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Rustic but very nice

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  • Vendor: Nushagak River Fishing Lodge - View Listing
  • Location: Bristol Bay, AK
  • Author: kuhrtkr on September 30, 2015
  • Review Type: Lodges / Outfitters
  • Date of Visit: September 1, 2015
  • Overall Rating:
  • Angler Endorsed


An unexpected opportunity came up to go fishing at Nushagak River Fishing Lodge in Alaska August 24-30, 2015. The lodge sent out an email with a special discount to come the last week they were open and I jumped at it. I flew to Anchorage on August 23 and spent the night. At 2PM the next day I got on an air taxi flight out of Merrill Field for Ekwok. This is a small village on the Nushagak River. The round trip fare for the air taxi was $640. I met Glenn and John on the flight who were also going to the lodge. This was their 5th trip to this lodge and they told me I was in for some real fishing.

Nushagak River Fishing Lodge is a small lodge that takes up to 12 people at a time. This week there were only the 3 of us. The accommodations are rustic but very nice. We even had 24 hour electricity and satellite TV thanks to generators. The main lodge has a big room for eating and relaxing.

Rick Murphy is the owner of the lodge and strives to make sure your experience exceeds your expectations. He had a great staff at the lodge. Nick Dennis was the chief and he created amazing meals. We had breakfast at 7:00 and were on the river by 8:00. We were back to the lodge for a great lunch at noon and then back fishing. We usually quit fishing about 5:00 or 5:30 to clean up for dinner which was served about 7:00. After dinner you could go back fishing if you wanted but we were always too worn out from pulling in all those silver salmon.

Our guide was Don Hiltz from Michigan. He just graduated collage and had experience guiding on the Kenai and in Michigan. Don knew the Nushagak River well and was able to put us on fish every time we went out. We were fishing at the end of the silver salmon season. They normally fish for the silvers with a spinning rod and salmon eggs. You can also fly fish for them the traditional way or use the salmon eggs. I used a fly rod with salmon eggs most of the time.
The boats that they use are about 20 feet long with a flat bottom and in very good condition. There is a raised flat floor on the inside. You can easily fish 4 people without any problem (except when we have 4 silvers on at the same time). They also supply good rods and reels both spin and fly. All you need to bring are waders. Of course you can bring your own gear if you want.

Now about the fishing, I fished about an hour and a half the afternoon I arrived. Don was a good teacher. It took a while to get down the technique of setting the hook. Fishing back home I normally set the hook when I have a bite. Here you need to wait a little as there can be a few small bites before the silver takes a good bite where you can hook it. The next morning Glenn, John, and I headed out with Don at 8:00. The weather had changed and it was very windy. We had this condition for 2 days. Don found us places to fish were we could get out of the worst of it and we started catching fish. We hooked over 50 silvers of which we kept 5 per person, the limit. The wind then stopped and we were able to fish some really good locations the rest of the time never more than 15 minutes from the lodge. We were now hooking over 100 per day. You might think I am exaggerating but one day I started counting and quit at 75 and we still had a couple more hours to fish. Needless to say, we worked Don hard baiting, netting and unhooking fish. The last morning Don and I went out for 3 hours and hooked 57 silvers from one spot.

You need to come prepared for all kinds of weather and we saw it all. Luckily we only had rain for a short time one morning but we did have some cool days.

Rick, Don, Nick, and the rest of the staff along with my new friends Glenn and John made this a wonderful experience. I am already looking forward to going back and bringing some friends.

  • What fish did you target? Silver Salmon
  • Body of water fished? Nushagak River
  • Accomodations?
  • Food?
  • Guide's Hospitality?
  • Guide's Knowledge?
  • Did you use their gear? Yes
  • Condition of gear?
  • Were fishing conditions negatively impacted by the weather/water conditions? No

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