Week 4: Alagnak Lodge, Summer 2018

The weather is now as unpredictable as the bears here at our Bristol Bay fishing lodge. We have rainy days, sunny days, windy days, and sometimes all three of those at once. We have bears swimming up to boats, bears hunting alongside the river where we are fishing, bears walking through camp, and bears mostly just being bears. Guests keep coming, and the guests keep going. At present, Alagnak Lodge is as full as it will be until the end of the season when the silver salmon are running strong.

A Steady Diet of Chum Salmon

Ron, Bob, Jackson, and James came for a few days of fishing. Jamie and Chad kept them on a steady diet of chum salmon, which was the main course for most of the week for the lodge. The nets set up at the mouth of the river have made king salmon catching nearly impossible, but a few have been hooked, a few landed, and even a few released this week. Otherwise, despite the best efforts of the guides, the kings were the unicorns. Thank goodness the chum are a worthy opponent. They strike hard, run fast and hard, and don’t give up.

From Novice to Semi-Pro

Guest Bob Noonan, retired Air Force meteorologist and self-proclaimed Prevaricating Prognosticator Emeritus, showed up the day the nets went into the water last week. Tammy was his guide for the week. He listed himself as a novice angler but by the end of the week had graduated to nearly semi-pro. His first afternoon session upon his arrival gave him five king salmon bites on five drifts. Two males were landed and harvested. The rest of his week was spent exploring and fishing for chum salmon. Bob went from barely being able to land a chum to wading in the river, catching them, going under, being pulled out by his guide, and coming up with the rod and reel in his hand with the fish still on and landing the fish, earning him semi-pro status and accolades for best fish of the week. Good job, Bob!

While Bob was here, Ellis and Rachel joined them on the boat for a couple of days of Bristol Bay fishing. Ellis was here to fish and Rachel to take photos. The chum salmon kept both busy as they joined their party, which was already here, guided by Chad and Jamie.

Running Back and Forth

Chad and Jamie were hosts to Bill, Ted, Mark, and George. All of them were either related or long-time friends, and all were amazing people. Often, all their guide’s boats would be found anchored up on the same sandbar with everyone out wading, catching chum salmon, guides running back and forth between them with Rachel in tow for photo opportunities and laughter so loud it could be heard over the river. A few of them gave the flyrod a try for the first time and were not disappointed. Chums are worthy fly opponents as well.

Today is Bill’s 70th birthday. Happy birthday, Bill!

Spey Casters

Glenn had a group of Spey casters from Germany here all week at our Bristol Bay fishing lodge. Once again, Glenn worked long and hard hours trying to get his group on king salmon on the fly, but with the number of kings being so low, the group mostly fished for chum salmon as well. Joachim, Magnus, and Philip caught a lot of fish on their Spey rods and had a great time. John guided guests Mark and Cindy most of the week. The story remained the same. While the guides spent ample time fishing for kings, most of the time was spent keeping the guests catching fish, and the fish of choice among the guests was chum. New guests arrived yesterday: the Hyatt family from Georgia.

Bristol Bay Fishing Lodge

The Hyatts and remaining guests from the large group are out now, some fishing hard for king salmon and others fishing for chum. Regardless, they are all having a great time in the wilds of Alaska! Until then, we await the arrival of the silver salmon (and hopefully a return of the kings), fish for chum, and enjoy the shenanigans they bring with them. There’s never a dull moment at our Bristol Bay fishing lodge. Enjoy your week!