Variety is a draw here, but Bristol Bay’s fabled leopard rainbows are the most sought-after species. Many of these fish reside in the lakes during winter, moving into the streams in late May and June. When they do, those monster rainbows will rise to mouse patterns along with serious caddis and mayfly hatches. These ‘bows also take salmon fry, either dead-drifted or twitched in the surface film. They average better than 20 inches long with real possibilities of 28- to 30-inch fish. When sockeye salmon arrive, usually by the end of June, the rainbows focus on the eggs from those spawning fish. Anglers simply drift bead patterns behind the salmon to pick off big rainbows. Dolly Varden also are present, ranging to 30 inches with the average fish going about 22 inches long. In the early season they are bright and fresh from the lakes; as summer progresses these fish gain their spawning colors and become orange and yellow with developed kypes and white-tipped fins. Grosvenor and Coville lakes also produce lake trout, including fish that stretch to 20 pounds or more. Fly fishers concentrate on lakers that range between 3 and 6 pounds, often casting to them from shore near the lodge. As summer progresses these fish move to deeper water where they can be targeted with fast-sinking lines.
There’s no rush here—it’s not like you need to beat other anglers to the prime spots. Instead, you get up early with breakfast being served at 7 a.m. Then you’re off with a guide to fish for rainbows, pike, Dollies, salmon, and/or lake trout. If you choose to fish rainbows on American Creek, your entire day will be spent there either fishing the lower end out of a jetboat or beaching the boat and hiking into “the braids” where you can sight-fish to large rainbows in a pocket-water setting. Likewise, if you choose to fish trout in Hardscrabble Creek or northern pike in the Grosvenor Lake outlet, you’ll spend most of the day in that area. You can fish from the narrow spit of land that the lodge rests on at any time morning or evening with the possibility of catching a northern pike, rainbow, or lake trout. Early in the season, June through mid July, it hardly gets dark so you can fish until you drop.
Boats and Equipment
Jetboats are the name of the game here.
Grosvenor can outfit guests with rods, reels, fly lines, flies, and terminal tackle. Waders and boots are also available for use, which allows guests to save on bulk when traveling to and from the lodge. You will need to bring your own high-quality rain jacket. If you bring your own wading boots, remember that felt soles are not allowed in Alaska. The lodge also restricts metal cleats.