Oct 24th, 2018
Royal Wolf Lodge, Alaska
Strategically located on a 120 acre in-holding within the heart of Katmai National Park’s finest trout waters, Royal Wolf Lodge is one of Alaska’s finest fly-out fly fishing operations. In terms of location, Royal Wolf is hard to beat. Short flying times to the region’s premier watersheds including the Moraine, Funnel, Big Ku, Battle, American and the Kvichak are guaranteed, as is quality home water in the event of poor flying conditions. Idyllically set overlooking a private lake, Royal Wolf features charming, rustic cabins with baths. Fine meals are served in the comfort of the main lodge. For the serious rainbow fly fishing enthusiast, Royal Wolf Lodge is without question one of the state’s premier destinations.
Expert Q&A with David Kalinowski
Top reasons to go
1. Royal Wolf Lodge owns and operates one of Alaska’s finest fleet of aircraft including the unique and nimble Helio Courier’s.
2. Royal Wolf’s location within the Katmai National Park allows for short flights to the most productive rainbow trout fisheries in the state.
3. The guide staff at Royal Wolf are very experienced and provide great instruction while sharing their vast knowledge of Alaska.
4. Royal Wolf Lodge has decades of experience operating in the bush and have built a lodge that offers true comfort.
5. Along with the incredible trophy trout waters, Katmai Park and its surroundings offer the world’s best bear viewing and scenic flights.
Where is the lodge?
Royal Wolf Lodge is located in the center of Katmai National Park on 120 acres of privately owned wilderness. It is approximately 2 hours from Anchorage by air.
How do I get there?
Guests arrive in Anchorage on Thursday and overnight at their elected accommodations. On Friday AM the lodge coordinates a charter flight to the lodge.
When should I go?
Each month offers something different. The guides at Royal Wolf are some of the most experienced in the state and can make any day a good day. My favorite times are June and September. For more information on the seasons of Alaska and what each region offers read more here.
Where do they fish?
All of the famous Katmai area rivers including the Moraine, American, Battle, Funnel among others. Add the mighty Kvichak and you have the fixings for some fantastic trophy trout fishing.
Where do we stay?
They accommodate 12-14 guests in tasteful cabins surrounding the main lodge. All cabins have heat, electric lights, private baths, comfortable beds and porches with benches.
What are the meals like?
Meals are at the highest level. Their entrees include fine steaks, crab and other tasty dishes.
How would you describe the general vibe and atmosphere?
The overall feel is relaxed and comfortable. The lodge staff is welcoming and very attentive. The guide staff are some of the best in the state.
Is there an on-site manager, owner or point person at the lodge?
Chris and Linda Branham own and operate Royal Wolf Lodge and are on site. Chris is the lead pilot and flies one of the unique and nimble Helio’s. They have decades of experience and take great care in showing guests the best experience possible. Leanna Stern is also highly involved in the guest services and is there to answer any questions and make your stay comfortable and enjoyable.
Is there internet and cell service?
The lodge does have wi-fi, but do not expect your cell phone to get service.
How do they fish?
Royal Wolf’s fishing program focuses on the trophy rainbow trout in the region. You may also catch Dolly Varden, grayling and a few sockeyes. The guides here are some of the most well versed and talented teachers in the state. From Spey casting to single handed techniques and everything in between they will be able to show you the best of Alaska.
What fish will I catch?
Rainbow trout will be the main target species, but anglers typically see Dolly Varden, grayling and sockeye salmon in good numbers.
Will we see other anglers?
Yes. With this said there are many smaller streams with limited access that Royal Wolf frequents that offer relative solitude. Their use of the Helio Courier aircraft allows access to areas that others cannot due to their quick lift. This along with the great knowledge of the area typically allows the guides and guests at Royal Wolf to leave the crowds behind if needed. With that said, some rivers are just too good not to visit and fish with others.
What are the guides like?
The guides here are very experienced and are some of the best in the state. With Dave Goodheart and Scott O’Donnell leading the way and having over 25 years each guiding in AK, they have trained and shared their incredible knowledge to their friendly and accommodating guide staff.
Is there wade fishing?
Yes, much of the fishing can be done while wading. If that is not too your liking the lodge will have you fishing other boat based systems.
How far is it to the fishing grounds?
From right down on the home river, which is a short walk from the lodge to about an hour flight away. The lodge has an immense menu from which to choose from.
Does the lodge provide equipment?
I encourage guests to bring their own waders and boots. Rods/reels can be supplied if needed and all the needed flies and terminal tackle.
What is your favorite rod(s) for the trip?
7 weight single handed rod for sink-tip lines and a good 6 weight for floating lines. In June, early July and September a spey rod in the 6 weight range is very handy.
Are there other activities?
There is bear viewing and each day the float plane rides are quite spectacular.
What are the physical demands?
Days can range from strenuous to easy. The lodge can accommodate any and all levels of fitness.
Dangers and annoyances?
The lodge is located in an area with a high density of brown bears. The guides and staff are well versed in how to fish around these furry friends. Mosquitoes can be abundant in the early season. Additionally there are risks associated with flying in small air crafts and boats.
Royal Wolf Lodge owns and operates one of Alaska’s finest fleet of aircraft including the unique and nimble Helio Courier’s.
Royal Wolf’s location within the Katmai National Park allows for short flights to the most productive rainbow trout fisheries in the state.
The guide staff at Royal Wolf are very experienced and provide great instruction while sharing their vast knowledge of Alaska.
Royal Wolf Lodge has decades of experience operating in the bush and have built a lodge that offers true comfort.
Along with the incredible trophy trout waters, Katmai Park and its surroundings offer the world’s best bear viewing and scenic flights.