ALASKA FISH & FLOAT
ALASKA FISH & FLOAT
If you are the adventurous type of outdoorsman that has always wanted to experience an Alaska fishing experience either on your own or with a guide; a week floating down some of Alaska’s legendary rivers will more than fit the bill. If what you want is a glam camp experience, go somewhere else as there are many other lodges that will be more than happy to take your money, but if you want a true adventure that harkens back to the last century when Alaska fishing was just being explored, then let Alaska Rafting Adventures plan and outfit your trip.
Alaska Rafting Adventures offers guided and non-guided rafting and float trips that are based on the same level of excellence as offered by the fly-out program at their sibling, Rainbow River Lodge. Whether you float with a guide or go it on your own, Alaska Rafting Adventures will outfit you with the finest equipment, boats and wilderness tested camp gear that is available. If you opt for a guided trip, they will not only get you on to fish, but are true outdoorsmen with years of experience dealing with the harsh Alaska wilderness. The float trips take place in the heart of South West Alaska, offering the finest Salmon and Rainbow fly fishing in state. The trips stay out on the river the whole duration stopping at key points to set up camp and fish in the many rivers and lakes of the Iliamna region.
The Copper River provides a beautiful setting and the summer weather is perfect for Alaska fly fishing trips. You bring your fishing gear and food, they provide everything else including plane rides, rafts, tents, camping/cooking gear, etc. The comfort of home and the beauty of the Copper River await, not to mention the huge Rainbow Trout from which the Copper River got its nickname (Rainbow River) many years ago. No worries about the water being too rough, the rapids on the Copper River are only class 2.
If you’ve never been on a fishing trip to Alaska before, be forewarned that after spending a week there, one never goes all the way back home. You will never lose the compelling urge to return for another Alaska fly fishing trip on the Copper River.
At a Glance
Location: Southwest Alaska
Time of Year: June – September
Lodge Capacity: Float trips can accommodate from 2-9 anglers
Nearest Airport: Anchorage AK, Iliamna AK
Documents Required: Alaska Sport Fishing License (can be purchased at the lodge) Additional Licenses required for King Salmon (also available for purchase at the lodge)
Float trips average 35 to 45 miles long. Longer and shorter trips can be arranged. You need 5-7 days to complete most of the Iliamna Region Rivers comfortably. Floats can be guided or unguided. The trips stay out on the river the entire time, stopping at key points to set up camp and fish the many rivers and lakes of the Iliamna Region. The primary purpose of these trips is for fly fishing, although there is great adventure involved with the fish & float trip program.
A river guide is always a good idea while in the wilds of Alaska. If you have good experience on the oars, are in good health and feel adventurous you may opt for a self-guided trip. Self-guided trips are the ultimate in adventure. This is a lot more than just a fishing experience. However, a river guide can provide an extra margin of safety while navigating the rivers, understanding of the fishery, handling “bear situations” and setting up camp along the river.
Floats can accommodate groups from 2 - 9 anglers. Based on what you want to experience when fishing and what level of experience you have rafting, the lodge will select a river and location for you to float. You have over six different Alaska River Floats to choose from including, Alagnak River, River X, Chili River, Kokatuli River, Moraine River and Mulchatna River. Within these Alaskan rivers there are some with class III to IV rapids and others that are nothing but riffles and long runs. The average drift length of our guided river floats is 30-40 miles although longer and shorter drifts may be arranged.
The difficulty of the rivers are as follows. This is based on a 1-5 ranking with 5 being very difficult. This takes into consideration rapids, technical water and potential log jams:
Alagnak River - 2
River X - 4
Chili - 3
Kokatuli - 3
Moraine - 2
Mulchatna - 3
Best Time to Visit
This is answered best in what you would like to experience in Alaska. Each month offers a unique experience for a Fly Fishing Float Trip in Alaska. Some months will be better for Salmon fishing while other will be better for Rainbow, Dollies, Grayling and Pike. All five species of Pacific Salmon available to our fly fishermen. The Alagnak and Copper Rivers have a unique and different schedule for the return of these salmon. We will put you on the river that offers exactly what you would like to experience while fishing or floating these beautiful Alaskan Rivers.
The River X and Moraine River have been designated fly fishing only rivers. The others are restricted to single hook barbless artificials only. Again the time of the year will dictate the style of fishing.
In June and July we will be casting 5-8 weight rods for rainbows. The fishing is like what you would expect in western rivers of the lower 48. Dry flies will consist of caddis, stimulators and midges. Smolt patterns, leaches, stones and midge larva will also be fished regularly.
In August and September we transition over to fishing egg pattern, leaches and flesh flies. However, there is the rare occasion of needing some dries and stones along as well. For chasing salmon you will need an 8-10 weight rod. We fish a lot of string leaches, spun marabou flies and anything else that is big, heavy and ugly! The only exception is with sockeye salmon. Sockeye like a sparsely tied fly that is not so intrusive.
Best Fly Fishing Seasons
This is answered best in what you would like to experience in Alaska. Each month offers a unique experience for a Fly Fishing Float Trip in Alaska. Some months will be better for Salmon fishing while other will be better for Rainbow, Dollies, Grayling and Pike.
All five species of Pacific Salmon available to our fly fishermen. The Alagnak and Copper Rivers have a unique and different schedule for the return of these salmon. We will put you on the river that offers exactly what you would like to experience while fishing or floating these beautiful Alaskan Rivers.
We use a 14' self-bailing NRS raft for all trips. We will provide all top of the line equipment needed while on one of our float trips. Because you will be floating a river with large self-bailing rafts that can handle big loads, you will be able to enjoy some luxury items that you wouldn’t have along on your typical backpacking trip, but it’s advised to pack like as though you are going backpacking, using a similar clothing and layering system and lightweight personal items. You are limited to 75 pounds of gear/person. This includes fishing gear, clothes and food - basically the items that we don’t provide. It is very easy to stay within this weight.
What Alaska River Adventures Provides:
self-inflating air pads
handheld VHF radio for communication with aircraft.
For the rafts, we provide:
good “fishing vest style” life jackets
What You Provide:
fishing license *
fishing gear **
Iliamna is 195 miles southwest of Anchorage. Therefore, we recommend that you fly to
Anchorage the day before and stay in a hotel for the night. Once you arrive in Anchorage,
a flight to Iliamna can be arranged for you via private charter operated by Lake Clark Air.
This flight is not included in the package. The flight to Iliamna has a 75 pounds per
person weight limit; this includes fishing gear, clothing and food. Rates vary each season
but are approximately $500 per person.
The following day (Sunday) your Lake Clark Air flight will depart at 10 AM for a one-
hour flight to Iliamna. Once there, you will be met by Chad Hewitt and board floatplanes,
which will transport you to Rainbow River Lodge to gear up. After gear is loaded on the plane you will enjoy lunch at the lodge. Any extra gear/luggage will be stored. Then fly out to the selected river to begin the float that afternoon on most fly outs. Your return trip to Anchorage from iliamna will take place at 12 pm the following Sunday. More detailed information will be available in the Pre-Trip document you will receive prior to departing on your adventure.
(Rates are based on double occupancy)
Self-Guided Trip: One week self-guided trip is $2,200 per person for a group of two or more.
Guided Trip: One week guided trip is $4,200 per person for a group of two or more.