Fishing Unlimited – The Outdoor Women

really two lodges in one (for privacy), on some of Alaska’s great trout and salmon waters

Alaska_fishladyFor the uninitiated, the sheer volume of fish an angler may encounter in Alaska is an overwhelming experience that every fisherman should enjoy at least once in a lifetime. In the heart of the Iliamna drainage, home waters to Fishing Unlimited, there are literally hundreds of thousands of salmon that annually return to the rivers here to spawn. This huge region encompasses over 30,000 square miles. It’s laced by a number of major rivers and hundreds of smaller tributaries that lead directly to the ocean. Any one of them, may yield the fishing trophy of a lifetime.

In June, the first of five species of Pacific salmon begin to appear. King or chinooks are the largest of the Alaskan salmon, averaging l2 to 20 pounds, but of course larger kings are seen and landed each season: 30 pounders seem like giant torpedoes in the water, and 40 pounders, well, they take your breath away. Mid July signals the arrival of the sockeyes, chums and pinks. Rivers become a little crowded now, as thousands of salmon migrate upstream. In mid-August the silvers begin to show, aggressive and acrobatic, the favorite of many anglers.

As if that’s not enough, consider the menu of non migratory gamefish. An average rainbow in Alaskan waters, say a three to five pounder, would be a real trophy in most “lower 48” streams. Eight to ten pounders, sometimes larger, are taken primarily during September and early October.

Arctic char, are a favorite, as are their cousins, dolly varden. Exotic Arctic grayling, with their delicately colored outsize dorsal fin, rise swiftly if not greedily to a dry fly.

alaska_planeEach morning, Cessna 206 float planes are stationed at Fishing Unlimited ready to whisk quartets of anglers to the best possible fishing locations on a daily basis. With such a vast territory, float planes allow guests to fish a myriad of watersheds, for a variety of gamefish. Most days, guests fish more than one location, with the aircraft always with them. The lodge has stashed aluminium skiffs with outboards or jet drives in strategic spots so that once settled on the ground, anglers can explore a particular river quickly and easily. Pilots serve double duty as guides, but make no mistake, they are as knowledgeable about the fishing as they are about the flying.

In reality, Fishing Unlimited operates two identical lodges located on a secluded, weather protected cove of Lake Clark. Each one is independent of the other, yet close enough so a large party can take over both comfortably. Each camp accommodates eight anglers. Cabins hold two to three guests each, all replete with full bathroom and shower facilities, heat, and electricity. Each camp has its own hot tub and sauna, plus spacious, cedar log main lodge with private dining and lounge facilities. The atmosphere is always relaxed and informal here, but personal service is at a maximum. And everyone praises the delicious evening meal, always a daily highlight.

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