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!
The camps are, in a way, a throwback to the 1960’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 Pishko 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 café gourmet.
The simple single occupancy cabins are a staple in remote wilderness living. 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, wood burning stoves for drying gear and warming hands on a crisp September day and Starlink-Internet for those that want to keep in touch with loved ones.
Reservations & Rate
The weekly angling rate at Outpost on the Nush is $7,000 per person (Thursday - Thursday)
Single room, guide and boat: 50% surcharge
Your angling package at Outpost on the Nush includes round trip air transportation from Iliamna to camp, all lodging and meals at camp, daily guided fishing, boat transportation to and around fishing grounds, sodas, beer and wine, leaders, tippet, flies and Starlink-Internet.
Not included in the package are the overnight in Anchorage, the round trip flights on Iliamna Air Taxi between Anchorage and Iliamna, personal gear, tackle, gratuities, spirits (mixers provided) 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 Insurance Information
Seasons at Outpost on the Nush
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 Outpost on the Nush
Flights to Anchorage, and interior flights in Alaska fill early and airline accommodations and hotel reservations should be made well in advance in order to ensure that you receive the best flights and rates for your traveling needs. Please notify us of your airline schedule and where you will be staying on the night prior to flying into Camp.
Contact Iliamna Air Taxi to book your flights from Anchorage to the village of Iliamna on your day of arrival to the camp. Cost of the round-trip flight is approximately $550 per person, and is not included in the package. Please be sure to mention you are fishing with Dave Pishko’s Outpost on the Nush, and they will make sure you are on the correct morning flight – see below.
DEPART: ANCHORAGE @ 9:30 AM (Flight #800)
ARRIVE: ILIAMNA @ 10:30 AM
Wednesday: Day prior to flying into Camp:
Guests arrive and depart Camp on Thursdays. On Wednesday – the day prior to your arrival in camp – you should plan on traveling to Anchorage, Alaska, and overnighting at one of the many fine hotels there. Information and recommendations on Anchorage hotels are in our Alaska Pre-trip Tackle Planner which you will receive with your deposit receipt statement.
Thursday, arrive Camp
Please make arrangements with your hotel for a shuttle transfer to Iliamna Air Taxi (Signature Flight Support Building) at least one hour before the scheduled departure time of 9:30 AM
Upon arrival to Iliamna, a representative of Rainbow River Aviation will meet your flight and transfer you to the loading dock where your and the rest of the group’s duffels will be loaded in two float-equipped De Havilland Beavers for your 45 minute flight to the Nushagak River, downriver from the lodge. Guides will be waiting to whisk you upriver via jet boat to the camp, a 30-minute ride. Please be sure to have your rain jacket handy in case of precipitation on the boat ride.
You will have a chance to stow your luggage, get settled into your accommodations and organize your tackle. Lunch will be served at noon and you are free to fish on your own, non-guided, in front of and around camp.
Friday – Wednesday (six full fishing days):
For the next week, you'll be fishing in one of the most remote and pristine regions of Alaska. These are full fishing days and the daily schedule will vary depending on your stamina. Most often, anglers are awakened in the morning at around 6:30 a.m. with their favorite beverage delivered to their tent. Breakfast is served at 7:00 a.m. Your guides will have you on the river by 8:00 a.m. Lunch is taken on the river. You will be back in camp at approximately 5:00 p.m., in time for a hot shower, a cocktail or two, and appetizers. Dinner is usually served at 7:00 p.m. If you have any energy left after a very full day, you are welcome to fish the home waters on your own before or after dinner.
Thursday, depart Camp
On your departure day from Camp on Thursday you will reverse the arrival process. Two float-equipped De Havilland Beavers will depart the Nushagak River between 12:00 and 1:00 PM for the 45 minute flight to the village of Iliamna. This will give you plenty of time to catch your Iliamna Air Taxi flight #803 back to Anchorage which is scheduled to depart at 3:00 PM, arriving Anchorage at approximately 4:00 PM.
DEPART: ILIAMNA @ 3:00 PM (Flight #803)
ARRIVE: ANCHORAGE @ 4:00 PM
You can either spend another night in Anchorage at a hotel of your choice and depart the following morning for home, or catch a redeye flight back to the Lower 48 this same day, if one is available.
PLEASE DO NOT EXCEED 60 LBS OF GEAR!
Lodging at Outpost on the Nush
The comfortable camp, designed with the die-hard fisherman in mind, is situated on the upper Nushagak River, over 150 miles upstream from where it enters Bristol Bay. The camp accommodates just 6 - 8 anglers at a time, ideal for family groups and friends. After jet-boating to some of the 40+ miles of accessible river each day, you'll return to hors d' oeuvres and a delicious home-cooked dinner. Then, if you still haven't had enough, there is good water right in front of camp.
The Camp accommodates eight anglers comfortably, though they sometimes hold occupancy at six, for integral groups. Each angler will have their own single/private cabin with two beds and plenty of room to layout your gear and get organized. Outpost on the Nush will provide sleeping bags with fresh liners, standard pillows with a pillow case and a fresh towel.
As with most Alaska wilderness camps, Outpost on the Nush 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.
The day begins with your favorite morning beverage delivered to your tent around six thirty, followed by breakfast at seven. After breakfast your guide will have your jet boat ready for a day on the river. After a full day’s fishing, you’ll return to camp around five for a shower, cocktails and appetizers. Dinner is served at seven, and afterwards you’re welcome to head back to the river for more fishing, or join your friends around the campfire under the stars. This is your fishing schedule from Friday through Wednesday, and departures begin Thursday morning for Iliamna.
The food is prepared under the watchful eye of a professional chef. 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 sodas, beer, wine and water they. Anglers should feel welcome to bring a bottle of their favorite alcoholic beverage in their luggage, if they so desire, mixers will be provided.
Fishing at Outpost on the Nush
The Nushagak Camp sits right on the banks on one 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 Dave Pishko’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.
The Nushagak Camp will be the headquarters for your stay. The draw here is the much higher percentage of "tanks" – broad-shouldered trout rainbows 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 main camp lodge. 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 cabin 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. Images are passed around, stories are embellished, and laughter fills the fading light. It is a good place to be alive, and a fly fisherman.
What Makes This Destination Special and Unique?
• The camp is located in the upper reaches of the Nushagak River. This far up there are no other camps or lodges, and guests will have sole daily use of about 40 plus miles of prime, untouched river full of quality resident rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, and grayling. Guests are transported by savvy guides in jet boats daily to fish a beautiful progression of riffles, runs, pools, cut banks, logjams, and tributary creeks. You won’t see another person as you fish each day, ensuring the fish will be “happy” and aggressive.
• These beautiful leopard rainbows live in the river year round, not retreating to a lake to overwinter, so you don’t have to be concerned with being there at a time when the trout are still in a lake. With so little pressure, they respond well to skated mice and swung streamers, as well as egg flies. The trout are always there, and you can catch them all season on a variety of fly types, not relying only on eggs.
• The outfitter has years of experience operating on the Upper Nush. They have hosted thousands here, and know all the details that help turn a good trip into a great one! Once you arrive at the camp you just relax and fish hard…they will take care of all the details for you.
• The camp is located on a prime piece of fishing water - "Home Water". For those hard-cores that like to fish after dinner or before breakfast, it’s a short walk to productive water. If you didn’t get enough fishing during the guided day, there is this opportunity to go fish some more on your own.
• The camp is clean and comfortable, though not fancy, best suited to those who prefer rustic comfort, good camp food, and to fish hard and long each day. There are hot showers available daily. This is a hardcore fishing camp, with all the amenities you need to guarantee a successful and enjoyable fishing adventure.