Top 5 Saltwater Family Fly Fishing Destinations

Few things are better than a family vacation to a warm tropical paradise, or the wild maritimes of remote coastal British Columbia and Alaska, where the sea teems with sport fish and non-angling activities are abundant, varied and sure to keep the entire family entertained and happy. These are the types of vacations that forge strong memories to last a lifetime.

Below are a few of our favorite saltwater vacations for not only the angler in your life, but the entire family. They represent a broad spectrum of experiences and locations that are sure to make everyone happy.

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Tarpon Caye Lodge, Belize

Tarpon Caye Lodge is located right in the heart of the best permit fishing grounds in southern Belize. It’s a perfect location, with the added bonus of having one of the best tarpon lagoons in the Caribbean, right out the back door. The island is beautiful, remote and well maintained – a beautiful setting. The waterside guest bungalows have recently been remodeled and updated, and are comfortable and well designed. A new lodge has been constructed and features a massive open-air deck, the gathering place for friendly banter, snacks, and cold Belikin beers. The food is delicious, made with lots of love, and takes full advantage of the bounty of the sea. There’s nothing fancy here, but everyone will appreciate the amazing panoramic views of the Caribbean, and hard-working staff.

Tarpon Caye is known as a serious angler’s hideaway, yet it’s also an ideal spot for non-anglers, couples’ trips, and families. This private island location is secluded and offers a unique, tropical experience for everyone. The snorkeling off the deck of the cabanas is simply incredible, with multiple species of reef fish, and a drop-off a stone’s throw away. The lodge has quality snorkeling equipment available for use, free of charge.

In addition to great snorkeling, Tarpon Caye Lodge has a fleet of complimentary kayaks available. An afternoon sojourn around the island is a peaceful, wilderness paddling safari, complete with diving pelicans, possible close encounters with dolphins and manatees, and beautiful reef fish swimming in the clear waters beneath you. Tarpon Caye Lodge is also very affordable, one of the best values in all the Caribbean.

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Baranof Wilderness Lodge, Alaska

Mike and Sally Trotter’s Baranof Wilderness Lodge is arguably the most popular Southeast Alaska adventure and fishing lodge in The Last Frontier. We won’t kid you, trying to get space at this world-class destination is tough, but for those that do, one trip is never enough; their dates are literally handed down to family and friends. It’s just that good! But there is hope, and each and every season a few weeks become available.

Baranof Wilderness Lodge is located in Warm Springs Bay, on the east side of Baranof Island, a remote paradise on the Inside Passage of

Southeast Alaska. The natural hot springs the bay is named after are actually near the lodge, and are a wonderful way to relax after a hard day afield, as is the hot tub located at the foot of a crystalline mountain freshet.

Baranof is the perfect vacation destination for families with kids of all ages, couples, small groups, as well as anglers looking to fish hard. The marine life swimming around the lodge’s private bay is astounding. There is no better destination in the world for viewing humpback whales, orcas, porpoise, seals and sea lions. Bald eagle sightings are constant, and brown and black bears are seen daily searching the beach for their next meal. The list of fun experiences is extensive, and there’s something for everyone. Take a hike up to the natural hot springs, go tide pooling with a trained naturalist, or how about accompanying a guide in one of the lodge’s sportfishing boats where they’ll drop a microphone overboard to listen to humpback whales sing to each other? It’s all available at Baranof, and so much more.

Here you will also find the lodge’s spacious and private guest cabins and lodge. The elegantly furnished, pine-paneled cabins each feature hot showers, baseboard heaters, toilet facilities, and 24-hour electricity from their own hydropower plant. From the comfort of your room you will enjoy panoramic views of the bay and its marine life in the shadow of majestic mountains.

The fishing at Baranof Lodge is tremendously varied, and includes fishing for the regions parade of salmon species both in local rivers and out of boats in the saltwater, searun dollies in the streams, rising cutthroats in local lakes, and a collection of bottomfish and halibut out in the bay itself. In addition, Baranof offers a wonderfully varied program for non-anglers, including whale-watching, sea kayaking, beachcombing, crabbing and shrimping, and excellent hiking. The lodge guides are talented, licensed, certified, and caring people who want your stay to be memorable. They take great pride in making your vacation the best it can possibly be.

Baranof Wilderness Lodge uses comfortable, safe 24-foot Cuddy Cab cruisers and 16-foot aluminum skiffs. The fleet is equipped with GPS, sonar, and the latest Raytheon marine radar. All boats are Coast Guard licensed, approved, and equipped with all required safety gear.

Baranof Wilderness Lodge is the perfect platform for the entire family. They have a diverse menu of fishing and non-fishing activities, and will surround you with trained professionals on the daily adventure of your choosing. You set the pace and pick the adventure that interests you the most. Baranof is special, and the perfect Alaskan family holiday destination.

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Robby's Place, Bahamas

Robby’s Place, on the northern tip of Andros Island, is strategically located within minutes of the famed white sand wading flats of the Joulters, and is the perfect retreat for fly fishers and families looking for a private vacation with lots of activities, of both the fishing and non-fishing type.

Targeting bonefish on foot is what makes Robby’s Place special, but there are other species available for those anglers in search of a bit more variety, including permit, tarpon, large barracuda that frequently patrol the outside edges of the flats, and some huge mutton snapper. There is also the option of fishing offshore in the blue water just a few miles east of Andros, in the Tongue of the Ocean.

Robby’s Place is also a great spot for couples, private parties or families looking to spend quality time together at their own exclusive retreat. The beautifully-appointed lodge accommodates six guests maximum in three double rooms with private baths, and features air-conditioning and 24-hour power. Its location on a private, white-sand beach is the perfect spot for a family vacation. Non-anglers can relax in the sand, or enjoy complimentary use of the lodge’s sea kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, or snorkel equipment. Robby’s Place is high on our list of Bahamian bonefish lodges, and everyone who has spent time here has enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere, hospitality, flexible schedule and, of course, terrific bonefishing and vacation opportunities. What’s not to like about Robby’s Place?

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Nootka Wilderness Lodge, Canada

Nootka Wilderness Lodge is a family-owned and operated luxury Canadian wilderness lodge that truly has it all: conventional and fly fishing for salmon, trout, halibut, and rockfish, plus crabbing, surfing, whale watching, and more. It’s the perfect place for family, friends, or corporate groups to get together and satiate your appetite for catching fish, having fun and strengthening bonds with your loved ones and friends.

Nootka Sound is truly a Pacific Northwest paradise. Runs of wild Pacific Salmon migrate along the coastline of Vancouver Island and take over the peaceful waters of Nootka Sound from June through September. Resident rainbow and cutthroat trout populate the plethora of streams and lakes

within easy striking distance of the lodge. Wildlife abounds here, including black bears foraging along the beaches, humpback whales frolicking in the calm waters of the Sound along with pods of orcas, while bald eagles soar above and diminutive sea otters play in the lee of majestic rocky outcrops.

One of the draws of Nootka Wilderness Lodge is the incredible diversity of options beyond fishing, such as pulling crab and prawn pots, trap shooting, hiking (there are countless beaches, plus a historical lighthouse, and historical landing sites of Captain Cook), whale watching, bird viewing, feeding eagles, bear viewing, add-on float plane or helicopter flyouts, sightseeing boat tours, beach combing, sea could spend a month at Nootka and still not see and experience everything they have to offer.

The lodge is built entirely on floats, consisting of a series of buildings connected by wooden docks and walkways. In the front is a large expanse of deck, complete with comfortable chairs and faux fire pits. The main lodge building consists of two levels: the lower level includes the kitchen and dining area with wall to wall windows and sliders, offering panoramic views of the Sound; upstairs is a comfortable lounge, with leather couches, a full bar, even satellite TV, plus two sliding glass doors that open onto a spacious deck overlooking the water.

The adjacent building to the north of the main lodge houses the guest rooms, another two-story building with 6 rooms downstairs and 6 rooms upstairs, each configured with two beds (some queen, some twin), with en suite baths. The rooms are cozy, with carpeted floors, windows looking out on the Sound, heat for cool nights, a closet, chair, and nightstand.

Meals at the lodge are spectacular, much of it straight from the bounty of the sea. Expect dinners including fresh halibut, prawns, crab, salmon, the works! (For those who don’t eat seafood, there is also plenty of traditional lodge food – beef, chicken, pork, etc). Few things are better than fresh and wild seafood, straight from the ocean, minutes out of the water. If you love seafood and hearty meals, the chef at Nootka will blow your mind. Beer and wine are included with your stay - now this is sounding like a real vacation...

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H2O Bonefishing, Bahamas

H2O Bonefishing is one of our favorite spots for saltwater fly fishermen looking for a quick and easy-to-travel-to destination lodge that is also equally appealing to the non-angler in your life, or families with multiple interests. From the Eastern Seaboard, you can depart New York or Boston in the early afternoon and be sipping a cold beer in the evening, while lounging around the pool anticipating your first day of bonefishing the next morning. Travel is through Freeport, Grand Bahama, a full-service airport with multiple daily connections. Even handier, on the way home you can clear US immigrations and customs in Freeport, affording quick and easy flight connections stateside. The fishing packages at H2O Bonefishing are unique, in that you stay at the full-service, award-winning

oceanside “Pelican Bay Resort”, while the bonefishing is coordinated by Greg Vincent (a world-class saltwater fly fisher) and his team of talented Bahamian guides. Make no mistake, though you are lodging at a vacation resort, the fishing program at H2O is as serious a bonefishing operation as we have fished with. They operate a dream fleet of fly fishing vessels, including Mirage tunnel hull skiffs for super shallow backcountry navigation, a 21’ Master Angler for accessing outer cays, several V-hull Mavericks for poling the flats, and a 31’ Contender center-console for chasing offshore species. Anglers can expect classic bonefishing scenarios from the boat, or wading the flats targeting trophy bonefish in clear skinny water. Bonefish on Grand Bahama Island are large on average, and fish pushing or over the double-digit size are an everyday possibility.

Outside of fishing, the beauty of H2O is its diversity of non-angling activities available. With easy access to Freeport, there is a seemingly endless list of activities including golf, tennis, spa-days, a casino, restaurants, shopping, swimming, pool-side relaxing, massages, horseback riding, scuba trips, and more. Next door to the resort is the world-famous Underwater Explorers Society (UNEXSO), who not only provide great scuba diving but also host the “Dolphin Experience”, where guests can interact with Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin. Also available are all of the water sports, including kayaking, snorkeling, parasailing, sailing, etc.

Your day starts with a fabulous breakfast buffet, where you can order or select anything you want. When fishing, lunch is taken on the fly, ordered the night before. Dinner is not included in the rate, so you are free to eat wherever you like. Order a pizza delivered to your private suite, eat at the resort, or go out on the town; there are dozens of restaurants to choose from - sushi, Italian, American steakhouses, seafood, the works.

Pelican Bay Resort features 97 rooms, each with a private balcony overlooking a courtyard, the marina, and the Port Lucaya Marketplace. These spacious rooms include king or double beds, satellite TV, phones, Italian-tiled floors, coffee service, and a refrigerator. Pelican Bay’s suites are also available for couples looking for an upgrade of accommodations. Newspapers and freshly baked croissants and bread are delivered to the suites each morning, and in-room espresso machines allow guests to enjoy a private breakfast on the balcony while taking in the beautiful Bell Channel Bay.

The concept in designing a holiday at H2O Bonefishing is flexibility and packages can be arranged with any amount of nights and days of fishing, all orchestrated to ensure a memorable family vacation that will be sure to please everyone, including the flats angler.

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