Bristol Bay has been long discerned a fabled fishing destination amongst legions of fly anglers. The region holds an innumerable amount of rivers and creeks to explore. Due to logistics, geography and fish counts, some locales receive more fishing pressure than others. There are handful of rivers that maintain legendary status amongst a certain few anglers no matter the circumstances. The Nushagak River is one of them. It’s mighty flows and herculean gravel bars provide a perfect spawning habitat to the largest migration of king salmon on the planet. Anglers from around the world infiltrate the numerous tent camps along the shoreline of this famed river every Alaskan summer. In its 280 mile trek from headwaters to the Bering Sea, the Nush flows through pure unadulterated Alaskan history. It’s river banks are home to multiple native villages and wildlife. On any given day, you can/will encounter bears, moose, wolves and even the elusive wolverine.
Amid the staff at Rapids Camp Lodge, the Nushagak maintains a special place in our hearts. For some it was their initiation to guiding in Bristol Bay. Literally thrown to the wolves as a rookie guide on a massive river full of braids, sloughs and shallow gravel bars. For other staff, the Nush was a gateway to maintain their addictive connection to the largest of the Pacific Salmon species. In recent years, guides and staff have found it to be a viable place to satisfy the desire to swing for kings using Spey rods. The vast size of the Nushagak, numerous gravel bars and pinch points actually make swinging flies with two handed rods a practicable method. 14’-15’ Spey rods combined with floating and intermediate skagit heads perfectly present flies to these noble anadromous fish. For us, it never gets old.
Each fishing day with the guides of Rapids Camp Lodge begins with a flight from our main lodge location on the Naknek River in one of our float planes. Upon arriving at our Nushagak outpost camp near Portage Creek, we board one of several of our own comfortable sleds to begin fishing immediately. Lunch can be done on the river or back at the outpost camp if inclement weather poses. Occasionally, if weather is cooperative we will do a traditional Alaskan shore lunch on one of the many gravel bars. There is no doubt that a day fishing the Nushagak River with us will leave a imperishable memory.
If you would like to plan a trip to swing flies with Spey rods on the Nushagak River or, if you already have a trip booked with Rapids Camp Lodge and would like more information in regards to equipment, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Any of us will be happy to help make your Nushagak experience the best that it can be.
Thanks for reading,
Head Guide Rapids Camp Lodge
How has fishing the smolt bust in naknek been this year? Still going?
What would be the prime weeks for fishing the smolt bust?
How is sockye fishing this year in naknek?
Appreciate your thoughts
Bryan Burke says
Fishing on the Naknek has been great this season, the sockeye run has been phenomenal. Thanks for being in touch, we hope you’re getting out on the water and having fun out there!