There is no denying that the self-contained, down river float trip remains the ultimate wilderness angling experience. Here, in the deafening silence of the Alaskan bush, the only sounds are those of the elements, the animals, and the gentle dipping of oars. The only curfew on one’s angling exploits are set by stamina, as the waters you have come to fish are never more than a few yards away and the days are nearly endless.
The list of available rivers is as impressive and diverse as the fisheries themselves. The Kwethluk, Goodnews, American, Alagnak, Koktuli, and Lake Creek are among Alaska’s finest rivers, as are the outfitters we use to float them. Whether you are interested in a five day float targeting trophy rainbows or an epic 100-mile wilderness float targeting multiple species of salmon and everything else that inhabits these unspoiled systems, we can organize a trip that will fit your party’s specific needs.
All floats include fine meals, comfortable tents, experienced guides, and emergency communications should they ever be needed. Travel logistics, rates, and prime dates vary according to elected systems and group objectives.
ALASKA FLOAT TRIPS RIVERS
American Creek -
Flowing from Hamersley lake in Katmai National Preserve Alaska, American Creek starts out on this on a high plateau then flows through a long, inaccessible canyon on its way to Lake Colville. The upper section just below the outlet of Hamersley Lake is a spectacular setting, and can provide some outstanding fly-fishing both early and late in the season. It is said that the finest Alaska rainbow trout dry fly fishing in the state can be had on this stretch of water.
While American creek is for the most part an easy to wade, smaller stream, it does have some challenging white water at times as well as rock gardens and sweepers. Twisting and turning American creek Alaska can be challenging and you can expect the rafts to get hung on rocks and other obstacles, you will likely have to assist your guides in getting the boat moving again, even helping portage boats and gear around log jams so we can get on down the creek to that next great fishing spot. Only those in good physical condition should consider attempting this adventure.
Alagnak River - The Alagnak river has a long history of being 'the river to float' for trophy rainbow trout fishing in Alaska. It's clear waters host some of the largest runs of pacific salmon in the world as well as a healthy population of Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden. Flowing through a canyon, open tundra and lowland forest, the river is home to a variety of wildlife. Brown bear are abundant and moose, caribou, wolves, peregrine falcons and eagles may also be seen. Alaska's Alagnak River offers one of the most diverse fishing experiences available in the state, from spectacular fly fishing in the braids to casting in the deeper runs of the lower river for kings or silvers, this is a premiere Alaskan fly fishing stream.
Moraine Creek - Moraine Creek is also among the best locations to view, photograph and admire Alaska's magnificent brown bear in their natural habitat. In fact, many folks actually travel to Alaska and Moraine Creek just for the bear viewing and photography opportunities. That said, Moraine Creek also is a "World Class" fly fishing destination for anglers looking to catch what could be a 30 inch plus and over ten pound rainbow trout, and for many, that is once in a lifetime fish. It is no wonder that the best Alaska bear viewing of the year co-insides with the best fishing. In some years, over two million sockeye salmon can return to the watershed that Moraine Creek is a part of. This remarkable influx of high protein and fat rich salmon is why Alaska's brown bears are here. Salmon is the perfect food source for the bears, who need to pack on the many pounds necessary to make it through an Alaskan winter. The same goes for the Alaska's wild rainbows as they grow to world class trophy size while gorging themselves on salmon roe.
Lake Creek - Alaska Rainbow Adventures offers week-long, professionally guided, Alaska float trips. rafting the entire sixty mile length of Lake Creek. Explore wild and scenic Alaska viewing wildlife, exceptional scenery and angling for chinook and sockeye salmon during the peak period of their run up Lake Creek. Anglers will also have the opportunity for heavily spotted rainbow trout and the sailfish of the north, the Arctic grayling. Comfortable camps and excellent meals are a feature of this special trip.
This relatively small yet scenic whitewater river flows from its headwaters at Chelatna Lake to its confluence with the Yentna River. Lake Creek is one of south-central Alaska’s most famous streams. Besides the spectacular beauty, there are fun and exciting boulder gardens to float through, wildlife to see and very good fishing for all five Pacific salmon species, Arctic grayling and some of Alaska's most beautifully spotted wild rainbow trout that you and your group can find.
Talachulitna River - The Talachulitna River flows in a southerly direction out of Judd lake and then turns northerly for 65 miles before joining the Skwentna River. The float starts off on the diminutive Talachulitna Creek, the upper portion of which is a very narrow, clear and swift moving and lined with spruce forests also features good rainbow trout and Dolly Varden fishing. You will likely see some salmon here as well depending on when you schedule your trip. This is also an non-motorized portion of the river system most of the season. When Tal creek enters the Talachulitna River, the stream flow slows considerably, but the fishing actually improves. The Talachulitna's many tail out pools, eddies and gravel spawning beds giving the rainbows places to congregate and the forks are about as far as many salmon travel in their journey up the Talachulita river. You will then proceed over the next several days to float through some fun white water and canyons, camping on the numerous gravel bars on the edge of the forests of the Talachulitna River itself.
Koktuli River - The Koktuli River itself has historically been known for its consistent and healthy population of salmon. Also available are rainbow trout, grayling, as well as the occasional northern pike and lake trout.
Your trip originates in Iliamna where you depart via float plane for a small pothole lake that is the jumping off point for our Koktuli trips. After a short 2/3 of a mile hike from the drop off at the lake you will find yourself standing on the banks of this unsullied treasure of a waterway. At this point you can break out the rods and begin your pursuit of piscatorial pleasures as your guides put the finishing touches on the the last preparations necessary to begin the float. Once the trip begins we strive to follow a standard routine, however we also acknowledge that when dealing with remote Alaska sometimes a schedule is more of a "guideline" as opposed to a rule.
Togiak River - Alaska's fish filled Togiak River flows some 60 miles from Togiak lake to Togiak Bay and is a popular river for all five Pacific salmon. Rising on the western slopes of the Wood River Mountains, the Togiak drains the southeastern quadrant of the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge. With 4.2 million acres, the refuge is about the same size as Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. It is a wilderness area of craggy mountains, broad river valleys and wildlife. While it is easy to be distracted by the scenery, try not to do so when your drag’s screaming, your rod’s bent to the breaking point and you are rapidly running out of line. That’s king salmon fishing and just one of the reasons the Togiak is one of our favorite Alaskan wilderness rivers!
The Togiak river is also noted as being arguably the best river in Alaska for it's spectacular silver salmon angling with some of the largest coho's you will find on a floatable river in Alaska as well as the most consistent returns as far as run strength. You will also find available are 'large' resident rainbow trout, Arctic char, Dolly Varden and grayling all while you are surrounded by some of the most beautiful country in Southwest Alaska.
Goodnews River - The Goodnews River is located in southwestern Alaska, and flows out of the Ahklun mountains some fifty five miles from where it empties into Kuskokwim Bay, near the Alaska native villages of Goodnews Bay and Platinum.
The Goodnews River actually consists of several forks, the South, Middle and North forks, the latter two offering access for our float trips and can be considered as different waters as they join up within a just few miles of the ocean. The upper portion is within the Togiak Refuge Wilderness area and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service regulates commercial float trips on the river and the special use permit awarded to Alaska Rainbow Adventures allow us to offer you float trips during the prime fishing dates for a Goodnews river float fishing trip.
A Goodnews River float offers excellent numbers of the mighty chinook in early July, a salmon slam at midsummer, silver salmon in the fall as well as Arctic char and the truly beautiful leopard rainbows.
Kwethluk River - Beginning at the portage from Boundary Lake, in the Kilbuck Mountains, the Kwethluk meanders as a narrow, winding river that more resembles a creek for the first few days of the float trip. From the first days campsite at the put-in, fishing for leopard rainbows and Arctic grayling is fast and furious, and only gets better as the days progress. The myriad of side channels and beaver lodges and dams provide for excellent structure in which these fish thrive. Nymphs, dries, and streamers all produce fish with equal success, and allow for a great variety of opportunities. Attention is required, because with all that wood in the water and along the banks, catching the prolific “Wood Trout” can become a frustratingly regular occurrence.
As the float trip progresses along the bases of soaring peaks with apt names like Elbow, Three Step, and Breast Mountain, the Kwethluk begins to deepen and broaden out into a more typical Western Alaska River. Channel selections are fast and frequent as our guides try to keep the raft on the fish and out of the sweepers and strainers. Along this stretch the size class of the Rainbows notably increases, and we begin encountering (depending on the timing of the trip) salmon.
The Kwethluk is a long float, and for very good reasons. You simply don’t rush through over 100 miles of spectacular Alaskan fishing. This is a river for experienced anglers looking for a true adventure.
Alaska Float Trips Accommodations and Meals:
As you work your way down river through incredibly beautiful and varied terrain, comfortable camps are set up on the river bank. Alaska Rainbow Adventures offers three levels of service on their float trips, "Fisherman's Deluxe", "Fisherman's Standard" or an "Intimate River's" trip. Options will be dependent on the river and what level of service you wish to have. Accommodations on the Fisherman's standard & fisherman's deluxe river trips are in spacious tents with cots & chairs. Each of these tents is used to house two anglers and provide you with ample space for your gear, as well as a comfortable retreat should the weather become inclement. Spacious dining tents are also featured on the deluxe trips for those times when the weather may be inclement or the bugs are out. Note that our intimate rivers trips offer less of these deluxe comforts including the use of smaller tents, a different dining tent, we leave behind the shower, boat seats, etc. What is included is dependent on the particular trip you have chosen, gear availability, what we can safely carry in aircraft or rafts as well as what the access to the river is as some trips may involve portages. Please ask for details on your particular trip if picking the intimate rivers trip option.
Meals are served home style and offer generous portions of traditional entrees prepared with choice cuts of meat and fresh fish. These come with all the trimmings. A hearty lunch is prepared on the bank midday. We suggest that you purchase and bring along your favorite snacks for those between meal cravings that you may have as you alone are best able to judge if this will be necessary. You are invited to make menu suggestions for your trip and we will try to accommodate them whenever possible. We recommend you drink only filtered water, which we will provide throughout the trip.
Alaska Float Trips Climate:
Early June can be a surprising time in the Bristol Bay region as normal daytime temperatures range from low 40's on a cloudy/ rainy day to mid 60's on a sunny day.
Nights are variable, with some dropping into the mid 30's, especially at elevation. In July we usually sees nice summer weather in July as the water clears and water drops to normal summer flows. Fall brings mild weather, but don't be fooled. Count on stormy periods with rain, wind, and cool temperatures, especially near the end of August and early September.
Nighttime temperatures can drop to 32° Fahrenheit or below by mid-September. By late September chilly nighttime temperatures are offset by the fine, sunny days, and early fall anglers often agree that there's no better time to be in Bristol Bay. Be sure to come prepared with top-quality rain gear.
Note: Storms or extended rainy periods may cause river levels to change rapidly.
Early October brings increasingly colder temperatures, often combined with strong winds, foggy periods, and rain and possibly even snow. All said however there are many fine sunny days through the season that are all that more special to anglers that fish Alaska in the fall. Just keep in mind that Alaska has unpredictable weather...it is good to always come prepared. You will encounter some biting insects such as mosquitoes, no see ums, and white sox, but typically a light coating of insect repellent is enough to keep them off. On the river, where there is usually a light breeze, you should hardly notice them. If the weather is perfect for bugs, sometimes a head net is nice to have.
2020 Rates: $4,195 - $6,295 per person depending on duration and location
Included: Round trip float plane flights to/from departure points, on river accommodations and meals/beverages, guide services
Not Included: Round trip airfare to Bethel, accommodations and meals in Anchorage and Bethel, alcohol, staff and guide gratuities, fishing license, synthetic sleeping bag and pad
Note: If you require rods and reels, the outfitter can arrange upon request
Species: Pacific salmon, rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, char, grayling
Season: June to September
Capacity: 2 to 8 anglers