Some of the best salmon fishing we’ve found in Alaska, at a super intimate little fly out lodge taking only 2-4 guests a week!
When Mike Mercer – who runs the Alaska travel program for The Fly Shop® – first met lodge owner Phil Byrd at a trade show in 2016, the stories he calmly told Mike about the fishing around his comfortable little lodge out on the Alaska Peninsula seemed too good to be true. Wilderness rivers reached only by floatplane, filled with huge numbers of kings in June and July, and silvers in August and September; rivers which seldom ever saw outside pressure due to their remote nature and difficulty in accessing and operating on. Phil had only recently purchased the small hunting lodge out in easy striking distance from these rivers, and the season he had under his belt was incredible. So in early July of 2017 Mike flew up to see for himself… and discovered that Phil’s stories were absolutely true! In his 5 days of fishing, Mike was guided by Phil into what seemed an endless stream of ocean-bright king salmon, all caught within a few miles of the icy Bering Sea. These fish often still sported sea lice, averaged 20-25 pounds with some fish over 30, and displayed amazing aggressiveness to swung flies. We won’t even mention numbers here, but suffice it to say it was the best king fishing Mike has experienced in over 30 years exploring the distant corners of Alaska. And while we don’t yet have a silver season to describe, we are confident it will be as unbelievable as the king fishing.
It is incredible to know places like this still exist, and we are excited to be the exclusive agent. Amazingly, Phil only wants 2-3 guests a week during king season (June/July), and 4 guests a week during silver season (August/September), and everyone will have a private room at the lodge. Phil is the pilot each day, and also the guide during king season, and he really knows his stuff – he can hold his own with most any Alaska professional. In silver season there will be two guides, Phil and one other.
Give us a call, and be among the first to experience this world-class fishing on the rugged Alaska Peninsula!
Reservations & Rates
The cost of the 6-night/5-day Ugashik Lake Lodge package is $6,000.00, beginning at the lodge. In addition you will need to get yourself from Anchorage to the village of King Salmon via commercial flights, then between King Salmon and the lodge on a local air taxi, Branch River Air.
Included in your angling package at Ugashik Lake Lodge is all lodging in private, single occupancy rooms with separate, shared full baths, all meals while at the lodge including sodas, and daily guided fly out fishing (two anglers per guide and boat).
Not included in your angling package at Ugashik Lake Lodge are the round trip flights between Anchorage and the lodge, accommodations in Anchorage or King Salmon, Alaska Sport Fishing or Hunting License and appropriate stamps, fishing tackle, gratuities and items of 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 Ugashik Lake Lodge
The seasons at Ugashik Lake Lodge revolve around the ancient spawning cycles of king and silver salmon to a handful of rivers on the remote Alaskan Peninsula. The kings begin returning here in early June, and by mid-month the rivers are traditionally heavy with ocean bright fish. They continue to enter throughout July – by the end of king season in late July the rivers are at maximum holding capacity, and while there is a higher percentage of blushed fish now, there are still fresh, chrome fish entering daily. These weeks also see large numbers of big chum salmon ascending
the river, as well as large schools of sockeyes. There is a lot of life in the rivers! This is classic swing fishing utilizing single-handed 9-wt rods, with 24-foot sinking tips, or two-handed action best suited to 8 or 9-wt long rods with moderate sinking tips. These are shallow rivers that do not demand ultra-heavy sinking lines.
Silver salmon begin pushing up into their natal streams in early August, and by the middle of the month there are usually thousands stacked into the backwater sloughs and slower runs on the rivers. These are typical Peninsula cohos, among the largest in the world, and they love to smash topwater poppers and stripped streamers alike. This fishing can be fast and furious, and one has to pace themselves – the numbers and size of these salmon will hurt you! As with many Peninsula fisheries, the run remains strong through the end of September, with progressively increasing numbers of fish stacking into these short coastal rivers. We prefer single-handed 8-wt rods for silvers, with most situations calling for the use of floating lines. A 15-ft Type 3 sinking tip can be a useful backup line.
Finally, for those who like variety, during both seasons there is the option to fly to different streams to target rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, char, and grayling (in fact, the lodge is a short boat ride away from the famed Ugashik Narrows, home to some of the largest char and grayling in Bristol Bay). This can be a fun way to break up a week of fishing big rods for huge fish!
Getting to Ugashik Lake Lodge
Airline and Hotel Reservations:
Airline and hotel reservations should be made immediately in order to ensure you receive the best flights and rates for your traveling needs. There are many ways to get to Anchorage from home. From there, depending on your city of origin and your specific reservation dates, you may be able to fly all the way to King Salmon on the same day. We suggest that you fly to King Salmon on Saturday, overnight and be ready, with luggage safely in hand, the following day, (Sunday). It is also okay to
spend Saturday night in Anchorage, taking an early morning PenAir flight to King Salmon on Sunday…the only concern here is if PenAir does not deliver your luggage with you, it can become problematic, because of the charter flight to the lodge. There are limited but decent lodging accommodations in the town of King Salmon - it is normally easier to find a room in Anchorage.
Saturday, (the day prior to flying into the lodge):
On the day prior to your arrival in camp, you should plan on either traveling to Anchorage and overnighting at one of the many fine hotels there, or continuing on to the village of King Salmon and overnighting. Information and recommendations on Anchorage and King Salmon hotels are in our Alaska Pre-trip Tackle Planner which you will receive with your deposit receipt statement.
Sunday - Day 1:
You'll need to be in King Salmon by about noon today, whether you booked your commercial airline flights from Anchorage to King Salmon this morning, or arrived Saturday night. PenAir is the airline of choice to get you from Anchorage to the small town of King Salmon. As of this writing they have a few flights a day on this route.
For reservations visit: Peninsula Air @ www.penair.com - (800) 448-4226
Branch River Air Service – the flight service that will fly you from King Salmon directly to the lodge on a float plane - will meet your flight at the King Salmon Airport and provide auto transfer to their nearby operation located on the shores of the Naknek River. The drive takes only a few minutes. Your round-trip charter flight from King Salmon to Ugashik Lake Lodge has been arranged for you by Phil Byrd, owner of the lodge. Cost of the roundtrip charter is $500 per person, paid in cash or by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) directly to Branch River Air Service, on arrival. The flight to the lodge via a Cessna 206 on floats takes approximately 45 minutes (75 miles) and flies over some amazing country - have your cameras ready.
Upon arrival to Ugashik Lake you will be met by Phil and Beth Byrd, your hosts for the week, and shown to your private room, where you’ll have a great chance to get settled in, unpack, and ready your gear for the action-packed week of fly fishing ahead of you.
Your arrival day is considered a non-fishing day. This would be an excellent opportunity to purchase your Alaska Sport Fishing License, if you have not already done so online, or in Anchorage.
Day 2 – 6: Your Fishing Days at Ugashik Lake Lodge
Each morning you will awake to a hearty breakfast and hot coffee, followed by pulling on your waders and loading into the plane for a relatively short flight to the river of choice for the day. A nice advantage of such a small occupancy lodge is that the plane and pilot – Phil Byrd – will typically always stay with you… should one river prove to be a bit off, just hop back into the plane and move to another. Honestly, this is rarely an issue, though – these rivers are phenomenal producers. Boats are used to navigate the various rivers, but all the fishing is done while wading. Lunches will be taken in the field, and your fishing days are full. At the end of each day, tired anglers will load back into the plane and take a short flight back to an awaiting hot shower, hot meal, and comfortable bed.
Saturday – Day 7: Return from the lodge to King Salmon, then Anchorage, and on home
As with your flight to Ugashik Lake Lodge, Phil has chartered with Branch River Air Service for your flight from the lodge back to King Salmon. Depending on weather this charter flight should have you back in King Salmon by mid-afternoon, in plenty of time to connect with PenAir flight #208 back to Anchorage (which you will need to have made in advance. This flight departs King Salmon at 5:45pm, arriving Anchorage at 6:50pm. You may be able to connect with a flight to start your journey home, or overnight and take a flight the following morning.
Lodging at Ugashik Lake Lodge
The first thing you notice as the floatplane banks and makes its final approach to the lodge is the beauty of its setting. It is perched on the edge of a small, gin-clear lake, connected by a small creek to the huge and adjacent Lower Ugashik Lake. Immediately behind the lodge a large hill sweeps dramatically up, with the spectacular snow-capped Pacific Range acting as a nearby, layered backdrop. Once landed and situated in your private room, you can sit on the porch and look straight ahead to the dominant feature of the landscape, the impressive Ugashik-Peulik stratovolcano. It is not unusual to see wildlife near the lodge, most
commonly bear or caribou, and occasionally wolves or moose.
The lodge is a scattering of various buildings, nearly all connected by a wandering wooden boardwalk. There is the main lodge where guests take their meals, enjoying the beautiful view out of the spacious front windows; two duplex guest cabins where each guest will have their own private room; and the shower/bathroom facility. There are also two storage buildings slightly away from the main lodge. Guest rooms are spacious and comfortable, with all the needed accoutrements – queen-sized bed, luggage bench, open hanging closet, chair, heater, reading light, and curtained windows. There is a spacious shared shower and full vanity, and a composting toilet in an adjacent room. Weather allowing, guests can sit on the cabins’ front porches and enjoy the morning and evening vistas.
Guests are able to look out at dramatic vistas as they dine on Beth Byrd’s sumptuous home-cooked dishes, which normally include steaks, pasta, chicken, fresh salmon, and some of Beth’s favorite dishes from back home in North Carolina (her pimento dip is to die for!). In fact, the food at this lodge is a high point – from breakfast to lunch to hors d'oeuvres to dinner, everything is fresh, tasty, and of the highest quality. No small feat for being in such a remote corner of the world!
Your time spent at Ugashik Lake Lodge will be comfortable, and memorable in the extreme remoteness of the location. You are a long way from the nearest town, and the nighttime skies can be spectacular. It is a very special place, made even more so by the lodge’s tiny weekly occupancy!
Fishing at Ugashik Lake Lodge
One of the beauties of this lodge is that with so little outside fishing pressure, there is no reason to get up early in the morning - you won’t have any competition for the water you want to fish. Normally guests get up around 7:00am, have breakfast shortly thereafter, get waders on and gear organized, and load into the plane around 8:00am. By 9:00am you’ll be wading in a river packed with fish, with no-one else around!
During king season guests will fly to one of three premier rivers located 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or 45 minutes flight from the lodge, respectively. Landing the floatplane on a nearby lake, anglers will walk a short distance to the waiting boat, and begin their fishing day. Because Alaska has sunlight nearly 24 hours a day this time of the year, the fishing day can be catered to the best fishing hours, based on weather, sun trajectory, etc. If weather should preclude flying until late morning, don’t worry – you’ll just fish later into the evening hours to make sure you get plenty of hours on the water.
Silver season sees a shorter duration of sunlight each day, so the schedule will be more traditional, with fishing traditionally taking place 9am-6pm, daily. The same three rivers are fished, plus there are two other rivers close to the lodge that get silvers, one of which can even be accessed via jetboat, in the unlikely event weather keeps guests from flying out. This river is also loaded with big char, which makes for a great day!
Remember that the flying to all of the salmon fishing rivers is done over flat coastal plains, so there are no worries about flying in mountains. Your host and pilot, Phil Byrd, has been flying all around the Alaskan bush for 15 years, accruing countless hours and experience in some of the world’s most demanding aeronautic conditions. His record is impeccable, and his “safety first” attitude is perfect.
At day’s end Phil will fly you home, where you’ll have time to take a hot shower before relaxing over a cold drink and one of Beth’s fabulous hors d’ oeuvres, followed by a delicious dinner. After the long fishing days most guests hit the sack soon thereafter, getting ready to start it all over again the following morning. This trip is an amazing and memorable adventure, the likes of which are getting hard to find, even in Alaska.
What Makes This Destination Special and Unique?
• Private access to one of the best Chinook and Coho Salmon rivers in Alaska – non-existent fishing pressure means guests have miles of this river all to themselves daily. Other rivers fished also have minimal outside angling pressure due to their remote nature and difficulty of access – this is what much of Alaska looked like 30 years ago. You won’t have to worry about being low-holed by another lodge or group of anglers; you have the rivers exclusively to yourself.
• Low gradient, relatively shallow and small rivers – heavy sink tip lines are not needed to be successful; this makes casting and fishing all day, even for such impressive numbers of large fish, much less tiring and more enjoyable. The wading is super easy and straight forward, a perfect fishery for anglers that don’t like to wade to their armpits in fast water with a slippery bottom.
• Seasoned husband and wife team, with years of experience operating in the Alaskan bush. They know all the details that help turn a good trip into a great one. All you need to do is fish and have a great time, the rest of your entire trip is taken care and well-orchestrated.
• Small venue operation limited to two to four anglers per week maximum, with private room accommodations. This translates into maximum flexibility with the daily fishing program and no need to bring ear plugs for a snoring room partner. The lodge is located in a beautiful setting between the mountains and the sea.
• Daily fishing is accessed via floatplane. This puts guests on some of the best king and silver salmon rivers on the planet, as well as the option to fly to nearby streams loaded with rainbows, Dolly Varden, Arctic Char, and grayling. In the unlikely event that weather prevents flying for part of a day, there is boat access to the famed Ugashik Narrows, home to some of the largest char and grayling in the state. No matter what the weather and flying conditions, you’ll be sure to fish each and every day.