the ultimate fishing lodge featuring daily fly out trips
As the plane banks towards the river, the shadows on the stream bed begin to move. It’s a pulse-quickening sight as hundreds of salmon scatter, alarmed by the overhead float plane. Minutes later a strong salmon streaks away against the angler’s arcing rod and screeching reel. In the heart of the Bristol Bay wilderness, this is an everyday experience, a pleasure afforded to a cadre of lucky anglers who are guests at Mission Lodge at Lake Aleknagik.
Mission Lodge offers daily fly-outs to all guests. Not only do they have a pair of Beaver planes mounted on floats, but they also maintain a pair of STOL equipped aircraft on wheels. STOL (for Short Take-off and Landing) aircraft can fly into areas where float planes cannot: deserted beaches where streams empty into the ocean and the salmon are dime bright, or narrow gravel bars on isolated bends of rivers, even a tundra covered meadow close to a small stream full of feisty graying or big rainbows. They add a measure of flexibility beyond that included by other Alaskan lodges
The Mission Lodge season begins in early June. Though the streams are yet to be filled with migrating salmon, this is a prime time to catch trophy rainbow trout hungry after a long winter and a few weeks of vigorous spawning. Late June heralds the arrival of the huge king salmon, followed by chums, sockeyes and pinks in mid to late July. The rivers begin to fill with thousands of salmon at this point, capped off by the coho’s arrival in mid August.
As the salmon become more numerous, so do the opportunities for non-migratory species. Big rainbows are always a prime attraction, with five-to eight-pounders available season round, sometimes larger. Dolly varden, char and grayling also compete to gobble up drifting salmon eggs, fattening up for the onset of the long, arduous winter.
And when a satisfying day of fishing is complete, anglers will find plenty of warm hospitality awaiting. Except for couples, each angler has a private bedroom at Mission Lodge, with a double bed. Bathrooms all have full shower facilities, and there’s even washers and dryers available for guests.
Downstairs, the lodge features a well stocked tackle shop, fly tying bench, conference room, plus large screen TV and full bar. Guests can take a soothing dip in the jacuzzi on the front porch, or relax in the lounge and absorbing the scenic lake view. Gourmet meals are served family style, and are always a special treat.
If you prefer a more remote tent camp environment, where you are at water’s edge, and have almost unlimited fishing time, consider Alaska West, Mission Lodge’s facility on the Kanektok River. It’s one of the premier rainbow trout rivers in Alaska, and also hosts strong runs of salmon. Alaska West doesn’t offer any fly-outs, but provides outstanding fishing at a value packed rate.