Bristol Bay Fishing & Wildlife Overview
Each summer approximately 60 million wild salmon return to spawn in the rivers and streams of the vast Bristol Bay watershed in southwest Alaska. Those salmon allowed to enter the rivers not only provide a vast number of offspring but also return nutrients that allow the ecosystem to support healthy populations of other fish and wildlife species, making the Bristol Bay watershed a “sportsman’s paradise.”
The Alagnak River has long been renowned as one of the finest sport fishing rivers in Alaska, and is home to strong runs of all five species of pacific salmon, which is unusual even in Alaska. For much of our summer season there are two or three species of salmon in the river at one time. Most of our salmon fishing takes place within a ten minute boat ride of the lodge either downriver or upriver. Our location for salmon fishing is ideal, we don’t waste precious time and expense traveling to the fish. We spend more time with our lines in the water where the fish are than other lodges. The five species of salmon add a lot of variety to the fishery. King salmon prefer to stay in the deeper water, and most of the king fishing takes place from the boat using a variety of techniques and either casting or fly rods. The other salmon will run the edges of the many sandbars or stay close to the banks, and are targeted mostly with fly or spinning gear. There are many opportunities to wade if that is your preference.
There are no roads to the Alagnak River and it is difficult access by water, so the river is realistically accessible only by aircraft. This, and the total lack of any sort of development, ensures the Alagnak River remains pristine wilderness. The lower river is an alluvial plain so the river meanders with the channels running from eight to twelve feet and bars on the opposite bank. The tides rise up to 14 feet at the lodge. The lowest tides just reach the lodge and the highest tides can reach another five miles upriver. The fish usually need the tides to get over sand blockage at the mouth of the river. The tides have a strong influence on our fishing schedule. About 15 miles upriver as the elevation increases so does the current, to about 6 miles an hour as the river narrows and the river transitions into a mountain river.