Anchorage and Valdez. If you intend to bring your car or just want to experience the beauty of Prince William Sound, a ferry ride on the Alaska Marine Highway is perfect for you. The ferry departs and returns to Cordova every day, with Whittier (1 hour south of Anchorage) being its primary port. Several times a week it also makes trips to/from Valdez as well. Glaciers, wildlife, and gorgeous scenery make the ferry a great option if have the time. You could also raft down the Copper River or kayak to Cordova from various areas in Prince William Sound if you are feeling really adventurous!
4. Orca Adventure Lodge is located 2.1 miles from the ferry terminal, 3 miles north of Cordova proper, and 16 miles from Mudhole Smith Airport. Though we are not far from the conveniences of town, the view from the Lodge porch or your guest room doesn't even offer a hint that Cordova exists. Some of our guests enjoy the snow capped mountains across the bay, bald eagles perched out front, and blue waters of Orca Inlet so much they rarely go to town at all!
5. Check out time is typically Noon each day and check in time is 4:00 pm. We understand that due to limited travel options you may prefer to check in early or most often check out late during your stay and we are happy to accommodate these requests if at all possible. During large turnover days such as the peak weeks of the fall coho run, we appreciate you working with our housekeeping staff by checking out at the appropriate time so we may prepare for the next guest's arrival. We are happy to store luggage for guests, or offer an alternative room to change into travel clothes if your particular room type was needed for an arrival that day. Thank you in advance for understanding our position in this matter.
6. Here is a packing list that offers a variety of things that will make your trip more comfortable based on the experiences of previous guests. There may be things on this list that you deem as unnecessary for your trip based on your itinerary, but this list serves as a great guide to get you started. If you are participating in any of our guided fishing trips or adventure tours we will have any necessary equipment (fishing rods/reels, lures, bait, crampons, rubber boats, etc.) related to the activity available for you and will have staff on hand to answer any of your questions or assist you. If you are a fly fishermen or have a pair of chest waders you really like, PLEASE bring them on your trip. We have hip boots, muck boots, and any spin fishing gear you may need as well as safety items such as bear spray if needed. If I had to pick three things that I couldn't afford to leave at home on my trip to Cordova they would be good rain gear (shell jacket and pants), a sturdy pair of shoes, and a camera.
7. Wherever and whenever you travel within Alaska, especially in the coastal areas, the weather and how you dress is very important. Weather patterns can change drastically and without warning, proving the layers are crucial to maintaining your comfort. It can be 75 and sunny one day, and 45 and rainy the next. Though we live in a temperate rainforest, it doesn't rain ALL the time. June and July historically have the least amount of rain, while September has the most. Rain or shine we always have a good time. Remember, there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes!
Avg. High Avg. Low Avg. Precip. Hours of Daylight
May 53 41 8 inches 16-18 hrs.
June 58 47 6.5 inches 18-19 hrs.
July 61 51 7.5 inches 17-18 hrs.
August 61 51 13.5 inches 14-17 hrs.
September 55 45 21.5 inches 11-14 hrs.
8. Though a rarity, there ARE times when the weather can be too bad to operate our trips safely. Most often, the trips we have to cancel involve our Offshore fishing trips into the Gulf of Alaska or any activity involving one of our bush planes, as these activities are simply impossible if wind or high seas are a concern. If weather is predicted to be foul, we sometimes do not make the final call until the early morning on whether the trip is a go. If safety is at all in question, the trip is either postponed until later in the day or switched to a different date during your visit. In most cases an alternative trip is offered and any difference in price can be credited to the guest. Although not a common occurrence, there are times when weather or mechanical issues alter your trip schedule and we do everything we can to be flexible with mother nature and provide the best experience possible.
9. Once you arrive in Cordova and check in at the Lodge our staff will help get you settled, orient you with the cafe area for meals, and be able to answer any questions you may have regarding the area or your trip. We will also be able to confirm the fishing trips or adventure activities you have booked with us, and inform you of any last minute offerings/openings if available. Since weather conditions and the tide effect many of our trips, we try to go over the schedule for the week to give our guests an idea of the order in which their trips will progress. With the itinerary subject to change throughout your stay, we make sure we get together with our guests in the evenings at dinner to confirm the details of the next days adventure. Typically we depart for our guided fishing trips around 8:00 am each day. If they plan is to go offshore for trophy halibut and ling cod we would leave around 6:30 am so the additional travel time doesn't cut into our fishing. All of our adventure activities begin around 9:00 am each day. Again, we will confirm any changes or last minute details to the next day's trip at dinner so there is no confusion about what time to be ready the next day. The late afternoons and early evening are a busy time at the Lodge as fish are being cleaned, pictures taken, and folks have time to enjoy a beverage of their choice on the Lodge porch as they talk about the day's adventures. We sometimes have a bonfire after dinner and enjoy the midnight sun!
10. We provide all necessary fishing equipment for all of our guided trips and will get you appropriate footwear for the day (muck boots, or hip waders). Lures, bait, and extra gear are brought along by our experienced guides as well as lunch for all those on the trip. You are welcome to bring any of your own equipment if you are more comfortable, and can even mail items to the Lodge in advance if you'd like. If you are a fly fishermen or have a favorite pair of chest waders at home, PLEASE bring these items on your trip. All of our guides are avid fly fishermen and often times have local flies for our guests to try, but you would to bring your own rod/reel. If you are not participating in a guided trip and want to fish on your own, we have a limited amount of gear that we rent on daily basis and can get you pointed in the right direction as far as where to go.
11. Unlike many Alaskan fishing lodges, fish processing IS included with all of guided trips up to 50 lbs/person/day (4 days guided fishing= 200 lbs. max) during your stay. We will fillet and portion the fish based on your preference, vacuum seal, flash freeze, and provide a wax coated box for getting your catch home. Any fish needing processed beyond the 50 lbs/person carries a $2 per filleted pound charge which may be added to your bill at the end of your stay. For most folks, 50 lbs is plenty of fish to enjoy and share with friends/family, and we just ask that you don't harvest more than you are capable of eating or giving away. Though we will take care of processing your catch, shipping your fish home is not included in our trip rates, and the next question will go into more detail regarding your options for shipping. If you are a "do-it-yourself" fisherman, our processing charges are $3.00/lb processed weight. The DIY processing includes fillet, vacuum packed, flash frozen, and boxed in a waxed wet lock box. We do have insulated boxes for sale as well, but these are not included in the processing fee for guided or unguided trips.
12. There are several ways in which to get your fish home from your trip. The easiest and most cost efficient is to take it as a checked bag on your flight home. Pay whatever the extra fee is for your box of frozen fish and it will be at your final destination with your other luggage for around .25/lb. The fish stays rock hard for around 20 hours once out of the freezers, meaning even east coast bound travelers will be in good shape. If you have a long layover in Anchorage or Seattle they will even keep it in one of their freezers! For overnight or long term freezer storage there is a $12-$15 per day fee in either airport, so if Cordova is not the end of your Alaskan vacation, you can still keep your fish with you. The next option for getting your fish home is to arrange the Lodge to send your fish via Alaska Air Cargo to the closest airport to your home that services Alaska Airlines flights. There are many more options for this service on the west coast compared to the east coast, but the cost isn't bad at $2-$4/lb depending on where you live. The last way to get your catch home is to ship it directly to your home/office via Fed Ex. This is the most expensive option at $6-$8/lb, it is not a guaranteed overnight deliver, and must be signed for to ensure freshness by whoever receives it. Its not a bad option of you want send a few fillets to a friend or family member directly from the Lodge but it adds up pretty fast shipping 50 lbs at a time this way.
13. Daily bag limits for the our area depend on the species, whether you are fishing in the fresh or salt water, and sometimes even what river you are on. In the saltwater the limit per angler per day is...Halibut (2), Ling Cod (2), Rockfish (4-8 depending on exact species), Salmon (6 but only 2 can be Kings and 3 can be Coho). In regards to the freshwater limits, the limit per angler per day is...Salmon (3 per species), Rainbow or Cutthroat Trout (2), and Arctic Char/Dolly Varden (10). Since these regulations have river specific exceptions and can change from year to year, please click HERE for the most updated limits and information on our fishery. 14. If you are 16 over and plan on doing any fishing in Alaska you MUST have a valid fishing license. Licences are sold in increments of 1 day, 3 days, 7 days, 14 days, or the year, so you can choose the license that will best fit your needs. The easiest want to get a license is to print one off the ADF&G's website HERE, or you can purchase one at the front desk of the Lodge once you arrive. If you plan on targeting King salmon during your visit, we advise that you wait until you get to the Lodge to purchase your license. King salmon require a special stamp that is good for 1 or 3 day increments, so its best to wait until you can get to Cordova and we can decide what will be the best day to target kings based on your trip itinerary and the weather conditions.
15. Though we don't have TV or phones in our guest rooms, there is high speed wireless internet access available to our guests. Cordova has recently upgrade its internet service and now offers a high speed wifi cloud that can be accessed throughout town including our Lodge. The charge is currently around $6/day or $20/week, or you are always welcome to use the complimentary computer available in our Lobby free of charge. There is also a phone in the lobby you are able to use if your cell phone coverage is spotty, and a common area TV in our Cafe for watching DVDs. Most cell phones get decent coverage these days in Cordova, but certain carriers can be hit or miss, and others only work in certain areas of town. Welcome to remote Alaska! I always like to have a phone card when I travel just in case.
16. YES! We have a great new drying room that is a perfect spot for your waders, boots, jackets, or packs from the days activities. Having warm/dry waders for the next day makes this amenity a no brainer. If your clothes need a bit more than a simple dry, we do have a guest laundry that is available to guests 24 hours a day. It is coin operated, accepts quarters, and change is available at the front desk. Detergent is provided by the Lodge.
17. Though we have a restaurant onsite, we do not have a bar or pub. You are welcome to bring your own alcohol from home or purchase beer, wine, or liquor in Cordova. We often times will make a stop on the way to the Lodge from the airport for guests to pick up last minute items, and this is a good time to get stocked up on beverages for your trip. As far as keeping your drinks cool, some of our suites have small refrigerators but most folks keep them in a common area fridge in the cafe building. If you have one our balcony rooms, guests sometimes just leave their beverages outside to keep them cool or use a small cooler. Glasses, ice, and soft drinks are available in the cafe building as well.
18. We offer a complimentary shuttle service for our guests traveling to/from the airport or the ferry terminal. Arrange a pick up in advance and we will be happy to come get you from either location. We don't have a regularly scheduled shuttle to/from town, but are happy to give our guests a ride at least one way if we are passing through town. If you'd rather have your own set of wheels while in Cordova, Chinook Auto Rentals is located at the airport and can deliver vehicles to the ferry terminal or to the Lodge as well. For a small town, there is a lot of area to explore near the harbor and out into the National Forest along the Copper River Highway. Unless you have guided trips scheduled each day, I highly recommend renting car for at least a portion of your stay.
19. Orca Adventure Lodge does accept well behaved pets in our guest rooms for a one time $30 non-refundable cleaning fee. We ask that you respect the historical significance of our Lodge and clean up after your animal while on the grounds, and not leave them unattended for long periods of time in the room. There are so many great trails to hike, what dog would want to sit inside all day anyway? We do have two Lodge dogs that roam the property and often families with small children staying with us, so respectful and polite animals are a must!
20. Orca Adventure Lodge stands out not only from other lodges/hotels in Cordova, but is one of the most unique historical adventure destinations in the state of Alaska. Almost all the Lodge staff as well as the owners live onsite at Orca, and embrace all of our guests as part of the family. Customer service, clean accommodations, amazing food, and high quality fishing/adventure tours at a competitive price is what all Alaskan lodges strive for and Orca Lodge has it nailed. We strive everyday to exceed our guests expectations and provide the best experience possible. We also realize that a trip to Alaska is a major financial expense for most travelers, and we strive to offer the most competitive rates possible compared to other lodges in the region. For example, our 5 night package including meals, lodging, and 3 full days of guided fishing is only $1700 compared to $3500 in Kodiak! The same package in Valdez is going to cost you $2500, so Orca Lodge is an obvious choice for variety of reasons. The bottom line is that our focus is on guest satisfaction, and sharing our beautiful piece of Alaska with others. We appreciate each and everyone of our loyal clients who return to our Lodge every year and embrace the idea of sharing our property with new adventurers for years to come.