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!

Fighting a fresh-run Chinook King salmon is worth travelling many 1,000 miles to experience


The Fishing on the Goodnews River

The Goodnews River offers outstanding runs of all the five species of pacific salmon as well as substantial leopard rainbow trout, dolly varden and grayling. The lodge is located on the edge of the Togiak National Wilderness Reserve on the Goodnews River, a three branch wilderness river system located about 450 miles from Anchorage. The river flows into the Bering Sea in southwest Alaska. From the lodge there is access to over 490 miles of river, creeks, braids and sloughs. There are three options for the angler in search of his or her trophy fish: choose one of the three river branches, fish the tidewaters, or wade the feeder creeks. The lodge provides one guide per two anglers.


Advantages of the Goodnews River Lodge

The lodge is the only full service lodge on the Goodnews River. As a result there is none of the fishing pressure that can effect other river systems in Alaska; no early morning helter skelter jet-boat races to the best fishing spots. Other than some rafters/campers the only other fishermen you are likely to see during your week are your fellow camp mates as well as a few of the large fury persuasion, who are both more interested and adept at fishing than you are likely to be!

Whatever your target, Silvers, Kings, Trout or any of the abundant runs of pacific salmon this is fishing heaven!


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 at the Goodnews from mid-june and continue until the end of July. Fly-anglers can expect in the region of 5-10 hook ups/day and the fish average 20lbs with many of 40lbs or over. Although in recent years there have been restrictions on catching King Salmon this prevents the killing of king salmon and does not prevent the careful catch & release of any king salmon caught whilst fishing

Coho (Silver) Salmon

From late July through the end of the season in early September the run of silvers is astonishing. They average 10-15lbs and arrive silver bright from the Bering Sea. They are both aggressive and fantastic fighting fish. During the peak of the run it is normal to catch 50 fish/day on a fly rod with more if you can cope! The silvers form one of the primary reasons why people come to Alaska and you will not find any better fishing for silvers in remote surroundings as that at Goodnews.

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? The sheer 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!


A Typical Day on the Goodnews River

Your day really starts the night before when your guide for the following day will touch base with you to discuss your options, any species you want to fish for or an area you specifically would like to go. With a plan in a motion you can sleep well and look forward to a wake up call and coffee prior to breakfast at 07.00hrs. Boats depart the camp for the full day returning at 5.30 pm with evening meal between 6.30 and 7.30. 24hr daylight means that there is always the option of some midnight fishing in front of the lodge. Each day you will fish with a different guide and it always pays to explore his specific skills or secrets even if you choose to follow your own plan.

Lodging at Goodnews is simple and straightforward - in keeping with an Alaskan wilderness camp



The Lodge consists of a dining hall with commercial kitchen, a bath house with flushing toilets and shower area, a drying room so your gear is always ready for the next day, a recreation Hall for relaxing after dinner, and newly completed Guest lodging. All Guests will now stay in one of our new double occupancy Tent/Cabins including their own separate bath area complete with shower, sink and toilet. They’re constructed of special hi-tech weatherproof fabric designed to give protection in the extreme Arctic environment, each with an elevated front porch overlooking the river or the mountains and just right for relaxing after a long day fighting fish. Ideal for couples, some are large enough to accommodate a family of 3.  Single anglers typically use the orignal but smaller twin bed tents which do nt have ensuite facilities.

Good quality hearty males are served at breakfast and supper with packed lunches eaten on the river-bank, although on cold or wet days returning to the lodge and a bowl of hot soup is always an option.

  • What a fantastic trip. I have fond memories of Russia and Chile and now this unique lodge in Alaska. I have been to Alaska many times before but this trip was by far the best. My brother and I would like to have a repeat performance next year, July 2024, but for KINGS. N Daifotis-Aug 2023


Typical Goodnews River Lodge Schedule


- Arrive Anchorage
- Overnight Anchorage

Hotel accommodation in Anchorage is not included

Day 1


- Arrive Anchorage airport
- Charter flight Anchorage-Goodnews
- Arrive Goodnews / brief / lunch
- 1/2 days fishing

Flight is approx. 2 1/2 hrs over amazing scenery.
Fishing in the afternoon

Day 2-6

All Day

6 full days fishing as per the weekly fishing schedule

Day 7


- Depart Goodnews
- Arrive Anchorage - Approx 15.00 hrs
-Overnight or international flight home

Please note flight schedule subject to change - Check prior to international flight reservation


Availability and Pricing for the 2024 Season


The season runs from mid June- early September


- June/July - prime King Salmon week $7,995/person
- Aug - Prime silver salmon week - $8,995/person
- Under 16’s when accompanied by an adult travel for $4,300 + charter flight

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 - Goodnews return flight $1,375 USD


Price does not include gratuities, fishing license or accommodation & meals in Anchorage. Lodge capacity is 16-24 guests. Native Land Use Fee of $120 payable at the lodge

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 late July. Fish average 20 to 25lbs but range in size from 10 to 50lbs.

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.


More Photos


WWMF King Salmon Videos

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