Alaska Small Business Development Center

Salmon River Sportfishing

Salmon River Sportfishing
From the Gateway to Glacier Bay National Park

Natalie Vaz owns the only freshwater fishing guide service in Gustavus, Alaska, the “gateway” to Glacier Bay National Park. In addition, to fly fishing and spin fishing, she also guides river kayaking, sea kayaking, and packrafting tours. Her goal is to guide trips that are as personal as possible and commits to customizing each excursion to meet each individual client’s interests.

Entrepreneurship runs in the family as Vaz’s mother and uncle are both successful small business owners. She credits growing up and watching them immerse themselves in entrepreneurship to giving her the confidence she needed to do the same in an industry that she is passionate about. Vaz started Salmon River Sportfishing at 17 years old and in her first season offered only one trip option: freshwater spin fishing trips. Each year after, she has added new components to her business: fly fishing, river kayaking, sea kayaking, and as of this year, packrafting. 

When asked what she loves most about small business ownership she divulged that it has to be the “wide variety of skills it has taught me. I have learned about bookkeeping, marketing, website design, gear maintenance and repair, and ‘people skills.’ There is always more to learn as a small business owner, so it is hard to get bored.” 

In navigating this most recent season, Vaz worked with the Alaska Small Business Development Center (Alaska SBDC) and Rural Program Director, Jennifer Adams. About her journey so far she shared, “The SBDC has helped me immensely during the hard-to-navigate waters of the COVID pandemic. My advisor has pointed me in the direction of loans and grants, helped me with the applications, and always responded to my questions in an extremely timely manner. I think one of my biggest mistakes as a small business owner was not reaching out to this organization sooner!

This season also brought the newest addition to Salmon River Sportfishing, packraft rentals. Vaz says that packrafts are “impressive little boats that only weigh about 4 pounds and can fold up small enough to fit in your backpack. They are great for hiking up a river and floating back down!”

With trips specialized for beginners and expert sport fishermen and women alike, complemented by a 100% TripAdvisor rating, Vaz is on the right track with Salmon River Sportfishing. Learn more at this incredible Alaskan adventure service in beautiful Gustavus, AK, at, and keep up with the fun on Facebook and Instagram