The most legendary Alaskan fish, the King Salmon or Chinook Salmon, is coveted by anglers worldwide. Their extraordinary size (20-40lbs in Bristol Bay rivers) often makes them the largest fish an angler has ever wrestled. They challenge the sportsman by fighting hard with powerful runs, cartwheeling jumps, and immense power to break line or even straighten hooks. Equipped with fat to help them through the long spawning process, their oily meat satisfies many palates. With King Salmon in decline across the country, we encourage anglers to keep only what they will eat, choosing the prevalent sockeye salmon to share with their friends and families.
Where and When do we target King Salmon?
There are many rivers in our area that hold fishable populations of King Salmon. Kings enter the rivers as early as late May, and they continue running until the first week of August. We target these fish from the third week of June until the end of July.
Mid June – 1st Week of July: Nushagak River
From mid June through the first week of July, we operate from a base camp on the lower Nushagak River near Portage Creek. This is a very popular fishing destination where many tent camps and a few lodges are located. Its popularity due to between 50,000 and 100,000 chinook salmon will move through the lower Nushagak during this three week period. Double digit hookups are the norm for most anglers on these typical years. Most days we fish trolling spinners, dragging bait, or pulling plugs, but the Nushagak can be one of western Alaska’s best places to catch a king on a swung fly. We encourage (and teach) the use of spey rods and ensure our reels are loaded with backing since the big water- big fish combination can empty a spool before you know it!
Anglers fishing with us on the Nushagak will fly in via float plane and land at our camp or we meet them at the strip at Portage Creek where a wheel plane lands. Fishing is done from one of our two 21′ Willie Raptor sleds accommodating up to 4 anglers per boat. If anglers choose to keep a salmon, we offer complementary fish processing including vacuum sealing back at our our camp.
Week 2, 3, and 4 of July: the Naknek River
The Naknek has a great run of king salmon, and though the numbers aren’t as large as the Nushagak, the catch rate will rival and beat most Alaskan streams. The nice thing about the Naknek in July, is often time we can combine a day of king fishing in the tidal reach with sockeye fishing in the upper river.