Located on the uninhabited Pacific coast of the Alaska Peninsula, AWS has a sterling reputation for delivering a high quality fly fishing experience despite the daunting logistics associated with their wilderness setting.
And that setting is breathtaking; walk out your tent door and look to the right – there is the wild Pacific. Straight ahead, you look out over a salmon-filled river and estuary, framed in the background by a towering rock escarpment. To the left, you’re looking up into the forested, layered mountains that form the cradle of the home stream, a view dominated by an immense, glacier-covered mountain, and closer in, Harley’s Hill, a unique volcanic upthrust vaguely reminiscent of the Devil’s Tower. Once here, you are in for the experience of a lifetime; walking the home stream for burly silvers, day hiking the upper reaches of the stream for unbelievable numbers of sea run Dolly Varden, stalking the nearby ocean beach for ocean-cruising salmon, and helicoptering to other remote rivers for more of the same. It is a unique experience, even for Alaska.
Reservations & Rates
The cost of the week-long AK Wilderness Safari package is:
• Mid-Season (mid/late July - 3rd week of August): $5,650.00 per person
• Late Season (4th week of August - September + 2 days heli fly-out fishing): $6,950.00 per person
Included in your angling package at the AK Wilderness Safari is round trip bush plane transport between King Salmon and camp, meals, lodging and daily guided fishing, flies and leaders, including two day's helicopter fishing at week's end.
Not included in your angling package at AK Wilderness Safari are fishing license (not available at camp – you need to purchase before you arrive), specific alcoholic beverages (though the selection they do have is available to you at no charge), gratuities, tackle and items of a personal nature.
The Fly Shop® is not in the insurance business, but we recommend Travel Guard coverage as a service with a desire to see your best interests protected. It is impossible to know when an unfortunate situation (loss of luggage, fly rods, illness in the family, or an accident) may occur. However, such things can and do happen, and this insurance can provide a means of recourse against non-refundable financial losses.
• Travel Guard Insurance
Seasons at Alaska Wilderness Safari
Though AWS has a superb chum salmon escapement late July through the middle of August, we generally concentrate on the Camp's coho run, which is essentially a month long, from late August through late September.
These silver salmon begin to flood in on the twice-daily tides (nearly all of your homewater fishing is tidally influenced…yes, these fish are BRIGHT!) about the 20th of August each year, and the run steadily increases in
intensity as the season progresses. By early September the numbers of silvers in the river right in front of camp is predictably amazing, and they continue to stack up until nearly the end of the month. In that same month-long period, the sea-run Dolly Varden – which have been entering the river since June and are stacked in the upper reaches of the stream – are changing into their striking spawning colors, and will climb all over any fly even remotely resembling a salmon egg. These trout-like gamefish average 12-18 inches, with the occasional 20+ inch specimen a welcome daily surprise!
Getting To Alaska Wilderness Safari
Getting to the AWS camp is a great adventure, and a reminder of just how remote you truly are.
Guests will normally leave their home state early on a Friday and fly to Anchorage, and then catch one of the late afternoon or evening flights out to the little village of King Salmon. Here you will overnight. Once in King Salmon, contact the charter company, Egli Air Haul, at 907-246-3554 to let them know you have arrived (or you may press #20 at the airport
terminal call-console). If you are overnighting in King Salmon Friday night, it is just a short walk away from the airport to your lodging.
The next morning (Saturday), Egli Air Haul will shuttle your party to their hangar, then transport you from King Salmon to the camp via bush plane. The flight is 1 to 1 ½ hours, and 2-3 round-trips are required to get all guests/gear to camp. The landing strip at the camp is a portion of the tidal estuary where you will be fishing…so the charter company has a limited window (low tide) to get clients in, twice a day. Literally, you set down the plane on dry beach, go stow your gear and enjoy lunch, then walk back and hook silvers in two feet of water where the plane just was. Things change fast in the bush!
The flight from King Salmon to the camp is at first routine, then quickly turns spectacular as you fly through one of the many passes that connect the inland plains with the Pacific Ocean. The coastal range is absolutely gorgeous, and when you break through to the ocean itself, the view is breathtaking, giving you the feeling you have just flown through a portal to another world. And this just sets the tone for where you will be spending the following week.
At the conclusion of your week, Egli Air Haul will return for you (Saturday morning), so it will not be a fishing day. Please make your flight from King Salmon back to Anchorage departing no earlier than 4:30pm, as it will take several trips to transfer first guests, then all the luggage back from camp. Please note that if there are weather or other transportation delays which preclude flying the scheduled fixed wing charter to/from camp, a helicopter charter will be available at your choice (helicopters can comfortably fly in near zero visibility and/or weather that would be dangerous for fixed-wing aircraft).
Lodging at Alaska Wilderness Safari
On Saturday, the day of your arrival to camp, you will be greeted by Rus and his crew, who will carry your bags up the hill to the camp, and get you settled into your tent.
After organizing your gear, a quick snack and an orientation talk, the guides will have you suit up and walk down to the river for your first experience on this phenomenal fishery.
The camp is located on a hillside high above the river, with a spectacular view of the river valley in one direction, the ocean in the other, and everywhere the massive coastal range, replete with glaciers, waterfalls and awe-inspiring vistas. Each two people share a roomy tent (the camp holds 9 anglers, so each week one person will have a private tent), and meet for delicious meals in the cook tent. There is a limited open bar, and plenty of beer and sodas cooling in the cold natural spring adjacent to camp. The camp is cleaned daily, and kept as spotless as a tent camp can be. All bedding is supplied (cots and lined sleeping bags), there are hangars to put shirts and jackets onto, large snap-lock waterproof containers to organize the rest of your clothing into, dry mats on the floor, and a nightstand with lighting next to your pillow. Everything is clean, comfortable, and well thought-out. The hot water shower and sink facilities are roomy and convenient, and bathrooms are outhouses located on trails well away from camp.
The food here is beyond the normal plentiful camp grub; Rus brings in a professional chef to make sure the meals, breads and desserts are homemade at the camp, and memorable. Expect wonderful appetizers each day after fishing, then an hour to relax and/or take a hot shower before the real eating begins!
Fishing at Alaska Wilderness Safari
On your day of arrival, you will have a few hours in the afternoon to get out and work out the kinks.
Following this you will have 6 straight days; these are full fishing days, and the exact schedule will depend on the your wishes, as well as fishing and weather conditions. Breakfast and dinner will be served in the lodge and mid-day meals are served in the field, streamside, or you may return to the camp for lunch if you like. Regardless, with the fishing virtually
within a stone's throw of the lodge, your fishing days are full days – pace yourself. The first five days will be spent fishing the river in front of camp, and the large, "bonefish" tidal flats located a short walk or boat ride upriver. As an option, guests can walk up the smallish main river tributary, fishing a trout rod for sea run dollies averaging 12-20 inches (with the occasional brute in the 23-25 inch range); this little creek is usually full of salmon as well, and offers a real change of pace from the fishing downstream. The final two days are spent exploring even more remote silver rivers by helicopter, streams that are never fished outside of camp guests – this is an experience beyond description! Just the flights alone are life experiences, flying over remote tundra beaches, hovering in front of feathery mountain waterfalls, and landing on remote streams often black with fish.
What Makes This Destination Special and Unique?
• This extraordinarily remote camp on the Pacific Ocean has been operated with the same owner/manager, for over 20 years. The camp is run like a Swiss watch, and the level of commitment to give guests the best possible experience is amazing. The owner is there every day and welcomes your questions and requests – the buck always stops with him!
• The camp only takes 9 guests a week, and for such a hyper-remote destination is quite comfortable. Clean, well-maintained tents, hot showers, and gourmet wilderness dining. You will sleep comfortably every night, and look forward to every wonderful meal.
• The home river, a short walk from your tent, gets a tremendous run of silver salmon, all within walking distance. Both surface poppers and streamers are deadly. As a bonus, there is a smaller stream that can be walked up and fished that is loaded with Dolly Varden. Also, anglers can choose to walk to the ocean beach near where the river meets the Pacific, and intercept salmon in the saltwater as they cruise the shoreline. Though there are two fly outs included in your stay, you can catch all the fish you want without flying, simply by walking down behind the camp.
• The last two days of the week guests are flown via helicopter – a spectacular flight – along the Pacific coast to other rivers, to target heavy runs of big silver salmon. The flights alone will take your breath away – it’s like being in an IMAX movie! And the numbers of fish you hook at these other wilderness rivers is just ridiculous.
• It would be hard to imagine a more wild, remote, spectacularly beautiful setting for a fishing camp. The scenery and adventure is worth the price of admission alone! You will get up every morning and be in awe at the landscape that surrounds you, and you will never see another person outside of your campmates, all week. Your own personal paradise.