Spring is finally here! Thoughts of trout and salmon fishing are already on most angler’s minds - and especially the ones here at Angler’s Alibi! The guides have been chatting it up - going over fly orders, new gear purchases, and just about every other thing surrounding the season and kicking off 2023!
As stated in previous communiques: The 2022 season was a solid one with strong runs of all 5 salmon species including a nice rebound on king salmon. This influx of kings into the river led to some epic days chasing these giants! We are optimistic that our efforts to practice catch and release on all kings; coupled with not targeting them up high in the river system (where they are trying to spawn) is now paying dividends with stronger returns. Candidly, I don’t think we are completely out of the woods yet, but this uptick in king salmon was a welcome sight to everyone in camp and we can only hope that it will be further enhanced in 2023.
The 2023 sockeye salmon forecast for Bristol Bay is sitting at a cool 50 million+! That means it should be another amazing run and will offer our guests a great way to harvest salmon to take home for several weeks starting in late June. These fresh sockeyes are a big part of your appetizers and entrées too! Our motto for many years has been “save a king, eat a sockeye”! We still have a few remaining spots in our prime sockeye week (July 28 – July 5th) that also offers some amazing rainbow trout options when trout are still looking up for mouse patterns and dry flies. Late June/early July is just a MAGICAL time to be in Bristol Bay!
Our chum salmon run featured an even bigger comeback from the 2021 season, and it truly felt like the “good old days” were back! From our 3rd week through our 8th week, we could always rely on some great chum salmon fishing in the lower river. Virtually every sand bar was loaded with chums by mid-July, then doubled in quantity when the pink salmon starting arriving the last week of the month. This is/was a great time to learn how to swing flies on a spey rod…as almost every cast resulted in fish that ate the fly!
And now for the crescendo (drum roll please): Silver salmon fishing was great too! We had some true 50 fish days per boat! Many of our most tenured guests were rewarded with lots of doubles on silvers throughout August and even into early September as the lower river was simply thriving! We expect another strong run of silvers in 2023 as their cycle seems to be nearing a peak for 2023. The other good thing is that if anyone has made it this far through the blog might and wants to get in on some of this silver action - there are a few (4) precious spots remaining this season for prime silvers.
With the hiring of our new Chef John Luzader (aka Jerry Garcia) in 2022, we set a new bar in Bristol Bay with our menu and culinary expertise that rivals any of the top lodges ANYWHERE in Alaska! John has been the Head Chef at places like the Greenbrier, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, and the Canyon Ranch to name a few. We are happy and proud to announce that he will be coming back for another season of gourmet quality meals and desserts – all starting with appetizer spreads one would expect to see on the French Riviera. John brings over 35 years of experience in the business and has had all winter to conjure up even more savory meals and sweets for 2023! One more thing, he loves to fish as much as any guest and this adds even more to the daily après fishing discussions around the bar.
The good news just keeps on coming: Our entire guide staff will be returning for the 2023 season – and I am proud to announce our newest guide, Will Evans, has graduated up through the ranks and will be a full-time guide here this summer. In addition to Will, we also will have a new “Sockeye Specialist” on board this July. Some of you may already know Rich Cardillo (RC) and he will gladly take clients for a full or half day of sight fishing with a fly rod - as waves of sockeye salmon swim upriver through gin clear water on their way to spawn in the rivers and lakes above the Alagnak River. Whether you are helping us procure your evening meal or loading up your cooler for the trip home – sockeye fishing provides another fun leg of your trip!
Daily Fly-outs Available to Maximize your Trip!
Fortunately, the Bristol Bay watershed has had tremendous sockeye salmon returns from the Bering Sea the past few years. This created an incredible biomass of salmon flesh and eggs that has thrust our rainbow trout population into one of the healthiest cycles I have seen in my 30 years up here. This also creates a unique opportunity for you to do one-day fly outs from Anglers Alibi or maybe even an overnight to nearby rivers (most in and around Katmai National Park) and experience an epic and secluded rainbow trout day! The staff stays on top of what rivers are peaking with trout throughout the whole summer and reacts accordingly. These are just a few rivers we target highlighted below:
American River: Only a 35-minute flight from the lodge - this river consistently provides us with some of the largest trout and char of the season! In June and July, we cast mice and dry flies to catch these gorgeous and giant rainbow trout that only Alaska can produce!
Kvichak River: This is a river that we primarily fish early and late season with our guests. It is by far the largest river we fish and produces the highest jumping trout on the planet! These trout are fished early on swung flies and later by drifting beads either from a boat or from a shoreline. The Kvichak drains from Lake Iliamna (the largest lake in Alaska). This lake produces some of the largest trout in the state!
Kulik River: This river provides our anglers with some of the best action of any river we fish for trout. The numbers of true Alaskan wild trout will boggle your mind! This river clogs up with spawning sockeye salmon in mid-August and is fished until our last day of operation in late September. It is not uncommon to literally be forced to take a break from catching so many strong trout during the day on this river.
Again, the guide staff stays very dialed into how these (and other) rivers are fishing and can offer you the best option during your week here. We are checking the weather daily to make sure the good sunny windows to fly are utilized with our guests’ desires to fish some of the other amazing rivers in our reach. We do have to pay additional for fly-outs per seat (float plane hourly rate) but know that our flight service accepts credit cards, so it is an easy way to enhance an already amazing week in Alaska.
Okay, that’s it for now. Please call or email me if you want to inquire about some of our few remaining openings (week 1, week 5, and week 9) and don’t forget to pack a bathing suit for our new sauna, a great way to unwind with a cold beverage after a long day on the river.
See you soon!
John Perry - Owner
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.