Take a Trip to the Alagnak River

February 12, 2019
Stephanie Duns

The Alagnak River has a long history of being one of Alaska’s legendary fishing destinations. For decades, the spot has drawn the attention of anglers because of the wide variety of salmon and trout that pass through the stream during the summer runs. It's a premier fishing spot that’s fun to fish, because of how much action you can get in a day, and the quality of the fish is excellent.

alagnak river

The waters are more navigable than other rivers, so different spots can be accessed to target different species with relative ease. One of the reasons anglers love the Alagnak River is for the wading. Many parts of the river are shallow and not too fast, which are ideal conditions for fly fishing. You can also traverse the waters by way of raft, canoe, or motorboat, given that the river is not too choppy and has few rapids.

The fishing here is top-tier thanks in part to how accommodating the river is to the numerous species that inhabit it. The Alagnak features many places for spawning, as well as holding, where the salmon and trout are happy to be stationary and feed. This draws many fish to different pockets along the river. The great thing about fishing where they hold is they are quicker to catch because they are ready to take to a lure. Many visitors are able to hit the 50 mark in a single day by targeting these areas.

alagnak river fishing in alaska

The area around the river exhibits a natural beauty that is rare to find, and well preserved. The river flows from the adjacent Katmai National Park. The park was originally founded in response to volcanic eruptions dating back to 1918. More recently, the park helps to ensure the continued protection of wildlife that thrives in the forest, terrain, and rivers. One of the interesting outcomes of protecting the area is the significant bear population that can frequently be seen enjoying the spoils of the salmon run.

alagnak river wildlife

Let’s Dive into the Fishing

The Alagnak River is a stretch of water that is extremely accommodating to salmon, trout, and a variety of other species. During the summer, different species travel up the Alagnak from the ocean to spawn. The river is known for excellent Rainbow Trout, Alaskan King Salmon, Alaskan Silver Salmon, Sockeye Salmon, and Chum Salmon.

alagnak river fishing in alaska

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout is the most popular species for anglers in Southwest Alaska. The Alaskan Rainbow Trout have more fight than any other in the trout family that are found in the contiguous US. Typically sized between one to two feet, they are pound for pound the most powerful trout. The season opens on June 8th, and a popular spot for them is the Alagnak River Braids.

alaskan rainbow trout fishing

Alaskan King Salmon

The Alaskan King Salmon is the largest of the Pacific Salmon species. They range from 15 pounds, up to 60 pounds, and they use their size to put up quite the fight. Alaskan King Salmon fishing is a unique experience, with a fight you won't soon forget. The season begins in mid June and lasts for three weeks. Fishing is best on the nearby Nushagak River.

alaskan king salmon fishing

Alaskan Silver Salmon

Alaskan Silver Salmon are known for their willingness to chase a fly, and their flying ability when they fight. They're one of the most aggressive fish you'll find and move at lightning fast speeds through the water and air. Peak season is in August, and large Silvers can be found in the Alagnak River Braids.

alaskan silver salmon fishing

Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye Salmon fishing on the Alagnak River is characterized by impressive runs during the month of July. They are a migratory fish, so they are targeted during their travel through the tidewater. The Sockeye run occurs during the month of July, and are best targeted in the shallows of the river.

alaskan sockeye salmon fishing

Chum Salmon

Chum Salmon are often overlooked in Alaska, taking a lower place to the other sought after species found here in the Alagnak River. However, those who target these low-key fighters know the fight they put up is even greater than their more popular counterparts. Sometimes compared and mistaken for Silver Salmon, Chum are chrome bright and weigh in at around 10 pounds, and are most abundant in the river during their runs in July. The best time for Chum is from mid July to mid August.

alaskan chum salmon fishing

Featured Lodge

We're proud to feature an amazing lodge that offers some of the best remote fishing that can be found anywhere in the world. Angler's Alibi is not only situated on one of the best rivers in Alaska, their prime location on the Alagnak River Tidewater makes them the lodge with the best access for fishing from morning to night. Their location is fully remote, and can only be reached by float plane. Once here, you’ll be surrounded only by the river, trees, and endless sunshine.

angler's alibi camp in alaska

The accommodations feature private canvas tent cabins, and a central lodge with a grand dining table. Angler’s Alibi’s hospitality shows with their top tier dining and catering; a full breakfast menu, custom sandwiches for lunch on the river, a cocktail hour, freshly caught dinners, after dinner deserts, and coffee are all part of the daily itinerary.

angler's alibi dining hall in alaska

With only a dozen guests at a time, they’re able to create a more personalized experience for every individual. Angler's Alibi is unique because of their 2-1 guest to guide ratio, they take anglers out for 9 hours a day, and even more if they just can't get enough!

The heart of this Alagnak River fishing lodge is its top level fishing program that guarantees each guest a memorable Alaskan fishing experience from start to finish. Fishing begins at seven in the morning, and ends at half past four. If you’re trying to break a personal record, or just want a bit more, you can head back out for an hour or so more before lights out. At 10, they turn off the generator to let the sounds of the Alagnak echo through camp as guests turn in for a restful night’s sleep.

angler's alibi camp in alaska

The Best Fishing Spots

The Tidewater

The Alagnak River Tidewater is the part of the river that is directly outside of the lodge. In this section, all five species of salmon travel pass through on their way upriver from Bristol Bay. Angler's Alibi takes full advantage of this spot by fishing from early in the morning to late evening, never spending more than a few minutes in transport to the hot spots in the Tidewater.

alagnak river tidewater

The Braids

The Alagnak River Braids is a section of the river made up of of shallow channels. This is a prime spawning area for the local salmon population. It is also a great location for rainbow trout. The spot is an old favorite of many, and has earned the reputation as one of the top fisheries in Alaska.

alagnak river braids

The Nush

The Nushagak River—commonly called the "Nush"—is a nearby hotspot for King Salmon, it is a short float plane flight away from the Alagnak lodge. The river offers a great option for early season fishing, with their impressive four week run starting in mid June. The Angler’s Alibi’s new King Salmon fishing camp is opening for the 2019 early season run. Their camp is situated between the river’s two main channels, in an area known for high numbers throughout the run.

nushagak river

Angler’s Alibi offers four weeks of early season King Salmon trips on the Nushagak starting in June. Their Alagnak River season runs for 10 weeks starting at the beginning of July. The King Camp program runs for four days, and the Alagnak Camp offers five and seven day programs. Get in touch to reserve your Alagnak River fishing lodge dates. If you’re looking for an unforgettable fishing adventure, it’ll be worth your while to make this trip.