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“The Best Vacation of my Life”

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Jimmie Jack's Alaska Lodge
Ranked #4 of 18 Specialty Lodging in Kenai
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 31, 2013

I am an avid fisherman from the East Coast I have fished and worked on fishing boats for many many years. Therefore I feel I have a very realistic expectation of what fishing is all about. The Guides were all very professional and knowledgeable, Jimmie Jack and his father were Awesome and could not have tried harder to put us on the fish. I came with a friend and we put the time in and were lucky enough to both catch every fish we targeted. Captain Art and Dave on the Big Iron were fantastic and we had so much fun catching Halibut. I found the accommodations to be perfect, I stayed in the lodge in the Mt. Redoubt room and was very comfortable. The room and bathroom were immaculate Colleen does such a wonderful job of keeping the lodge squeaky clean. The breakfasts were delicious and plentiful and served with a smile, the lunches were perfect for a day of fishing and Colleen has a way of making the lodge feel like a home always greeting you with a smile and a kind word she is simply the best. Lisa and Mellissa were great at taking care of last minute changes as requested. I guess what it boils down to for me is Alaska is one of the most beautiful places on earth, if people would open there eyes and let the awesome beauty in I think they would realize what a gift just being there is and catching fish is a bonus. In fact at the end of my weeks stay I was lucky enough to be able to extend my trip another week, who is luckier than me? All and all I left with beautiful memories, fantastic new friends and a burning desire to return.
Thanks Everyone Scott Self

Room Tip: My second week I stayed in the Brazil Room, big room, King size Bed and huge living room shared by M...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Scott S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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133 - 139 of 188 reviews

Reviewed July 29, 2013

I am trying to give a possible Jimmie Jack's customer the most objective review possible- so I will highlight the good and the bad.

So, in all, my experience was good in part and not so good in part. I think this trip is IDEAL if this is what you are interested in:

1. fishing the Kenai River for a King Salmon;
2. don't mind spending all day on the river and catching no fish;
3. having rugged/below average accommodations; and
4. not having the most scenic views from your accommodations.

The halibut fishing was excellent and the fly-out trips were great. But the above-noted items were not great and they detracted from the trip.

THE LOCATION:

If you look at their website they say- "spectacular beachfront location." It would be a stretch to say that it is a spectacular location. I was under the impression we would be on the beach of a scenic river. In fact, the lodge overlooks a huge inlet (20+ miles across) strewn with fishing nets, buoys, and commercial fishermen. The beach is not something you would want to take a stroll along as there were forklifts and fishing equipment along the shoreline. The bottom line is, I would be surprised if the majority of visitors found it a truly "spectacular beachfront location." If I were Jimmie Jacks, I would tone down the location of the lodge as it was not a real sell point - if anything, it detracted from the experience.

ACCOMMODATIONS:

Also, we stayed in the Miner's cabin, which is a few blocks away from the lodge. To get breakfast, we had to drive to the lodge. The Miner's cabin is very "rustic" to put it nicely. There are no chairs or couches inside. Just a bench dining table, bunk beds and a queen bed. We had to bring in wooden chairs from the porch outside to watch t.v. or sit at the bench dinner table. There is no view to speak of from the Miner's cabin either as it is in the middle of some trees and faces the gravel driveway.

THE FISHING:

More candid disclosure would help the website. It likely would not help their business, but it would help people like us make an informed decision before paying a large amount of money on a fishing trip. The disclosure he SHOULD provide would say something like this:

"Fishing for King Salmon on the Kenai River is exciting, but requires a great deal of patience and is not for the fisherman expecting action all day. It is not uncommon for a fisherman to go all day long without a single bite. The Kenai River, on any one day, has more than a hundred boats lining the river all hoping to catch a King Salmon. As such, there is significant fishing pressure on the River and on the King Salmon population."

With a disclosure such as that, a fisherman would have a better understanding of their expectations going into the trip. There were many boats on the river that had not had a single bite all day- including our boat one day. My brother spent 3 days on the river with not a single bite. It would have been helpful for us to have known that going into the trip. I have read Jimmie's response to a prior complaint identical to ours on the fishing and he basically did an end-around saying that their guides were the best and that the Kenai is still the best place for big Kings. I don't dispute any of that whatsoever. But it doesn't address the issue. The bottom line is- irrespective of how much better Jimmie's guides do, and irrespective of how good the Kenai is compared to other rivers, it doesn't change the fact that many fishermen- including my brother- spend a great deal of time sitting in a boat all day without a single bite. Jimmie and his crew know that this is not only possible- it is even probable (one of our guides said it took one of his family members 8 years to get a King on the Kenai!!).

GUIDES:

The guides and staff were all very courteous and knowledgeable. The highlights of the trip were the fly-out trips and the halibut trips. I would recommend cutting out the Kenai to only 1 day at most (and with full disclosure) if possible.

CONCLUSION:

Jimmie and his crew were extremely courteous and great to work with. But at the end of the day, his website draws people in with some overstated expectations and descriptions of the fishing and the accommodations. If I were Jimmie, I would relocate the business to a location where the lodge and all of the cabins were on site, where the furnishings were more comfortable, and in a truly "spectacular" scenic location that truly captures the beauty of Alaska.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Justin J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JimmiJack, Owner at Jimmie Jack's Alaska Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded August 7, 2013

Many thanks to this guest for a realistic review. Reviews like this help to educate future guests on the realities of Kenai River king salmon fishing.

King salmon fishing on the Kenai River is trophy fishing, and guests should expect to put in their time. This is a very popular fishery because the Kenai River holds the largest kings in the world. Yes, you should fish for kings if you understand trophy fishing or hunting, and can enjoy a day on the water. Guests should fish with hope of catching that king salmon of a lifetime.

We made the Miner’s cabin to be the rustic Alaskan cabin experience since it is an original Kalifornsky Beach Cabin. I was curious to see how guests would like the rustic cabin experience last season, the cabin’s first season. All of the guests loved it, and requested it upon their return this season. Then we added the Satellite TV this year at the request of a returning guest, and now two groups have called for a couch. This makes complete sense, and we will have a couch in there soon for more comfortable seating.

I am disappointed to hear that this guest did not consider our location spectacular. This is the first time I have heard this perception. I still see this view of Cook Inlet, the volcanoes, and the Alaskan sunsets as super spectacular.

I am very happy that this guest had a great experience with our crew here at Jimmie Jack’s Lodge, and that our team was great to work with. Great review!

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Reviewed July 28, 2013

I travelled to jimmie jacks with a friend, for a 7 night stay with 6 days of guided fishing. The staff was courteous and professional. Lisa and Mellissa were great taking care of last minute changes I requested in reference to fishing trips. Colleen who took care of the lodge & its guests made sure that we all felt welcome and supplied a great breakfast and lunch. The guides were all a pleasure to fish with and experienced. I really can not find much wrong with this lodge it was definitely a great experience. I have read some of the other reviews that were not so positive & all I can say is that this was one of my best vacations thanks to the jimmie jack staff and new friends that I made at the lodge.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank robert g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2013

My wife Mona and I had a great time chasing a trophy King salmon. We are Alaskans and can fish for just about everything but Giant Kenai Kings. For my 50th birthday we booked a Kenai King only trip. I think a lot of people don't realize that fishing for these monsters is not a guarantee. It is for all intents and purposes an aquatic big game hunting adventure. You are fishing for a few bites with the hope of one sticking. Jimmie Jack and his dad are fantastic guides. I have at one time myself guided and without revealing that all week, I found there level of professionalism to be exceptional. I will always be indebted to Jimmie for the way he took care of my wife during her battle with a MONSTER! She manged to land it with great calm, patience and direction from him. Colleen was fantastic!!! Creating a homelike environment at the lodge, not to mention creating awesome breakfasts and lunches. In closing, I would and have already recommended Jimmie Jack to friends and relatives. My wife and I will be back next year ( I cant have her having a bigger salmon than me).
Thanks Everyone!
Tom & Mona Ramage

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Thomas R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 9, 2013

My party of four had a trip to JJ June 29-July 6. As noted by a previous reviewer, some of the problems are not JJ fault, but they need to be more honest about what is going on with the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers. This may be the worst year ever for the Kenai, but talking to many of the locals we learned that the fishery has been crashing for years, yet JJ still touts it as one of the top King Salmon fisheries anywhere. Businesses need to be honest about what is offered in the area. We fished the Kasilof the first day, caught three fish. The Kenai opened when we were there, and we fished it our second day, but 1 fish total from ALL the boats on the river (not just the boats from the lodge) was taken the first day, and only three or so the next. Guides both days, Justin and Jason, were excellent, probably helped by the fact that our party might be more ok with not catching fish than any other anywhere. Our Third day we went halibut fishing. Six to a boat is too crowded, although the captain and mate were great. But halibut fishing is just work -- like King Salmon, no skill, just put the line down and wait for a bite, then haul in a heavy fish. Kind of like paying to slaughter your own cow.

Our trip was salvaged by doing a fly-in to Rainy River/Rainy Lake, expensive but well worth it. We caught sockeye in beautiful setting, saw 6 grizzly bears and 5 black bears, tons of eagles and osprey, got a glacier tour on the way out, and had a great guide. After doing our fly-in on Thursday we got off the plane and went immediately to the office to schedule a trip on Friday. Our Thursday trip was in the morning, our Friday in the afternoon. Both were equally productive, but we liked the afternoon more because it was less crowded.

The lodge is nice but our small room was much too small for four adult men. There were empty rooms, so I don't know why we weren't spread out a bit. And unlike another reviewer, we resented the "Stocking feet only" policy. It does say it all -- make things convenient for everyone but the guests. That said, the cook, greeter (Colleen) is about the best person ever. She did her best to make us feel welcome and happy, and made great breakfasts and lunches. Colleen, if I wasn't already married ....

The biggest problem is the management -- it is nonexistent at the lodge, and hard to contact by phone. When we called the scheduler (Lisa) to add our first fly-in (to replace the Kenai) she was somewhat belligerent and unhelpful. It seemed to us that she was not interested in helping us have a good time. And when we arranged the second fly-in with the people who actually do the trips, we were given a price $55 a person LESS than what JJ charged us -- but the fly-in people were giving JJ its commission despite our booking the trip directly. It appears from this incident that JJ adds a surcharge beyond its commission.

The property itself is nice, but again JJ should warn people that for any type of fishing, even the Kenai and Kasilof, you will be driving at least 30 minutes to get to it. We are used to fishing lodges that are at the site of at least some of the fishing. The fire pit is nice, but it would be better if there was a shelter over part of it so it could be used in the rain, especially since it rains so much.

So, two biggest complaints about JJ; in my opinion it is not customer centered, and not honest about how the fishing is.

Room Tip: Be sure you know about the fishing.
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank A_B_C_D_E60878
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JimmiJack, Owner at Jimmie Jack's Alaska Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded July 15, 2013

We at JJF have been known for quality service to our guests for 18 years as a family run business. It appears now that success has it’s growing pains, and we will remedy these. We value our guests, and want to assure each of you that we will be implementing changes, specifically, an office location at or near the lodge, so we can improve our guest communication. We will promote even more that guests call the office for any concerns. We do not take a poor review lightly. We look in the mirror, take the feedback, and make the changes.

I am glad to see that our guests did catch 3 king salmon on the Kasilof River, and had a great fly-in trip. As this guest notes, halibut fishing is a simple fishery, but one of the most popular. All of our halibut trips are 6 anglers maximum, and our boat was designed exactly for the Ninilchik halibut fishery as the largest boat in the fleet, with the biggest back deck in the fishery. We pride ourselves on having a big back deck.

It is great to hear that our JJF Team was applauded for their professionalism during this trip. We will always move to make Jimmie Jack’s Alaska Lodge better, and we appreciate the feedback. Again, I would like to personally assure future guests that we will communicate better, and perform at the level of excellence that has built Jimmie Jack’s Alaska Lodge into an industry leader.

We have seen that guest satisfaction does go hand in hand with the numbers of fish in the water. The Kenai River fishery has been fishing slower in the last 3 seasons, but is not dead. I am involved as a Director of the Kenai River Professional Guide Association, consistently in communication with local biologists, and involved in the state Board of Fisheries process. The Kenai still has the largest king salmon in the world, and still provides anglers with the opportunity to catch a large 50-70 pound “World Class” king salmon. Unfortunately, we at JJF, cannot predict how a given week of fishing the Kenai River can be. We offer the opportunity to fish in our top of the line boats, and hope that you will catch a Kenai River King Salmon. We do our best to make this happen. We also believe in the fishery, and that like all salmon fisheries, the cycle.

We value our guests, and want to assure each of you that we will be implementing changes, specifically, an office location at or near the lodge, so we can improve our guest contact.

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Reviewed July 5, 2013

My boys and I would highly recommend Jimmy Jack's for fishing in Alaska. Upon checking in at the lodge, we were impressed with a sign stating, "No shoes beyond this point, stocking feet only". I think that says it all! The lodge and private bedrooms rooms were immaculate and much more than we expected. The big breakfasts and fisherman's lunches were excellent. Jimmy Jack's staff was friendly and very cordial. Colleen, the hostess was especially helpful...she was very well organized and provided the little extras that one tends to hope for/expect when you are away from home in unfamiliar surroundings………..always made sure we had the correct driving instructions to meet the fishing trip, printed our boarding passes, dropped off our fish at the packer, etc. Thanks for a fun fishing trip!

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Nick G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2013

Our group of 4 stayed at Jimmie Jack’s from June 23rd to the 30th this year. Ran into several issues during the week…..some avoidable, some not. The first thing we learned once we arrived was that the Kenai River had been closed to King Salmon fishing a couple of days earlier. In addition, the rules on the Kasilof had been changed to not allow bait and only a single hook. These were the unavoidable issues…..however, it would have been nice to have received a phone call before we left home advising us of the changes and giving us the opportunity to cancel the trip. Especially since fishing for King Salmon was one of the main reasons we were going. That aside, and recognizing that there needed to be a “Plan B” for the days that we would have fished the Kenai, from here things went downhill. One of the problems with the lodge was that no management was ever there…..never saw the owner and the trip scheduler was not on site either. The only folks we ever dealt with directly were a couple of the guides and the lodge cook. All very nice, friendly people who did what they could to assist us but none of them had any authority to actually do anything about any issues we encountered. On day 2, we were scheduled to fish for trout (not something that we had wanted to do nor something that had been originally scheduled). Afterward, we talked to anyone we could find and told them we did not want to fish for trout again…..we fish often for trout at home and it’s not what we went to Alaska for. Day 3 was a halibut fishing trip. Six people from the lodge were scheduled for this trip and, as it turns out, 6 people cannot fish comfortably from the halibut boat. After several tangles, one of our guys’ rods was pulled in and never put back out……so, he essentially got to go for a boat ride for half the day. To our surprise, on Day 4, we were scheduled to fish for trout again. By this time, we were not happy campers. However, as I stated earlier, there was not really anyone at the lodge who could actually address any problems. We did actually call the scheduler the next day about our last day (another halibut fishing trip), explained our first halibut experience, and told her that we would very much like to be scheduled as a group of 4 rather than 6 again. We were assured that it would happen as we requested. Day 6…..surprise, surprise…..when we arrived at the boat, there were 2 more people waiting to board.
By this time, what was likely a once-in-a-lifetime trip had turned pretty sour. None of this should be taken to be a slam against the people we did deal with. Our guides, Justin and Badger, the boat captain and first mate, Art and David, and the lodge cook, Colleen, were very good at what they did and very nice, capable folks. Management on the other hand……not so much.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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5  Thank Harry B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JimmiJack, Owner at Jimmie Jack's Alaska Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded July 13, 2013

Here at Jimmie Jack’s Lodge we always appreciate constructive criticism, and reviews. We strive for excellence in our service, and when we get less than excellent feedback we go to work to make changes. We always want our guests to enjoy the best of Alaska, and when we fall short, we make changes fast.

Personally, I sincerely apologize to our 4 guests. This is very frustrating as an owner to have a less than positive response because of the 18 years that dad and I have put in to make our service fun and rewarding for our guests. We value our guests, and want to assure each of you that we will be implementing changes to create checks and balances so that we don’t have any guests repeat this type of experience.

First, we have decided to call all guests immediately upon release of any closure to one of our fisheries. Second, we will promote even more that guests call the office for any concerns. Third, we are working on getting our office moved to an onsite location at the lodge. (We have had our office located at our Kenai River launch for years, and we see where this promotes a problem when our guests are not going to that specific launch because of a Kenai River closure.)

All of our halibut trips are 6 anglers maximum, and our boat was designed exactly for the Ninilchik halibut fishery as the largest boat able to launch there, with the biggest back deck in the fishery. There was some miscommunication by our staff because we always run a maximum of 6 persons on these trips.
I, personally, made the call as lead guide to move our guests from the Kasilof king salmon fishing trip, to the Kenai River trout fishing trip because this was the better fishery at the time. In the future I will communicate with the guests more completely to make sure that they understand my decision, and can have more immediate input on schedule changes.

It is great to hear that our JJF Team was applauded for their professionalism during this trip. We will always move to make Jimmie Jack’s Alaska Lodge better, and we appreciate the feedback. Again, I would like to personally assure future guests that we will communicate better, and perform at the level of excellence that has built Jimmie Jack’s Alaska Lodge into an industry leader.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Jimmie Jack's Alaska Lodge

Address: 36065 Reef Dr, Kenai, AK 99611-8767
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Alaska > Kenai
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 18 Specialty Lodging in Kenai
Price Range: $120 - $240 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Jimmie Jack’s Alaska Fishing Lodge - Over 10,000 Happy Guests Served Since 1995 - Day Charters to 7-Night Lodge Packages - BOOK ONLINE NOW! King Salmon – Silver Salmon – Sockeye Salmon - Halibut – Rainbow Trout. Excellent Customer Service Since 1995 - 45 Years of Guide Experience Combined - Safest and Most Modern Boats on the Water - Great Food and Accommodations – Top of the Line Equipment – Unparalleled Scenery -Private and Small Group Trips – Beginner to Advanced Anglers – Family Trips – Alaska Travel Industry Association – Kenai River Professional Guide Association (Board of Directors) – Kenai River Sportfishing Association - Kenai River Guide Academy - Fully Insured – U.S. Coast Guard Licensed –State of Alaska Permitted - Featured on North to Alaska with Larry Csonka – Daily KRSM Fishing Report – KTUU News Fishing Report – Coastal Angler Magazine Fishing Forecast. ... more   less 
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Jimmie Jack's Alaska Lodge Kenai

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