Naknek River and Bristol Bay

20090824_2123 During June, shortly after the ice goes out, the sport fishing season in the Bristol Bay area opens. The first part of June is excellent for explosive rainbow Trout, Arctic Grayling, and Northern Pike.  There is plenty of excitement for anglers as the fish are aggressively feeding on migrating salmon smolt after a long winter with little food.  The mouth of the Naknek River acts like a funnel for the millions of baby salmon smolt that are migrating to Bristol Bay.  This provides an excellent feeding spot for the large rainbows of the Naknek River.

The mighty King salmon, the largest fish of the Pacific salmon family, begin to arrive in their native rivers about June 15.  Anglers visiting us at this time of the year will have a combination rainbow Trout and King salmon trip.  The Kings average between 20 and 30 pounds. We have three different rivers in which we fish for king salmon.  One of them is right in front of Alaska Sportsman’s Bear Trail Lodge on the Naknek River.  You will travel a short distance by boat from the lodge to fish for the kings or you can choose to fly out to fish one of our other rivers for kings if you wish.  The flights from the lodge are included in your package and your guides will help decide which river to go to.  King fishing stays good from June 15 through July 31.

During the end of June and through July, the Naknek River becomes the passageway for sockeye salmon to instinctively return to their spawning grounds.  Millions of sockeye pass right in front of the lodge, with as many as 20,000 fish per hour swimming by.  These fish are fresh in from the ocean, are dime bright, and put up a spectacular fight once hooked.  The bag limit for sockeye on the Naknek River is very generous.  Many people prefer the rich taste of the sockeye salmon’s deep red meat over any of the other salmon.

The next species to arrive to the Bristol Bay area streams are the silver, chum, and pink salmon.  These fish show up each summer around the last week of July.  Silver salmon fishing is very exciting and many anglers prefer silvers to all other salmon because of their hard strikes and many long runs with spectacular tail dances.  Chum salmon, although not prized like the kings, sockeye, and silvers, offer a very enjoyable sport fishing experience.  These fish average 15 pounds and put on a tremendous fight as they aggressively take a fly.  We generally catch and release these fish, but just as many anglers chase after bonefish for the pure excitement only to release the fish after landing it, these fish provide for a very exciting day of fishing.

By mid August and through October, rainbow Trout return to the Naknek to stock up for the long cold winter.  Although we have tremendous rainbow Trout fishing in many of the surrounding nearby streams of Katmai National Park throughout the entire summer, this is our “Trophy” time of the season on our home rivers.  The Naknek holds an abundance of 28 – 30 inch rainbows and each year we land quite a few fish in excess of 30”.  These prized fish will quicken your pulse as they make run after run as you try to land one.  They are pound for pound the best fighting sport fish in the world.  If you want to catch a true trophy rainbow Trout, you will want to be at our lodge in June or from mid-August through the end of October.

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