Overview of Alaska Fly Fishing Lodge - Katmai
There is trust and comfort in longevity! This Alaska fly fishing lodge was established in 1950 as the first fly out fishing lodge in Alaska. Imagine before any other fishing lodges existed in Alaska, flying around the heart of the Katmai National Park and the greater Bristol Bay watershed in search of the perfect spot for a fishing lodge! Step back in time to an authentic Alaska fly fishing lodge with a storied history. At dinner it is not uncommon to sit across the table from other guests telling stories from their decades of fishing here.
From June to October, this fishery pleases the most discerning angler. The region supports the largest run of sockeye salmon in the world! King Salmon, chum salmon, pinks and silver salmon are found in great abundance. Thanks to the volume of salmon, this area boasts the one of the world’s finest population of rainbow trout. The river just around the corner from the lodge is known throughout Alaska for it’s crazy numbers of healthy rainbow trout. Just a float plane flight away, other game fish like northern pike, grayling, dolly varden, arctic char and lake trout await your the presentation of your fly. Numerous rivers and streams in the Bristol Bay region are within 100 miles of the lodge.
The location, inside the Katmai National Park nestled next to the Kulik River known for it’s Rainbow Trout fishery, makes this Alaska fly fishing lodge unique. Fishing in the pristine Bristol Bay region ecosystem is the envy of the world. It offers an amazing network of streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands and tundra ecosystems. An unbelievable 50 native species inhabit this ecosystem. Because of the abundance of resources, you will find hundreds of species of birds and over 40 land based mammals.
In 2019, guest cabins were updated with all the amenities that a discerning traveler has come to expect. In the evenings, you will find guests and guides enjoying a drink around the bar, on the porch overlooking the lake or settled in the comfortable chairs around the large stone fireplace.
Beginning in July, bears become a part of your fishing experience. The abundance of salmon captures their attention and adds to the adventure. The Katmai National Park boasts some of the finest bear viewing on the plant and is only a 20 minute float plane away. Some choose to fish this amazing river while others view the bears from the viewing decks built for the public.
Float plane fly-outs are available daily as well as fishing the resident Kulik River.
While some streams and rivers are dedicated fly fisheries, we can accommodate spin fishermen in some areas. At some of these locations you can still use a spinning rod rigged with a fly or bead.
All guides are fly fishing instructors so if you would like to learn to fly fish, we can teach you during your stay. There is no better place to learn how to fly fish than in Alaska not only because the guides are excellent instructors but also you will have numerous opportunities to catch fish. Each is a productive learning opportunity.
Fly-outs by float plane fishing day trips are available for a nominal additional expense to nearby fisheries.
With our season running from June to September, you will have opportunities to fish for various species. How you fish will also vary as the season progresses.
Southwest Alaska (the region which we operate) is known for its incredibly diverse fisheries with an impressive variety of game fish available. Our centralized location within Katmai National Park, along with our ability to fly to nearby fisheries, allows us to take advantage of all of these species during peak times.
Season: June to September
The Bristol Bay watershed is home to our fishing lodge. It is regarded as one of the most productive fisheries for native rainbow trout in the world.
With our unique location on the banks of the Kulik River, you will have unprecedented access to a world-class rainbow trout fishery only a two minute boat ride away. This means that you have virtually no travel time or weather restrictions. If you want to continue your fishing day after the boats come in, you can choose to wade the area around the lodge.
Guided fly outs through are available with our own air service allowing our guests to target rainbows across Bristol Bay, within a 100-mile radius from our lodge.
As a resident species, rainbow trout are available throughout the duration of our season, although the methods we use to target them can vary by timing.
Season: Mid-June to early July
The largest and hardest fighting salmon of all, the king salmon (aka chinook), will put your gear (and your ego) to the ultimate test.
We target kings on our fly out trips primarily on the mighty Nushagak River, known for supporting one of the largest runs of king salmon in Alaska. While some anglers use flies, due to the deep holding lies of the “Nush,” the majority of our anglers prefer to use conventional gear when targeting kings.
Season: August and September
The ultimate crowd-pleaser, silver salmon (aka coho) are known for their extreme willingness to take a fly (or lure) and their impressive acrobatic nature. If that wasn’t enough, they also make for excellent table fare for those interested in keeping a few salmon to bring home.
We fish for silvers on several different rivers depending on a number of factors.
Season: Mid-July to Mid-August
Easily the most underrated game fish in Alaska, chum salmon (aka dog salmon) shock the uninitiated with their aggressive nature and surprising power.
Chums also undergo a unique change in appearance during their spawning run, entering freshwater as uniformly chrome in color only to turn multiple shades of greens, purples, and reds, making them a desired photo opportunity for many of our guests.
Chums are typically available in the waters we frequent.
Season: Mid-June to early August
Considered by many to be the hardest fighting Pacific Salmon (pound for pound), sockeye salmon (aka red salmon) can make for fast paced fun on both fly and/or light tackle conventional gear.
Many anglers agree that sockeye are also the best tasting species of salmon, and although we typically experience sockeye too late in the spawning run to target in our home waters, we do fly to other areas of Bristol Bay for those interested in fishing for fresh (and edible) sockeye.
Season Mid-July through mid-August
Rounding out the fifth species of Pacific salmon native to Alaska, pink salmon (aka humpy) are an exciting addition to the species list for many of our first time guests due to their incredibly unique and ‘prehistoric’ appearance.
The smallest of the Pacific salmon, pinks are known for their lack of apprehension to take a fly and for keeping the rod bent during those rare times in Alaska when you thought you ‘might actually get a break.’
Season: Mid-June to mid July and again September
Some incredible fishing opportunities for lake trout exist in the numerous lakes and feeder creeks surrounding our lodge, some of which exist quite literally right out our front door.
Like our resident rainbow populations, impressive quantities of lake trout key in on salmon smolt from approximately mid-June through mid-July, allowing anglers to target lakers in shallower water (with fly or light tackle) than is typically possible during warmer months. A similar phenomenon exists during the month of September when lake trout move back into the shallows as they prepare to spawn.
Arctic Char and Dolly Varden
June through September
Arguably one of the most picturesque freshwater fish in Alaska (particularly when touting spawning colors), Arctic char and dolly varden are found in many of the rivers and creeks we fish throughout the year.
Differentiated by a few subtle physical characteristics, Arctic char and dolly varden are actually considered two separate species, although often misidentified by anglers. Luckily, both are found throughout our waters, both are in no way reluctant to take a fly or egg imitation, and both are extremely fun to catch.
Acrtic char and dolly varden exhibit several different life histories depending on a number of factors. Some populations are entirely resident (remain in freshwater) while some are anadramous (spend a portion of their life in saltwater). For this reason, its not uncommon to catch Arctic char and/or dollies from June through September at Kulik.
Season: Mid-June to mid July and again September
Several of the surrounding lakes in our area support healthy populations of toothy Northern Pike. Tossing large surface flies/poppers or top-water plugs is the norm when targeting these big (up to 40-inches or more) toothy predators, and many anglers find it to be an exciting change of pace during their stay.
Season: June through September
A gem of Southwest Alaska, the Arctic grayling is a welcomed addition to the long list of species you’re likely to tussle with during your stay at Kulik. Beautiful, unique, and often hungry for traditional dry flies, grayling are found in many of the rivers and creeks we frequent for trout, char, and more.
As a resident species, grayling are available throughout our season, although opportunities to target using particular methods (such as with dry flies) can vary by timing.
Rivers, lakes and streams:
Within walking distance of our lodge, the Kulik River is considered by many to be one of the most productive rainbow trout streams in Bristol Bay. This not only gives our guests access to world-class trout fishing with virtually no travel time or weather restrictions (no fly out needed here), it also makes for excellent home water for those looking to take advantage of the midnight sun by fishing on their own (unguided) in the evenings.
This roughly two-mile stretch of river connecting Nonvianuk and Kulik Lake receives a massive run of salmon smolt each year that provide an immense amount of forage to our resident rainbow trout population. This allows us to fish for trout using a bunch of unique methods such as tossing semi-floating streamers to “boils” made by smolt-corralling rainbows, skating mouse patterns, swinging flies with small spey/switch rods, stripping streamers, dead drifting traditional dry flies, dredging egg or flesh imitations, you name it! It’s all in play at some point during our season on the Kulik.
Nonvianuk Lake and Kulik Lake
Our surrounding lakes, Nonvianuk and Kulik Lake, along with numerous feeder creeks that flow into them also provide excellent fishing opportunities for rainbows and lake trout within a jet boat ride away from our lodge.
This makes for some unique fishing experiences, rarely frequented by other operations, available to our guests at times when fly outs are not preferred.
Known for supporting one of the largest king salmon runs in Alaska (receiving upwards of 100,000 fish per year), the “Nush” is our go-to for those interested in targeting the baddest fish in freshwater.
Stretching over 240 miles long from its headwaters to its entrance into Bristol Bay, the Nushagak is accessed by our guides and guests via a forty five minute float plane flight to our boats stashed on-site.
Recognized as one of the world’s most productive sockeye salmon systems, the Kvichak River system is a staple of our fishing program at Kulik.
Although occasionally frequented by those interested in harvesting sockeye salmon during their trip (for obvious reasons), it is its high concentrations of trophy-sized, steelhead-like, resident rainbow trout available each fall that draw the most attention from our guests. We call them “silver bullets” for good reason at Kulik, and they make for exciting fishing for trophy trout chasers with single or double handed rods.
From its headwaters of Kukaklek Lake to its confluence with the Kvichak River, the Alagnak reaps the benefits of the Kvichak’s productive salmon run, supporting all five species of Pacific salmon.
The Alagnak is a salmon factory to say the least, with opportunities to catch rainbow trout and Arctic char as well.
Our main destination for those interested in fishing for silver salmon, the Kamishak is also home to impressive numbers of char.
Only a short twenty minute float plane flight from our lodge, this fourteen mile coastal river from its headwaters to its entrance into Kamishak Bay is a fan favorite of guests visiting us during the back half of our season.
Most commonly known for its brown bear viewing opportunities at the legendary “Brooks Falls,” during certain times of year the Brooks River is also known for exceptional fly fishing for rainbow trout, char, and grayling.
One of the most fabled creeks for rainbow trout and char in Southwest Alaska, the American has become nearly synonymous with Bristol Bay trout fishing. Two popular programs exist on the American: flying into the upper reaches for an intimate hike-in experience, along with accessing the lower six miles via jet boat.
We incorporate both experiences into our fishing program depending on our angler’s interests. Our own air service allows us to access the headwaters via float plane and we’re one of only five operations with permitted boat use on the lower.
Other Legendary Bristol Bay Creeks
Aside from the rivers and lakes mentioned above, we also fish a number of legendary creeks known for their unparalleled backcountry trout fishing opportunities such as the Moraine, Funnel Creek, Battle Creek, and the Little Ku just to name a few.
Guides and Gear:
Our guide staff is comprised of twelve professional fishing guides, each of which are experienced anglers and excellent instructors. Regardless of your angling experience, our guides are eager to help you accomplish your goals for the week, while also ensuring your safety within the Alaska wilderness at all times.
Our team of experienced Katmai Air pilots and certified mechanics, some of which live on-site at the lodge, are also an integral part of our fishing program at Kulik. Working closely with our head guide and lodge manager, we’re able to determine the best places to fish and the best species to target based on timing, weather, and our angler’s interests.
We fish both fly and conventional gear at Kulik depending on our guest’s preferences. However, its important to note that some (but not all) of the waters we frequent are restricted to fly fishing only. Interested in learning how to fly fish during your stay? No problem, all of our guides are excellent instructors and well-versed in both fly and conventional methods
Although we encourage anglers to bring the gear they enjoy fishing most, we’re able to outfit our guests with quality fishing gear such as Sage and Redington fly rods, Ross and Redington fly reels, as well as Simms, Redington, and Cabelas brand waders at no additional charge. High quality fishing flies and terminal tackle are also provided to our guests by our guides while on the water.
In addition, a large selection of fishing supplies, clothing, souvenirs, and commonly forgotten items are available for purchase on-site as well.
When not fishing on foot (something of which we do a lot of) we use flat-bottom 16-18 foot Lowe Jon boats equipped with 40-60 horsepower jet drive outboards to access the majority of our waters. Considered the workhorse of Alaska, these versatile “jet boats” allow our guides to navigate a wide range of conditions to keep our angler’s fly (or lure) in the right place at the right time.
For our king salmon program on the Nushagak River, we operate larger twenty two foot Koffler jet sleds capable of fishing up to four anglers at a time and are ideal for the heavy current of the “Nush.”
Aside from our motorized vessels, we also utilize a number of inflatable rafts to access several rivers and streams around Bristol Bay where motors are prohibited.
Our air transportation is operated through our own flight service, allowing us to coordinate all of the air travel for our guests traveling to the lodge as well as for fly outs.
Our float plane fleet consists of six aircraft, including two Cessna single-engine 206’s, two De Havilland single-engine Beavers, and two powerful float-equipped De Havilland turbine-engine Otters that give our anglers the opportunity to fish waters that are inaccessible by many other operations in the area.
Taking fish home:
Due to the short growing season and cold water temperatures in Alaska, resident fish grow and mature slowly. Guests are asked to release all their catch of resident freshwater fish (trout, char, gralying, pike, etc.). A limited amount of salmon may be taken home.
The historic main lodge building, built of native spruce, boasts a large stone fireplace and bar where our guests enjoy complimentary beer, wine, or cocktails, reflect on the day’s adventures, and/or tie flies in preparation for the days to come. The bar is open at 3:00 PM and a bartender will be on duty until 11:00 PM to serve you.
Also located in the main lodge building is the dining area where guests and staff alike gather to dine “family style” on hearty meals prepared by our professional chef and kitchen staff.
All of our guests are housed in comfortable cabins during their stay, each of which include electricity, shower, and private restroom facilities. Towels and bedding are also provided.
The lodge has 11 guest cabins on-site with varying layouts. We have 7 cabins which can accommodate 2 people each, with 2 twin beds, and a private bath. We also have 3 cabins that feature 2 private bedrooms and a shared living space, as well as 1 larger family cabin with 4 beds and a private bath for parties of 3 or 4 who would like to stay together.
Daily housekeeping is provided.
Also located in the main lodge building is the dining area where guests and staff alike gather to dine ‘family style’ on hearty meals prepared by our professional chef and kitchen staff.
Hot Tub and Sauna:
Also on-site at the lodge is our sauna and outdoor hot tub where guests routinely rejoice about their day on the water while taking in the spectacular view across Nonvianuk Lake.
No visit would be complete without a visit to our gift shop. Merchandise including a selection of fishing supplies, souvenirs, logo-wear, as well as commonly forgotten personal items can be found in the lodge gift shop located next to the office cabin.
Length of Stay / Itinerary
Guests may choose 3, 4, and 7 nigh trips.
Day 1: Arrive in Anchorage and overnight on your own arrangements
Day 2: Arrive at Katmai Air for your float plane trip (included in your pricing) flight to the lodge.
Day 3 – ?: Enjoy fishing!
Departure day: After a morning of fishing, your flight plane will collect you from the lodge to return you to Anchorage for your flights home.
Travel Details & Location
The lodge is located within Katmai National Park, a remote area of Alaska accessible only by air. The park is accessed almost exclusively via float plane service.
Most guests arrive in Anchorage and spend the night and then the next morning board your Katmai Air float plane to travel one hour to the lodge.
Katmai Air provides all air transportation from Anchorage to the lodge dock. Those traveling to the lodge will fly from Anchorage to the Lodge aboard our pressurized Pilatus PC-12 aircraft (approx. 1 hour).
The lodge is located within Katmai National Park, home to the highest concentration of protected brown bears on the planet. Thus, aside from being one of the most productive salmon and rainbow trout fisheries in the world, superb bear viewing is available nearby.
“Unguided” Bear Viewing Fly Outs to Brooks Falls: For those interested in bear viewing during their stay, we offer free “unguided” bear viewing flights to the legendary Brooks Falls for all guests during the month of July. Unlike our guided fishing fly outs, these flights will not be accompanied by a fishing guide. However, members of our sister lodge, Brooks Lodge, will greet you upon your arrival and usher you to “bear school” where you will receive a brief orientation by the National Park Service. During your time at Brooks, members of both Brooks Lodge and the National Park Service will be available to answer any questions you might have.
Guests are also welcome to fish the Kulik River (unguided) in the evenings on foot. You can also take a walk on the tundra, hike over to Kulik Lake to take in the stunning scenery, soak in the hot tub, or relax by the fire with a book or a cocktail.
Internet & Communications
Getting away doesn’t mean you can’t be connected. Despite our remote location, Wi-Fi is available in the main lodge building. Please note that streaming services are limited (Facetime, Skype, etc.) but bandwidth is generally dependable enough to stay connected via email, social media, iMessage, etc. Should you require the use of a telephone during your stay, lodge phones are also available.
Pricing: Subject to change – call for updated rates
June 10 – October 3, 2023
3 Days / 3 Nights (Arrive Saturday / Depart Tuesday): $5995 per person.
4 Days / 4 Nights (Arrive Tuesday / Depart Saturday): $6995 per person.
7 Days / 7 Nights (Arrive/Depart Tuesday or Saturday): $8995 per person.