Since 1982, Waterfall Resort, on the west coast of Prince of Wales Island, continues to provide Guests with the ultimate sportfishing experience. Each season, Waterfall Resort hosts over 2300 avid and novice anglers who come to fish for various species including the Trophy-size King Salmon, Silver Salmon, Pacific Halibut, Lingcod, Red Snapper, and other bottom fish.
The nutrient rich West Coast of Prince of Wales Island has been fished commercially for over a Century. From 1912 through the late 1960s, Waterfall Cannery, once one of the most productive Salmon Fishing Canneries in the Ketchikan area, played a historic role in modern canning and processing of the seined caught or fish trapped salmon.
After an exciting day of action-packed Alaskan Sportfishing, Guests relax in one of the 26 Waterfront Cabins, 10 Lodge Rooms, 4 Waterfront Townhouse Suites, or 4 Egg House Suites.
Cruisers, Gear & Guides
Waterfall’s North River custom-designed fleet includes 27 Almar aluminum 25 ft. Cabin Cruisers built for Alaskan waters and designed for comfort and safety. Each 4-person Cruiser, staffed with a professional guide, features special Shock-absorbing double seats, heated Cabins, Furuno Marine Electronics: GPS, Radar, Color Fish & Depth Meter and Communications.
This historic resort features Shimano line counter reels and G. Loomis 8 ft. one-piece rods for Salmon fishing. Stout Seeker rods with Shimano LDT reels for easier bottom fishing in depths of 150 ft. plus water are provided.
Custom Fish Processing
Each day’s catch is filleted, cleaned and cut in BBQ cooking size portions, vacuum packed, labeled, then flash frozen to seal in the freshness and unique flavor. All Fish are boxed, checked in as luggage, and travel home with each guest on Departure Day.
Waterfall retains an Alaska Airlines representative at the Resort. These services include reconfirming all flights and seat assignments; plus tagging luggage and fish boxes for the trip home from this most memorable fishing vacation.
Special Guest Features:
$100,000 Fishing Tournament: Guests may participate in the season-long fishing tournament. Approximately 40 different prizes for travel and merchandise are awarded.
King Salmon Jackpot Challenge: Guests may compete in this 4-day special event in late May to kick-off the season. Over $5,000 in Sponsor Merchandise and optional Cash Jackpots. No entry fee and lots of fun!
Nature & Wildlifeblack bear sightings are normal). Guests will pass along dense rainforest and then along a boardwalk over a small spawning stream (August) to the waterfall.
Dining at Waterfall Resort
Waterfall Resort is known for its excellent dining experience. Meals are served in the Guest Dining Room overlooking picturesque Ulloa Channel. These gourmet delights are prepared fresh daily by Waterfall's Chef and his staff.
One of the World’s Top Resorts
With a limit of 92 Guests per day and a 1 to 1 Guest-to-Staff Ratio, Waterfall ensures the same attention to detail that guests experience at the world’s top Resorts.
Waterfall Resort's Historic Roots
In the early 1900s, Waterfall Cannery was the largest salmon packing plant on the west coast of Prince of Wales Island. Salmon were caught in fish traps or aboard seiners, and cured in a light brine before being packed in handmade cans and shipped to New York and throughout Europe. Like most canneries in Alaska, this remote operation on the Ulloa Channel was a complete, self-sufficient, temporary community. When the season was over, all but a few workers departed and Waterfall passed out of existence until the next summer's migration.
In 1936, Waterfall Cannery produced 310,000 cases of salmon, then the record for any salmon cannery. But the first salmon processing camp operated on a much smaller scale. In 1911, the Alaska Fish Company started a floating cannery on an old sailing ship, the Glory of the Seas. It was the first company to pack salmon aboard a ship.
The venture proved so successful that the company towed the boat to the west coast of Prince of Wales Island. A year later in 1912, Seattle-based Oceanic Packing Company constructed the canning facility. The two companies became one and the machinery from Glory of the Seas was transferred to the cannery at Waterfall. This marked the beginning of its climb to becoming the largest, most efficient cannery on the west coast of Prince of Wales Island.
Innovation set Waterfall apart from other canneries of this era. At a time when wireless radios were practically unheard of, Waterfall coordinated shipping logistics between the remote cannery and Ketchikan, relying on carrier pigeons to send messages about crew changes and shipments. As a safety measure, each boat leaving Ketchikan or Waterfall took one of these pigeons on-board. If the boat needed assistance, a bird was released and in less than one hour help was dispatched.
In 1920, the cannery had several setbacks, causing it to close its doors for the first time. The market was shaky. One of the key partners died and other business relationships dissolved. It was not until 1922 that the cannery reopened and by 1923 a major change had occurred at the cannery: Waterfall was sold to Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, the owner of the nationwide chain of A&P Stores. Nakat Packing Corporation, a subsidiary of A&P, would operate the cannery for the next 43 years.
Many of the present buildings which stand at Waterfall were constructed in the 1930s as part of a major expansion that started in 1932. A warehouse, marine way, oil dock and cable house, webbing and trap cables were built.
The company also built four new seine boats and a fish tender called Quaker Maid. A store and office building with upstairs living quarters, a new machine shop and storage room were added, along with a mess hall and bunkhouse for inside hands and another for the mechanics and other staff. A new dam and power lines throughout the plant completed the major expansion.
One of the highlights of these upgrades was a new fish house that incorporated the newest ideas for fast, sanitary fish handling. In 1937, the building that housed the canning lines was expanded. Five separate lines of canning equipment were set up within the building. The cannery and outbuildings were considered the finest in Southeast Alaska and cost the company $145,000.
During World War II, Nakat tried freezing fish on an experimental, non-commercial basis. The output in 1946 was 80% Coho Salmon and the rest was Halibut and Ling Cod. The freezing operation was dropped after the 1946 season.
With Alaska statehood came the abolishment of the floating salmon trap. Canneries such as Waterfall had to depend on seine-caught salmon, a fishery that was heavily regulated by the state. By 1970, the salmon harvest was too unpredictable to gear up for the summer pack. After that season, Waterfall Cannery never operated again.
In 1973, the cannery and surrounding 34 acres of land were sold to the Des Moore family and they converted the cannery into Waterfall Cannery Resort. In 1980, Waterfall Group, Ltd. purchased the operation and has been running Waterfall Resort ever since. The white clapboard buildings that once provided lodging for cannery workers have been renovated and today provide comfortable accommodations for guests from all over the world.