The Alaska West camp offers anglers the best of the Kanektok River, namely legendary main stem fly fishing for sea-bright king salmon, chum, and silvers, and willow-lined side channels teeming with wild leopard bows, char, and grayling.
The Kanektok river is by all standards a remarkably diverse fishery, perfectly suited to both single-hand and spey rod anglers. It offers one of Alaska’s best opportunities to target both king salmon and fresh silvers with the fly. High catch-rates, easy wading, and open backcasts are the norm. Alaska West is a large, luxurious tent camp set in the heart of the lower Kanektok river’s finest fly fishing water. Guests sleep in comfortable, double occupancy wall tents with carpeted floors, quality mattresses, heat and lighting. Hot showers, a large dining tent, a recreation tent, and a drying tent complete the scene. Anglers fish two per guide and move about the system in 18-foot jet boats.
Alaska West is located on the Kanektok River, five and a half miles from its mouth. It is 425 miles WSW from Anchorage, 75 miles due south of the hub village of Bethel and 190 miles WNW from Dillingham.
The Kanektok river is a fish factory. With runs of all five species of Pacific salmon, rainbow trout, Dolly Varden and grayling, the Kanektok river provides a great mix of quantity and variety. For those who haven’t experienced it, it’s simply a shock to see such a large biomass in a relatively small river.
Down river from the lodge is the larger water which includes long gravel bars where the king salmon hold and deep, snaggy channels where the big rainbows lay. The slow backwaters that are loaded with silver salmon and the tidewaters sections full of salmon that were in saltwater hours earlier. As you head upriver past the Alaska West camp, the Kanektok river makes a transition to smaller water, side channels and tributaries. These upriver sections allow hiking up side channels fly fishing for rainbows, and you can target salmon in smaller water. This makes for classic day-long drifts, fishing for ‘anything’ and working the extremely productive Dolly flats. This river, combined with the location, provides for incredible variety in a small area.
Alaska West utilizes 16 to 18 foot jet powered flat-bottomed Jon boats. They are equipped with bow and stern anchors, two swivel seats and life jackets. A cooler is on board to store lunches and drinks. The jet boats are used in several different ways. While fly fishing for salmon, you might fish from the boat. Anchoring up and swinging or stripping flies can be very effective. Fly fishing for trout can be done from the boats as well. Guides remove both seats and will row you down river ‘drift boat style’ while you cast. This method is a wonderful way to see the river and cover water. While fly fishing from the boat is fun, most anglers choose to fish from the wader-friendly gravel bars. This is where the jet boat shines! They can run over very shallow water and get you to many small side channels that can be hiked up and fly fished from shore with your guide. You may also use the boat for transportation downriver and wade the long gravel bars while swinging a fly with a two handed rod for chrome bright salmon.
Alaska West operates a fixed base tent lodge located in the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge, approximately five miles upriver from the Alaska native village of Quinhagak. It sits on the banks of the Kanektok River, in far western Alaska, along the coast of the Bering Sea. Quinhagak is a coastal community located in the southernmost reaches of Kuskokwim Bay.
The Togiak National Wildlife Refuge encompasses over four million acres of lands that the US government deemed appropriate to manage by the objectives set forth in the National Wildlife Refuge system’s directive. The goal of this directive is to, among other things, conserve fish and wildlife populations and habitats in their natural diversity. The refuges' northern border is the Yukon Delta National Wilderness Refuge. Its eastern border is the Wood Tikchik Lakes and Wood Tikchik State Park. The southern border is Bristol Bay and the western border runs 50 miles inland of Goodnews and Platinum until it bisects the Kuskokwim Bay coastline. Several villages fall within the refuge’s boundaries including Eek, Quinhagak, Platinum, Goodnews, Manokotak and Togiak. The refuge is mainly comprised of coastal flats, river flood plains and high tundra plains. Two mountain ranges run through the refuge-- the Kilbuck range and the Ahklun range. Both are heavily eroded by ice, wind and water, and their highest peaks are less than 4,500 feet high. The area is habitat to over 48 mammal species, 31 land-bound, including caribou, wolves, moose, brown and black bear, foxes, beaver, muskrats, minks, river otters, voles and porcupines. Seventeen marine mammals live in the refuge including sea lions, walruses and whales. Three main river drainages host all five species of Pacific salmon, rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, Arctic grayling, Arctic char and pike. Over 200 bird species nest in the refuge including golden and bald eagles, peregrine falcons, numerous species of waterfowl and shorebirds. Willow and cottonwood make up the scrub forests along the riverbanks and the tundra is flush with lichen, berries, dwarf trees and grasses. From the river the world looks lush with a short forest of spindly trees, bushes and grasses. Gain 15 feet of elevation and you can look out over the treetops and view a vast flat tundra plain pocked with innumerable ponds and lakes. These ponds and lakes run in every direction until they crash into the sea, bump into a mountain or drop into a river’s path.
Accommodations and Meals:
The Alaska West facility is a ‘tent lodge’. It is made up of a combination of permanent and semi-permanent structures. They are designed to combine comfortable living, eating and lounging areas situated right on top of a phenomenal river.
Dining Tent: The dining tent is a spacious 24’ x 60’ heated structure with wood floors and is always kept neat and clean. The kitchen has state of the art equipment such as gas ranges, convection oven, microwave, refrigerators and freezers. Please let us know if you have any specific dietary requirements.
Lounge Tent: The lounge is great place to relax after a full day of fishing. This large heated tent is furnished with comfortable chairs and tables. The refrigerator is filled with cold sodas, juices and mixers. Poker chips, cards, board games, dart board, magazines, books, map board, telephone, satellite television and an online camp computer complete the lounge and are available to guests. A fly tying bench, with a limited supply of fly tying materials and vises is also available. Serious tiers are advised to bring their own vise and tools.
Drying Tent: After returning from your day’s fishing adventure this tent serves as a place for you to hang your wet waders, coats, boots and anything else you don’t want wet or dirty in your sleeping quarters. The tent’s heater is lit every night to ensure that your things are nice and dry by morning.
Gazebo/Viewing Deck: This split-level wood structure is located close to the dining and lounge tents and has a great river view. The bottom area is open aired and enclosed with fine mesh bug screen. This is a great place to sit and enjoy the midnight sun without being bothered by our little biting buddies. Bring your camera to the upper viewing deck as the sunsets can be breathtaking!
Showers and Restrooms/Outhouses: Showers have hot and cold running water with a sink basin and chair. They are cleaned daily. The restrooms are indeed outhouses. They too are cleaned daily and they are strategically located near your tent cabin.
Tent Cabins/Sleeping Quarters: Your heated tent cabin is furnished with two single beds with full bedding and pillow, clean shower linens, nightstand, hang-down bug net, lantern, carpeted floor and clothes hangers. The housekeeping staff will come through daily to make beds, empty trash and tidy up to ensure your new home stays neat and clean.
Day 1: Arrive in Anchorage and overnight at your elected accommodations (arranged independently, not included in package).
Day 2: Take a cab or shuttle to your charter flight. (Charter flight is pre-arranged and is an additional cost). In Quinhagak, you will be met by members of the Alaska West staff and transported by jet boat (approximately 25 minutes) upstream to the camp. Anglers will typically arrive at Alaska West between 4:00 PM and 5:00 PM. After arrival you will have time to get settled and prepare your gear for the following days of fishing.
Days 3-8: Six full days of guided fishing.
Day 9: On your departure day you will have breakfast and then be transported by jet boat to Quinhagak. You will depart Quinhagak at approximately 1:30 PM and arrive in Anchorage approximately 3:00 PM.
Note: Please book your flight home after 5:00 PM on this day or conversely you can overnight in Anchorage and depart the following day (independently arranged, not included).
"The fishing focus of Alaska West is exemplified by our first day. We arrived at camp at 3:00 PM expecting fishing to start the next day. We were in the process of unpacking, when a guide ran up to us and said "Get on your waders. Dinner isn't for 4 hours. You're here to fish aren't you?'" B.W., CO
2019 Rate: $6,395 plus estimated $850 round trip charter flight per person for a 7 night/6 day package
Included: Accommodations and meals at the lodge, guided fishing, limited selection of flies and/or terminal tackle, transportation between Quinhagak and the lodge.
Not Included: Round trip airfare to Anchorage, accommodations and meals in Anchorage, alcohol, staff and guide gratuities.
Note: A limited amount of loaner equipment is available and may be reserved in advance.
Species: Rainbow trout, five species of salmon, char, grayling
Season: June to September
Capacity: 18 anglers
Map: Quinhagak, AK