Weeks 6 and 7: Alagnak Lodge, Summer 2018
The Storm, the Silvers, and the Dolphin
It’s been a very busy couple weeks at Alagnak Lodge, one of the premier Alaska fly fishing lodges. There was a typhoon, dolphin, and sunsets that lasted for hours. We even saw a sunrise. Bears are everywhere. The zombie chum salmon run has begun as the spawned-out chums are making their way back downstream, dying while we still occasionally catch bright chrome chums loaded with sea lice, which is why we have so many bears. There are wolves, a moose, and a fox named Socks. Most importantly, there were fish…so very many fish. Last night I saw stars for the second time in months; it was fascinating. There are so many of them, and so close!
Largest Group of the Year
A large group from Utah came in and kept all of us busy. It was our largest group of the year, and it took all our guides to help get them on the water. The fishing was amazing. All had a great time. At this moment, self-proclaimed “Soccer Mom Extraordinaire” still holds the lodge record for coho salmon with a healthy 14-pound buck that she named Big Bob. This from a woman who showed up on the plane and told me that she was not an angler. By the end of the trip, she was the last one on the water at the end of each session. She spent the last two days of the trip outfishing her husband, Rocky, and friend Scott. Way to go April! It was a pleasure guiding your group! David, Chad, Chambrea, Kevin, Dominic, Scott, Stirling, Mark, Jeff, Terry, Jeff, Rocky, April, and Scott…you are all missed. We enjoyed having you here.
Silver Salmon on the Fly
Afterward, several smaller groups showed up. Lynnea, the mom of Kody, Keegan, and Kody’s best friend joined me on my boat for a few days. Kody wanted a silver salmon on the fly. It was not tough. They had a wonderful time and did a lot of catch and release, even before filling their fish boxes. It was an honor to fish with a couple of young men with such great attitudes. I enjoyed the time just sitting in the boat chatting with Linnea while the boys waded and fished, wanting some “guy time.” They got their fill of silver and pink salmon, along with the occasional chum salmon and giant rainbow trout. Kody, there’s more coming for you, kiddo.
Drones in the Air
The Steves (Wood and Porchet) were here doing a video for the lodge. There were cameras everywhere it seemed. Drones flew through the air. There was a day that the entire lodge took off and headed up past Katmai National Park into mostly uncharted waters for most of us. It was absolutely beautiful and one heck of an adventure. We all look forward to seeing the video when it’s released in October, highlighting one of the best Alaska fly fishing lodges.
Ben and Javier were the other characters that joined us in that part of the week. A father and son team, they fished hard a couple of days before Linnea, Kody, Keegan, the Steves, Ben, and Javier ended up staying a few days later than initially planned as the remnants of a typhoon off Japan spun over us and caused chaos. Several guests got extended stays whether they wanted it or not. There were moments of chaos as the storm surge, high winds, and super tide combined to make a giant mess of our dock and attempted to take one of our boats away. There were epic games of war played. Movies were watched. Stories were told. Sleeping was done between bouts of bailing boats.
As soon as the storm was gone, the new guests, now a day or two late, finally arrived. Lucky for them and us, the fishing alone was able to make up for missing a day or two of their trips. The silver salmon were running strong. We caught very few pink and chum salmon for almost three days. We limited quickly on large bucks and spent the rest of the trip fishing catch and release. Mitch and Jeff were great fly anglers, and all had an excellent time. We hope the fishing made up for your lost time here. And the dolphin! Apparently, a young dolphin was separated from its pod during the typhoon, and we found it beached six miles up the Alagnak River. I beached the boat. We ran up, grabbed it, pulled it into deeper water, and spent some time allowing it to regain its strength. It swam off, and we wished it the best. We stood there another few minutes in complete disbelief. That’s one we never expected to see here.
Bill and Chip fished a few days with Chad and showed up after the storm with Mitch and Jeff. They also were treated to a very fishy trip to make up for a day they missed. We enjoyed having you here!
Hratch is still here with Glenn, and John and Neil are still here fishing with John. New guests are on their way today if the weather allows it, and our second largest group is coming for our final week.
Alaska Fly Fishing Lodges
It’s a busy time for everyone here. The countdown has begun. Talk amongst the guides has already started about what food we will miss the most and what the first thing we will do when we arrive home. We know that the end will be bittersweet. We’ll get back to you with the final report after the end of the season, once I’m back home with reliable internet and more than an hour to get everything done. Until then….We’re going fishin’.
Alagnak 2018 Guides: Chad, John, Jamie, Glenn, and Tammy. JR, the camp mechanic and man who keeps this place running, in the background.