GPS Coordinates: 58°38’7.19″N 156°34’10.59″W
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Rapids Camp Lodge is only seven miles up-river from King Salmon and about a 1 hour flight from Anchorage. The time in Alaska is 1 hour earlier than the US Pacific Time Zone.
Power & Communications:
Cell phones do not work at the lodge but work well in Anchorage. The lodge has phones that guests may use, but please bring a phone calling card with you. The entire property has Wi-Fi. Speed and reliability of the lodge internet connection is variable. Rapids Camp Lodge has 4 satellite phones usually carried in the airplanes to be used for emergency use only. The lodge also has as a satellite TV, with all sport channels.
As a guideline we recommend that each guest travel with approximately $800-$1000 for staff and guide gratuities, alcohol, etc. The lodge accepts both Master Card and Visa.
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 greatly appreciated.
Fishing licenses are not included. We recommend purchasing your Alaska fishing license ahead of time online at: Click Here. Please print a copy of your fishing license as you must always carry it 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.
Please see Alaska General Tackle and Travel Planner for more specifics. As the climate is extremely changeable and a wide range of temperatures and conditions can be expected, we recommend layering clothes. Typical fishing clothing consists of synthetic long underwear, fleece jacket and pants, hooded sweatshirt, and a good fishing rain jacket. Fingerless gloves are nice for cold mornings, and bring along a warm hat for early and late season fishing. For anglers made particularly uncomfortable by biting insects, pack along a mosquito head net as it doesn’t take up space and can be a lifesaver at times. A swimsuit is appreciated for the hot tub. Dress at the lodge is casual.
Laundry service is available upon request to guests during their stay. Please be prepared to tip the person doing the laundry. Typically, a gratuity of $10 – $20 is customary, depending on the amount.
Bears & Bugs:
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.
Rapids Camp Lodge has a state of the art fish processing, for any salmon you catch and would like to take home. It is included in the package and includes on-site filleting of the fish, vacuum packing and freezing (or smoking if you prefer), and shipping it with you back to Anchorage.
Beverages & Alcohol:
The lodge has a liquor license, so guests may not bring in their own hard liquor, per Alaska state law. There is a variety of alcohol for sale at the lodge bar, including vodka, gin, whiskey, tequila, bourbon, and a few scotches. Wine and hard alcohol is sold by the bottle. Guests may bring in their own wine if you wish as the law only applies to hard liquor. If there is something else you would like, please let us know ahead of time and we can look into getting it.
They have a fully stocked gear room with everything you could need for your days on the water, including Sage rods, Galvan reels, Rio 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.
Located just downstream of the famous “rapids” of the Naknek River, Rapids Camp 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. With a fleet of two planes, anglers are able to access some of finest fly-out fly fishing the state of Alaska has to offer. Rapids Camp has an excellent king salmon fly fishing program as well as a very good coastal program for targeting silver salmon. The lodge strives to have 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. Rapids Camp Lodge is proud of its aircraft fleet which includes one de Havilland Beavers on floats and one de Havilland Turbine Otter.
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’ or 9’ 6” 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, Winston, 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 four 9’ -16 to 20 lb. knotless tapered leaders, preferably fluorocarbon. In addition to the tapered leaders, you will want to bring fresh spools of 12 lb., 16 lb., and 20 lb. fluorocarbon, or Maxima Ultra Green Tippet. Some anglers forego tapered leaders altogether in favor of straight lengths of nylon or fluorocarbon leader.
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
- 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 Salmon & 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’s 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:
Tapered nylon leaders are best for surface presentations, and fluorocarbon works well in presenting flies below the surface.
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
- Popsicle, size 1/0
- Bjorn’s 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 24 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, Hardy, 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 egg sand 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
- Mercer’s Missing Link dry fly #14
- GB Flashback PT’s #12
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 Ultra Green 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.
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 email@example.com. We are extremely familiar with the techniques and equipment needed to best take advantage of the fishing opportunities on the rivers fished by Rapids Camp Lodge.