Fly-Fishing for Salmon in Alaska

If you have ever found yourself wondering what it must have been like to fish for salmon in years gone by then Alaska remains the last place where you can reliably experience fishing of this calibre. The rivers still maintain very prolific runs of all species of Pacific Salmon as well as sea run dolly varden, rainbows and grayling. Most of Alaska epitomizes true wilderness with much of the only meaningful habitation close to the rivers that in turn sustain both local communities and much of the wildlife in the region. A trip to Alaska represents a fishing experience like none other, just do not end up using it as your benchmark in terms of catch expectations when you fish closer to home!

Hit a pod of fresh and feisty silver King Salmon and you can find yourself in the thick of some very exciting action


The Fishing on the Sapsuk / Hoodoo River

From mid-June to mid-July Aleutian Rivers Angling’s Sapsuk River (some call it the Hoodoo River) is home to one of Alaska’s healthiest remaining runs of king salmon. These are powerful chrome fish up to 40 pounds that aggressively take a fly, test your tackle, and keep you coming back for more. The Sapsuk River is characterised by long runs and good holding pools that are perfect for fly-fishing, both using a double-handed rod or a single depending on your preference. The team of experienced and dedicated guides will do all they can to ensure you can get to grips and tame these unbelievably strong salmon.

All fishing lodges are subject to a considerable amount of conjecture however Pat Vermillion, one of the founding brothers at Sweetwater Travel and head of Alaskan Fishing considers the fishing on the Hoodoo as being the most productive King Salmon Fishery he has come across. It is of course not just about big Kings. Jack King Salmon (under 20 inches) keep the interest up and the river has a reasonable Chum Salmon run towards the latter half of the King run. The river also has a run of unusually aggressive Sockeye. But returning to the main effort. 30lb+ King Salmon are what the early season anglers come for and with a good shot at a 40lb King Salmon each week it is a serious draw to this ultra-remote fishing lodge.

In 2014 the river had the second largest run of Kings that they have seen in a decade bucking the trend from number of Alaskan rivers. Mandatory catch & release is upheld and this proactive management will hopefully go a long way to ensuring the quality of the fishing for the immediate and mid-term future.


Lodging at Sapsuk Fishing Camp

The Sapsuk Camp is located 16 miles north-west of Nelson Lagoon on the banks of the Sapsuk River. Access to the camp is only available via jet boat, a scenic 50-minute upriver ride. With just 6 anglers each week the camp has an intimate feel that was as much part of the ethos and concept behind the camp as was access to the fantastic fishing. This is reflected to an equal measure on the river.

The camp is located on a high bluff looking over the river. The two home pools are some of the most productive on the river giving anglers the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the virtual 24hr daylight. The camp has a great shower house (with endless hot water), kitchen / dining tent, a lounge tent and 2 guest tents (one of the tents is divided by a wall providing 2 distinct sleeping areas with a pair of beds in each. Wood floors and walkways connecting them all.


The Fish

Chinook (King) Salmon

The biggest of the Pacific salmon, they got their name by default.   They are the ultimate freshwater challenge and once you have hooked a fresh from the sea silver king salmon on a fly rod it will recalibrate the way you play fish.   Extraordinarily powerful, they arrive into the Aleutian River systems from mid-June and continue until the end of July.  Catch expectations range from 2-5 King Salmon each day with 5-6 hookups.  

Coho (Silver) Salmon

The main run on the Sapsuk is from August to September.   They average 7-10lbs and arrive silver bright from the Bering Sea.   They are both aggressive and fantastic fighting fish.  A good Silver on the Sapsuk is in the 17-20lb range.   

Chum (Dog), and Sockeye (Red) Salmon

Chum are willing to slam almost any fly offered like a speeding freight train and can strip 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?

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.


Typical Sapsuk River Camp Schedule


- Arrive Anchorage
- Overnight Anchorage

Hotel accommodation in Anchorage is not included

Day 1

- Fly Anchorage-Cold Bay
- Cold Bay-Nelson Lagoon
- Boat transfer to camp
- Brief / lunch on arrival
- Afternoon evening fishing

Flight is approx. 2 1/2 hrs to Nelson Lagoon and a further 40 mins to Nelson Lagoon. Flights not included.

Day 2-6

- 6 full days fishing as per the weekly fishing schedule

Schedule arranged with guides the previous day however typically depart to go fishing from 7.30 onwards

Day 7

- Depart Nelson Lagoon
- Arrive Anchorage via Cold Bay

Overnight stay in Anchorage recommended. Not included


Availability and Pricing for the 2018 Season


Season: The season runs from mid June- early September


- Mid June-July - prime King Salmon week --- $4,0750/person
- Aug - Sept silver salmon week --- $3,950/person

Package Includes:

- Seven (x7) nights
- Six (x6) and a half days fishing
- Price includes full board accommodation
- Flies, lures and terminal tackle -- Loaner gear available if required
All meals and soft drinks

Charter Flight:

Anchorage – Cold Bay-Nelson Lagoon –Approx $1,500USD


Price does not include gratuities or fishing license. Lodge capacity is 6 guests

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.

Chinook (King) Salmon

Best fishing is from mid June to mid July. Fish of 30lbs are an everyday possibility.

Coho (Silver) Salmon

Best fishing is from late July to early September

Sockeye (Red) Salmon

Best fishing is the first three weeks of July. Fish average 10lbs.

Pink (Humpies) Salmon

Pink Salmon run in even numbered years from late July to mid August.

Chum (Dog) Salmon

Excellent from mid June until late July. Fish average 10lbs and are exceptional fighters.

Rainbow Trout

Fishing is excellent from late June to September.

Dolly Varden

As the mature fish return to their home stream to spawn and feed in August and September, most coastal streams in Alaska provide good fishing for Dolly Varden.


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Our Aim is to share our combined knowledge of fly fishing holidays and fly fishing vacations around the world to make your next river fishing, lake fishing or salt-water fly fishing holiday the best ever.

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If you would like to know more about the fishing in Alaska, please contact us and we will provide you with more details. For availabilities, prices, pre trip information, booking form etc. please contact:

Justin is currently hosting a fishing trip to Alaska and will be uncontactable until his return on 18 July. Please excuse any delay in his correspondence.

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