ALASKA FISHING LODGES: ALASKA WEST FISHING CAMP - HOME OF THE KING SALMON!
Fly-Fishing for Salmon in Alaska
Alaska is a country that abounds in fantastic rivers awash with prolific runs of Pacific Salmon, superb Rainbow Trout fishing and 101 different types of lodges to suit every style and demand. The choice and options are bewildering! If you are after a dedicated fishing camp, straightforward but with all the basic amenities you could require, reasonably priced, expertly staffed with dedicated and knowledgeable guides and most of all host to some exceptional fly fishing, then you need look no further than Alaska West fishing camp.
The Fishing at Alaska West
At WhereWiseMenFish we firmly believe that the Kanektok & Arolik offer guests of Alaska West two of the most fly-fishable rivers in Alaska providing a wide and varied range of fishing options. The number of repeat guests at Alaska West is testament to its popularity and the testimonials we receive each year from experienced and well traveled anglers continue to uphold our confidence in this excellent fishing camp.
If there is one quality above others that marks Alaska West out from other Alaskan Rivers it is in the quality of the King Salmon fishing. From Mid June-Mid July the fishing for fresh run King / Chinook Salmon can be outstanding. Huge fish, straight off the tide will provide a battle like no other salmon fishing experience you are likely to have encountered. Combine this with the fact that this is one of the most consistent fishing locations we know of spectacular fishing is almost assured.
Wise Men Fishing Tips
Your host and professional fly fishing guide at the Alaska West Lodge, Andrew Bennett, points out that:
Tip 1: "The preferred two-handed rods for Kanektok kings range from 12rsquo; to 14rsquo; for an 8 to 10 weight. Skagit-style line systems are popular, as they allow easy delivery of the T-14 tips and large, weighted flies that are most effective when pursuing these fish."
Tip 2: "Follow the tides. When chasing anadromous fish near saltwater, be ready for strong pushes of fish from 90 minutes before high tide, through 60 minutes after high tide. "
Tip 3: "Leave your mayfly imitations at home. Rainbow trout in the Kanektok eat flies that imitate salmon flesh, salmon eggs, sculpins and leeches. Dry flies can be effective if they imitate mammals—a spun deer hair mouse pattern can draw violent strikes from large fish."
Tip 4: "Don’t worry about leader-shy fish on the Kanektok. Preferred tippet material for species ranging from kings to rainbows is 15 lb Maxima Ultragreen. If the rainbows seem spooky, you might drop down to 12 lbs!"
The Kanektok River
The primary river that guests of Alaska West fish is the Kanektok which has a tremendous run of Kings that come in from mid-June until the end of July with the peak run being over the first 3-4 weeks of the saeson. Not only are the fish tide bright and sea-liced but crucially and unlike the majority of Alaskan Rivers, the King Salmon can be caught by traditional down and across swing fly tactics. Angling techniques in essence mirror those used for Atlantic Salmon fishing with the simple difference that in almost every pool, on every bend of the river, you stand a very good chance of becoming attached to a 40lb+ Salmon. The river also has one of the best Silver Salmon runs along with superb Rainbow Trout fishing and very strong runs of the other species.
"I was amazed and delighted at the fight in these fish. Pound for pound Pacific King Salmon must be the strongest and most difficult to land fresh water fish in the world. I’ll be back."
Philip Walker – Aberdeen, Scotland
"Like being connected accidentally to a runaway locomotive!"
Phil Hinton- Yorkshire, England
The Arolik River
Exclusive to guests at Alaska West is the Arolik River. A smaller and much more intimate river than the Kanektok, with the total number of anglers on the river limited to just 6. For many the Arolik is the hidden jewel in the crown of the Alaska West fishery. The upper sections have some superb Rainbow Trout fishing however the lower section is home to Kings of equal size of those on the Kanektok but resting in pools more akin to those of a small Trout stream.
Chinook (King) Salmon
The biggest of the Pacific salmon, they got their name by default. Notorious for holding in the deepest darkest hiding places, most "anglers" coax them up with heavy, shiny, noisy, smelly, gaudy, greasy gear saving the fragile fly fishing tackle for easier prey.
However... at Alaska West Fishing camp they have honed and refined their fly angling skills and collective knowledge to a point where they consistently hook and land these immensely powerful fish that have a closer resemblance to chrome plated sea lions than fish. This is a big game fish adventure and once bitten by the bug, it's a hard habit to cure. The adrenaline rush of the fight and the conquering confidence of a battle won are feelings second only to the humiliating frustration of a fish lost. Atlantic salmon anglers leave bewildered by the awesome power of these fly gobbling giants.
Coho (Silver) Salmon
Although unpublished in any medical journals to date, Silver fishing at Alaska West infects people the world over with an insatiable desire to have more... and more... and more. From late July through the end of the season Alaska West is reduced to a den of iniquity. Highly respected people of position in the ‘real’ world are reduced to begging the guide for just one more cast. Even the most conservative of individuals have been known to "pull an all nighter", crazed with fish fighting frenzy.
Chum (Dog), Pink (Humpies) and Sockeye (Red) Salmon
Chum are willing to slam almost any fly offered like a speeding freight train and are capable of stripping every single inch of backing off your reel and send you leaping for the boat in a single bound. They are faster than the speediest large arbor pick up and unable to accept the concept of QUIT... what more could an adventurous angler wish for? As any Alaska West guide will tell you there is no fun like Chum fun. The sheer epic numbers of these salmon and relentless action is the thrill.
Pinks are petite little salmon that are loads of fun on light tackle. They are graceful and aggressive and are a hard fighting smaller version of all the macho big fish stuff that is so prevalent in Alaska. Break out the five weight without risking the big "break"!
Sockeye pound for pound are one of the hardest fighting and the most aerial of the five pacific salmon. Though at times coaxing a red to eat presents a formidable challenge, once hooked these acrobats prove it time after time.
Rainbow Trout (Leopard Rainbow Trout)
Few places on earth have Rainbow Trout this pretty. Thick blood red side stripes pour out of crimson gill plates accenting their broad shouldered heavy bellied deep green bodies that are covered with black spots that ooze into one another. However, don't let these good looks fool you. One look at the size of the mouth on these fish will clue you in to the fact that these are rodent-eating, egg stealing, carcass guarding river serpents. They are far removed from their midge sipping kin elsewhere in the world!
The aptly named Leopard Rainbow Trout - For Trout anglers worthy of a trip to Alaska West for them alone
Alaska West Camp & Staff
The Alaska West Camp is run as a deluxe tent lodge. This means that anglers sleep in heated tents with carpeted wooden floors. The tents are very comfortable, spacious and provide a very high standard of accommodation. There is a separate drying tent for wet waders and clothes and a large outhouse, cleaned regularly and with ample supplies of hot water for everyone. A large dining tent gives plenty of room to spread out, relax and enjoy the hearty Alaskan cuisine. It is not a lodge of white linen tablecloths and formality but rather a very comfortable place to spend a week fishing, relaxing and enjoying the outstanding fishing on the Kanektok River.
With an angler to guide ratio of two to one, this Alaskan fishing lodge offers incredibly hard working guiding professionals who stop at nothing short of "making it happen" for their angling clientele. The equipment, although an integral part of the ensemble, is second only to the can do attitude, enthusiasm and expertise of this exceptional group of individuals. Alaska West is very proud of its entire staff. The crew is comprised of motivated, dedicated and highly skilled persons, whose commitment to a good job well done is seldom equaled in this industry.
Convivial atmosphere in the Main Dining Hall at Alaska West and sleeping accommodation in the comfortable Safari Tents
For those wishing to travel light Alaska West can kit out almost any angler with all the equipment he needs. Loaner rods, all the flies you need, leaders, wading boots and waders are all available.
Best Times to Go
Each species of fish has a relatively defined and short season. The best time to go varies on which species you are looking to target. The table below outlines the various seasons however for expert advice please get in touch with us and we will be happy to assist.
Availability and Pricing for the 2014 Season
If you would like to know more about the West Lodge, please contact us and we will provide you with more details. For availabilities, prices, pre trip information, booking form etc. please contact:
Good reason to keep coming back year after year-Philip Walker & Phil Hinton on their 5th annual pilgrimage from the UK to Alaska West
If you would prefer to speak to us directly regarding a trip to the Alaska West Lodge, please contact us at the following:
United Kingdom Office:
United States Office:
Or alternatively email us via our Booking Enquiries Form to request more information.
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