GPS Coordinates: 58°41’16.0″N 156°42’40.0″W
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Warm greetings from Alaska! Your fishing trip is right around the corner and we are very excited about our season. The outlook for all the salmon runs is very strong and the rainbow trout populations are very healthy, fishing should be excellent. The veteran guide staff is very proud of the job they do and make sure that you are in the right spot at the right time to catch fish.
The dress around the lodge is very casual and comfortable. You will want to bring comfortable clothes to wear around the lodge (jeans, sweatshirts, polo shirts, etc.). We have a policy at the lodge, that guests do not wear boots or “outside” shoes inside the lodge. Therefore, guests have found it nice to leave a pair of slippers or comfortable “lodge” shoes to keep inside the main lodge during their stay. We have a washer and dryer at the lodge that you can make use of so do not over pack.
The main lodge is heated and is very comfortable. Each cabin is also heated, with hot and cold running water and is complete with bedding supplies, towels, and wash clothes. There is also a hot tub at the lodge, so you might wish to bring a swimsuit.
Each guest may supply their own waders; they also have a number of waders on hand for those who prefer not to pack theirs. Please let us know in advance if you will need waders and your shoe size so we can be sure to have them on hand when you arrive. If you bring your own waders, boots with felt soles are no longer allowed as of January 1, 2012. There are also issues with cleats, if your boots have cleats, please bring something to cover the cleats for the time you are in the plane or a boat to protect the equipment from damage or be prepared to remove your boots during these times. The boot foot or stocking foot with boots, breathable waders are the types that work best.
The weather in the Bristol Bay region changes dramatically from day to day. Be prepared to dress in layers. It may be cold on the river in the morning, yet warm in the afternoon. July and August are the warmest months with high temperatures averaging between 65-75 degrees. Bring long underwear such as a fleece base layer, a fleece jacket or pullover and a good rain jacket. If you are joining us during the colder months, a light down jacket or vest is nice in the early mornings. Be prepared for rain no matter what time of the year you will be visiting the lodge. Wool socks are great as water temps are never extremely warm. Bring a hat, polarized sunglasses, and gloves if your hands are sensitive to the cold. It is also wise to bring sunscreen and lip balm. Remember we have long hours of daylight in the summer and the sun is intense. We have plenty of bug spray at the lodge for you to use. We also have a gift shop that can offer you the layers you will need in the field.
Bring an extra supply of prescription medicine, extra contact lenses and supplies. We are in a very remote location. And bring a camera! The lodge will supply wine and beer, but you are welcome to bring any hard liquor with you if you choose.
The staff at the lodge works very hard to make sure you have an enjoyable trip. This being a service industry, tipping the staff is customary, yet not required. A tip is earned, and each individual staff member understands that they must earn that tip. A good pooled tip amount for the staff is 10% of your package price, and should be given to Nanci at trip’s end.
You will be receiving your final flight information soon, if you have not already done so please make sure we have your birthdate and name-as-it-reads-on-your-license information so that flights can be finalized. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.
Bear Trail Lodge is an easy to reach full service fly-out Alaskan fly fishing lodge with excellent home waters and one of the most diverse and exciting fly fishing programs in Alaska. Seasoned hardcore fly anglers appreciate the wide range of water the lodge frequents. This includes staples like the Moraine, Battle Creek, Contact Creek, Headwaters Creek and American Creek as well as numerous prolific salmon and char fisheries. Bear Trail Lodge pilots and guides also like to frequent the Becharof area on the Peninsula, a lightly-hit region with some tremendous char and small stream rainbow fisheries, as well as salmon opportunities. During the early and late season, the lodge often concentrates on fly fishing for large rainbows on the Naknek River right out their front door – anglers typically employ spey rods and steelhead-like tactics to entice these supercharged rainbows that commonly run in the 7-12 pound range.
Bear Trail Lodge houses their guests in stand-alone cabins spaced out along the Naknek riverbank – comfortable, double occupancy cabins with private baths with views out over the river. The lodge is also happy to provide all loaner gear to their guests at no extra charge – waders, wading boots, rods, reels, lines, leaders and flies. Whether you are after silvers or kings, massive rainbows on the spey rod, or a crack at wilderness rainbows that rarely see a fly, this operation has the flexibility and hospitality to keep you coming back.
The greater Bristol Bay/Katmai/Peninsula region is home to pristine wilderness, majestic views, enormous rainbow trout, five species of salmon, Arctic char, Dolly Varden, grayling and pike, as well as the second largest national park in the United States. Katmai National Park is 4.2 million acres of virtually untouched wilderness where you can find moose, caribou and wolves. At world famous Brooks Falls, you’re likely to see a bear grab a leaping salmon right out of the air. Here also, volcanoes and glaciers coexist. From the Valley of 10,000 Smokes to the deep turquoise of the Ice Age glaciers, you’ll see scenery that rivals the wildlife.
As with most Alaska lodges, Bear Trail Lodge has Wi-Fi available for clients who would like to bring their own Wi-Fi-enabled electronic devices. It is satellite-based and not completely predictable – some days it works better than others – but generally speaking it is more than adequate to send and receive emails. There is not adequate bandwidth to support sending images or for streaming videos.
As a guideline we recommend that each guest travel with approximately $500-$1000 for staff and guide gratuities, alcohol, etc., depending on length of stay.
We recommend staff and guide gratuities of approximately 10%-15% of your package price. Tips are pooled and may be given to your head guide or lodge manager at the end of the week for distribution to the entire staff. Cash is necessary for this.
Fishing licenses are not included. We recommend purchasing your Alaska fishing license ahead of time online at: http://www.admin.adfg.state.ak.us/license/. In Alaska you must always carry your fishing license and personal identification with you while on the water.
The weather in southwest Alaska is highly variable. Anglers should always come prepared for cold rainy conditions, especially early and late in the season. Typical daytime temperatures range from 40-70° Fahrenheit.
58’ 38’ 08.48”N, 156’ | 34’ 07.70”W
Bear Trail Lodge is a few miles outside the town King Salmon and about a one hour flight from Anchorage. The time in Alaska is 1 hour earlier than US Pacific Time Zone.
Travel & Health Considerations:
Insect repellent and a head net are recommended especially through mid-August. Bears are also very common and your guides are trained to deal with them.
The closest medical facility is in Anchorage, which is about a one hour flight from the lodge. Guests have the responsibility to disclose any special medical, physical, or dietary needs to the lodge ahead of time. In emergency situations, a charter flight may be required to reach a medical facility. Guests may want to consider medical evacuation coverage. We recommend Global Rescue.
Bear Trail Lodge will process, package, and box your salmon for you to take home. It’s included in your package price, though the airlines will charge extra for it as extra luggage.
They have a fully stocked gear room with everything you could need for your days on the water, including rods, reels, lines, flies, leaders, tippet, waders and boots. Your guide will make sure your fishing gear is perfectly matched to the conditions and species for the day’s adventure. We encourage you to bring your favorite gear and flies – that said, they have you covered even if you bring nothing but a raincoat. Having the best gear available for their customers is just one of the areas they excel in. When considering the following notes on best fishing tackle, understand that it is offered for those who prefer to bring their own gear; the lodge is more than happy to provide all of this tackle for guests at no extra charge, if they prefer.
Located on the famous Naknek River, Bear Trail Lodge has some of the state’s most remarkable trophy rainbow fly fishing just minutes from their dock. The local rapids section of the Naknek River is especially good early and late in the season, and holds great appeal to anglers who like to fly fish in a traditional steelhead fashion with Spey rods. All season long, anglers are able to access some of the finest fly-out fly fishing the state of Alaska has to offer. Bear Trail Lodge has an excellent king salmon fly fishing program as well as a very good coastal program for targeting silver salmon. The lodge offers one guide for every two anglers. Fishing venues vary widely from days spent fishing from jet-powered aluminum Jon boats, to raft trips, to remote walk and wade venues best suited to the physically fit. At times anglers will fish from boats, but the majority of fly fishing is done while wading. Bear Trail Lodge utilizes the large fleet of bush planes available to them daily through Branch River Air, one of the most reliable air taxi services in Alaska.
Specific Gear By Species
King salmon are the largest pacific salmon to target with a fly. They average 15 to 25 pounds, with trophy specimens in the 40-pound class.
Single-Handed Fly Rods:
For those anglers that like to use a single-handed rod, consider a 9’ graphite rod designed to cast a 9 or 10-weight fly line. Sage, Winston, and Scott produce high quality rods, built to cast sinking lines and fight fish large, powerful fish.
Single-Handed Fly Reels:
A high quality, machined single-action fly reel with a superior drag system is what to look for in a fly reel appropriate to handle powerful king salmon. Reels should be filled with a minimum of 150 yards of 20 or 30 lb. high-visibility backing. Hatch, Ross, Hardy, Abel and Galvan reels are an excellent choice.
Fly Lines for Single-Handed Rods:
The proper selection of fly lines is critical to your success and will get your fly in the best location in water column. Scientific Anglers, Airflo and Rio make excellent sinking lines for the various situations you will encounter.
Two-Handed Fly Rods:
Two-handed Spey rods are also effective when fishing for kings. Their advantage is that you can cover a lot of water very efficiently, while maintaining amazing line control, given the 13 to 15 foot rod length. Scott, Echo, and Sage each produce excellent two-handed rods.
When considering a two-handed rod, don’t automatically go for the longest and strongest rod on the market. Get together with a casting and rod expert, and test several different weights, lengths and manufacturers until you find the rod that best fits your casting style, as well as the type of water and lines and flies you will be fishing.
Two-Handed Fly Reels:
Fly reels should be of high quality and capable of holding at least 200 yards of 30-pound micron backing. Saltwater models are the best choice, as they are built to stand up to screaming runs with smooth, reliable drag systems. Outside palming rims are nice when a fish is in close. Quality reels include the Hardy, Galvan, Hatch and Ross.
Fly Lines for Two-Handed Fly Rods:
The majority of the time you will find kings near the bottom of the water column. This type of water calls for fast sinking lines that get down in a HURRY! A good assortment of 25- 30 foot shooting heads is useful and should include sink rates I – VIII, or tungsten T-14 – T-20. For running/shooting lines either mono or factory running lines work the best behind shooting heads and should be no lighter than 25 pounds in strength. It is also a good idea to carry a standard weight forward floating lines for casting large flies. Scientific Anglers, Rio, and Airflo are great choices in quality lines.
Below are some examples of what we feel are the most suitable Spey lines for fishing Alaska. This will serve as a general guideline that anyone with any questions about equipment should follow. If you are uncertain which line you should select to properly match your rod, do not hesitate to contact us.
Skagit style lines are basically shortened, condensed shooting heads developed in the Pacific North West by a hard core group of anglers that were looking for a way to cast sinking tip and large weighted flies long distances, with a very short compact casting stroke, and small D-Loop. These lines have become very popular with steelhead and pacific salmon anglers due to the fact that they are easy for both the expert and novice to cast, not to mention extremely useful in situations where room for a back cast is limited. These lines also work very well for people who prefer to fish shorter 12’-13’6 foot rods.
Leaders & Tippet:
You will need to bring fresh spools of 12 lb., 16 lb., and 20 lb. Maxima Ultra Green tippet. Most anglers forego tapered leaders altogether in favor of straight lengths of tippet.
King Salmon Flies:
Flies used are standard attractor patterns tied on stout hooks, sizes 4 to 2/0.Your flies should vary from heavily weighted to non-weighted. Colors should range from black, to orange, pink, purple, flame, red, chartreuse, or any combination thereof. A large weighted black streamer can be deadly. Comets with bead-chain eyes are highly effective. Large egg-patterns like large Glo-Bugs, King Caviar, and Egg/Sperm flies and the Egg-sucking Leech (black/purple) tied on a long shank stout hook work well.
- Bjorn’s Super Prawns (“popsicle”, chartreuse, pink, purple, orange crush), #1/0
- Paul Miller’s Spey Prawn (hot orange, chartreuse, pink), #1/0
- Hareball Leeches (fuchsia, orange, pink/purple), #1/0
- King Caviar, #1/0
- Egg Sucking Leech, #2
- Sili Leg Intruder, #1/0
- Comets (orange, chartreuse), #2
- Stu’s Metal Tube, fuchsia
- Starlite Leech (purple with red head), #2
Silver & Chum Salmon
Single-handed rods are perfect for silvers and chums, as casting distance is not typically critical, but actively stripping the flies back in can be. The chum fishing is largely swing fishing or dead–drift presenting, and the single hand rods are perfect for this. We recommend a 7 or 8-weight graphite rod, 9’ or 9’ 6” in length. Sage, Winston, and Scott produce high quality rods, and The Fly Shop Signature rods are an excellent choice at a modest price.
A high quality, single-action fly reel with rim-control feature is what to look for in a fly reel appropriate to handle ocean-bright silvers and chums. The reel should be equipped with a smooth, reliable drag system. Reels should be filled with a minimum of 150 yards of fresh 20 lb. high-visibility backing. Hatch, Ross, Hardy, Abel and Galvan reels are an excellent choice.
The proper collection of fly lines is critical to your success and will get your fly in the proper water column for these two salmon species. You need two lines to effectively fish a variety of rivers.
- Floating Line: Scientific Anglers makes one of the best, the Freshwater Titan Taper. When conditions are right a floating line can really come into play; either fishing a weighted wet fly just under the surface, or skating a Pink Pollywog across the surface.
- 10’ – 15’ Sink-Tip: This can be an important line for covering varying water levels on the river. A Type III is a perfect sink rate. We highly recommend the Scientific Anglers Sonar Sink tip.
Leaders & Tippet:
You will need to bring fresh spools of 12 lb., 16 lb., and 20 lb. Maxima Ultra Green tippet. Most anglers forego tapered leaders altogether in favor of straight lengths of Ultragreen nylon tippet.
Silver Salmon & Chum Salmon Flies:
The Bristol Bay silver and chum fishery is a typical Alaska summer run scenario – big, chrome-bright fish in the 8-15 pound range flooding into the rivers with cold water temperatures. The fish are aggressive to the fly and screaming hot when hooked, and silvers are often as aggressive to a surface popper as to a weighted streamer fished mid-depth. Traditionally-tied flies should be on hook sizes from 4 – 1/0. Egg-Sucking leeches should be full and long, up to 4 inches in length. Flies should be tied full with lots of flash in varying colors and color combinations. Don’t be afraid to tie and throw larger flies for these fish, they love ‘em.
- Foam Top Wog – our favorite surface pattern
- Hareball Leeches (fuchsia, bubblegum, orange/chartreuse, pink/orange, purple) – one of the best streamer patterns for Alaska silvers
- Egg Sucking Leech variations using marabou or rabbit strip in black & purple
- Bjorn Super Prawn Series (varying color combinations)
- Sili Leg Intruder #1/0 pink/purple
- Starlite Leech #2 (purple with red head, or all pink)
Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden, & Grayling
Rainbow trout are one of the most sought after gamefish to target with a fly in Alaska. Rainbows here average 16 to 24 inches, with trophy specimens in the 30-inch class. Beautifully-colored Dolly Varden are prolific in many rivers, averaging 16 to 22 inches, and it is not unusual to land dozens in a day. Grayling are beautiful fish – iconic to Alaska rivers – and are popular as they are often willing to take dry flies.
Single-Handed Fly Rods:
Alaskan rainbows and Dolly Varden are best fished with a 9’ graphite rod designed to cast a 6 or 7 weight fly line. A 4 or 5 weight rod is perfect for fishing dries for grayling. Sage, Winston, and Scott produce high quality rods, and The Fly Shop’s Signature Rods are an excellent choice at a modest price.
Single-Handed Fly Reels:
A high quality, single-action fly reel with rim-control feature is what to look for in a fly reel appropriate to handle the feisty Alaskan rainbow trout and Dolly Varden. The reel should be equipped with a smooth, reliable drag system. Reels should be filled with a minimum of 100 yards of 20 lb. high-visibility backing. Hatch, Ross, Lamson, Abel and Galvan reels are excellent choices.
Fly Lines for Single-Handed Rods:
Traveling with a floating line and a sink tip line is always a good choice, as conditions vary depending on the waters fished. Scientific Anglers Freshwater Titan Taper is the perfect line for throwing air resistant mouse patterns and heavy streamers, and the Scientific Anglers Sonar sink tip is an excellent choice.
Rainbow Trout, Dolly Varden & Grayling Flies:
The Bristol Bay / Katmai region is an amazing trout fishery, with aggressive rainbows that are normally willing to eat a skated mouse or swung streamer all season long, as well as egg beads during the salmon spawn in late July and August. At that same time, Dolly Varden are feeding on salmon eggs and will sometimes eat a white or pink flesh streamer, as well. Grayling can normally be coaxed to the surface to eat a dry fly, and love to take subsurface nymphs.
- Mr. Hankey Mouse #4 and #6
- Dali Lama streamer #2-#6 – either olive/white or black/white works extremely well.
- Starlite Leech #2 – black/red
- Fish Skullpin Bunny #4 – olive
- Articulated Flesh streamer #6 – white
- Mercer’s Skin n’ Bones #6
- Missing Link dry fly #14
- Gold Bead PT’s #12
- Sculpzilla #4 – natural
Leaders & Tippet for Trout:
You will need to bring fresh spools of 8 lb., 10 lb.,12 lb., 16 lb., and 20 lb. Maxima Ultra Green tippet. Most anglers forego tapered leaders altogether in favor of straight lengths of Ultragreen nylon tippet. It is also recommended to bring some lead removable split shot, in sizes 3/0 and 7; a few of your favorite strike indicators for fishing egg beads in late July and August; and some dry fly floatant for fishing dries to grayling.
No Felt Sole Wading Boots Statewide:
Anglers are reminded that effective January 1, 2012, footgear with absorbent felt or other fibrous material on the soles are prohibited while sport fishing in the fresh waters of Alaska.
*Please do not wear felt soled wading boots in Alaska this summer*
You are also free to contact us with specific equipment and trip preparation questions at (800) 669.3474 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We are extremely familiar with the techniques and equipment needed to best take advantage of the fishing opportunities on the rivers fished by Bear Trail Lodge.
Alaska Travel Check List
▢ Airline Tickets and Itinerary
▢ Wallet, cash, credit cards
▢ Toilet articles
▢ Prescription medications
▢ Aspirin & Ibuprofen
▢ Camera, lens paper, battery, memory cards
▢ Camera and phone chargers
▢ Addresses & phone numbers
▢ Emergency telephone numbers
▢ Lightweight underwear
▢ Light fleece pants
▢ Fleece jacket
▢ Long-sleeved shirts
▢ Slacks and pants
▢ Notebook, pen
▢ Playing cards
▢ Pocket knife or multi-tool
▢ Light socks
▢ Heavy socks
▢ Reading book
▢ Travel alarm
▢ Reading glasses
▢ Bug repellent
▢ Bug net
▢ Ear plugs
▢ Camp/Lodge Shoes
▢ Fishing hat
▢ Stocking cap
▢ Rain jacket
▢ Fishing gloves
▢ Sunscreen SPF 25+
▢ Lip balm & hand lotion
▢ Dry bags for float trips, camera
▢ Tape measure
▢ Fly rods
▢ Fly reels
▢ Spare spools, spare lines
▢ Fly boxes
▢ Dry flies
▢ Egg Patterns
▢ Split shot
▢ Strike indicators
▢ Polarized sunglasses (2)
▢ Wading belt
▢ Wading boots (no studs) NO FELT
▢ Gravel guards
▢ Clippers, pliers
▢ Fishing vest/tackle pack
▢ Day pack
▢ Hook file
▢ Knot tool
▢ Bathing suit for hot tub