by Michael Bales, Head Guide at Alaska Rainbow Lodge
So you’re thinking about what it’s like to fish for a week at the Alaska Rainbow Lodge? What will happen day-to-day? Well, over the next seven blogs, I’ll tell you. That should give you a good idea of what you can expect and what you’ll experience at Alaska Rainbow Lodge.
Here’s what happens the first day you arrive at the lodge.
The floatplanes land on the Kvichak River in front of the lodge. You are on board. Ron Hayes, our guides and house staff are on the dock awaiting your arrival. Welcome to the Alaska Rainbow Lodge! Our staff grabs all your bags and takes them to your room. You’re invited to the main lodge where you will have a quick lunch, and get your fishing license and instructions for the afternoon fishing.
You will be given several choices. Do you want to chase salmon or trout? You have about three to four hours of fishing before dinner so let’s get going! I’ll see you at the dock in fifteen minutes.
Go to your room and put on your waders, boots, jacket and hat. Grab your fly rod. The Silver Salmon are running on the Alagnak River right now. Let’s go get ’em.
We jump in the plane. Ken, our pilot, taxis out to the middle of the river and we’re off. We fly across vast open expanses of land about 300 feet off the ground. You can see moose, bears and occasionally a wolf. Then you see a new river. The pilot makes a wide sweeping turn looking at the river below and settles into his landing routine. The plane gently lands and stops twenty feet from four jet boats moored to the bank.
We get out of the plane and straight into the boats. There are two fishermen and one guide per boat. These are nice jet-powered boats. Do you want to fly fish or spin fish? I’ve got all the gear ,so make the call and I’ll make it happen.
The rods are rigged and it’s your first cast, in Alaska, on the Alagnak River, to fresh sea run Silver Salmon. We’re drifting about thirty feet from the shoreline, casting up to the bank and dragging back to the boat. On the front, you’ve just hooked-up a Silver and your buddy on the back is casting again. Now he’s hooked up. We have two big Silvers on the lines and it’s party time. We all high-five, land the fish and ask if you want to keep them. The answer is “yes,” so in the boat they go.
Now think about this. You’ve been at the lodge for a little over one hour and you’ve just caught your first Silver Salmon of the vacation. Pretty incredible, right? It just gets better.
We spend the rest of the afternoon casting and catching Silvers. Everything you see is utterly beautiful and totally wild. The boat has six Silver Salmon on board and it’s time to head back to the plane and fly home to the lodge.
How do you like your Salmon, smoked or fresh? Good choice – we’ll have that frozen and boxed to airline specs when you leave next week.
Back in the lodge, the buzz among all the guests is huge. Stories are told of fish caught and fish lost. The lodge fills with laughter and excitement. Cocktails and snacks are consumed before Sharon Hayes calls all to dinner. And tonight is prime rib. It’s awesome.
After dinner, everyone relaxes, learns about the next day’s fishing opportunities, makes a choice on what to chase and heads to bed (some earlier than others).
It’s just one half of one day, but in every way imaginable, it was one of the greatest days ever. And it just gets better from here.
Stay tuned for day two!