Mousing? Did you say Mousing? Yep, that's what the Aniak River and the Aniak River Lodge in Alaska are famous for, and we took a trip with some clients up there to see what the hype is all about. We also brought a variety of streamers, including Dollies of various sizes and colors, along with Clousers, which both mimic the resident Trout fry/smolt and out-migrating Salmon fry/smolt. Here's the Fishing Report.
Alaska has experienced one of its wettest and coldest Springs in recent memory for the staff up at Aniak River Lodge. We trotted up there with Brett, Tyler, and myself (Gabe), hoping to take full advantage of the large rainbows associated with Alaska. As always, we prepared for the best, knowing that the weather always has the final say. We had one day of clear blue skies and 70-degree temps and overcast days with some rain.
I've been to the Lodge before and always wanted to return to relive my experiences there. That being said, the task of getting all seven of us prepped with the right gear and flies, logistics of getting libations to a "damp" village, and of course, all the requisite layers for taking in the comfort of a tent camp in the Alaskan bush.
Kitted with 5-8/9wts., we made our way up to the Lodge after spending a couple hours fishing as the rest of the staff brought our bags to our tents and a week's worth of libations. What greeted us along the way were numerous takes by Sheefish, Rainbows, and Pike. If you need to learn more about the Aniak, here's the scoop - predators be lurking in these waters. While you could throw in some dries or nymphs, protein in high quantities is the primary menu for nearly all the species you can find here.
Speaking of species, there are few places in Alaska where the sheer variety of species can be targeted on any given day during the season. Only a few Rivers in Alaska can boast the variety of species listed below. The Aniak River Lodge holds an admirable "Catch and Release" ethic to help keep a sustainable volume of these fish available for generations to come and enjoy catching. The total number of species caught by the group was seven of the potential eleven you can find cruising these waters on any given day. Rainbows, Dollies, Pike, Sheefish, Grayling, and Chum even came to hand this week, even with Salmon running about two weeks later than expected. Here's a breakdown of the general run timing of the Salmon, which heavily influence how we target fish on the Aniak:
- King Salmon: Late June to Late July
- Silver Salmon: August through late September
- Chum Salmon: Mid June to August
- Sockeye Salmon: Late June to Mid August
- Pink Salmon: (Even years) Late June to Late July
- Leopard Rainbows: All year
- Sheefish: All year
- Arctic Char: All year
- Arctic Grayling: All year
- Dolly Varden: All year
- Northern Pike: All year
The staff and accommodations were stellar. Weather Port Tents with comfy beds and mosquito nets, tables and chairs, battery units to charge phones, propane heaters, toilets, showers, sinks, and hot and cold running water make the time enjoyable anytime, day or night. The main dining hall has couches, tables, and chairs with the daily whiteboard schedule and even excellent WiFi provided by Starlink. For those of us who need to stay in touch via email, text, etc., or get a little work done while out in the Alaskan bush - this is a benefit and a distraction at times.
The daily menu was above average to excellent considering that everything comes to the Lodge via being barged up or flown into the kitchen.
- Breakfast is rotated with scrambled eggs, frittata variants, hashbrowns, bacon, sausage, hot cereal, fruit, orange juice, pancakes or waffles, and coffee. All the stuff you need to get fueled up for a ride to one of the various destinations you will be fishing that day.
- Lunches were a mixed bag of different meats and veggies wrapped up in either homemade or off-the-shelf tortillas, along with your favorite libation or selection of sodas, with granola bars or candy to keep that blood sugar up while throwing mice and baitfish patterns throughout the day.
- Dinners were hearty and presented well each and every night. We had seafood, steaks, chicken, pork kabobs, assorted veggies, potatoes, and if you can believe it - PIZZA!! The Pizza Night is a staff and guest favorite because the dough is all homemade with various toppings and sauces, including the staple pepperoni and sausage we enjoy. The post-fishing appetizers deserve some love too. Wings, meatballs, spam musubi, fresh-made secret recipe hummus, and a few I can't seem to remember - made for an excellent way to catch up with guests and staff before dinner was served.
All in all, the Aniak River Lodge and staff did not disappoint this week, and if you're interested in taking a trip with us there, don't worry - we are working out which weeks we plan on heading there in the coming years. You can contact Tyler or me at the emails below to learn more about this location and get on our list for upcoming trips here.
Gabe Parr: email@example.com
Tyler Mason: firstname.lastname@example.org