Located on the remote banks of the Aniak River, it’s jam packed with rainbows, dollies, grayling, salmon, sheefish and northern pike. It’s a fish factory. Talk about a complete fly fishing experience!
Aniak River Lodge (ARL) is unique among Alaska fly fishing lodges, in several ways. First, their accommodations, instead of being either an established lodge or a wilderness tent camp, can actually be both. Guests travel from Anchorage to the outpost village of Aniak, where they are met by lodge staff, and transferred upstream 30 miles to their lovely new Weatherport lodge on the remote banks of the river, where each 2 anglers will share a private 10 X 30 tent cabin with en suite bathrooms and showers, and take meals at the adjacent main lodge Weatherport.
Here they’ll stay for either the full week or at least several days, using jet boats for transportation (and in some cases fish from them), for rainbows, dollies, grayling, salmon, sheefish and northern pike. Sometime in the first few days guests will fish upstream to the site of the smaller wilderness tent cabin camp and get a chance to see it and can make the decision of whether they would like to spend a few days and nights there. The final night – Friday – you will have the chance to re-pack, followed by a Saturday morning jet boat ride back down to the village of Aniak to catch your flight back to Anchorage.
Reservations & Rates
The cost of the 7-night/6-day Aniak River Lodge package in 2023 is $7,765.00 per person
Included in your angling package at the Aniak River Lodge is lodging at both Aniak River Lodge (10 X 30 Weatherport tents with en suite flush toilets and showers), and the wilderness tent camp, if everyone at the lodge agrees to a couple of nights and days at the camp (tent camp offers hot showers, running water, two bathrooms, weatherproof tents with carpeted floors, propane heaters, cots, sleeping bags, blankets, mosquito nets, linens and towels, and daily room cleaning). Otherwise, the whole week will be spent at the main lodge. Also, an experienced, Coast Guard-licensed guide for each 2 anglers, jet sleds for transportation to daily fishing, beads and leaders, all meals, snacks, and drinks (water, coffee and soft drinks – alcohol is not provided, as Aniak is a damp village, so alcohol cannot legally be sold).
Not included in your angling package at Aniak River Lodge are flights to and from the village of Aniak, fishing license, gratuities, alcohol, fishing gear, flies, or 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.
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Seasons at Aniak River Lodge
These big trout are more than willing to come to the surface and attack skated mouse flies.
By late June through July one of the biggest runs of King and chum salmon enters the Kuskokwim River. Many of those salmon are headed for the Aniak. If the fishing for Kings and chums isn't enough for you, then the rainbows garbaging mouse patterns, streamers and eggs will keep your fly rod busy. You will also find sockeye salmon in the Aniak
through August. The numbers of Dolly Varden in the river and tributaries is almost beyond belief. This is the best time of year to target sheefish and the rivers large population of northern pike in the lower river.
In early August immense schools of silver salmon enter the Aniak River, and change the fisheries dramatically. Suddenly, every backwater is flooded with these chrome sea-runs, and they are eating both streamers and surface poppers. The month of August is the time to come for anglers wanting to fish for both rainbows and silver salmon. The silver salmon tend to average 7-10 pounds, and the Aniak harbors excellent numbers of 18-24 inch trout all season long. And millions of Dolly Varden!
By early September silver salmon are still prominent throughout the Aniak, though are coloring up. Anglers still do well on egg patterns as well as streamers emulating sculpin, or chunks of rotting salmon flesh - these routinely produce the biggest rainbows. The changing colors are spectacular this time of year, and the Aniak River is full of some of the biggest rainbows of the year, many of whom are again on the prowl for a skated mouse fly.
This is a one-of-a kind flyfishing experience, set within pristine Alaskan scenery, just the way Mother Nature made it. Please give us a call if we can assist in arranging dates or answering any additional questions for you.
Getting To Aniak River Lodge
Arrival into Anchorage is always on Thursday, with the overnight spent there at one of the many fine hotel options, followed by the flight to the lodge on Friday; the procedure is reversed on your day of departure, with guests flying back to Anchorage from Aniak the following Friday.
On your day of arrival, you will want to have booked a seat on RAVN/ERA Airlines (800-866-8394) on their flight that departs Anchorage at 9:30 am, arriving Aniak at 11:00 am. There are sometimes other airline/flight options to get to Aniak this day – and most of them will work in a pinch – but the RAVN/ERA flight is perfect, both regarding time of arrival, and in that it is a non-stop flight. We will let the lodge know you are coming, and they will make certain and have their shuttle bus waiting for you. It will deliver you to their lodge in the village of Aniak for a hot meal, then on to awaiting jet sleds which will transfer you upstream to the river lodge, where you will be greeted by the staff with welcome drinks, and shown to your accommodations for the week. Though this is not a guided fishing day, you are welcome to wader up and fish the river right in front of the lodge. Dinner will be at 7 pm, and at that time guests receive an orientation describing their week, and meet with their guides to discuss the next day’s fishing.
Departure from Camp: You will want to have booked a flight back to Anchorage on this day (Friday), again with RAVN/ERA Airlines. Best option is the non-stop flight that departs Aniak at 11:45 am, arriving Anchorage at 1:10 pm. Depending on your connecting flights, you may have to spend another night in Anchorage, or possibly take an evening flight home.
Lodging at Aniak River Lodge
Aniak River Lodge is a wilderness fishing outpost, far off the beaten path. For over a decade Aniak River Lodge was what is now their Wilderness Tent Camp, with mid-sized Weatherport tents on wood platforms, real beds, hot showers, and really good camp fare.
In 2016 the owner opened up his new classic wood Alaska lodge on the banks of the Aniak. Then, in early 2020 this lodge was lost to a fire. The owner has replaced the lodge facilities with huge (10 X 30) Weatherport tent guest quarters - two guests per cabin - each with en suite bathroom, flush toilet and shower, and full electricity, and are each connected to the main lodge via boardwalk. The spacious, comfortable main lodge (10 X 50 Weatherport) is where anglers take breakfasts and dinners, enjoy their favorite evening libations, and gather to recount the day’s adventures. The lodge owner brings in a trained chef for lodge meals, which are now always far better than simple camp fare! Though there is currently an option for guests to spend a few days away from the lodge at the original camp, this is only optional, and many guests choose to spend the full week at the main lodge. The brand new Aniak River Lodge facility is comfortable, well-appointed, and adjacent to miles of great salmon and trout water.
Fishing at Aniak River Lodge
One of the great benefits of a river-based operation is flexibility in the daily fishing program…since you are right on the water, travel time does not factor into your day on the water.
At Aniak River Lodge, if you prefer to sleep in, or get up extra early... no problem, the Aniak River Lodge crew will make it happen. The level of personalized service is awesome. Once you have gotten up and enjoyed your choice of breakfast options, you will meet your guide down at the
boats (2 anglers per boat/guide), and be off in your jet boat for a day covering the many gorgeous miles of the Aniak River. This river is the perfect size to accommodate the lodge's jet-powered skiffs, and easily waded after arriving to the various fishing runs and braids. Lunches are normally taken streamside, allowing for maximum fishing hours. Each day you will find new favorite pools, and have the option of returning to them, or exploring for new adventures. As each day draws to a close, tired anglers are boated back to the lodge, and the awaiting hot showers, appetizers and amazing dinner entrées.
What Makes This Destination Special and Unique?
• Aniak River Lodge is the only fly fishing lodge on the entire, major Aniak River system – countless miles of main river, side channels, and tributary streams all to just 14 anglers a week. That means no one is low-holing you or running their jet boat over your fishing water. You can fish at your own pace and know you have miles of river to explore with your guide.
• Because there is so little fishing pressure on the river, the Aniak offers some of the finest mousing and streamer fishing for rainbows in Alaska. Beads work very well here, but because the fish are so untouched, they are very aggressive to more traditional Alaska fly patterns, as well. The mousing on the Aniak may be the best in Alaska for larger rainbows, and is at its best in June and July - streamers are great, year round.
• The standard program at ARL is seven nights at the comfortable new riverside Weatherport lodge, though with a possible option for two of those night/days to be spent at an upriver wilderness tent camp (if everyone at the lodge agrees to it). It’s like two different trips in one. This is a grand and classic Alaska adventure, multi-faceted and a great way for anglers to fish and experience two different areas of a massive and fish-filled river system.
• Aniak River is an Alaska fish factory the likes of which is becoming increasingly harder to find. In addition to fantastic rainbow trout fishing, there are almost obscene numbers of Dolly Varden, plenty of Arctic Grayling, all five species of Pacific salmon, northern pike, and even good numbers of the elusive sheefish. You will catch fish here, and a lot of them - and the toughest decision you will have to make each morning is what species you want to target. We say go after them all.
• There is an experienced guide and lodge staff, and well-maintained boats and motors; there is very little down time between breakfast and dinner, and this is an excellent place for all levels of anglers. You can choose to target big rainbows one day, then catch salmon the next, target dollies and grayling another day, run down river for sheefish and big northern pike the next – the options are many and you won’t be bored, we guarantee it!
• Fishing can be done either wading, or from the boats, depending on angler preference. Wading anglers tend to prefer the smaller tribs and side channels, while boat anglers can cover fish on the main river that get almost no pressure. The wading, especially on the tributaries is relatively simple and easy, perfect for older anglers that love to wade fish, but don’t like heavy water and slippery bottoms. ARL can accommodate nearly any sort of angler, no matter what their physical ability.