The “Nush” is a fish bum’s dream come true. Rise as early or late as you please ’cause there’s no competition to race to the pool. Fish hard all day on 50 miles of accessible river, come back to camp and recharge with a hearty meal and a few fish stories. Then head to the home pools for as many casts as you can throw under the midnight sun.
That’s how fishing in Alaska used to be, and how it still is on the “Nush.” The sense of remote isolation is hard to match anywhere else in North America. Your only companions for the week are the folks that came with you, the moose and bears, and a million trout. The fishing is great and the overall experience is so much more than that!
Dave’s camps are, in a way, a throwback to the 1940’s, when folks heading to Alaska for adventure fishing looked for nothing more than a dry tent and fishing that was right outside the door. The outfitters who accommodated them adopted a style of simple, comfortable, on-river camps that were easy to set up and maintain in super remote regions, and offered immediate boat or foot access to the river.
Lodge fishing in Alaska has since moved away from this rustic “camp” style, as fly-out lodges, with their amenities and indulgences have set a new standard of sorts. But it’s good to know guys like Dave are still out there, in the middle of nowhere, offering hardcore fishing, complete solitude… and plenty of creature comforts.
Each week a load of choice meats, fresh veggies, and pounds of basics like flour, sugar, coffee and bacon arrive into camp by float-plane. The cooks use their scratch ingredients and spice racks to produce the best home-style meals in the Alaskan bush. Think cowboy-cook meets cafe gourmet.
“Weatherport” tent-cabins are a staple in remote wilderness living. With wooden floors, comfortable beds and weather-tight walls and roofs, they’re incredibly simple and provide everything a die-hard fisherman needs to stay warm and dry.
Other amenities in camp include sauna, generator powered electricity, hot showers, outhouse bathroom facilities, and woodburning stoves for drying gear and warming hands on crisp September day.
Reservations & Rates
The weekly angling rate at Egdorf's Nushagak Camp is $5,495.00 per person
Your angling package at Egdorf's Nushagak Camps covers round trip air transportation from Dillingham to camp, all lodging and meals at camp, daily guided fishing, boat transportation to and around fishing grounds, optional one or two fly out fishing days during their week - included in the camp rate - to smaller tributaries of the Nushagak River further downstream from the camp.
Not included in your Egdorf's Nushagak Camp package is personal gear, tackle, flies, the overnight in Dillingham, gratuities, and fishing license.
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 Egdorf's Nushagak Camp
The fishing at the headwaters of the Nushagak is dictated in large part by the presence, or lack of salmon in the watershed at any given moment.
Before the first king and chum salmon find their way up to Dave's operation - nearly 200 miles upriver from the salt - the river has two species of gamefish available to the fly fisher; big, beautiful "leopard" rainbow trout, and a seemingly endless supply of large grayling. Normally,
this season will incorporate the weeks of June. Typical for Alaska, anglers can expect a wide array of weather possibilities this time of year, with cold nights and warm days the norm – this is early summer, in the north country.
Unlike the masses of 15-18-inch "lower Nush" trout that follow the king salmon into the upper river later, in July, the resident rainbows in these headwater 30-40 miles of stream average 18-22 inches, with beasts in the 24"-26" range a daily possibility. For those who love to fish streamers and mouse patterns for large, hungry trout, this is a hard time of year to beat. To make it even more appealing, the water is usually a bit higher in June, opening up many miles of the river upstream from camp that can get a bit "bony" to run jet sleds in later in the summer. It is amazing to take an hour boat ride upstream to where the Nushagak is barely more than a creek, then float and fish your way back downstream, whacking big rainbows out of small buckets, shelving riffles and drowned logjams. As well, there are often predictable daily hatches of mayflies and stoneflies, to which the abundant populations of river grayling rise enthusiastically. While these beautiful little sail-finned creatures average 14"-15", there is no shortage of larger specimens in the 16-18 inch range, with the occasional trophy over 20"... and fishing them on a 4 or 5 weight with dry flies is a blast!
Late June or Early July:
The upper river will flood with king and chum salmon, moving onto their traditional spawning grounds. There will sometimes be a few chrome-bright specimens available that are exciting to fish for, but most will be further along in their spawning maturity (bodies gaining striking colors and exaggerated kypes). Some of these "tanks" will push the 40-pound mark, and are incredible to watch as they pair up and build their redds in shallow water. Even more exciting to observe are all the trout, grayling, and newly-arrived sea run dolly varden as they line up behind the salmon, eager to take advantage of the drifting salmon eggs that escape the nests. For the rest of the season, the river will be loaded with trout of all sizes, hyper-aggressive dollies averaging 14-18-inches, and grayling, all of which depend upon the various salmon runs for their sustenance. July and August are a time of plenty, and highly recommended for people who like to see tons of life in the river, and catch a LOT of fish. Expect to dead-drift single egg patterns and/or small "flesh" streamers along the bottom now, sometimes to fish you can see; few things match the thrill of watching a big rosy-sided leopard ‘bow drift over and intercept your fly in a foot of water, then explode into the air when you set the hook! Somewhere in July you’ll also see waves of crimson-and-green sockeye salmon flood the river, adding an almost obscene amount of eggs and decomposing flesh to the already impressive buffet. It is truly something to see.
Mid August to Early September:
Brings the final push of salmon in the form of cohos, an aggressive species that will eat almost any bright streamer, and often surface poppers, as well. Cohos (also known as silver salmon) are often in better condition than the other salmon when they arrive, and a blast to target on a six or seven weight rod.
September marks the arrival of autumn at the Nushagak Camps – cold, crisp nights, cool days, and a dramatic change of color to the forest and tundra landscape. As well, the fishing begins to once again resemble early season, with very few salmon, and a continuing upstream migration of the dolly varden that sees their numbers dwindle in the prime fishing grounds. Once again, rainbows are the prime target, but the healthy trout of early season have now morphed into almost unrecognizable caricatures of their former selves... gorged bellies distorted and shoulders broadened by a summer's diet of salmon eggs and flesh. September offers the trophy trout hunter the single best opportunity to connect with the rainbow of a lifetime here... the same fish available in June, but with several pounds more girth! As well, the dollies that do still haunt the vacated salmon spawning beds are in full spawning blush, resembling nothing so much as oversized brook trout, with their vibrant colors and white-edged fins. Anglers should expect to fish a majority of whitish "flesh" streamers, sculpins and leeches, as well as a bit of single egg patterns thrown in… actually also very much like early season.
Getting to Egdorf's Nushagak Camp
As with most great adventures, getting there is half the fun! One must figure in an extra day or two of travel time with a week-long trip to the Egdorfs, this is merely due to the sheer remoteness of the destination, and the payoff is well worth the effort.
Travel to Anchorage:
Guests begin their trip traveling from their home to Anchorage, Alaska.
Depending on the time of arrival and the available connections, it is often possible to continue directly from Anchorage to Dillingham, though many people will want to overnight in Anchorage, before heading on into "the bush". West Coast travelers,in particular, may be able to skip the Anchorage overnight and go directly to Dillingham on their first day of travel, paring a day from the itinerary, while others will find it is not possible to get to Anchorage in time to catch the last flight out to Dillingham.
Though Anchorage's population is hovering around a quarter million people, it is a city virtually cutoff from civilization (outside of air travel) by the realities of enormous and trackless wilderness. This ensures that despite its size, it still maintains somewhat of a "frontier" ambiance; people here are friendly, fiercely independent and quite outdoor-oriented... and it is not unusual to see a brown bear amble down a main avenue, or a moose stop traffic at the airport.
Getting To Camp:
The tiny outpost village of Dillingham is the final commercial flight destination for anglers destined to Egdorf's Nushagak Camp. Regularly scheduled (Alaska Air or Pen Air) flights to Dillingham, where they'll spend the night before beginning their angling adventure. There are numerous overnight options in Dillingham, and most veterans choose the Beaver Creek B&B. Their service is top-notch, and the Beaver Creek folks have worked closely with the Egdorfs for many years. If they're full, no worries, because there are several other good options.
Dillingham is a rough-and-ready little coastal fishing village, its Native population supplemented with a lot of both transient and permanent “outsiders”; mostly fishermen, or those who make a living from the fishing industry. There is essentially one restaurant and, thankfully, it is surprisingly good… we recommend the Yukon Cheeseburger for lunch (their blueberry milkshake is to die for, if they haven’t run out of ice cream), and their Crusted Halibut dinner special is excellent.
The next morning, the Egdorf staff will pick you up at your accommodations and drive you to Aleknagik Lake, a 25-minute drive, where you'll board a float-equipped bush plane and make the exciting flight (a little over an hour) into camp. The flight to Camp is an amazing visual experience often highlighted by sightings of wolf, bear, moose, and caribou. Dave will land right on the river near camp, and his guides will be there to meet you and transport you the final mile or so in jet-powered river sleds. Home, sweet home!
At the conclusion of a week of memorable wilderness fishing, anglers are flown back to Dillingham, where (depending on airline scheduling and personal travel preferences)) they'll either connect with an evening flight back to Anchorage (Pen Air), or again overnight in Dillingham before starting home the following day. Typically, both Alaska Air and Pen Air offer early morning flights that connect comfortably with all major airlines, allowing for a comfortable schedule.
Lodging at Egdorf's Nushagak Camp
The Nushagak Camp sits right on the bank of one of the finest, least-impacted fisheries in the entire Bristol Bay watershed.
As the jet boats slide into camp on your day of arrival, you are greeted not only by Kim Egdorf and the rest of the staff, but also your first look at where you’ll be spending the following week. Physically, the camp has evolved steadily over the past two decades, and reflects what we believe
to be an ideal combination of rustic creature comforts, blending perfectly with its surroundings. Spacious, Yosemite-style Weatherport tents are situated on top of elevated wooden platforms, each with their own wooden deck on which to sit and soak up the beauty you are imbedded in, or use as a changing "room" to get in and out of your waders at either end of the fishing day. Every tent has two foam mattress bunks, each with its own sleeping bag complete with interchangeable liner. An electric light provides illumination for organizing tackle, or reading yourself to sleep after fish-filled days. Hangars are provided to organize your shirts, jackets, fleece and waders, and a table at the head of the bunks offers space for a book, glasses, a glass of water or late-night snacks. Nothing fancy, but cozy and functional. Considering where you’re at, a veritable lap of luxury!
Dave and Kim's Nushagak Camp accommodates eight anglers comfortably, though they sometimes hold occupancy at six, for integral groups. The dining tent is centrally located, separating the guests and guides respective quarters, and is a hub of activity, as is the bench-ringed fire-pit out front, at the river's edge. Many an epic fishing day has been recounted in this flickering firelight, the darkness of immense wilderness pressing in all around, the brilliance of an uncompromised night sky peeking down through swaying pines. Two chemical toilet bathrooms are located a short walk behind the guest accommodations, as is the shower facility, with its vanity and sink. Obvious-yet-overgrown paths lead from the tent areas to the best local fishing, much of which can be found a stone's throw from the camp (a wonderful opportunity for post-dinner forays, though most guests find themselves too exhausted from their guided fishing day to want to wader back up and hit it again on their own.
The food is prepared under the watchful eye (and often by the talented and industrious hands of) Kim Egdorf. From succulent steaks to Cornish Game Hens, pasta to fresh fish, fresh-baked bread and an array of other delicious entrees and appetizers, you will not be disappointed in the food, nor are you likely to head home any lighter. As part of the package rate the Camp provides guests with all the iced tea, fruit punch and water they can drink. Anglers should feel welcome to bring a bottle of their favorite alcoholic beverage in their luggage, if they so desire.
Fishing at Egdorf's Nushagak Camp
The Nushagak Camp, and sister Wilderness Camp sit right on the banks of two of the finest, least-impacted fisheries in the entire Bristol Bay watershed.
To experience this quality of untouched Alaska angling, one normally has to put up with the inconveniences of mobile float trips; rushing through mandatory lengths of stream daily, setting up camps every night, cooking
and eating on the fly, and breaking camp each morning… and it seems nothing ever gets dry. At the Egdorf’s operation, you have all the benefits of a river lodge – comfortable, permanent accommodations – combined with the biggest attribute of remote river floats, lightly-fished waters virtually untouched by anyone outside of your fellow camp-mates.
Nushagak Camp will be the headquarters for your stay, and many returning guests - particularly those in search of larger rainbows - choose to spend the entire week here. There will be days when the catch rate on the Nushagak will rival that of the King Salmon River, but not often. The draw here is the much higher percentage of "tanks" – broad-shouldered trout in excess of twenty inches (as well as all the dollies and grayling you care to hook!).
Each morning you will be awoken around 7 am by a knock at your door, a steaming mug of coffee – or whatever your favorite morning beverage – and given some time to wake up, get dressed, and amble over to the dining tent. Here you'll be fed heaps of delicious "camp-fare" breakfast, and sent staggering back to your tent to prepare for the fishing day ahead. Though the schedule is relaxed and catered to the group's preferences (with little to no outside pressure on their rivers, there is no need to rush to secure the best water - it's always there waiting for you), the guides are normally at their boats and ready to go at 8 am. Each guide is assigned a particular beat, or beats for the day (each beat being far more water than can be reasonably covered in a day by a pair of anglers), and everyone leaves at roughly the same time, but all headed to very different areas. Typically, you will not even see other lodge guests during the course of your day, such is the magnitude of the water available. Depending on the time of year, you may motor downstream to skate mouse patterns off "woody" banks, or hit the river's many massive salmon spawning runs; for one day of their week each two anglers will normally get a shot at fishing tiny McGeary Creek, a small and scenic tributary that often holds particularly large trout; if you're there early to mid-season you may jet upstream and dead-drift streamers through inviting and productive smaller water; or if you choose to fish the King Salmon in July, you'll wear your arms out casting to and landing beautifully marked rainbows and dolly varden.
Anglers will return to camp around 5 pm, shed their waders, enjoy a hot shower and head to the dining tent for hors d’oeuvres and a cold drink. Dinner is normally served at 7 pm, followed by a time of relaxing around the nightly campfire, and sharing of the day's experiences. Digital cameras are passed, stories are embellished, and laughter fills the fading light. It is a good place to be alive, and a fly fisherman.