Describing a place as unique and special as Fishing Bear Lodge is anything but easy. At its core this modest and endearing family run Alaskan lodge offers its guests just the right amount of “roughing it” and an opportunity to experience a remarkable diversity of true wilderness fly fishing.
Backed up against the surreal spires of the Wind River range, right in the heart of southwest Alaska’s 1.6 million acre Wood-Tikchik State Park, Fishing Bear employs jet boats to fly fish a host of seldom seen small streams for hearty rainbows, abundant Arctic char and large surface oriented grayling. In addition to these smaller “under the radar" stealth systems, guests can enjoy late night trophy rainbow fly fishing sessions on the renowned Agulapak. For dry fly enthusiasts, lovers of solitude and exceptional scenery, or families in search of adventure and a rewarding introduction to the wonders of wilderness fly fishing, this is a place you will want to visit more than once.
Fishing Bear Lodge is located in southwest Alaska, due west of Dillingham.
Fishing Bear is located at the mouth of Alaska's Peace River in the center of the Wood-Tikchik State Park. This park was created in 1978 to enhance and protect the area's naturally rich prolific fish and wildlife breeding and support systems and the regions vast and pristine wilderness character. Named for its watershed systems of large, clear, interconnected lakes and rivers, the area spans a unique variety of terrain and vegetative zones and is renowned for its diverse beauty. The lakes vary in length from 15 to 45 miles, each fed by numerous streams and interconnected by clear flowing world-class fly fishing rivers. Spired peaks, high alpine valleys, waterfalls, hanging glaciers and great glacial scoured mountains make the scenery at Fishing Bear and the western reaches of the lakes some of the most magnificent on earth. Freshwater fish are prolific throughout the area. Rainbow trout, Arctic char, Dolly Varden, grayling, whitefish and northern pike abound in the lakes and interconnected rivers. An average of 1.3 million sockeye salmon spawn in the system each year.
A typical day on the water...
Each morning after a hearty breakfast, you and a fly fishing partner will set out with your experienced guide (one guide for every two anglers) via your guided jet boat for a full day of adventure and fly fishing. Fishing Bear will customize each day the way YOU want to fish. They combine 22 years of experience and intimate knowledge of the area with your desires. You will jet boat from river to river and through the interconnected lake system to various streams throughout the heart of the Park to fly fish select locations.
Your fly fishing options are unlimited, as you will be fishing the most diverse freshwater system of rivers, lakes and streams in all of Alaska! Once you've flown via float plane to the Fishing Bear Lodge location, daily fly-outs are not required, so every day is a fishing day, regardless of the weather. You even have great fishing within 100 feet of your waterfront guest cabin. From the late July to early October, Fishing Bear Lodge has Alaska's most diverse fly fishing. During each day you are apt to fish dry fly, streamer and nymph patterns depending on seasonal variations, weather, temperatures, cloud cover, etc...the choices dependent on insect development, salmon fry or sculpin movement, spawn activity, etc...matching the fish feeding habits of the moment.
After a good day of fishing there is still the best part of the day, the evenings. While some evenings are spent enjoying a beautiful chef prepared dinner at the lodge, other evenings you will enjoy an incredible shoreline dinner, hot off the riverside grill. Their goal is for you to catch a lot fish and have an amazing time. So if you are willing, we encourage you to stay out on the river. They will guide you several evenings during your stay to fish those magical evening hatches and rises that occur on our rivers during July and August.
For wild, native rainbow trout we fish four spectacular Alaska rivers and several streams. The rainbow trout fly fishing is generally good from the early July through October. July through the end of August is our peak dry fly fishing. From the end of August through the third week in September, the rainbows are concentrating on the salmon spawn. From the last week in September through October the salmon spawn is finished and the rainbow return to aggressively taking insect and streamer patterns. The average size of fish generally ranges from 18 to 24 inches.
Arctic char fishing is exceptional during July when they are voraciously feeding on the salmon fry and smolt as they migrate down the Alaska river systems. Through the summer, char are available but not in the abundant numbers that they are in the spring and fall. From mid-August through October, the char are abundant and like the rainbows, are concentrating on the salmon spawn. The average size of fish generally ranges from 16 to 26 inches.
These beautiful fish with the large dorsal fin "sail" and vivid iridescent colors are abundant in these rivers and streams, which are some of the most beautiful in the region. Grayling readily take a dry fly or nymph pattern and are exceptionally fun to sight cast to in small crystal clear streams. Grayling are generally abundant throughout the season. A light weight 1-3 wt. rod makes a day of grayling fishing one of the most gratifying and fun days of fly fishing in Alaska you will ever experience with a light fly rod. There are large grayling in this region with the average fish being 16 to 18 inches with fish up to 22 inches possible.
In the shallow bays and weed beds of our lakes in this Alaska fly fishing region we have some exceptionally exciting northern pike fishing. If you have ever tried "piking", it is a lot of fun. These fish are explosive when taking a fly and most guests ask to fish for pike again after trying it the first time.
Beginning the last days in June, an average of 1.5 million sockeye salmon begin their annual spawning migration from the ocean to their spawning beds throughout the Alaska river and lake system. During the month of July, the fly fishing for fresh Sockeye in Alaska is excellent. These fish are 6 to 12 pounds, and pound for pound, are as strong, wild and exciting as any fish in North America. A quality 7-8 wt. rod is perfect with a matching reel with a good drag system. These fish are wild and spend a lot of their time giving you an incredible out of the water acrobatic aerial display while you are trying to catch up with your line.
Accommodations and Meals:
Fishing Bear Lodge, hand built by its owners, is a small family operated fly-in lodge catering to a maximum of eight guests per week. Their unique wilderness location is in the Wood-Tikchik State Park and gives its guests unparalleled access and opportunity to share in Alaska's most diverse river and stream fly fishing.
Their main dining lodge has an atmosphere of relaxed, friendly comfort. During your stay the place is yours to enjoy. Out on the front deck you can relax, visit and share tales of adventure. Inside a variety of teas and coffee are always available to go with some of Alaska’s best homemade cookies. You can enjoy the cozy warmth of the woodstove while reading, tying flies, or visiting.
Your comfortable personal waterfront sleeping cabin is built of spruce and cedar. Cabins have propane lights and heat. Cabins have two single beds with warm cover blankets, chairs, table, clothing shelves, art work, decorative candles and floor rugs. The individual bathrooms have flush toilets with a sink and mirror. The shower house has an endless supply of on demand hot water for a great shower after an incredible day of adventure. Cover blankets and pillows are provided. If you would like additional padding for your bed, please ask the lodge.
**Note: Anglers need to bring their own sleeping bag (or sheets) and towels.
Each day begins with a hearty breakfast. For the noon day meal you will be out on a river or stream each day. You will take a break from your busy fishing schedule to enjoy the beauty of our surroundings and enjoy a delicious shore lunch.
Fishing Bear Lodge has the tradition of providing incredible dining fare. All meat entrees are prepared on the outdoor grill nightly. Superb fresh salads and homemade breads are served with every dinner along with a variety of side dishes and desserts. Shore dinners will be quick and served out on the river during several evenings. Nothing tastes better than a hot shore dinner at about 6:00 PM with more hours of late evening dry fly fishing to go for big rainbows!
Day 1: Arrive Dillingham and overnight at your elected accommodations (independently arranged, not included).
Day 2: Take your scenic charter float plane flight from Dillingham to the lodge (arranged by lodge, not included in package). Upon your arrival at Fishing Bear Lodge, you will move into your waterfront cabin and then head out for a full day of guided fishing.
Days 3-7: Five full days of guided fishing.
Day 8: After breakfast you will have time to finish packing your gear. Depart lodge in the morning for your charter flight to Dillingham and beyond.
**Note: There is typically a flight that departs Dillingham mid-afternoon which would be a good departure as you begin the return portion of your trip. Please do not book your departure flight prior to 12:30 PM.