Who would have thought back in March, April, and even May that Anglers Alibi would even open for business this year?! Thanks to some fortuitous last-minute decisions by the State of Alaska and some very patient clients – we had an epic 2020 season! We ran at 90% occupancy, and those who made the trip were rewarded with a fantastic fishery this year. Our staff and guides could have very easily bailed on this season as things were looking very dubious in mid-May, but instead took a leap of faith with me and to them I owe a huge debt of gratitude. (More on that later.) Let’s talk fishing…
Early July saw our first guests and a huge run of sockeye salmon. Clients who tired of sockeye fishing or king fishing often audibled and fished rainbow trout on mouse fly patterns. If you have not experienced seeing a big rainbow whack a mouse pattern on the surface – that alone should inspire you to return. Guests who came later in the summer had great silver salmon fishing and the best big, TROPHY rainbow trout that we have ever seen at Angler's Alibi! This season will go down in the books as one to remember for sure!
In the spirit of full disclosure, the 2020 season did have a few hiccups. The heavily anticipated king salmon run turned out to be mostly “jack” kings. This 1 – 2 year return king salmon are smaller than the normal but fought heartily. The big mystery was where were the chum salmon? Usually arriving by the thousands in mid to late July, they instead trickled in all year and the chum fishing would have to be described as spotty at best. Luckily, being an even year, we had a strong run of pink salmon and clients had no problem finding fish to fight all summer! One more enhancement to the line up that was a big hit was having small BBQ grills in all the boats for a shore lunch. For those who love fresh salmon, there was literally no quicker way to have it from water to table!
On to the 2021 season: I am pleased to report Anglers Alibi is just about booked to capacity with just a few openings for singles remaining. We are really trying to get back to only 12 guests a week (vs. 14 normally) to offer better service and just a better overall product to our clients. We will be able to attain our goal of 12 guests for most of the 2021 season - but we did roll over some customers from this year (Covid effect) that we want to accommodate- so we will probably have to run at 14 guests for some weeks in 2021.
We experimented with a private charter service the last 3 weeks of the season. I am pleased to report it was a huge success. This charter brought our guests directly from the Anchorage tarmac to the private section of King Salmon airport where Branch River Air took them directly to their dock. This made for a nice quick transition on changeover days by eliminating big wait times in King Salmon like most exit schedules over the years. The other benefit is that it also guarantees all luggage makes it to camp with the guests and a guaranteed way to get to and from King Salmon to Anchorage if more small, regional airlines have to file for bankruptcy. Highly unlikely – but nice to have options!
As I type this recap - We still have 3 of our guides (Thermo, Landry, and Russ) at Anglers Alibi doing some routine camp maintenance, fishing trophy rainbows on an empty river, and enjoying an abundance of wildlife. The wood burning stove in the main lodge is the key to this and the guys will return to the lower 48 in early October. I share that with you only because we are planning on staying open for 2 more weeks in 2021 into mid-September so others can enjoy this experience. During those two weeks, we are planning on only 6 - 8 guests per week to take advantage of our 3 jet boats for braids and mid-river fishing. We will also include 2 fly-outs in these later weeks. We will have to raise the price slightly to accommodate the added expenses during those 2 weeks. These weeks will feature silver salmon and of course, the largest, egg stuffed rainbow trout of the season. It is at this point that you will probably fully appreciate how seriously our guide staff takes photography! Catch big silvers or rainbow trout and you will have a breathtaking and framable picture. That is the one guarantee that is 100%!
In summary: I arrived at camp in mid-June ever apprehensive and nervous about how the 2020 season would play out. What I realized quickly was that when you surround yourself with a loyal and world-class staff and retain the best guiding staff in Bristol Bay – the battle is half won. The other half was all of you. From your patience and flexibility this spring to your warm and welcome personalities after arrival - I may have had the most fun of anyone in 2020. A heartfelt and sincere thank you to all of you!
Enjoy the attached pictures and when you have a moment, drop me a line or give me a call. Let’s discuss your 2021 trip or plan a 2022 adventure.
Cheers - John Perry
Angler's Alibi 2020 Season Photos
About the Author
The primary contributor, John Perry, is the owner and manager of the lodge. He'll offer fishing summaries and tips too...check back or sign up for the email news to get updates when posted.