After lunch and dinner, the evening is yours to sit back and relax the breathtaking scenery or keep on fishing. There is always a hatch coming off in the evening if you’re up to it. Keep in mind, in July, evening is around midnight.
After an early morning fish, breakfast will await you. If the river is fishing extremely well, we have the option of staying an extra day or loading the rafts and head out. Once launched, we will fish the next few miles of river, catching rainbow after rainbow. I’ve seen pools where 7 consecutive casts were privy to 7 consecutive cart-wheeling rainbows.
We highly recommend coming in the afternoon/night before we depart into the bush. At The King Salmon Inn, you can relax, get organized, put appropriate clothing in dry bags, and enjoy a wonderful meal prepared by their staff. They have a wonderful “great room” to relax in for the evening. After a good nights sleep, the "KSI" will serve a great breakfast around 7 a.m. We then wader up, lock your “street clothes” in a room the "KSI" provides for us, load the van, and we are off to the dock where the floatplane awaits. If the weather is clear, we are airborne. If the cloud ceiling is low, we may have to sit a short time. There is nothing like the sound or sight of a Dehavilland Beaver lifting off the water.
Let me start by saying, although during the float trip, our accomidations will be camping, ie: tents, sleeping bags, etc. "roughing it in the Alaskan Wilderness", do not be fooled into thinking that this is "not for the faint at heart". I have had, and continue to have clients return year after year that are well into their seventies!
Upon your arrival in King Salmon, some one from our staff will greet you at the airport. Fishing licenses will be purchased at the gift shop, located in the airport terminal, before your feet touch Alaskan soil. From there you will be escorted to the King Salmon Inn.
We land on the pristine Nonvianuk Lake, the headwaters of the Alagnak, which is bordered by majestic, snow capped mountains. The sight is breath taking. After we unload the plane, rods are put together, and the fishing begins. Kurt or I will get you started, while the other starts setting up camp and assembling rafts.
The “tail water” fishery this lake produces is priceless and it won’t take long for an 18” rainbow to lift your line out of the water. With larger streamers, 16 to 20 inch fish are the norm. Our largest was 29” in 2003, and we’ve taken more than a few pictures of nice fish over 25”.
By late afternoon, we have made it to the “confluence” where the tail waters of the Kukaklik converge. The river becomes larger, deeper, and unruly, and it doesn’t take long to recognize we are in the heart of bear country, as salmon abounds.
After a few more bows, we are at our next camping area. Here larger rods are beckoning to come out, as massive amounts of salmon (in weight or numbers depending on time of year) wait in a frenzied arena.
And so goes the tempo of the trip. The beauty of this river system is that we do not have to be on the oars 6 -8 hours a day to make time. If we are in a fish friendly environment, we have the beautiful option of staying a day or two before we head down the river. It’s nice, not to have to leave a hot spot, to get back to the lodge, and you can make “one more cast”, all night long.
We also make it a habit to camp on fish. I won’t camp just to camp out. Rods’ bending is just as important as a place to put up a tent.
Mid to late week the river transforms and we enter “the braids”, where a myriad of channels intertwines. Some channels are barely enough to squeeze through with the raft, but the fish do not get smaller.
Towards the end of the run, the mountains become farther away and the terrain becomes flat. As all the channels return together, there is a quiet, calmness around. Breaking the silence are porposing salmon. Night 6 is spent at the take out. We try to reach the destination around 4 pm. While Kurt and I tear down rafts, and set up our final camp, a plethora of salmon specie migrates through, some tight to our riverbank. For our finale, a sunset steak dinner with all the fixins.
Around noon on the 7th day, our floatplane gracefully slides into the current of the Alagnak to take us home. The river may fade away enroute back to King Salmon, but the memories are burned forever in our hearts and minds, and “I’ve just got to come back!”
Arriving back in King Salmon, our hosts at the “King Salmon Inn” are awaiting our phone call after all the gear is unloaded. You have a couple of options at this time. Most take the last flight out of King Salmon, in which I will gladly give up my shower for a few hours where you can board your plane showered and refreshed.
Some people will opt to stay in King Salmon and do a fly out or two to places like “the Valley of 10,000 Smokes” or “Brooks Falls” to watch more bears feed. Others plan to linger in Anchorage a day , while others catch their connecting plane home.
Before departing, try to take a little time and visit King Salmon’s “Visitor’s Center” They have books and posters for sale as well as information on the local folklore, fish, and fauna. Some of their books I have read on the plane as well as through the winter, taking me into the next season.
We eat very well, some people come in thinking they are going to loose a few pounds, and end up gaining one or two. With our large aluminum, bear proof boxes, that we put our coolers in, we are able to keep ice for a week.
I am normally the first out of the sack in the morning, and get coffee going ASAP; two pots. Pancakes, blueberry pancakes, French toast, eggs, bacon, and sausage are our staple. Oatmeal and granola bars are also available at anytime.
Peanut Butter and Jelly, Tuna fish salad, smoked turkey, ham, and or roast beef with a nice slice of onion and cheese will get you through the day. Top it off with chips and a candy bar.
The bears aren’t the only ones that have fresh Sockeye Salmon for dinner. In season my anglers have requested it as many as 4 times through out the week. Pan-fried Sockeye sticks or grilled over a bed of coals, will settle you in for a good night’s sleep. Spaghetti and garlic bread, smothered in Parmesan, Cheeseburgers, Pork chops, and New York Strips is a sample. Side dishes consist of pasta dishes, flavored rice dishes; mashed potatoes, garlic and cheese-mashed potatoes, and fried potatoes. Vegetable dishes like asparagus, corn, green beans, vegetable mixes, and applesauce compliments any dinner. Cookies for dessert and on occasion a chocolate mousse and cherry cheesecake.
A nice pot of coffee is a delight on some evenings. A cup of coffee and a few cookies is a wonderful way to enjoy an Alaskan sunset.
Beverages (Drinking Water):
Consists of Lemonade, Ice tea, and water. If a nightcap is on your list, you may bring you own Alcoholic beverages.
Water: H2O is great anytime and keeps you hydrated. I recommend you bring your own personal, water filtration bottle. I have two methods of purifying water. One is a gravity fed, ceramic filtration system. We are never short of drinking water. The water tastes great!
Most of the time we can meet certain dietary needs. If there are certain foods you need or can’t have, let us know in advance and we will try to accommodate.