You can rack up big numbers during a week-long stay at Rapids Camp. The question isn’t how many fish you’ll catch. It’s more about how your arms and wrists hold up after fighting so many rainbows, char, Dolly Varden, and salmon—and how much more tape you want to wrap around the line burns on your fingers! Bristol Bay is the land of plenty, and you will catch plenty here.
Rainbows are the primary target at Rapids Camp, and you will find intriguing options for big ones no matter when you visit. But one of the most exciting events takes place in June and July when big rainbows crash smolt in the Naknek River just upstream of the lodge. Later, after the salmon arrive, rainbows chow down on those big orange and pink eggs. In late summer and fall these fish feed on flesh that tears off salmon in the deterioration process. At any time of the season, fishing mouse imitations on the surface or nymph patterns underneath are also exciting options.
It’s still not only about big rainbows at the camp. King salmon are available in June and July, and Rapids Camp offers one of the best Chinook programs in the area. Wave after wave of sockeye, chums, and pinks follow those kings. Silvers arrive in August and keep anglers busy until the end of the season in late September. Grayling, lake trout, and Dolly Varden also are present, and by late August you might catch some of the most beautifully colored Arctic char you’ve ever seen.
What do you want to fish for today? There are so many options here that guests can usually choose between several species in numerous destinations with various fishing methods. Guides are always eager to share suggestions, of course. Coffee is on at the main lodge around 6:30 a.m., and breakfast follows at 7. Guests then gear up and walk to the dock to climb into a boat or a floatplane to access the best water. Fish all morning, eat lunch on the bank, fish through the rest of the day, then return to the lodge for appetizers and dinner. Rest, rinse, repeat.
Planes, Boats and Equipment
Guides run powerful jetboats to access the Naknek River and its tributaries. Rapids Camp also keeps jetboats on several other rivers that they can access via short flights on the lodge’s airplanes, including two de Havilland Beavers and a Turbo Otter.