fishlodges.com: So tell us about your location why this area is so popular for fly-fishing.
John Perry: Our lodge is located in the heart of the famous Bristol Bay watershed, on one of the 5 major rivers, the Alagnak River. This area is so popular in the fly fishing world because it boasts the largest wild salmon returns in the world as well as the largest wild rainbow trout. These trout fight harder per inch than any other ones I have caught in the lower 48 due to their incredible high protein diet in the summer and genetics.
fl.com: Can you describe the fly fishing done on the Alagnak?
JP: The types of fly fishing we do involve both single-hand rods as well as two-handed spey rods. We utilize both for salmon and trout. The fishing we do here is either for salmon or trout, char, and grayling. There are a wide variety of fly patterns, including mouse patterns we use to target the non-salmon species. Without a doubt, we're located in the best tidewater salmon river in the world. In the tidewater section of the Alagnak, the wading is easy on firm sandbars with minimal current. All 5 species of salmon can be targeted while wading, but we do use boats to fish deeper runs at times for Chinook and Silver salmon. The Alagnak River braids out into smaller gravel runs higher in the system and it is here where the salmon spawn. The spawn attracts thousands of rainbows as well and we have a very high catch rate in this area of the river for trout.
fl.com: What's your fishing season?
JP: Our fishing season starts in early July and ends in early September. We are trying to get a smaller group of die hard trout anglers for the last week of June to target trout on mice and streamers, but this is a new week and so far there has not been much response.
fl.com: What gear do you recommend for your guests?
JP: We supply all gear for our customers. If someone is coming that wants to bring their own gear, they surely can. We recommend 8 or 9 wt. rods for silver, chum, sockeye, and pink salmon. The kings are much larger and we recommend 10 or 11 wt. rods. Fly rods for targeting trout should be 7 wt. rods. Fly lines should be floaters, as well as an intermediate sink tip and heavier sink tip rates for king salmon.
fl.com: What flies work best?
JP: We supply all the flies, and if one chooses to bring their own, we can provide a list that will help. The salmon flies are in pink hues and all are weighted. We do use a pink popper fly for topwater action targeting chum, pink, and silver salmon. The articulated and string leech style flies seem to produce more hookups than the standard hook flies. King patterns break the rule and we use a lot of blue and chartreuse patterns mimicking the herring that they are feeding on before entering the river.
Streamer patterns in black or black and white for trout work best in the spring, as well as mouse patterns like the Mr. Hanky and the Morrish mouse work well. Once the salmon start to spawn, egg patterns and flesh flies rule the water.
fl.com: Although fishlodges.com of course details your lodge accommodations, can you describe your facilities in your own words?
JP: The lodge is located right on the river, and accommodates 12 anglers per week. Wake up call is done daily at 6am by a coffee room service served at your bedside. We have a central dining room with and attached kitchen. Breakfast is to order and is customized to each guest's desire. Lunches are served on the river and in the case of bad weather, lunches are served with homemade soups and hot sandwiches. Cocktail hour begins daily at 4:30, and with that are complimentary beer and wine, hot appetizers and smoked salmon daily. Dinner follows at 6pm. All dinners start off with a fresh garden salad or homemade soup, fresh homemade bread, and the main course. Salmon, prime rib and pork loin are just a few of the main courses and all meals are followed up by a homemade dessert like key lime pie, homemade ice cream sundaes, cheesecakes, etc.
Guests can unwind in their tent cabins where there are two beds in each carpeted, heated, room with electricity and plenty of room to relax. There are two guest shower rooms with plenty of space to feel private and enjoy an endless supply of hot water. We have a centrally located cabin that features a barrel wood burning stove that is lit during cooler weather patterns and also serves as a drying room for wet gear. There is a card table in here to offer another area to relax and have a good time. This is just a snippet of what our accommodations are like.
fl.com: What about getting to the lodge?
JP: Guests arrive to the lodge on set "change-over" days. This coming season, the day is Saturday. Our trips originate in King Salmon, which can be reached daily from Anchorage via commercial flights. Once there, our float plane service will fly you in as part of the trip cost to our location 25 minutes away.
fl.com: How far in advance do you recommend guests reserve their trip?
JP: Our lodge has been at 100% occupancy for years, and we were full by the first week of December this past season. If guests are serious about having options on weeks to come up, it is good to start planning a year in advance. We already have 3 full weeks in 2018. Our return rate of guests is so high that we develop family type bonds with our guests as we see them every year for years. This return rate should speak volumes to our level of customer service and fishing program.