Alaska & Yukon, 100’s of years of family history
Albert Jacques fled Lancashire England to Canada, he eventually found a home in the Yukon, 1889. Soon to follow, Albert’s son, Blondie Jacques, a prolific trapper and guide arrived in Alaska in 1938. His homestead was the start of the Jacques family’s business. Uncle Carl’s family history dates back before Alaska was discovered by the white man. To this day, Jerry and Jim Jacques continue to follow their great grandfather’s tradition of exploring and guiding in Alaska. Although trapping and hunting brought the Jacques family to Alaska, we have since chosen to operate our lodge in an eco-friendly, non-consumptive way. We now specialize in Photo Safaris, Adventure Travel and Catch & Release Fly Fishing.
Jerry Jacques started guiding and flying full time in the Katmai and Bristol Bay area in 1978. Holding Alaska Master Guide License #110 and 14,000 hours of Alaska bush-flying experience, Jerry is uniquely qualified to be your host for the best Bear Viewing and Bush-Flying Adventure the Last Frontier has to offer. You truly will be given a once in a lifetime, unforgettable experience, solely found at Jacques Adventure Lodge with the Alaska Grizzly Safaris team.
Laura O’Connell Jacques was raised by her father, who was yet another avid outdoorsmen. She too has been a whitewater rafting, fishing, and outdoor enthusiast for 30+ years. Laura and Jerry met at the lodge, with their first date being a bear viewing trip to Katmai Wilderness Area. Laura graduated from Temple University School of Law and has practiced law on a part-time basis since 1989. Together, with the help of their kids Caleb and Erin, they have built the lodge to what it is today.
Jim Jacques has been a fishing guide for the family business since 1982. A jack of all trades, he is a diehard fly fisherman, coast guard licensed captain and avid photographer. Our skilled pilots, Blake Lerue, Larry Rivers, and Robin Spalding each have extensive experience flying in Alaska. Our chef, Wolfman Jack Egan & Sydney Jacques prepares delectable meals for meat lovers and vegetarians alike! Guides Caleb Jacques, Hunter Minke, and Chris Pointer, and Robert Reid will accompany you to many of our 127 separate locations throughout Alaska to capture globally sought after wildlife images.
We are a custom lodge, where you, our valued guests, get to choose your own adventure. The options for your experience are only limited by your imagination.
We pride ourselves in being capable of accommodating anyone in reasonable health. Our oldest guest to date was 98 years old! He enjoyed a wonderful week fishing three different rivers, viewing countless grizzly bears, picking plump blueberries on the alpine tundra, and was even able to squeeze in a short guided raft trip with his grandson. Whatever your condition, we guarantee you will not find a more willing, and capable outfitter ready to suit your current condition.
The following will be a sample itinerary for what your trip can look like. You are free to make any changes to suit your interests or capabilities. We are a customizable operation, where you decide what your daily adventure will look like.
Departing from Anchorage at 3:00 PM on Iliamna Air Taxi’s PC-12 turboprop plane, and arrive at the Iliamna Airport at 4:00 PM. Our staff will greet you and provide transportation to the lodge where the rest of the staff is eagerly waiting to meet your party. After introductions, the crew will help get everyone’s gear into their cabins. Each of our 5 cabins is equipped with a full bathroom and 2 beds.
After you’ve had a chance to settle into your cabin, you may wander over to the main lodge where Hor d’Oeuvres will be waiting to be devoured. The “great room,” with its amazing panoramic views of Lake Iliamna and Roadhouse Mountain, is a natural gathering place. Relax, socialize, play a game of pool, check out the many displayed Alaskan antiquities, or just sit back and soak in the view.
Once everyone has gathered at the lodge, orientation will begin. This meeting makes sure any and all questions get answered in regards to what the week will consist of. Next, everyone will be individually fitted with state of the art Gore-Tex waders and wading boots, all supplied by the lodge. If you have never experience the joy of waders, you will be blown away by your newfound ability to remain perfectly dry through river crossings, swamps and all! The gear is lightweight, comfortable enough for all-day wear, and totally impervious to the weather!
In the meantime, our chef Cindy has prepared a multi-course, gourmet dinner that will be served at 7:00 PM. After you’ve eaten your fill, together as a group, we discuss your options and make a plan for what tomorrow will bring. Once details are set and everyone knows where they are going, what equipment to bring, what aircraft to board in the morning, you are free to spend the remaining hours of daylight as you wish. Our entire staff understands that photographers have special and logistical needs. Such as having the ability to stay out late for the best lighting, or a need to bring extra, fragile and expensive camera equipment into the field. This will come as no surprise to our team and we will work to accommodate your unique situation.
After enjoying a hearty breakfast, you will board one of the lodge’s aircraft, and the adventure begins! One of the main things that set our lodge apart from any other is our fleet of 5 aircraft. Capable of landing on rivers and lakes, with our seaplanes, and on beaches, gravel bars and ridge tops with our tundra tired bush planes. Our planes paired with our 12 boats, all set aside for the exclusive use of our guests, bring an unparalleled experience from any other lodge. We never have more than 12 guests at the lodge at the same time, ensuring your individual ability to make the most of your visit. Today, you’ve set out to capture images of coastal brown bears fishing in Katmai National Park. We will land in Katmai on a small alpine lake in one of the lodge’s De Havilland Beaver float planes.
After landing, your guide will lead you on a short 15-minute walk, where you will find the confluence of two creeks. There, we will spend the day filming and photographing bears on the creeks as they chase fish in the shallow water. Your guide has lead bear viewing trips here since 1978 and knows the area intimately. He will ensure that you get the best images and bear viewing experience possible. After a day of excitement watching countless bears fish, when your SD cards are full and your camera batteries are low, you will return to the plane and begin your short 18-minute flight back to the lodge. You will be greeted at the docks with the strong aroma of fresh smoked salmon ready for the eating. Only now, you are faced with a tough decision: A hot shower first or to dive into the tasty Hor d’Oeuvres platter waiting in the lodge.
After dinner, we again will discuss what the next day will hold, and devise a plan. We encourage everyone to share their prized photos or video clips from the day. With the blinds closed, the images can be displayed on a large screen TV in the great room straight from your laptop. The lodge staff often joins in the background to see the amazing show. Dump your SD cards, recharge your cameras and get ready for another day!
Today, you’ve decided to fly to Brooks Falls to capture the iconic images of fish jumping up the falls, only to be greeted by the jaws of countless hungry bears. Brooks Falls can be very crowded by the lodge’s standards, but it is certainly a sight worth seeing, and a destination for many. By 10:30 AM, you have all the photos you want, so we will flee the circus of people and fly 15 minutes to a place where few people ever travel. Landing near a secluded stream, your guide will introduce you to a 12-year-old sow that has raised her cubs here for the last 8 years. She is very accustomed to us and our routine and often parades herself and her cubs very close by. We will have the whole place to ourselves and you are free to shoot as long as you’d like.
On our flight back to the lodge we will fly over the Valley of 10,000 Smokes, then past mount Katmai, over the giant caldera of Crater Lake, and then past Novarupta with its many steaming volcanic vents and its 30,000-year-old glaciers. By the time we arrive at the lodge, Hors d’Oeuvres will be waiting, followed shortly by another mouthwatering dinner, hot showers, and an image sharing session.
Today, you leave the lodge late morning and arrive on the Katmai coast, landing on the beach in a wheeled plane equipped with tundra tires, just in time for low tide. The mission for today: photographing bears digging for clams on the coast and eating sedge grasses. Here, it is also common to see a wolf on or near this secluded beach. Today may require more walking than other days, because the bears may be spread out anywhere along the tidal flats, or napping in the tall sedge grasses.
For lunch, you are spoiled by the pilot with a field cooked meal, consisting of fresh-dug clams from the beach, and shrimp jambalaya cooked over an open fire. And to fill in the cracks, hot dutch oven baked cornbread. A 40-minute flight back to the lodge will fly you low over the glaciers and ice fields of Mount Douglas. And of course, a hot shower, Hors d’Oeuvres, dinner, and fellowship will follow.
Today, half of the people in your group have decided to fly to Twin Lakes to view and photograph the Dick Proenneke log cabin. (One Man’s Wilderness). You shoot photos while flying over the turquoise water of Lake Clark of the scenery, Dall sheep in the higher tundra, caribou, and glaciers of Lake Clark National Park. The plane will touch down on Upper Twin Lake a mere 100 yards from the historic homestead site built by Dick Proenneke. The history is well documented and preserved by the Park Service. You will find no shortage of subjects to keep your camera clicking through the day.
The second half of your group has decided to take a 2-day expedition into the most remote, rugged, and wildest part of Alaska. The Bering Sea. Its beautiful beaches, hopping with wildlife is a sight few humans get to see. Leaving at 6:00 AM, and landing at Walrus Point and the Seal Islands you will be greeted with the unmistakable stench of walrus. With the walrus situated upwind, you may approach and set up your tripods a mere 50 yards away without disturbing them. These islands can often display 200-400 seals hauled out on the beach.
With walruses all around, swans nesting in the salt grasses, eagles patrolling the cliffs and waters from above, and the sea otters playing in the surrounding streams, you are going to be happy you brought back up SD cards. Caribou, moose, and bear are also common to see along the way. The group will set up camp at an old native trapper’s cabin overlooking the Bering Sea and let the sound of the waves on the rocks lull them to sleep.
For those who camped out overlooking the Bering Sea, your day will consist of capturing whatever photos you may have missed the previous day, and combing the beach for treasures washed ashore. Departure from Walrus Point by 12:00 PM. From there they will fly to a nearby native village to refuel both the planes and their bellies with a local meal. They will arrive back at the lodge in time for dinner.
For the people who stayed at the lodge the previous night, they will spend the day floating the Copper River. There they will film and photograph the pods of Red Salmon in the clear water, see bears and perhaps catch a trophy rainbow trout! As one of Alaska’s first trophy rainbow trout fisheries, you will not be disappointed. A long day on the river will surely have you anticipating dinner, so off we go.
Both groups will return to the lodge for dinner and share field notes, stories, and of course, photos.
Today is the last day of the trip, and to wrap things up your group has decided to return to the secluded confluence of 2 creeks you visited on day two. Again, landing on a small alpine lake in the lodge’s De Havilland Beaver float plane, you proceed with the 15-minute walk back to the creeks everyone was so fond of from day two. Yet again, you witness countless bears do their best to fill their bellies on Sockeye Salmon in the shallow water. Today may even turn out to be more productive than a week a few days earlier! When everyone is satisfied, you will wave your goodbyes to your newly found 600-pound furry friends, and make your short flight back to the lodge. Back at the lodge, there will be enough time to change from your field clothes into something more comfortable, get a quick shower in, before our staff will transport the group back to Iliamna Airport for the evening flight back to Anchorage.