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 and you will find intriguing options no matter when you visit. In June and July one of the most exciting events takes place when big rainbows crash smolt in the Naknek River just upstream from the lodge. Later, when the salmon arrive, rainbows chow down on 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 mice imitations on the surface or nymph patterns underneath is also an option.
It’s not all about big rainbows at Rapids Camp. King salmon are available in June and July and Rapids Camp offers one of the best king programs in the area. Wave after wave of sockeye, chums, pinks follow those kings. Silvers arrive in August and keep anglers busy through the end of the season in late September. Grayling also are present, and by late August you might catch some of the most beautifully colored Arctic char you’ve ever seen.
Guests help plan each day depending on the species they want to target and the suggestions of guides. Coffee is on at the main lodge around 6:30 a.m., and breakfast follows at 7. After breakfast guests “gear up” and then walk to the float plane dock to either climb into a boat or onto a plane to begin the day. You will either boat or fly to an outstanding piece of water, fish all morning, take lunch on the banks of the river, then fish through the rest of the day, returning to the lodge for appetizers and dinner in the evening. Rest and repeat.
Planes, Boats and Equipment
Anglers use high-quality jet boats to access the Naknek River. Rapids Camp also has jet boats on several other rivers, which are accessed via short flights on the lodge’s airplanes, which include two de Havilland Beavers and a turbo Otter.