With only 3 months to go before opening day on the Alagnak Wild River of Bristol Bay, Alaska; ATA Lodge is looking forward to another great season.
It is about this time we start to get that itchy feeling that starts tingling from the very tips of our toes as we anticipate the beginning of another season on what could be considered one of the very best rivers anywhere in the world for what we love to do....and boy do we love to catch fish!
For fishermen who have tasted of the goodness of the Alagnak River, they always cherish the moments they have spent standing knee deep in it's crystal clear waters with a fly rod in hand, anticipating the sensation of that next pull of their line as a 26" spotted leopard rainbow trout or fresh sea run salmon grabs their fly. The tug is the drug they have become addicted to and there is no better place on earth to get their fix than at ATA Lodge.
We have always prided ourselves, not only on the world class fishing found on our river, but on the overall quality of experience that our clients have come to know and expect with each visit. As Alaska's first ever designated Wild and Scenic River, the upper reaches of the Alagnak River is a national monument in its own right, surrounded by the unsurpassed pristine and wild beauty of the Katmai National Park and Preserve. ATA Lodge offers the intrepid traveler the opportunity to experience the Wild and Remote Alaska they have always dreamed of.
Far removed for the beaten path, the only access to the lodge is via our own airstrip, surrounded by over four million acres or road-less wilderness. It is home to Alaska's largest population of Coastal Brown Bears that are sustained by the world's largest migration of all 5 species of Pacific Wild Salmon. Here you can witness these amazing apex predators feasting on the bounty of salmon that return to our river as they always have for thousands of years. It is like stepping back in time to another era before the wild places of our world became "civilized" by mankind's encroachment.
Sharing the river with these majestic beasts, surrounded by the breath taking natural beauty of this mesmerizing river, reminds us how privileged we are to be allowed to share it with our guests as the custodians of a true Alaskan paradise. We regularly see Moose, Eagles, Wolves and other wildlife not only on the banks of the river, but from the balcony of our lodge while eating breakfast or dinner!
June the 8th is the official date that the Alagnak River is opened up to fishermen to come in pursuit of the fish that have filled their dreams. And the diversity of this river is truly remarkable. In June we experience some of the very best trout and grayling fishing of the entire season. Fish that have not seen an angler's fly in over 8 months, have just come off their spawning beds and are ravenous and ready to take advantage of the short 4 month window when the entire system is full of protein to pack on calories before the onset of another long winter.
Simultaneous hatches of a wide variety of insect life are occurring at this time. It is a classical fisherman's ideal time to come and target our hard fighting native trout with a dry fly. But sub surface streamers can be deadly this time of year as well, and we like to use articulated leeches and sculpin patterns in black, olive, dun and white. Leeches are spawning at this time in the river and these trout find it impossible to refuse and these big patterns when swung through the many natural runs and seams that are endless on this braided river full of gravel bars and islands making ideal conditions to wade fish without seeing another fisherman all day!
But perhaps our most exciting method of taking advantage of the bonanza that this time of the season offers, is to target rodent eating carnivores using a mouse pattern skated across the surface of the water. Unless you have actually experienced it, it is hard to describe the exhilaration of seeing a big 28" inch plus trout, explode over the top your mouse, engulfing it whole and then erupting from the river as it feels the sting of the hook!
Needless to say, this is one of our favorite times on the water. But as July begins we see the arrival of wave after wave of salmon, day after day for the next couple of months, starting with the Sockeye Salmon that come in with the ballistics of silver bullets - super charged bars of silver that tend to break more rods than any other species during our 14 week season. They are followed by the King of the river, the Chinook Salmon, reaching sizes in excess of 50 lbs. They are tackle busting brutes that when hooked can take you a few miles down river before being netted; so it’s best to not stray too far from the boat in case you need to chase them down river once they have decided to turn tail and run with the current!
Chum salmon begin to join the parade soon after, and it has to be said that the chum salmon run of the Alagnak River has to be one of the best anywhere on the planet. These hardy fish are keen to chase down a streamer when coming in fresh from the sea. There can be entire days where rods are bent almost all day long during the height of the run from mid-July through mid-August. Many a keen angler is glad for lunch time to come, just so they can give their weary arms a break and replenish their strength for the rest of the afternoon!
Once we get into August and all these salmon start to drop their eggs, the trout, grayling and char fishing is ridiculous! It is not uncommon to have both fishermen in a boat hooked up at the same time. They may both be connected to a couple of trout, or one may have a grayling and the other a char or trout. And it will be like that all day long!
Finally as August progresses, so does the number of Silver Salmon (Coho) in the river. It is almost impossible to choose one period of the season over the next as our favorite time to be there; as each week has so much going for it as to make it a strong contender. But many people do seem to prefer our late season fishery when the Silvers are coming in on every tide and the trout and char are getting heftier from their glutinous consumption of salmon eggs in the river. Last year saw perhaps the biggest run of Silver Salmon in the past 3 decades. And the fishing could only be described as "Silly" at times! Coho salmon are also quite aggressive "takers" when fresh and conditions are right. They can also be very acrobatic as well after being hooked.
All in all, it really doesn't matter when you come during the time that our doors are open for business. I'm often asked when is the best time to come fish. My response is usually, "Whenever we have a spare bed available!" Speaking of spare beds, although many weeks are full, we do have a few openings in each of the various periods mentioned above at the writing of this post.
So if you think you fancy coming and experiencing a piece of true Alaskan paradise, why not visit our website at www.atalodge.com for more information and then get in touch by emailing me at:
or picking up the phone and giving me a call on:
+1 877 801 2289
We would love to introduce you to ATA Lodge and the Alagnak Wild River of Bristol Bay, Alaska and see if we can find the right week for you to come this season!