LaVonne's Fish Camp

Kotzebue, Alaska

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How big is Alaska?

A: Alaska is 586,412 square miles in area, with 33,904 miles of shoreline - that's 33% of America's total shoreline

Q: What's the average temperature in Kotzebue? 

A: Average temperature in the summer is 55 degrees F; in the winter the average is -10 degrees F. From June 2nd to July 9th, the sun does not set giving Kotzebue 24 hours of sunlight each day.

Q: What's the population of Kotzebue, Alaska? 

A: Population is over 3,000 people with approximately 70% Inupiat Eskimo.

Q: What kinds of birds can I expect to see?   

A: Many visitors have reported new "lifers" during their Kotzebue trip. Common birds to see are Greater Scaup, Oldsquaw, American Golden Plover, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Glaucous Gull, Arctic Tern, Rough-legged Hawk, Lapland Longspur, Common Redpoll, Hoary Redpoll, Red-throated Loon, Red-necked Grebe, Trumpeter Swan, Northern Shovler, American Widgeon, Sandhill Crane, Common Snipe, Red-necked Phalarope, Parasitic Jaeger, Long-tailed Jaeger, Say's Phoebe, Tree Swallow, Blank Swallow, Yellow Warbler, Wheatear, and Common Raven.

Q: Are there any national parks or wildlife refuges in the Region?

A: Cape Krusenstern National Monument is northwest of Kotzebue on the coast of the Chukchi Sea. Noatak National Preserve is north of Kotzebue. Kobuk Valley National Park is east of Kotzebue and is home of a 25-square-mile patch of sand dunes and the Onion Portage archeological dig. Selawik National Wildlife Refuge is east of Kotzebue and south of Kobuk Valley. Bering Land Bridge National Preserve is south of the sound.  

Q: Any books about Kotzebue and Native Alaskan Culture?

The Last Light Breaking: Living Among Alaska's Inupiat Eskimos, Nick Jans

Fifty Miles from Tomorrow: A Memoir of Alaska and the Real People, Willie Hensley

Shopping for Porcupine: A Life in Arctic Alaska, Seth Kantner

Q: How do I get to Kotzebue?

A: There are no roads leading to Kotzebue, 30 miles north of the Arctic Circle, which is on a Sound bordering the Chukchi Sea.

 Alaska Airlines provides flights seven days per week into Kotzebue from Anchorage. Alaska Airlines (Jet Service) Phone: 1-800-426-0333

ERA Alaska provides one flight daily Monday through Friday into Kotzebue from Fairbanks. ERA Alaska Phone 1-800-478-6779

Q: What are the accommodations at a working fish camp? 

A: Meals are served family-style around a large table that seats everyone. For those on special diets, every evening meal includes fresh local salmon and a large salad. There is also a second entree of familiar American foods for those non-fish eaters. Local subsistence foods are shared by local folks whenever the opportunity presents itself. Not to worry - samples of these unique treats are served to be tasted in small amounts during the "evening sharing" before dinner.

The fish camp includes seven simple guest cabins with water jugs and with electric heat when the generator is on. There is a lounge/library cabin and a dining room/kitchen cabin with a shared shower. Toilet facilities are a turn-of-the-century model (an outhouse). Linens, blankets, and towels are provided.

Q: What are some of the possible activities during my visit? 

A: LaVonne’s Fish Camp offers you an opportunity to meet local Inupiat Eskimo people. Discover their culture by sharing with community elders; observe their traditional healing practices, enjoy their dancing and games, and inspect their crafts. Experience beachcombing for shells and old ivory, hike to Loon Lake, harvest plants from the tundra and the beach for use as food and medicine, bird watch, and many other activities.

Q: What kind of clothes should I bring during a summer visit? 

A: Plan to dress in layers. Headgear, foot wear, and gloves need to be wind and rain proof, warm and comfortable. Jackets with hoods are a must. The weather can vary from 35 F to 80 F in a 24-hour period. Polypropylene long underwear and Gortex outer wear works best. The rain is usually wind driven so good rain gear is essential for warmth in the Arctic. However, should you be here on a freaky hot day of 75 to 80 degrees, bring shorts and a swimsuit along for the momentous occasion.

Other things to bring are sunglasses having good UVA & UVB blockers, mosquito repellent (spray type for clothes and roll-on stick or crème for face), binoculars (makes watching birds and possible moose, caribou or musk ox much more interesting), and over-the-counter and/or prescription drugs. Kotzebue does not have a drug store. OTC drugs are sold in three small grocery stores in town with limited selection. There is a Public Health Service hospital for emergencies.