The Alagnak Lodge sits atop a bluff overlooking the Alagnak River. This Alagnak river is formed from two rivers that meet approximately 70 miles above the lodge. The two rivers flow from Lake Kukaklik and Lake Nonvianuk. When they come together at the confluence, they form the Alagnak River. The Alagnak River is home to all five species of Pacific Salmon. The most exciting aspect of the Alagnak Lodge is its location. It is situated only 5 miles from the salt water. The location provides you with the best Salmon fishing just minutes from the lodge. If your looking for fresh, aggressive Salmon then look no further. The Alagnak Lodge will provide you with enough entertainment to keep you coming back for many years to come.
Your typical fishing day will start at 6am with a breakfast nothing short of giving you every ounce of energy you will need until lunch. Once you are finished with your breakfast you will then meet your guide at the boat dock at 7 am. From there, depending on what your fishing for, you will take a boat ride lasting from just a minute or two to possibly 30 minutes. One of the nicest things about the Alagnak Lodge program is its the only lodge on the river (not that there are many) that offers three sessions of fishing from which to choose. The first session starts at 7am and goes until 11:30 where you will return to the lodge for a hot lunch. The second session begins at 1pm and runs until 5:30 when you return for cocktails, appetizers and dinner. Finally, the third session begins at 7:15 pm and goes until 10:15 pm. The guests are able to choose two out of the three sessions to fish. A nice advantage is to have the river all to yourself during the the evening session. The other lodges do not have an evening program. It was one of my favorites. Your guides will let you know when the best tides are to fish and make sure your on the water at the most opportune fishing time.
The river typically begins to host the Sockeye or Red Salmon within the first week of July. I have seen them arrive in late June as well. To be safe when booking a trip, if you were to book within the last week of June running into July you would be just fine. These fish flood the river by the millions. When fishing for them you will have literally thousands of them pass by you at the peak of the run. Sockeye Salmon are plankton and krill feeders. Fishermen over the years have invented successful techniques to acutally get a hook in these fish. There will be days, if hit durning the peak of the run, where you will tire from catching so many of these tough fish. Pound for pound, they are arguably the strongest salmon species. I have seen many a drag peel through line while catching these fish. A great thing to do while here this time of year is fish for Sockeye for a portion of the day and Kings for the other part. The run of Sockeye Salmon begin to decline toward the middle of July, sometimes earlier, sometimes later. Mother nature dictates that. If it is soley Sockeye that your after, be sure to arrange to be there within the first week of July. At that time of year its just about a guarantee.
The next Salmon that enters is the mighty King or Chinook Salmon. They are the largest of the Pacific Salmon species and therefore the most sought after. They begin their journey upriver toward the end of June into July. The runs can be good throughout July until the closure of the season on the 31st of July. The majority of fisherman that pursue these fish do so with spinning tackle. The water in the Alagnak is quite deep and the Kings are most comfortable there. Most of the fishing you will do for these fish is within the first 10 miles of the river. So, the fish are very fresh and often moving in with the tide. Every so often, a patient and persistant fly fisherman can hook one of these beauties. They average 25-35 pounds and are suprisingly strong. The largest King I have seen caught on the Alagnak was 52 pounds. They will peel line off of your salmon rods and reels at will and are difficult to control. They will put your endurance to the test and you will not be disappointed upon landing one of these iconic legends of Alaska.
As the month of July progresses. The Chum or Dog and Pink or Humpy Salmon (Pinks only run every even year) begin to start showing themselves toward the middle of July. They run until the end of August. They are perhaps the easiest fish to catch and especially fun for fly fisherman. They can provide days of entertainment and many good memories. The average Chum Salmon is 8-12 pounds with the Pinks running a little smaller from 6-9 pounds. The largest Chum I have seen was 17 pounds and the largest Pink was close to 11 pounds. The are both very aggressive toward a fly and not having to cast more than 30-40 feet to catch them puts them in a great class. When fishing for these fish, you will find yourself wading in water usually no deeper than your knees. The river is slow flowing with a sandy bottom that makes for easy and comfortable wading. For those of you that prefer to stay in the boat, that is an option as well. These two species of fish make for great fun and can occupy many days of delightful activity.
The last few days of July and into the first week of August the Silver Salmon begin their migration on the Alagnak. They are known to be quite acrobatic and are not afraid to run you into your backing. They can be fished for with a spinning rod or fly rod. Both will produce results. I prefer fishing for them with a fly rod. A very unique and exciting method has been used for many years on the Alagnak that can be fun. Instead of just dead drifting or swinging your fly, if you strip you fly in at a fast rate of speed you can sometimes intice some very aggressive hits. They will chase the fly and since its so close to the surface they will produce a wake and then a water crashing hit. It can be a lot of fun. Perhaps one of my favorite things to do. They average 8-11 pounds with the largest I have seen tipping the scales at nearly 15 pounds. They are full of energy and can change directions sometimes tricking you into thinking you have lost them. At the right time, you can catch Silvers, Chums and Pinks all in the same spot you are casting. It can be busy, in a good way though.
Fly outs are available while your at the lodge or you can reserve them in advance while booking your trip. Fly outs are a cost outside of the package at the lodge, thus they are seperate. The prices vary dependant upon the value of AvGas. All you have to do is let me know your interested and I will get the cost for you. If you decide to wait until you get to the lodge to book your fly-outs chances are you will not have any problems either. Booking ahead always ensures your reservation however. Planes are usually available and easily booked. Fly outs will give you remote access to some of Alaska greatest wild rivers. When purchasing a fly out most anglers are in search of Rainbow Trout, Artic Char, Grayling or Dolly Varden. Some of the most beautiful places that I have seen have been from inside a plane going to the destination or upon arrival and a day spent on the remote river banks. I suggest, if you can, one fly out while your there. You wont regret it. I will be happy to talk with you about destinations and fly out expectations anytime.
Optional fly outs are available at all times. Fly outs are operated by Branch River Air Service, and we pass on the cost with no markup. The cost of each fly out is on a pro-rate basis amongst the paying guests. Fly out rates are sensitive to fluctuations in fuel prices, pre-paid fly outs are available at 2014 rates if paid in full:
Cessna 206 (carries up to 3 fishermen and 1 guide, 850lbs max)...$1,500
De Havilland Beaver (carries up to 5 fishermen and 2 guides, 1400lbs max)...$2,400
Unused pre-paid fly outs will be refunded
The Alagnak Lodge can host up to 18 guests comfortably. Dependant upon the reservations at the lodge you can have your own private room. The guests are accommodated all within one roof thus sharing the use of the three bathrooms and showers. All of the rooms have running water and all have a nice view of the Alaskan tundra that surrounds the lodge. The food is served buffet style by one of the best Chef's the Alaskan remote has to offer, The Great Sheldoni. He has been there for many years and continues to cook with the same pride he had when he first started. I will be happy to talk with you about any concerns or questions you have in regards to accomodations or food. Just let me know.
You will need to purchase a ticket to Anchorage, Alaska(ANC). You may use the provider that is most convenient for you and your miles available. From there, you will then take a flight to King Salmon(AKN), Alaska. The only provider for this service is Horizon/Pen Air. Once you arrive in King Salmon, Branch River Air will be at the airport waiting to then escort you to your float plane. The float plane service is provided within the package price. A short 20 minute flight and you will touch down on the water directly at the location of the lodge.